Coming into EPIC.LAN 39, The Neighbours immediately felt the pressure by being the team who would never hear the end of it if they lost. Fortunately, at this stage they have maintained a clean record, cruising to an upper bracket final match-up against fellow favourites, 7AM.
After a lengthy career, a mellow and humble Adam “Adam9130” Ahmad, who holds the IGL reins of the stacked mix team, spoke to UKCSGO’s Josh “Joshampton” Arnup about the orgless lifestyle, an extremely challenging 2023 and his continous friendship with GamerLegion coach, Ashley “ash” Battye.
How are you feeling about a new venue compared to Kettering?
Yeah, it’s nice to be honest. It’s a bit different, but no real complaints. I think it’s kind of livelier, there’s a lot more people around. It’s a bigger city. The venue is fine as well, no real complaints, apart from obviously the internet, which was bad the first day, but that is what it is.
The Neighbours, everyone’s looking at you guys as, at least finalists. What were your expectations coming into it, and obviously now you’ve just won against Linx Legacy?
I mean, I think everyone here would probably just… laugh if we lost, but to be honest, I just came here to just have some fun. We would all probably be at each other’s throats if we lost. I wouldn’t because, honestly I’m just trolling, but some people would probably be pretty angry.
Any idea who you think you’ll face in the final?
I’m not sure, to be honest, if I had to guess, probably 7AM, or the guys they’re playing now [Next in Line].
Moving away from EPIC.LAN a little bit, you still managed to have reasonable success with Into the Bin and Into the Win. How has that orgless journey been for you?
It’s awful to be honest. It’s been an absolutely awful year. I think I’ve been ill seven times this year, which is like a world record for me. I don’t even know why I’ve been ill so much this year, but it’s been really bad as well and it’s not even been the same thing, it’s just different things, just RNG (laughs).
It’s been an absolutely awful year.
We had to forfeit our Challenger spot because I was that ill and I couldn’t get a stand in. I slept like 16 hours, I got a phone call saying we got a game, where I had to set up my PC and I was just dying. I was like, “I can’t, I literally can’t” so we tried and then we had to forfeit a few rounds in.
Do you still feel like you’ve accomplished something, somewhat?
No, not at all, to be honest. I don’t think we’ve done anything. Like, the only thing we did was we ended the cup run by Endpoint [UKIC Invitational Spring 2023] We didn’t even make ESL Premiership, we had to play Into the Breach, the new team, in the qualifier, which is a bit stupid. There’s no point complaining, because after that we still had one more chance and still lost but everyone knows we should never have played them.
When CYPHER spoke to UKCSGO at the Paris Major, he holds you in high regard, saying he wouldn’t be where he is now without you and your influence. How does that make you feel?
Happy. Me and Cai [CYPHER] have been friends for a long time now. Obviously when I started playing with him, I think he was nowhere near the player he is now, that’s not just to do with me, that’s to do with himself. If you have the right attitude and the right commitment, then that will help me help you, you know?
He already had a skill set, a very specific skill set. To me, I only try to help him refine that skill set and make it better, because he’s always kind of been the same player, like, really super aggressive. I just try to help him get better at that and try and help him pick his moments like “Nice, you got a double entry, now you can chill, you’ve done your job, you don’t need to give the kill up.” Just stuff like that, helping him learn to play certain scenarios. But yeah, I’m really happy, I’m proud of what he’s done. Hopefully, with all the rumours going on, he joins TSM. It’d be a massive move for him.
I’m proud of what [CYPHER] has done
Would you say that your approach to IGLing is to help these youngsters find themselves, rather than tell them “You need to do this and that”?
Yeah, for sure. I think that’s always been my job. Whenever I’ve gone into a team, I’ve always seen myself as the most experienced player, apart from GamerLegion. When I joined GamerLegion, we had Zero on our team, who has been to Majors and stuff. I started to play with him and I was like, wait, I feel more experienced than this guy. Which really surprised me because I thought I would kind of not be up to date on things.
Is there anything that you can reveal which is in the pipeline for the future?
Probably retirement to be honest.
I’m 25, 26 next month. I mean, after not being in a team for seven months and basically living off, even when I was on the team, below minimum wage salaries, there’s only so long people can do that. Unless you’re a billionaire, which trust me I’m not, I’m very far off it (laughs).
Are there any plans for even a bit of coaching or are you going to at least stay in the industry?
Listen, I would stay in esports until the day I die if I could, there’s nothing I like doing more. I’d love to play as long as I can and then once that’s done, I’d love to be a coach, assistant coach or an analyst. I’m down to do anything in esports because, I don’t even know how many hours I’ve got on CS, like how many years it has been, but it’s like a lot.
What’s your relationship with ash, he’s obviously doing pretty well with GamerLegion as a coach, pretty established, do you talk with him often?
I don’t think many people know, but me and ash like, we talk to each other every day, even when I was on Into the Breach and something was really annoying me, and I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about it, I’d just be running to ash to see him. Like ” Why is this guy shouting down the mic every time it dies, it’s pissing me off”. (laughs)
I remember one time I was like “ash, ash man, give me a round on this map, like an execute here or something to do here.” And he’ll be like, what’s it worth? and I’d be like “I’ll give you the best round I’ve got.” (laughs) and we just traded like a strat for strat, that was only a one time thing though, it was pretty funny.
How are you feeling about volt who is now with GamerLegion and CYPHER branching out?
I think they’ll be successful. volt and CYPHER are very two different characters, and they both have completely different play styles. I think volt’s more comparable to like a mezii and Cai [CYPHER] is more comparable to like a YEKINDAR. They both have specific skill sets that I think every team will sought after, and that’s why they’ll be successful.