One of the two actual teams, in attendance at Insomnia 69, is Temperate who have recently been in a bad run of form. Due to this, there have been a lot of questions surrounding the team such as; “why is MMS not IGLing?” Do they need a better AWPer?” and “When is it time to make a change?” To clear up all the speculation UKCSGO’s Dafydd Gwynn sat down with Marco “MMS” Salomone, who gave honest insights into the state of the team and opened up about how he feels about their recent performances.
You just had quite a tough loss against ONE HAG, can you walk me through what happened?
I’d say the first half was pretty good from us we had six rounds on T side I’m pretty sure, and that’s ancient so that’s pretty good for a T-side. On CT-side they won the pistol so they bounced momentum straight away and after that we had our first gun round and we lost that through bad communication to be honest. We then lost that round and at that point its like 13-6 to them and they do a couple of fast rounds and they get one on us which snowballed the way into the win. That happens sometimes in best-of-one’s. I was pretty annoyed because we know we should be beating a team like that but its not in the grand scheme of things an issue for us at all.
Your form recently, even before this tournament has been in a bit of a slump, you had the Beyond Qualifier and EPIC. What is going on there and it is just a phase?
I wouldn’t really say its a phase, I would say its more not really having an identity at the moment, I think we have really strong maps but sometimes we don’t really have the belief in ourselves really to play the maps that we know were good at. Then we go to these maps and coast a little bit and we let these maps slide, and that was something that happened at the last LAN to be honest. We played Dust 2 last LAN against CYPHER’s mix and that something that if we were in a different environment and headspace that we would never ever ever make that mistake as that’s our ban you know? Everyone knows its our ban. We never let a map like that go through. So I’d say its just about identity to be honest and just chilling ourselves out in game as we get a little be antsy sometimes and I think that we do need to just take that extra second in freeze time or take a pause and evaluate what’s happening and make adjustments according to that to be honest. I wouldn’t say its a phase, I’d just say its a little period where we just need to find ourselves in the game.
And would you say that was the same at the Beyond qualifier?
Yeah, 100%. Obviously we have two stand-ins, and im not going to use two stand-ins as an excuse to why we lose as we had two qualifiers and lost both of them. We were in positions in both of the qualifiers to win both of them and that’s again us not having the belief or just struggling to close out these games. Same thing happened in the FantasyExpo qualifier. We were up against EKO a lot of rounds, I think it was 9-0 at one point and then we just threw it away kind of thing and that’s just something where maybe we just don’t have the experience to close out the rounds or were just too ahead of ourselves and we don’t call a pause to be like ‘oh guys, you know, chill out a little bit, slow down the rounds and just play them out.
A big thing is that you’re an IGL, you’ve been an IGL in your career but you’re on this roster not IGLing, why is that?
I’d say Huii has the reigns, he is a really good caller and I think that he is really committed to the game. I would say that there was definitely a point in time where me and him discussed swapping but I said to him, at the end of the day, you doing the calling and me chipping in is way better than me doing the calling and you chipping in. I think that he has a really good idea of what to do at the start of the round and then he gives me enough breathing room to make my own calls as well, which I think is really good. And I’d say for the roles that I’m in, I need to focus on the game more, especially on the T-side. I need to listen to what’s happening on the other side of the map and then make my own call, and say to the guys you know ‘Chill, don’t do whatever you are going to do and I can make this play and do this etc. So I think we have a really nice balance within the team. But recently I’d say that our communication was a bit bad. but I definitely think he appreciates that he has another voice within the team and we always go over stuff off the server and he appreciates that, and I appreciate him as he is one of the best players that I’ve played with.
How comfortable do you feel in your current role?
After last season when we got Beau and Reegan, I changed a lot of roles and they are definitely roles that I prefer. I’m playing a lot of rotates now compared to playing the anchors. Whilst I was playing the anchors before, I was fine with it but i don’t think compared to players like for example AZUWU who is some insane aimer, he is in his perfect role at the moment in my opinion where he is anchoring sites and if they come to his sites he is going to kill three every single time like no question about it. Whereas for me, like sometimes I would get those three kills but it was a little bit inconsistent and I feel I have a big enough voice to play the rotates and make decisions on the map which get me my frags and get me my impact compared to being stuck on a site and not really doing much. And T-side, I was entry fragging before and now I am kind of in a mix of sometimes entrying and most of the time on defaults because I am lurking and that’s the role I prefer to play. I feel I can have a lot of impact in that role and I think I am pretty strong at reacting off info from my team so I’m very comfortable.
A big thing that people have talked about with this roster is a lack of an AWPer, is that something that you want to or have addressed?
At the time when we lost Yoshwa it was me, Reegan, eMy, Yoshwa and Hui, and Yosh was AWPing, eMy was in the roles that I’m in now, and eMy has AWPed in the past so we said to give me the freedom in those rifling roles in the CT side and then have eMy on the AWP. I don’t think eMy is a bad AWPer, I think he still has a lot to learn in the role since he hasn’t played it in a long time and I think that’s fair, but I think this shows the amount of skill of AWPers in the UK where he has come in, hasn’t AWPed in a while and he is better than half of the AWPers that are at the same level as us anyway. Because if there was a good AWPer at the time we probably would have got them.
In that position that we were in, we had a really nice team, we had me, Reegan, who just came off the back of a really good season with temperate just before they disbanded, Hui and eMy and like sure we lost to BLVKHVND a couple of times but other than that. At our level we have beat 1PIN in EPS, at the time they were doing pretty well, we’ve had a couple of close games with EKO. I think we had the power at that time to get a good AWPer if we wanted one but at the time to be honest I could not name you an AWPer that we would have got or otherwise we would have got them to be honest. With eMy, people probably look under the radar at him but he has got the potential to be the best AWPer in my opinion.
At EPIC a big thing was the mental game, especially with your younger player Reegan and we saw in the close matches he would lose his head a little bit. Is that something that you guys have addressed coming into this LAN?
I don’t think we addressed it, but there was a point a couple of weeks ago where he brought something up about how he is thinking in the game and he was basically saying that he is not as comfortable when he feels like the pressure is on him. He is not really in the flow and can’t really think that he is going to make this decision that’s going to win us the round. But a player like him, he has got so much potential and so much skill and he is clearly showing that all the time, its him that blocking him from being this next level and I think that’s the biggest thing with him. He just needs to get over the mental side of things and I always try and ask him what I can do as a teammate to help with that. We’ve had a discussion before and I was saying to him that “I want you to tone down the mental” and I know it’s going to be hard at the start because you are in this thing where your mental is gone you go silent and we can’t hear you.
Even today in that game against ONE HAG I think he was probably the most vocal player in that game which is something that I am really happy to see because normally when were getting beaten that much he is the least vocal so that’s a sign of improvement that I’m pretty happy with within Reegan and I think that if he continues like that then he will unlock the potential to be the star player that everyone knows that he should be.
One more harder question which is, how long do you guys remain in this slump and not make a roster change? When is it time to make a change?
I don’t think change is on our mind at the moment, I think were just going to play this event and you know, we have a 1-3 start in ESEA Main, we knew it was going to be rough anyway because one of our players is going away during the season anyway. Not saying our expectations for the season were low because we have high expectations, even in this tournament were coming to this tournament expecting to be on that stage on Sunday 100%. So I wouldn’t call it a slump, I would just say its just a stage where we are not prepared to close out these games yet and its not something that we are ready for I guess. It’s not that we are playing bad because I think that we are playing pretty good CS its just some of these games we just lose ourselves, its not them winning its us losing.
So to add on to that, I think this is the event to step up and finally close these games against these teams because this is Insomnia, this is a LAN. This LAN is probably the least skilled LAN in a very very long time, especially for Insomnia as well so I expect us to be on that stage on Sunday and I expect us to win it if not have some nice maps against whoever is going to be in the final as they’re going to be a good team anyway. I’m expecting it to be EKO. So I would like to have some nice maps against them and hopefully beat them as this is the tournament to do it for me.
Last question, you’re a very humble and honest person, would you say there is too little of that in the scene?
I think people need to swallow their pride just a little bit to be honest. For example, I literally did not start playing seriously until like COVID, these people that I’m playing at the same level as, they have been playing for the last 3-4 years you know, however many years. The way I see it is, I spent two years on the game, grinding and improving how you should be and I’m already at the same level as them so I think its just that people need to swallow their pride and ask the better players what can I do to improve my game? Like for example I did that with mezii recently, before that in 2020 it was with Ping who at the time was coming off the back of a pretty good advanced season that he had.
So its really important to swallow the pride because I think its one thing that in the UK they need to do, they have too much pride and need to swallow it, just say I’m going to go ask this guy how can I improve my game and if you find improvement in that you keep doing it and you find yourself improving an insane amount and that’s what its about. The people that are number one in the world, people who are grinding hard, they are there for a reason because they grind hard and put in the time and put in the effort on what is going to improve them the most and that’s why they are there at the end of the day. For me to be a winner you’ve got to put in the effort and I want to be a winner so I am going to put in the effort all the time.