Interview with ATK’s CS:GO Captain: MisteM

Interview with ATK’s CS:GO Captain: MisteM

ATK recently announced that they had secured a new CS:GO roster. The team has travelled to Dubai to take part in the Asia Minor Qualifier for the ESL One Rio Major 2020. After that they’ll be moving to the USA to compete full time. 

I got in touch with the leader of the team, Gareth ‘MisteM’ Ries, and asked him a few questions about the team. 

Interviewing ATK’s CS:GO Captain MisteM

MS: How did it feel when you were first introduced to the prospect of joining ATK and heading abroad to compete full time?

GR: Being approached by ATK was truly a dream come true, ever since I started playing CS I have always wanted to compete with the best and with ATK I feel that I can achieve that.

MS: With the changes to ESL Pro League and ECS now gone in favour of the franchised Flashpoint league, it’s a much tougher road to get to the top level for you guys than it was for Bravado/ ATK previously. Mountain Dew League now contains half of the teams that were previously in EPL. You’d need to start in ESEA Open, get promoted to Main followed by Intermediate and go up through ESEA Advanced. After that is the toughest MDL mix of teams there has ever been before you can get a shot at EPL. The whole process could take far longer.

Outside of leagues, there are of course open qualifiers for various tournaments. Overall, this is a very different and far less forgiving North American scene than when Project Destiny launched in 2018. What are you guys aiming to achieve during your time in the states? How much time will you be giving to prove yourselves?

GR: Our first aim would be to get into MDL and secondly play in any qualifiers that comes with it but we would like give ourselves 6 months to 1 year in order to prove ourselves.

MS: You guys will be competing at the Asia Minor Qualifier off the back of a week-long bootcamp in Dubai, which is the first opportunity for the new team to play together. How do you feel about the event?

GR: Going into the event we are very confident we don’t see any team as a threat. We are putting in the time and effort to showcase how good this team can really be. The synergy in the team is flowing naturally and everyone is getting along which is the first step to being a successful team.

MS: What sort of CS can we expect to see you playing at the event, considering the lack of preparation time?

GR: We have been able to get a lot of structure down with the limited amount of time that we have had. The main part that we are focusing on is polishing the roles and basics. The type of CS will be basic but have a lot of structural elements.

MS: Can you shed some more light on the situation with TenZ and Fadey? Where exactly do they stand in terms of their future with ATK?

GR: TenZ and Fadey are playing as stand ins but depending on the results of the qualifiers and the team in general will determine their future with ATK.

MS: You guys have contracted an international coach in sprayxd from Israel, how has that relationship been? Does he see the game vastly differently?

GR: Sprayxd views the game In a very similar way to us but he puts In a lot of time and effort but also focuses on fixing any mistakes. The relationship is very energetic as he always brings an uplifting mood to practice.

MS: In times past you’ve mentioned you see yourself as a leader, and you want to be the captain. Now you find yourself in a position where you’re the spearhead of this project, a quick turn of events from not even being the IGL in your previous team. Is it daunting?

GR: I don’t find it daunting because In past teams I was either the second voice or IGL. When I joined Sinister5 I was mainly the IGL with Zerochance giving me the advice and criticism where it was needed, it helped develop me into a more structured IGL.

MS: Although you’re young, you’ve already had a bit of a journey to get here. Who are some of the people that have paved the way for you to get to this point?

GR: Every team that I have been in I have always learnt something new, either in game or outside of it. Zerochance has always been a mentor to me and has taught me the most by teaching me how to run a successful team by using teamwork and synergy. Blackpoison and Adm have both helped me grow as a player inside the game and helped me with the basics of CS.


This team has an abundance of natural talent. I can appreciate that they’re trialling the roster before making commitments, it means nothing will be forced. Like MisteM said, the first and most important ingredient is synergy, without it everything becomes a chore. 

If this team gels and invests in a common goal, I think they have a shot at turning some heads. One thing I know for sure is that they all have a strong hunger and desire to grow and succeed. Time will tell, but I have faith. 

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