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Rezst: “We wanted someone to join and be at the same level or higher [than us]”

After the sudden retirement of IGL Ryan “dox” Young only last month it seemed like it would be near impossible to replace such a tenured IGL. However, Jacob “Rezst” Hemming who had IGLed his whole career before joining K10 picked up the captain role. To replace dox K10 needed to sign someone with experience to align with their expectations, settling on Norweigan rifler Steffen “SLY” Amundsen, leaving their UK core.

Heading to EPIC.LAN 41, K10 were seeded second behind The Neighbours, a first test for this new squad. After a long Day one, they made it through to the Upper Bracket and continued that momentum into the Upper Bracket finals, whereby sending The Neighbours into the Lower Bracket, claiming the first Grand Finals spot.

Rezst sits down with UKCSGO before their rematch on stage versus The Neighbours to talk about how the weekend has gone, what it is like being IGL again, and why they picked up SLY.

This is your first EPIC.LAN, what has your experience been like playing in the UK at a BYOC event?

It would be pretty similar to the Benelux. Overall the level of teams is higher just because the UK has a more developed scene and more teams come here. Most of the top 10 UK teams are here. That naturally makes the games a bit harder. It also makes it more interesting because you are not just playing against some sh*tters where you just walk over them, there are actually some interesting games here.

Other than that it is pretty similar I would say. There obviously will be some tech issues, there will always be delays. The only big difference is that you get a lot more sleep here. In the Benelux, you play until 4 am and start at 10 am. I would say that is one of the big differences, other than that it is similar, people still scream at each other.

You spoke about the competition. Day 1 was long and difficult, did you enjoy the competition and were you expecting it to be as difficult as it was?

I think we expected it to be hard, some teams you might walk over, some teams you might struggle more against. I think I enjoyed playing the better teams, but you played the same teams over and over again. We didn’t get to meet Coalesce even though they were the fifth seed until yesterday, and TLR played them five or four times I am not sure.

We played some teams twice and I would prefer to play different teams. Overall I enjoyed playing better teams and being able to avoid the teams where you just know you will win and would rather focus on the better opponents.

You played The Neighbours in the Upper Bracket Finals, and now you will face them again in the finals. What are your thoughts going into this game?

The first time around in the ladder system we last to them really hard with some tech issues. Two of us were playing on 60 FPS. In the rematch yesterday we beat them quite hard I would say, we 13-3 them on our map pick which felt good. Yesterday didn’t matter as much as today because today is the finals. Yes, we didn’t have to play at 9 am but whoever wins today is what matters most. We are feeling good about the rematch but stage games are always different.

You guys have had some roster changes recently. The first notable one I want to talk about is your return to the IGL role, what is it like taking over dox’s role?

I have been basically IGL my whole career, apart from when I played with some friends on Voxal Arc in intermediate. I have IGLed since 2018 until joined ex-Coalesce core. I was open to non-GL offers if there was an IGL who was more experienced than me to teach me. I have never been able to play under a better IGL, I was definitely up to learn from someone else, Ryan [dox] is that kind of IGL.

I was happy to play for them and I learned a lot. With Ryan’s departure, we knew it would be hard to find a new UK player. If you want a UK IGL it is nearly impossible, definitely not on our level. The only way is if we get Thomas which obviously is not going to happen. For us, we had to make the switch, and because I had IGLed before I will do it again.

I will say it is different now, there was a system already that you can base it on. You had Zy [Yz0[, Toby [shyyne], Jamie [Tree60], and Ryan had played together for quite a long time. I would say that it is different but similar. I cannot really say how similar it is, I am just going back to my old role.

The core of this team had played under dox’s structure for a while, he was quite a methodical and structured IGL. Has the system changed under you, or are you that type of IGL as well?

Ryan used to go off default into mid-round basically every round. I used to be like that a lot, but I throw in some set rounds here and there. Ryan used to do that as well, but I do it a little more. Still, I try to always focus on the structure and default, going off that and play mid rounds. In that sense, we are quite similar in style.

I heard Tree60 is the second caller, he has taken over leaf’s role, how has that been going?

I am not sure if you call it second calling, but on the T-side, he plays quite a few positions that he is rotating between sites. On Vertigo he goes third to A, second towards mid, and B in defaults. So I gave him the freedom to choose where to go at the start of the round.

Mid-round, when you play a system like this everyone has to chime in. I naturally have the biggest voice but everyone needs to chime in. He has got quite a few roles on the T-side that he is between the two sides, joining different positions to be their support in that or say ‘Hey I noticed this, can we do this.’ In that way, he has the freedom to do that.

You mentioned trailing UK players, you trailed some players at this LAN but ended up going with SLY. What was the reason you felt like you had to move away from UKCS?

Rezst at UKIC Fall Finals 2023

I think there are some good players in the UK, for example, we trialed fizzy, midgard, and Kisynergy. Someone like fizzy has really good communication and can chime into mid-rounds a lot, but rather lacks on the individual department for what we want to achieve. Not saying that he cannot achieve this in the future.

We trailed someone like Kisynergy, he is extremely individually based and can keep up with basically everyone, but is lacking a lot in the communication department.

Midgard is a mix of the two of them.

In the end, the level is not high enough for any of them if we want to achieve what we want to achieve. Making advanced playoffs and seeing if we can break into the top 50 of HLTV. We need to have a strong basis of someone who can do that If we need to teach everybody in terms of like Jamie hasn’t been there and done that, Zy hasn’t been there done that, I am the same, Toby is the most experienced at that level.

So we felt that we needed to bring someone in who has already been there or knows how to get there. SLY with Pompa has done that and played these events with Pompa even though he is so young. He has experience and we felt that we needed to get someone of that level for us to progress relatively quickly into the ESEA Advanced playoffs and go through open qualifiers. We didn’t want to spend another two seasons to get someone to the level that we are at now. We wanted someone to join and be at the same level or higher and go from there.

So we felt that we needed to bring someone in who has already been there or knows how to get there. SLY with pompa has done that and played these events with Pompa even though he is so young.

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