KiSMET & Priestahh on Subliners’ reinvention & redemption at CoD World Champs
This time last year, New York Subliners was in dire straights. The partnership of Ian "Crimsix" Porter and James "Clayster" Eubanks went down in flames, Travis "Neptune" McCloud was caught in the crossfire and despite glimmers of hope at the Pro-Am and Major V, the season only ended in mass upheaval.
The off-season was equally as tumultuous, with the superstar Paco "HyDra" Rusiewiez being linked with moves away to OpTic and a massive uproar on streams between players and staff, making The Flank look like an episode of Jerry Springer.
Who would have thought that just 12 months later that they would be hoisting the World Championships trophy above their head?
But in the most dominant fashion in Call of Duty history, New York Subliners are your 2023 champions, and their reinvention and individual redemption make for one of the best success stories of the generation.
Following their win, GGRecon sat down with the Subliners roster fresh off the stage, and Matthew "KiSMET" Tinsley, Preston "Priestahh" Greiner, and Head Coach Ehsan "DREAL" Javed opened up about their journeys to finally get their hands on a ring - or a ring on their hands.
- We also sat down with HyDra in a separate interview to get down to business on the Search and Destroy masterclass and his personal Duolingo triumphs
KiSMET on Subliners' Modern Warfare 2 reinvention
Click to enlargeImage via @dannyelkc | Twitter
With all of the overhead madness of the off-season, Subliners managed to recruit swiftly and efficiently to build around the SMG duo of the tactile KiSMET and explosive HyDra. Adding coach Troy "Sender" Michaels alongside AR and Flex partnership Cesar "Skyz" Beuno and Priestahh had them hitting the ground running, and KiSMET claimed this reinvention instantly removed any previous bad cultures.
"I guess the best way to put it is that ending [to Vanguard] was unfortunate. So coming into this year, we had a new coach, and two new players, and at that point, it was just a whole new team," KiSMET began.
"The previous culture that was there - it is what it is - but I think we did a good job coming to this year kind of forgetting it and building something new.
"He did a lot of work with this as well, and I think that was our biggest thing. We left it in the past and just didn't worry about it. We started with a fresh slate and I guess the past is what it is."
KiSMET and DREAL explain The Bulldog's redemption and being "the definition of a professional"
For KiSMET himself, the story of being the World Championship MVP is a bumpy one. From the depths of the Paris Legion sinking ship, a dip down to the Challengers scene to reinvent himself as a tactician and to debunk any myths about his behavioural traits took quite the effort.
“When I first started competing with those teams, I didn't really have as much talent around me, which is what helps me a lot now. I mean, I worked really hard. It was a struggle. Not only did I get kicked out of the league and have to go back to Challengers, but there were a lot of personas about who I was.
"People had this view, saying that I was a horrible teammate, that I didn't call out, I was late, I was annoying, this and that. None of this stuff was true. It was just people spewing things and trying to tarnish my name.
"Now, with this team, I've won multiple tournaments in this organization. I've won Champs now. I've got two event MVPs. It's proven that I'm not like those rumours and it feels good to write my own kind of story now."
The rumours surrounding KiSMET’s attitude have been completely fabricated according to the NYSL staff too, as Head Coach DREAL backed him as the “definition of a professional".
"Every single training session he is in early, working on stuff. We're doing VODs together. We're putting the extra effort in. I keep a register, and not a single time has this guy not been first to the office. I'm not talking an hour early either, it's I'm two hours early and this guy's here," DREAL said.
"I am not surprised [by his success]. KiSMET is the definition of professional.
"His mentality is one of the best things I've ever seen from anyone that I've worked with, ever."
Priestahh rejoices on finally getting over the line
For Priestahh, his redemption arc was much different and was filled with agonising bear misses, having joined an elite group of players who had two silver medals.
Often being the public scapegoat though, Priestahh has now silenced all of his critics by topping what he managed on both FaZe and 100 Thieves.
"It feels good. I've been super close like three or four times now, and then last year I didn't even qualify for chance. Into this year, I said, ‘I'm taking advantage up here and I wanna win this one’," he said.
"This is definitely the one that had a good group of guys around me to get that job done. So I was super excited. I'm super hyped."
Subliners now go down in history as one of the best teams to grace the game, perfecting the arts of cohesion, strategy, and trading, sprinkled with some seriously explosive talent and a bark that will echo through time.