With such experienced players, it is no wonder why mouseSpaz are doing so well
Alumni from the past mouseSpaz Counter-Strike: Global Offense (CS:GO), Stephen "reltuC" Cutler and James "hazed" Cobb join younger CS:GO talent like Matthew "Wardell" Yu, Yassine "Subroza" Taoufik and Taylor "Drone" Johnson to form one of the most promising unsigned North American teams on the market today, mouseSpaz. With experience in esports dating back to 2015, it does not surprise me that this team is doing as well as they are. What is surprising is that they’ve been overlooked.
Out of the 7 events mouseSpaz has attended, they’ve taken home 5 first-place finishes. And most of their wins come by way of domination, most recently at the Fragadelphia Social Distancing Open #2 which saw mouseSpaz not drop a single map in their championship run.
And this isn’t even a team that lacks some sort of flair or showmanship. Let’s first look at the team’s compositional choice just a month prior. April saw mouseSpaz experimenting and toying around with running a very standard shell with Sova, Breach, Cypher, and Sage, but decided to run Subroza on Omen much like Ninja’s in Pyjamas did. On top of that, they also have shown proficiency at playing a very aggressive defence on VALORANT’s three site map, Haven.
By the start of May, mouseSpaz started playing Brimstone over Omen beginning with the T1 x Nerd Street Gamers Open Qualifiers.
However, even with the compositional change, they still maintained their aggressive style on Haven-Defense. Like a boxer checking his opponent with a strong jab, mouseSpaz plays for picks on the line of scrimmage that separates the two opposing sides. Often you’ll see one section of the team’s default defence push up to either play for information, take a duel or posture for an orb fight. And in many cases, they can do this all at once.
This aggression from A Site and C Site often leads to the attacking team feeling “forced” onto the only other site on the map, which also just happens to be the one that is easier for the defending team to retake, due to its close proximity to the other sites.
For example, take this round in their match against FRENCH CANADIANS, now known as Gen.G Esports, in the Nerd Street Gamers Open #2. Here we see a beautiful example of all of these points in action. We see mouseSpaz’s aggressive defence on Haven, their “win-win” positioning, and how all of this corrals the attacking team onto B site.
Round 4 has mouseSpaz up 2-1. Hazed peaks the angle A Long to see if anyone will take a duel, if not, he still walks away with something because this also positions him well for an orb. At worst, he’s playing for information and slowing the push A side. At best he can walk away with an early pick and an orb for his team. Unfortunately, hazed’s fishing trip is a bust. That said, no information is still information, eliminating a part of the enemy could be.
Drone positions A short with a Bucky, locking down a sudden rotation to A. reltuC sits back and plays a more passive B site angle favouring an A site rotation and Subroza and Wardell play the C side of the map. This, for all intents and purposes, leaves B site wide open. mouseSpaz does this on purpose to limit the enemy’s effective site options and the distance the defence has to travel react to a B site take. FRENCH CANADIANS invest a lot of utility in fishing through C short. This alerts Wardell and Subroza with the former catching a glimpse of the enemy, which allows him to spray through mid-doors for an easy pick.
At this point, FRENCH CANADIANS either invest a ton of utility to try and push A site, which is costly and isn’t exactly a favoured option seeing how they’re at a numbers disadvantage and don’t have their Breach to create openings for the team to brute force a take.
Their next option would be to regroup and travel all the way back to C site. However, this isn’t ideal either with Subroza firmly planted on C short, FRENCH CANADIANS only direct opening is to 4 stack C long which obviously limits their attack angles. Whereas B site is left wide open and with 40 seconds left on the clock, the attacking team is forced to make a quick and decisive play. Seeing how B site is the least defended with the quickest time to plant, FRENCH CANADIANS show their hand and make a move towards B.
Once reltuC confirms the spike and multiple enemies on B site, mouseSpaz moves their C side of the map to wrap around and flip the script which gives them complete map control, and once they control B doors on defence the finish is just a formality.
Plays like these pervade their play in every round which makes mouseSpaz easily one of the best unsigned teams in North America at the moment. With how early we are into VALORANT esports, it is impressive to see such a coordinated team with a clear and defined style. We wouldn’t be shocked to see mouseSpaz quickly signed to an organization within the coming months and perform well for themselves as the VALORANT esports scene continues to grow. Especially their star players Wardell and Subroza should've turned some heads in the esports community.
Images via Riot Games and Blitz.gg