Grayhound have been consistently at the top of the scene since their signings of dexter and DickStacy. Placing second at the CGPL Spring finals and, most recently, winning ZEN League Season 2 added LAN results to match the team’s already impressive online form. Grayhound are set to take their domestic form to the international stage in early December, facing teams like Gambit, Vega Squadron and TyLoo at ROG Masters 2017.

I was joined by Grayhound’s star AWPer Sean “Gratisfaction” Kaiwai at the ZEN League finals to talk about their recent results and the additions of DickStacy and dexter.

You guys went to the most recent ESEA Global Challenge, but had to use MoeycQ as a stand-in for dexter due to roster restrictions. What were the expectations going into that?

Basically, because we didn’t have dexter going into MDL, we knew that our playstyle would be thrown out a bit. At the time, dexter was calling as well, which meant erkaSt had to pick up calling again for the event. We didn’t really expect to get much, but, based on the results we got, we thought that, if we had dexter there in place of Moey, we would’ve done a lot better; made it out of groups probably, beat Space Soldiers.

You guys played some fairly close matches against Kinguin and Space Soldiers. What did you and the team take away from those games?

Not too much. We played pretty well. There were a lot of mistakes, obviously; mostly because we hadn’t been practicing as that core five for the event. These international players, that are tier two and tier one, are frag-able; easy to verse.

Since Grayhound was formed, the team has gone through quite a few roster changes, but it seems your playstyle has found stability. What can you tell me about the cohesion in the team at the moment?

It’s really good. We replaced prakM and picked up DickStacy, and he just fits the team a whole lot better. He has a better understanding of the game and the team mechanics – how players rotate, how teams move around. It made it a lot easier on everyone.

DickStacy is a player that’s come out of nowhere in the past year. From playing with him, do you have any sort of gauge on how he’s been able to rise to the top of the scene in such a short period of time?

I don’t really know. He pugged and then found mates in pugs [from Dark Sided] who just pug-starred their way to Div 1. Then he just revolved around Div 1 teams and a lot of experience. He played his first LAN event at MDL in London and put up numbers.

Grayhound at the ZEN League Season 2 finals – Photo by ESL Australia

You mentioned the removal of prakM, who was a player that you guys definitely took a chance on, considering his inexperience in playing at a high level. What do you think he has to learn in order to be a top player in the scene?

We taught him quite a lot. I don’t know what went wrong, but I think something about his mindset was off. I think if he has a good attitude and a good mindset towards his position and where he needs to be in a team, he’s definitely work out well as a player.

You also mentioned that dexter was in-game leading at the time around the MDL LAN. Is he not anymore? Who’s taken that responsibility on?

erkaSt is calling again now and dexter’s a secondary caller now. Whenever he picks up on something that he thinks will work, he’ll call it and everyone will be like “sweet, let’s go with it”.

Throughout his career, it seems dexter has never fully committed to in-game leading. Why do you think that is?

I don’t know about other teams, but in our team it wasn’t that he wanted to stop, it was that erkaSt wanted to start in-game leading again. erkaSt just didn’t feel in his skin, I guess, when he wasn’t calling.

Recently, you guys went to the ROG Masters Asia-Pacific finals and managed to place second, qualifying for the main ROG Masters event. How did you feel about the way you played there, considering the lower-calibre of Asian teams?

We went there and we did what we intended to do. We qualified for the main event, as you said, and we couldn’t have asked for anything more. We expected to make it that far. I feel like we probably should have won the event, but we were all feeling a bit under the weather on the final day.

What’s the gameplan going into the main event, where you’ll face teams like Gambit, TyLoo and Vega Squadron?

We’ll just try to do as much damage as possible, basically. We’ll try to get as high a placing as we can. Obviously, we want to beat Gambit; that would be the main goal. If we beat Gambit, then bless up.

The mindset of lower-level teams in the leadup to a big event is always interesting. Are you guys planning to play your own game or are you looking to anti-strat teams?

There’s a lot more analyst work out there for higher-tier teams because they’ve played more games. We’ll probably do a bit of demo research but mostly just play our own game and try win it out like that.

In my interview with tucks at PAX, he mentioned that your team was very “online”, but you’ve had some strong LAN performances after being snubbed from the Asia Minor. Are you almost trying to make a point about the invitation controversy?

I mean, our results in general have proven we should’ve been at the Asia Minor. There’s nothing else really to say. We’ve beaten Chiefs on LAN now, 2-0, so they can’t really say anything else.

Grayhound’s win at ZEN League cements them as a huge threat online and offline – Photo by ESL Australia

It was obviously tough for you to not be invited back to the Asia Minor. Has there been any word from organisers of the event about why your team was left out?

I think the only thing we heard was that they had forgotten that we were the core three from Immunity because we went to Grayhound. They ruled us out as a team completely. I think they might have picked it off ESL ZEN League standings at the time when they sent the invites out. Kings and Tainted were at the top so they gave them invites, which was kind of disheartening.

dexter had some great showings in your matches at this event. What can you tell me about his role in the team that facilitated these performances?

He just has a really good, in-depth understanding of the game. His role in the team is he lurks around a bit and he’s a support player, so he’s always there to clean up kills and basically just help out everyone else.