When and how did you learn about, that mousesports wants to take you into the new lineup and what went through your mind?
Than Vinh "ninja" Bui: That must have been sometime in September I think, because Manu (Tixo) wrote to me and said, that I most likely are asked to play in mouseports in 2011. At that time I was still sceptical about it, because I was told once before that I could possibly join mousesports but it didn't really worked out, unfortunately for me. But this time, I learned pretty early that I will be a part of the new mousesports lineup for 2011 and I was incredibly happy of course, since mousesports is the dream team for every German player to play in. But still I was in contract with TBH.eSports and I was serious about performing as best as possible with them. Basically - you can't decline an offer by mousesports, because from a players perspective it's the best chance you'll ever get in Germany.
At that time, the lineup was not set. Nevertheless you were sure to play for mousesports. Now you know all your teammates - what do you think of your new teammates?
ninja: Even if the lineup wasn't clear at that time, it was obvious that only the best players would play for mousesports. With Tixo and roman two players were fixed and I personally admire both of them a lot. Both players gathered so many achievements and also, both players are able to decide whole matches alone with their raw skill. Especially roman is most probably the best player in Germany, if you keep in mind, that Fatih "gob b" Dayik will play semi-professional after his retirement from professional gaming. Approx was also known early to join mousesports and he was the best choice, since he played on a world class level for Alternate aTTaX in 2008 and 2009. Unfortunately he wasn't able to perform at his best in 2010 due to some problems in his team, and we're sure, that he will be on a top notch level in 2011. Last but not least there's Finn "Karrigan" Andersen - an extremely sick player. He fits perfectly into the team, playes incredibly well and he got a very strong aiming, plays smart and he already showed the world in Full Gaming what he's capable of. Best thing is - of course - that he's able to speak German fluently, since an English speaking team would cause a few communication problems in certain situations I think. So, in my oppinion, I play with the best possible teammates in one team and we are highly motivated!
All eyes will be on you at the Intel Extreme Masters European Championship, when you lead the reigning champion mousesports into the arena. No matter if you like it or not - there will be pressure on your shoulders, because you're playing for one of the worlds best Counter-Strike teams now and you're going to compete against other top tier teams on a regular basis. Are you very nervous and do the other players help you?
ninja: To be honest, I'm not nervous at all. But I'm aware of the fact, that I do have a huge responsibility now. I still got a lot to learn in order to become a world class tactical leader, I experience it every time we practise and all of my teammates are helping me as best as possible. They're always giving me useful critics after each practice and I do have to learn from that as fast as possible and understand what we do have to play in which situation. And of course I'm pressuring myself a bit, too - I want to perform in best shape, so my teammates and myself are satisfied with me. It's always the claim of mousesports to be the best team in Germany and that doesn't change with our new lineup. But also, the other player know that I still need some time in order to be really good and they've got patience - so in Kiev we'll see how strong our team really is.
You've just said it - in the end of January there will be the first major tournament for you this year, the Intel Extreme Masters European Championship. How does your practice routine looks like?
ninja: We're discussing every map as best as possible, especially the maps we're expecting to be the key maps. You can roughly judge which team will choose which map in our group and which they don't want to play. In addition, I'm watching a ton of replays lately from all our opponents to learn about their strategies aswell as learning how to handle certain XonX situations or I'm just looking for good moves in the game. Also we do have to play a lot of course, guess that's obvious. But still I think the key will be to discuss the tactical part of our teamplay. We will improve a lot in our bootcamp in January. Here we will all meet each other for the very first time in real life and hopefully we can set up a very good team spirit for the IEM tournament and really getting it on!