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“We are pushing our focus on playing a more adaptive play style”: MNM Gaming well aware of issues ahead of Berlin Major

After qualifying for SI 2022 from the EUCL, the marshmallows are back on the international stage.

Photo via MNM Gaming

MNM Gaming burst onto the scene in impressive fashion, qualifying for SI 2022 just two months after securing promotion to the EUL. But after poor end to Stage 1 in the EUL, they missed out on Charlotte in disappointing fashion. A lack of consistency, especially against lower-ranked teams cost the roster a second successive international berth.

According to MNM player Callum “Neonical” Humphreys, a combination of a tough schedule and a lack of top-flight experience prevented the team from qualifying for Charlotte. 

“A lot of pressure on our shoulders, at the end we picked up and we were kinda proud of ourselves to even come back to fifth place, so missing out the Major wasn’t that much of a big deal to us at the time,” he revealed.

Neonical also pointed out the clear format differences between the European League and the Challenger League. MNM Gaming’s experiences prior to EUL were all in BO3 matches, including all of their Six Invitational games.

“We were kind of used to being able to have a lot more time to adapt to teams, as you can probably tell we struggled a little bit on stage one,” he explained, also mentioning potential problems with adaptation throughout the first two stages of the EUL. “(But) we are pushing our focus on playing a more adaptive play style ready for the Major.” 

In Stage 2, the team’s first three games -- Rogue, Wolves Esports, and Heroic -- were as demanding as in the first stage. However, with more experience over their shoulders, the team kicked things off with a victory against Rogue after coming back from a 3-6 deficit. 

Although obtaining three points out of a possible nine is, on paper, a slow start, the marshmallows made it up with four back-to-back regulation victories against Team Secret, G2 Esports, Natus Vincere, and most importantly, Team BDS. They just needed one more point to make it to Berlin.

A loss to Outsiders on Kafe put the marshmallows between a rock and a hard place, as they couldn’t afford to lose in regulation against PWNZ. And after 11 rounds, the Russians were 5-6 ahead. There was no more room for mistakes.

“We take it round by round, we don’t really stress out too much,” said Neonical. On top of that, the British player revealed that Fatih “Solotov” Türker experienced technical difficulties on the final play day. “Solotov was a bit stressed because he was having internet issues, that’s why he didn’t have the best game.”

Aside from that anomaly, though, Solotov has been one of the best players for MNM this stage. His entry record was the highest in Europe heading into the final play day and he was in the top five for SiegeGG Rating.

Neonical also praised his Turkish teammate as he defined him as “one of the big players that can spot gaps in teams and make a good shot call, which kinda complements neLo’s step-by-step IGLing.”

Despite MNM Gaming’s constant evolution, understanding of the game, and clear signs of increased maturity, Leon “neLo” Pesic is still a key piece in the squad. Known as the team’s parent, the Croatian’s experience is still a link between the young players and new challenges and situations international events mean.

“NeLo’s experience has come in handy a lot of times, he mainly keeps a cool head like level headed, it’s very easy to keep a plan and stick to it, and also make adaptations,” said Neo.

At the Six Invitational 2023, expectations around them were extremely low: no matter the result, they had already achieved their goal. However, the Berlin Major is different. MNM Gaming now have the chance to show where they really stand in the international scene. 

The EUL team will play in Group D, alongside FURIA Esports, Elevate, and the Charlotte Major finalists Astralis. 

“All of those teams have kind of a similar play style, very like free flow, not really any set attacks that they do, although they have many ideas and adaptations that they can do on the fly, they definetely try to catch you off guard,” Neonical said of the first three teams MNM will face. “That’s becoming the new meta, free flow attacks, which is a lot harder to deal with, you can’t just sit behind a shield anymore,” he concluded.

Catch MNM Gaming on the international stage again at the Berlin Major, which will run from Aug. 15 to 21, and read up on everything you need to know about the event.