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Mixwell: A story of betrayal and a new opportunity

LuckyNeck 2019-07-18 04:26:17

Oscar “mixwell” Cañellas has proved to be a player worthy of international recognition several times throughout his career. He knows what it is to be at the top, but, like every professional gamer that exists, has also had to experience the distastefulness of total defeat. One year ago, mixwell moved back to Spain hoping to make his dreams come true, but, as predicted by the naysayers, his time in his native land did not go as expected at all. Instead of achieving glory as he had originally intended, he disappeared into the shadows, leaving many international fans confused, and ultimately, making them forget both his story and legacy as a player. Now, thanks to the apparently never-ending struggle of Cloud9’s Counter-Strike division, he has a new chance to win the public over, to remind them of who he was, and, most importantly, to return to the higher echelons of competition. This time, he better not waste it.  

The downfall of Oscar and a hope-inducing last international episode

Mixwell at Dreamhack Valencia 2018. Photo via: HLTV. Once upon a time, mixwell was part of a surprisingly successful North American lineup. Sure, they would be nothing compared to today’s Team Liquid, but, in 2016, they managed to impress the whole world when they narrowly defeated Astralis in order to claim the ELEAGUE Season 2 trophy. That team, which competed under the Optic Gaming banner, went on to obtain decent placements at a few more high-category tournaments, but, slowly but surely, as everything does, they started losing their identity, and at last, ended up disbanding. Even without Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz and co. around anymore, however, the Spaniard decided to start a new project together with Optic, a roster whose main objective would be to maintain the Optic brand at the top of the CS:GO scene. This time, however, he would be going back to his continent, the old continent. This time, it would be a European lineup. The team, which included Counter-Strike legends such as Adam “friberg” Friberg and Aleksi “allu” Jalli, turned out to be what some would call a complete disaster. After not being able to qualify for the ELEAGUE Boston major, its days were numbered, and finally, on February 6, 2018, mixwell departed from the organization. His teammates went on to do the exact same just a short while after. From there, he went on to serve as a temporary stand-in for G2 Esports, who, at the time, were undergoing a chaotic phase that would end up changing the entire French scene for the umpteenth time. Mixwell during his time with G2 Esports. Photo via:  G2 Esports. It did not pan out at all, which hardly surprised just a few fans of Carlos “Ocelote” Rodríguez’s organization, and in the blink of an eye, Mixwell saw himself in shambles. Merely a year ago, he was initiating what he hoped would be a super-star European roster. Now, he had done nothing but lose not only matches but also self-confidence for what seemed like an endless number of months, and, most importantly, no organization seemed willing to pick him up, nor in need of doing so. The foremost representative of Spain in the international CS:GO scene, however, would still have a chance to showcase his potential at the last tournament before his one-year-long disappearance from mainstages. At DreamHack Valencia 2018, he accepted to play as a stand-in for North, a Danish tier-two team, that, until then, had only ever communicated with each other in Danish. Regardless, they went on to dismantle their opposition in Valencia, coming out victorious after completing a clean playoffs run. Mixwell bolstered a 1.26 HLTV rating throughout the event, which proved that, beyond his recent failure, there still was a very valid all-around player. As he raised, finally, another trophy, mixwell could not help but think about how great it felt to deliver for a Spanish audience. Just a few days later, he announced that he would be returning to his native country in order to compete under Movistar Riders. When he made that decision, he was sure that many more DreamHack Valencias would sooner than later come around, and that he, together with his Spanish army, would be, once again, the victor. Little did he know, however, that he was about to risk throwing his whole professional career away.  

The origin of MRS, the promises, and everything that failed to work

Movistar Rider's 2018 CS:GO roster. Photo via: Movistar Riders. Long before DreamHack Valencia played out, there was something else that also managed to keep mixwell absent from what seemed, from the outside, as a pretty obvious downfall. That something was, of course, Wololos. Wololos was, basically speaking, an all-star Spanish mix formed by mixwell in order to compete at WESG 2017, a tournament that only allowed same-country lineups to participate. At first, fans saw it as nothing else than what it was, five players trying to have a bit of fun while competing. As they qualified for the Europe Finals, however, everybody started taking them most seriously, and the playing themselves began to try hard in order to go as far as possible in the tournament. When they qualified for the World Finals over teams like Quantum Bellator Fire, Wololos turned into a nation-wide phenom, becoming a representation of the Spanish Counter-Strike community itself, and, of course, securing their full support. They did not fare badly at all at the main WESG event, which took place in China, but unfortunately, they could not advance from the thirteenth position. Still, they had put up a fight against teams like BIG, AGO, and even Fnatic, and, as they entered the plane that would take them back to Spain, they knew that, back home, everyone would be proud of them. Wololos at WESG 2017 European Finals. Photo via: Movistar eSports. Mixwell loved representing Spain in such an event, and, as unsuccessful as he was at the time, he could not wait for the moment to do it again. Thus, when Movistar Riders, the biggest brand in all of Spanish esports, offered him to personally craft an all-star Spanish roster and take them all the way to glory for the first time in the country’s history, he simply could not say no. In his mind, it was the perfect move. Not only would he be able to live in his home country, but he would also command a squad of compatriots to a whole new level of competitive Counter-Strike. Obviously, it would need time, but, all things considered, what could possibly go wrong? When asked if signing with Movistar Riders meant taking a step backwards in his career, mixwell said: “Professionally, it obviously is a step backwards for now. However, there are many occasions in which you have to take a step backwards in order to then take two steps forward. If I am doing this, it is because I really think that I can do it. I have been watching Spanish leagues for a long time now, and I have chosen four players who are brave and who can perfectly do this along with me.” After all, he said, he simply wanted to “give the illusion back to everybody watches Counter-Strike in Spain.” However, he admitted, the real goal was “reaching a Major with a National team. That is what both me and my teammates have always wanted to do.” Realistically, Movistar Riders’ lineup was very unlikely to fare decently at international events of any kind, as they had neither the game knowledge nor the firepower necessary for beating more accomplished, established rosters. However, the all-star national squad was the organization’s announcement of the year and the team that they would build their brand upon in 2018. Thus, they simply could not help hyping it up maybe a little too much. All kinds of success-related promises were made, and, in turn, none of them were fulfilled, leaving the fans with a constant feeling of disappointment. Movistar Riders at LVP's La Copa. Photo via: LVP. They won most national tournaments, but the fact that they lost some was, in the end, incredibly more meaningful. “What is an all-star Spanish team who could not always topple their national opposition left with?,” many fans wondered. When it came to international affairs, however, things got radically worse. MRS were good at online leagues, where they even got to beat ENCE and Team Vitality when the Finns and Frenchs had already risen to prominence. On LAN, though, the same could not be said at all. Let aside that they almost never qualified for international tournaments, they managed to massively “underperform” (again, not really, but according to the initial promises the team itself had made) at every event they actually attended. At MSI Gaming Arena, a secondary tournament that played out along ESL One: New York, they came out last. At WESG 2018, they did not manage to win a single map. They failed to qualify for the GG League Finals after faltering against Epsilon Esports in the semifinals of its offline qualifier in Swarzędz. They went out against Sprout in the semifinals of Copenhagen Games, and, just twenty days later, they received the most harmful blow of their still short history. BLAST Pro Series was coming to Madrid, and Movistar Riders had, miraculously, a chance to play with some of the best teams in the world, including Astralis and ENCE. In order to do so, they simply had to defeat Vodafone Giants, and all-Portuguese roster, in an on-stage play-in that would take place in the first day of the tournament. The odds of winning were many. The outcome, however, was devastating. Giants defeated the Riders 2-1 and left them yearning for more, and, most importantly, with no excuses whatsoever for the fans. Movistar Riders at BLAST Pro Series Madrid. Photo via: HLTV. By the time this happened, Movistar’s roster was not the same one that mixwell had initially assembled. Two months earlier, Christian “loWel” García, one of the two Spanish players to ever reach a Major together with mixwell himself, had abandoned the team in order to play with Hellraisers, which were, and still is, a much more competitive team. Having realized that things were not going according to plan, and knowing that he was good enough to play in a better team, loWel simply could not refuse Hellraiser’s offer once it came around. The move, however, did not particularly please mixwell, who, at the time, he said, felt “betrayed” by what his long-time friend had selfishly done. “I asked him whether he would have departed from the team before or not and what were his reasons for doing so. He told me that he would have gone to a team like Hellraisers even just two weeks after starting this project. It is obvious that we were not on the same page, because that is not what he told me when I got in touch with him in order to form the roster. He told me that he really believed in this, and I feel like he has used me. Sincerely, he has just used me,” mixwell said in an interview for his own organization after loWel’s departure. The Spanish scene turned against loWel, calling him a traitor and a myriad of other inappropriate, derogatory words. What a surprise it would be when, just a few months later, Mixwell himself did exactly the same. Mixwell in his welfare video. Photo via: Movistar Riders. After failing to qualify for the ESEA Season 31 Global Challenge, mixwell decided to call it quits. Just a few days later, on July 2, 2019, he announced that he was leaving the team he had created, the team that he had seemingly stood up for during a whole year, and the team that he used to deem ‘of his dreams’. Fans were left confused. His excuse for abandoning the team was that he simply could not resist the offer he’d gotten from Cloud9. The American organization had knocked on his door, and he had willingly opened it and let them enter his house. Was it not exactly what loWel had done a few months ago? Had mixwell not said, back then, that he was a liar and did not represent Movistar Riders’ values? What was this all about? Mixwell decided to leave Movistar Riders behind, and, with it, the worst year of his competitive career. He had promised to take an all-Spanish team to a Major, he had not delivered at all when it came to results, and, after only one year, he had decided to abandon the whole project, becoming a traitor himself and showing a hypocrite side of his personality. Certainly, mixwell’s legacy in Spain had not turned out to be as positive as the scene would have desired. However, if he had departed from Movistar Riders, it was only, as he said in a farewell video, for a truly “irresistible offer.”  

At last, a new opportunity

Mixwell at BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles. Photo via: RFRSH Entertainment. Mixwell is now a Cloud9 player. Although the North American organization has been struggling with fielding a cohesive roster ever since they won the ELEAGUE Boston Major, this new lineup seems, at least, decently promising. For a player that has spent the last year of his life in a generally unknown destination and, moreover, has not been able to return from his adventure with good results at all, being part of the current Cloud9 iteration seems almost like a miracle. Nonetheless, though, mixwell does not want to conform with participating. He wants something else, something he has been desiring for the past year, as anybody with a competitive spirit in his situation would have done. He wants success. “Competing against the best teams in the world, at the best tournaments in the world. That is what I want,” he said in the aforementioned farewell video. Getting a spot in Cloud9 has been, thus far, a great stroke of luck. If there is something this roster has, it is certainly potential. Timothy “autimatic” Ta is one of the most underrated players in the CS:GO competitive scene, as he kept on carrying several dysfunctional versions of Cloud9 throughout the past year, very rarely having a drop in statistics or firepower. Kenneth “koosta” Suen, coming from Ghost Gaming, is one of the most promising prospects in North America, and, if he finds in Cloud9 a bunch of teammates who know how to take advantage of his strengths, his shining time will most likely arrive. Tyson “TenZ” Ngo is the youngest in the team, an 18-year-old up-and-coming player who, despite needing some time to unleash his full potential, will very likely start to raise eyebrows within the scene. The cherry on top, in this case, is Cloud9’s veteran in-game leader, Damian “daps” Steele. This time, Mixwell will try to aim for the stars. Photo via: HLTV. The Canadian is brilliant when it comes to developing young talent and taking massive underdogs all the way to the higher echelons of competitive Counter-Strike. He already demonstrated how far he could go during his time with NRG, and, coming into Cloud9, fans can be sure that he will work as hard, if not harder, in order to make an international contender out of Cloud9. Where does mixwell fit among all these promising prospects? Well, he mostly AWPs and plays a supportive role. At BLAST Los Angeles, the only event that the team has played to date, that is what we saw him do, and, honestly, it did not go too poorly at all for him. Sure, it is true that Cloud9 barely made it out of groups, placing above Renegades and a struggling MiBR, and then went on to be humbled by Team Liquid in the semifinals. BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles was a flavorless start for a roster that, initially, will most likely be able to reach international consistency should everything pan out as intended. It was also a bland debut for mixwell. Surrounded by better mechanical players, he had to step back and see the game from a whole different perspective. It probably reminded him of when he played for Optic Gaming and won ELEAGUE Season 2. Back then, he was surrounded by superstars such as Keith “NAF” Markovic and Tarik “tarik” Celik. Back then, however, he was usually a rightful contender for trophies as well. Mixwell stepped out of his comfort zone in order to play for Movistar Riders. After a horrible year, he has stepped out, once again, of what had become his new comfort zone. However, this time it is in order to chase glory. Going back to Spain did not work. At all. Now, mixwell better hold on to this new opportunity with as much strength as he has. Should he waste it, it might as well be the last. Certainly, reaching glory with Cloud9 will not be easy, but, has anything ever been easy for mixwell? Judging by his last year, at least, it definitely seems like not.
Featured image courtesy of RFRSH Entertainment. Lucas "LuckyNeck" Chillerón is a vivid esports fan who loves following as many competitive scenes as he can in order to write articles about them. If there is anything you would like to discuss with him or let him know, you can do it at @lucprd.

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