Interview with Team Liquid analyst Mateja "qpert" Mijovic
Yoann: Would you like to introduce yourself?
qpert: My name is Mateja Mijovic ,I was born and raised in Serbia but am currently living in Malta.
Yoann: When and how did you get into eSports?
qpert: I was obsessed with esports since I was 11 years old, but I got into it once I quit playing basketball when I was 16, right before Valorant came out. I realized that my path to being a professional basketball player was near impossible, and Valorant felt exciting.
Yoann: What was your job working for The Guard? How can you help your players?
qpert: I would work with mCe on the theory for that day, then we would present it to the players and watch the scrims to see how it’s being implemented. While watching scrims, I would often watch a specific player and focus on how well they understand the theory, how well they use utility, and so on.
Yoann: What did you learn during your time with them?
qpert: I’ve gained a lot of in-game knowledge, how mCe and Valyn think about the game, and some utility the players have been using that I didn’t know about. Most of my learning came from watching them scrim, picking up on small details that they do as players and team and just talking to mCe all the time.
Yoann: How did you prepare to play against opponents?
qpert: I would watch their games, figure out their habits, and try to understand their “theory” on the map, as that takes a while to change. mCe and I would then talk about what we think we saw, and what we should tell the team, focusing on concise short information and primarily focusing on ourselves, finding the simplest way to counter them by maybe changing our tempo of rounds or such.
Yoann: Which LCQ team was the hardest to counter strat, in your opinion?
qpert: Sentinels, considering we couldn't.
Yoann: Are scrims really showing the potential of a team?
qpert: Everyone scrims differently at the moment. One team can scrim for performance (to win) while the other could just be trying some creative strats, then there is a clash, and one team can dominate another, and then you have no clue what that scrim meant. Usually, as the coach, you try to figure out if the strats are genuinely working or is the other team is just “being unlucky” or practicing something else, which we directly counter by luck.
You have to decipher if you are winning because strats are working as they should or if there is something else winning/losing those rounds. If both teams are playing to win in the scrim, you could say it can show the team's potential, at least on that map.
Yoann: How important is having a great team environment inside and outside Valorant?
qpert: It's probably the most important part of any esport/sport. You could put the best 5 players in one team, but if the environment isn't great, all of them will underperform, simple as that. Works the other way, too, have a good environment, and your players will perform a lot better.
Yoann: What was your preparation routine 1 hour before LCQ matches?
qpert: We would be doing the warmup scrim, get in the lobby when needed and just talk, try to make jokes, and hype up.
Yoann: People say that NA's gameplay is less strategic than in EMEA. What do you think?
qpert: I think the whole NA vs EMEA thing is blown out of proportion. There were metas where NA adapted first, EMEA was late, and vice versa. It really depends on the team and meta. I think at the beginning of VALORANT that was true; at the moment, I think it will just be meta based.
Yoann: You are now looking for a team as an IGL in Europe. Can you tell us more about it?
qpert: As it's the “off-season” right now in EU for VRL, I took The Guard and offered to work with what I think is one of the best coaches in the world and soak in as much information as possible and then come back to IGL with my new “experience” right before the season starts. I’m looking to prove myself as one of the best & most creative IGL’s in VRL, as last season was such a big failure for me as too many things went wrong. This will be the first time I'm playing full-time. Last VRL season, I was still going to school.
Yoann: Thoughts on the new Valorant franchising program? Is it causing problems for your future?
qpert: The new partnership system will be an excellent thing long term. There are a lot of rumors at the moment, so we don't exactly know until they give us all the information, but with the addition of tier 2 teams being able to play international tournaments, it seems that it will be great for everyone. First-year will be a bit shaky until all the orgs understand it and accept the system, especially right now the next few months will be really shaky in tier 2.
Yoann: What are your short and long-term ambitions?
qpert: Short term, I want to prove myself as an IGL and individual player as I think people have the wrong opinion of me from the last VRL. Long term, I want to see how many Masters and Champions I can win as a player and then as a coach.
Yoann: How do you feel about Pearl?
qpert: Pearl will be attractive, to say the least. The B site needs rework as it reminds me of old Icebox B and will be used for weird strats and ult rounds, often a coin flip. Other than that great map.
Yoann: Which team would you like to play against in the near future?
qpert: I would love to face The Guard after my time with them.
Yoann: Who will you support during Champions this September?
qpert: I am working with Liquid during Champs, so I'm rooting for them!
Yoann: Is there anything else you would like to say?
qpert: I just want to say thanks to The Guard. Honestly, this will be a chapter in my career I will always cherish, thanks to Liquid, who gave me a great offer to work with them while I'm taking tryouts, and thank you for this interview!
Yoann: Thank you for your time, and best of luck with your future plans!