Sunday, May 29, 2022

Extra Salt’s JT believes they can break into Tier 1 Counter-Strike in 2022

The result was 15-8 on Inferno. Team Liquid, the best team in North America, blew Extra Salt out of the server in a best-of-one group stage match at the Intel Extreme Masters Fall 2021 event. As a regional major ranking, teams that have advanced far in the tournament can qualify for the upcoming PGL Major Stockholm 2021.

“You need those two to three to keep the dream alive, or else Extra Salt will be wiped out just before you have a chance to get the major,” said Caster Harry “JustHarry” Russell.

Shortly thereafter, Liquids Jacky “Stewie2K” Yip scored a double kill, which won the round. In doing so, he ruined Extra Salt’s goal of attending the PGL Major.

“That was a pretty big disappointment for us,” said Johnny “JT” Theodosiou from Extra Salt.

JT is the leader of Extra Salt in the game, and while the team failed to make the major, the 22-year-old South African topped Extra Salt’s list at the top of the North American Counter-Strike. The organization started when established NA organizations left CS: GO at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, Tier 2 NA teams like Extra Salt have come under the spotlight.

JT extra salt
JT plays alongside former Extra Salt teammate Aran “Sonic” Groesbeek. | Provided by JT.

“When everyone went to VALORANT, I put a team together,” said JT. “I said to every single player I spoke to, ‘A lot of players go to VALORANT, but these NA qualifiers are going nowhere. If we just stay in CS and rub our asses off next year, we have a really good chance of qualifying for all of these events. If everyone goes and we stay, we can take any place we want. ‘”

JT currently resides in one of Extra Salt’s apartments in Austin, Texas. He is there with his teammates Ricky “floppy” Kemery and trainer Tiaan “Tc” Coertzen. The rest of the team has already left for vacation. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, JT has only returned home twice in the past three years.

EPL conference

On December 19th, JT and his teammates were preparing for their last game of the year: the grand finale of ESEA season 39 of the Premier Division. Winning meant that they booked their ticket to the conference phase of the ESL Pro League Season 16 Conference; a European S-tier LAN event later in 2022.

The next day, when the game was scheduled, their opponents, ChocoCheck, were unable to set up a five-man squad. ChocoCheck lost the match and passed the win to Extra Salt by default.

“I’m pretty disappointed that we couldn’t play the final,” said JT. “It is the first maiden win for a large part of the team and we would have liked to have won it fairly and fairly.”

Nevertheless, the team has now booked another LAN on its travel route for 2022: the ESL Pro League Conference Stage. It’s an event you’ve attended before. Extra Salt won the Season 15 Conference Stage in November 2021 and qualified for the major league in March 2022 – another LAN to look forward to. The Conference Stages are a new addition, and JT said he had mixed feelings. On the one hand, they give more teams the opportunity to fight their way into the EPL. On the other hand, the victory at ESEA Premier no longer qualifies the team directly for the main event as it used to.

Extra salt
Extra Salt promotional material from the beginning of 2021. | Provided by Extra Salt

Since Extra Salt’s dominance in the conference phase of the 15th season, the team has only lost one game – the grand finale of the Pinnacle Fall Series 3. They go on vacation with a winning streak of 11 cards and are number 22 in the world. to HLTV rankings. While the team failed to make it to the major, achievements like this one justify the year they went through the grinding.

“It wasn’t a terrible year, but I wouldn’t call it a great year either,” said JT. “We expected something better. But when you put the whole year in context, we won most of our tournaments here in NA in the first seven months or so. “

The Salter

For Tier 2 and Tier 3 teams, the goal is always to create as many LANs as possible. Extra salt is no exception. Like many others who became known during the online era of CS: GO, some Extra Salt members were deprived of the opportunity to play on the LAN, even regionally.

Justin “FaNg” Coakley, who recently received a Interview with HLTV His goal to become “one of the best players in the world” is one such player. He’s only ever played local LANs in Toronto, Canada. Players like JT still had a few chances to play on the LAN, but the team as a whole is still hungry for the personal environment without pinging, trash-talking, punching, and nerving.

FaNg is the youngest player at Extra Salt and still a relative newcomer to the CS: GO scene. Others on Extra Salt are more advanced in their player development. Especially Joshua “oSee” Ohm, one of NA’s best AWPers at the moment, drew a lot of looks. According to a. Team Liquid even has an interest in the 22-year-old sniper report from 1pv.fr.

“OSee is a demon on the server these days,” said JT. “He’s someone who doesn’t respect any other team and he knows his skills. If he starts playing in tier 1 teams, he will be fine. “

JT and oSee
JT and oSee pose at a photo shoot. | Provided by extra salt.

Then there is Floppy, who recently returned from a brief stint on Cloud9’s VALORANT list. JT talked a lot about Floppy’s communication and what it brought to the team. The leadership and vocal presence were something that the team had been missing before they arrived.

“I said [floppy]”I think you’ve actually been better since you came back from VALORANT,” “JT said.

The squad is rounded off by Edgar “MarKE” Maldonado and the South African JT. Trainer Tc JT called his longtime trainer the “glue” in all of the many cadres they have worked on.

“He always keeps people in check,” said JT.

As for JT, his development as a player in 2021 has included a more aggressive entry style – à la Hampus “hampus” Poser or Vladislav “nafany” Gorshkov – as well as improving his calling. He has expanded his old Cloud9 leadership style by allowing more freedom. Extra Salt always keeps Setplays in your back pocket, but now they also leave room for adjustments in the middle and individuality.

“It’s been a really big year for me,” said JT. “I’ve improved a lot.”

New year, new extra salt

There has been a lot of talk of major esports organizations like Team Liquid, Cloud9, Evil Geniuses, and Complexity Gaming – which are reportedly considering signing the Extra Salt Core – that are returning or reviving new NA roster in 2022. JT and other pros are all excited about the opportunity, even if the competition is tougher in the qualifiers for European LANs. More teams mean better practice, which has been sorely lacking since the great VALORANT exodus in 2020.

“I’m curious to see who will come back, which players will come back from VALORANT and which organization will pick them up,” said JT.

In 2022, Extra Salt has set itself some lofty but largely achievable goals – especially if they can keep their current roster intact.

“We’re the second best NA team right now,” said JT. “Maybe we can show that, we can be the No. 1 team.”

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