MAD Lions have named Jakub “kuben” Gurczynski as the new head coach of their Counter-Strike squad. The announcement was made on Tuesday on the ‘HLTV Confirmed’ podcast, where the 32-year-old discussed the plans for the team and the goals for 2021.
kuben will take the team’s reins as it heads in a new direction, with Thomas “TMB” Bundsbæk the only player remaining from the Danish squad after Ismail “refrezh” Ali and Rasmus “sjuush” Beck were sold to Heroic, and Fredrik “roeJ” Jørgensen and Rasmus “HooXi” Nielsen were moved to the bench.
MAD Lions‘ new squad will be an international project with an expanded roster, with former mousesports coach Allan “Rejin” Petersen acting as senior manager and Spanish legend Jonathan “MusambaN1” Torrent as assistant coach.
“When we started interviewing players, I thought I’d love to have an in-game leader who’s experienced in tier one,” kuben said. “This is the only one I think it’s worth investing in. Since we invested in the coaching staff, we don’t want to go and buy out players. We prefer to get rookies and just develop them. But we are willing to have an experienced tier-one player. This guy shouldn’t be replaceable because he’s the role model for everyone.
“What I think is smart as well is to bring in two AWPers, even with different playing styles, one of them really aggressive and one more of a passive AWPer. I think it’s something innovative in CS:GO. Let’s say we play four scrims in a day: the first AWPer will play the first and third scrims, while the second AWPer will play the second and fourth scrims. MusambaN1, who was an AWPer his entire career, will be watching the first two scrims, and then he’ll be working with them individually. I want MusambaN1 to focus on the AWPers.
“The riflers won’t be playing one role, I want them to be versatile in every aspect of the game. In my opinion, it’s really good to have four riflers to fill three slots and two AWPers to fight for their spot, maybe even dependent on the map.”
A member of the ‘Golden Five’ lineup that won multiple international CS 1.6 events between 2006 and 2008, kuben took up coaching in 2015 when he joined Virtus.pro, reuniting with his former teammates Filip “NEO” Kubski and Wiktor “TaZ” Wojtas.
He most notably guided the team to victory at ELEAGUE Season 1 and DreamHack Masters Las Vegas 2017, and to a runner-up finish at ELEAGUE Major Atlanta during his near five-year tenure, which came to an end in December 2019, when the Virtus.pro organisation decided to drop their Polish squad after a series of mixed results and signed the AVANGAR roster
He spent a few months on the sidelines following the disbandment of the Polish team, returning to coaching in August with Envy, whom he led in Flashpoint 2 before the North American organisation withdrew from Counter-Strike.
The Polish veteran brings with him a wealth of experience and a championship résumé. MAD Lions won one of the biggest tournaments of 2020, the first edition of Flashpoint, but questioned about his immediate expectations, kuben said that he’s thinking long-term.
“We want to build a coaching structure,” he noted. “We want to have a good scouting process, which we are currently building. This is what we are doing right now. This is the path we want to take. Perhaps this year won’t matter as much because of the pandemic. We want to try out something new. We started with the coaching staff and then we picked the players. I believe in this project.”