Mikael “Sheddan” Mellström is the analyst for the Dignitas CS:GO team, helping the team reach new heights alongside coach Faruk “pita” Pita. We’ve sat down with him to know more about his role, his influence on the team strategy, and how the RMR went for the team in his eyes.
You’ve been with Dignitas for quite some time now. How are things going so far?
Sheddan: It's been pretty good but also bad at the same time since we failed to qualify for the Major - that was a pretty low moment. But in general, I think we are improving a lot as a team, and we see progress every practice.
How’s your day-to-day work? How do you usually prepare for the upcoming matches?
Sheddan: I usually start on the maps we’re going to play and what maps we think are going to be chosen, and then I prepare all the three and just have them finished by match day. When I prepare, I usually look for tendencies, mostly, maybe if there's a specific smoke grenade that I see someone throw and that tells me that we're going to see a specific strategy. Essentially, that's what I look for when trying to anti-strat a team.
How do you compare the work you’re developing on Dignitas to previous experiences of yours?
Sheddan: In Dignitas, I'm learning more about how professionals think Counter-Strike. On previous teams, I've had a very hard time trying to develop because I've always been the guy that brings up the demos and the one looking into them for information, but now I can learn from some very good players that have a lot of experience! I would say it's been an experience full of opportunities to learn even more!
You were a coach that turned analyst for Dignitas. How did that transition go for you?
Sheddan: I think it was pretty hard in the beginning. To be honest, I never understood how analysts work, I've only been a coach for around 2 or 3 years. I didn't know what to look at, but I knew how to look at demos, and how to analyze them and I tried to apply that. I have been in continuous discussions with both coaches the team had - vENdetta before and pita now - to get some general ideas on how I can improve and also what they feel is better for me to improve on. I honestly think it's been going really well, and I already had a lot of discussions with some experienced analysts, and I now feel very confident about it.
Are you present during team practice to help pita with his role?
Sheddan: Yeah, I am! I'm there every day, but if I have a lot of work like two officials in a single day, I may skip some practices to prepare for them. But in general, I'm with the team every day and I try to discuss with pita how practice went and what should be improved upon.
Looking back at the RMR, how did it go overall in your opinion?
Sheddan: It was really hard. We lost like two first days and we were 0-2 so it was really difficult to come back - it was like "oh, it's already almost over?!". But then we got GamerLegion and I think after that win we were really confident going forward. Everyone was happy and doing their best to get the Major spot, but we also were a bit unlucky with the bomb situation versus Eternal Fire (context: the bomb didn't spawn in a critical round, forcing the replay of a round that was won by Dignitas). Outsiders played a really good game, but there were also some situations in which I feel we should have won and actually gotten the 2-2 and played the final day to qualify for the Major.
But, I mean, you can never tell how the future is and we were really close to doing something good - we should be proud of ourselves for what we did.
Given the format of the event, you only have a few hours to prepare for the next opponent. Do you think you could have changed the outcome of the event if you had some extra time?
Sheddan: The preparation was actually not that bad since we had pita there as well, so we basically swapped roles during the RMR. He prepared two maps, I prepared the other two... and that's pretty much what we did during the RMR. Pita was watching a lot of demos, I was also doing it, and being totally honest, I don't think we had any problems regarding preparation.
How is the motivation of the team now?
Sheddan: Everyone feels we should have gone further than we did and we're all really disappointed, so we want revenge. We are going to win some tournaments in the future - we'll try different approaches; we'll try different stuff. The goal is to win and qualify for future tournaments!
What’s the next big thing to aim for?
Sheddan: We haven't really discussed that yet since we are off this week, but we're going to talk about some goals that we can try to focus on. The RMR was the big one, but now we need some new ones to focus on, otherwise, we're going to be working towards nothing.
Would you like to leave some words for the fans that support the team?
Sheddan: Thank you everyone and I'm sorry for the RMR. I feel like we should have done better, everyone on the team expected to qualify but I'm still very happy that you all supported us! Thank you.
Make sure to follow Sheddan on social media to keep up with everything regarding Dignitas CS:GO!