hooch: "We bootcamped for 10 days"
Our next interview prior to MLG Columbus is with a newcomer to majors, yet a seasoned player, Gambit's Dmitry "hooch" Bogdanov.
How have you prepared for MLG Columbus? Was there a bootcamp prior to the major or have you only been practising online? Is there anything you focused on specifically?
We have been bootcamping since March 17 in our gaming house in St. Petersburg, so we will be prepared for the event. We mainly focused on our game and our weak sides and worked to make them our strong sides.
Recently teams have stopped bootcamping prior to big events or only do it for short periods of time, mostly for less than a week, why do you think that is? Is it as important nowadays as it used to be? What are the pros and cons for your team?
I think bootcamp is necessary for CIS teams, but I think 10 days like we did is a little much, but as I know fnatic have never been to a bootcamp and Na`Vi stopped bootcamping a long time, and they are currently top2 in the world, so they probably know something :))
Will hooch's screams be heard in Columbus?
There are many tournaments going on nowadays, usually at least two significant ones per month, does that make it hard for teams to be able to adapt and improve their gameplay significantly? Could it be part of the reason why CS:GO has become more based on individual plays rather than tactics?
Our team is not playing so many online leagues, but all top teams do, so they don't have much time for changing their game really fast, but official matches make you stronger and show your weak sides, so there are positives too. I don't agree that CS:GO is mostly based on individual skills, I mean in top matches that's really important, but tactics are a huge part of a professional game and some teams (for example Na`Vi) are always well prepared for their opponents, so it goes for a deadly combo of individual skill and tactics.
Do you feel comfortable with the group that has been assigned to you? Can you go through each of the possible match-ups (EnVyUs, Astralis, CLG) and tell us how you should fare in them?
Well we have a very tough group, but definitely not the hardest one. Astralis have always been a top team who always made it out of the groups and they are favourites in our group, EnVyUs have been playing not so good recently + they have changes, but I think those losses made them stronger and they will prepare something interesting for the major. Regarding CLG, it's a strong team from USA who attended several majors but never made it out of the group and I really think they will do their best to break that streak.
Could there be a better system of seeding other than based on the last major and the qualifier? Current format practically ignores all competitions taking place in between the majors, which is five months' worth of events in this case…
Well it's not right when a top1 team has the 2nd seed - all I can say about that.
What expectations and goals have you set for yourselves at this event? What placing would you be satisfied with and what would be unacceptable?
We have a goal we've set right after the qualis - to qualify for playoff games, so if we make it we're gonna be satisfied :)
With how different teams have stepped up lately (LG and Na`Vi especially) and others are stagnating or even dropping off, who do you have as favourites to make the top four? And, on the other hand, is there an underdog who could surpass fans' expectations?
Hmmm, I didn't check which groups are meeting each other in playoffs, but I am sure NiP, Na`Vi and fnatic will make it to top4. Well, we are considered an underdog, so we will do everything to surpass fans' expectations.
hooch's Gambit would be satisfied with advancing to playoffs
Can anyone stop this seemingly unbeatable fnatic lineup (barring group stage losses), which has won the last six tournaments they attended? If so, who? How do you see your own chances against what has become one of the greatest teams of all-time should you meet them?
I see a lot of teams were saying they were gonna make it after/before the tournament, but no one succeeded yet. I think NiP, LG or Na`Vi can make it, but fnatic is fnatic :) It's gonna be really interesting what teams have prepared for them :) If we make it out of the groups I guess there is no big difference who we meet in playoffs, so why not? :)
There will be four American teams in attendance (SPLYCE, CLG, Liquid and Cloud9), more than ever, is this the time to shine for North America? Which of them have the biggest chance to advance to playoffs and possibly upset one of the big names?
Everyone was joking about NA teams and the possibility of getting 0 teams at the major, but the boys proved them wrong - huge respect for them. I personally think that they can suprise a lot of teams, but I hope CLG won't surprise us if we meet of course :) Cloud9 have been playing really good lately, so they can show a good result at this event too.
Valve implemented the new timers shortly after the previous major - now that we have seen almost three months of competition with them, how do you think they affect each of the sides and the overall balance? Do you believe Valve achieved what they wanted to with the change?
I think it was a totally right decision by Valve. Specifically it affected de_inferno and made it easier for the T side now, and players met these changes positively as well, so yeah, Valve achieved what they wanted.
You were unable to qualify for DreamHack Masters Malmö. Was that a big blow to your team, or will you use it as a learning experience before the major?
Of course it's a big blow, we wanted to qualify for this event and failed twice, but I am sure that these losses made us stronger, we learned a lot from these matches and it's always a good experience before big events.
With HellRaisers going for an almost all-Slovakian roster, you are the main representative of the CIS region. Is that a big responsibility? Why do you think that your region is lacking teams who can compete at the highest level?
You shouldn't forget about Na`Vi and FlipSid3 (they are CIS teams), but yeah, a lot of people are supporting us from Russia, Kazakhstan and other CIS countries, so it's a big responsibility for us, but an enjoyable one. Of course Na`Vi is the strongest one and playing really good recently, FlipSid3 also playing good recently and they are always close to the highest lvl, we have 3 teams at the major and I hope we will get more in the next one, we have some nice rising players and teams who don't change their lineups and became more professional, so I think the CIS region has recently been moving in a right way.
You can go through the following list for our previous pre-event interviews in case you missed any: