kibaken: 4 days to prepare w/ Certus
In another pre-Major Qualifier interview, HLTV.org spoke to Spirit's kibaken to find out how they are dealing with the visa issue that hit them, their Minor dissapointment and their chances at the tournament.
We managed to get a hold of Anton "tonyblack" Kolesnikov before the ELEAGUE Major Main Qualifier kicked off to learn more about Spirit, Pavel "COLDYY1" Veklenko's visa and the team's solid run earlier this year.
Let's start with your Minor, how did it go for you, were you disappointed not taking the first place?
The main goal was just to qualify for the main qualifier so when we won the upper-bracket final we were happythat we got the spot at the Major Qualifiers. We came into the grand finals in mixed feelings, we didn't get into the game right, knowing we were qualified already. So we were playing not as good as in the first game. So, mixed feeling because we finished second but we still qualified for the Major qualifier.
The upper-bracket winner didn't win the grand-final in almost all Minors, so do you think that is a weird system to have? You already achieve your main goal and then you need to play another match in which you probably won't be on your top level?
The system is kind of weird, I think that it would be better that if the team that won in the upper-bracket final got a map advantage or a best-of-three advantage if they played two best-of-threes. It's kinda weird, it could be better if they changed it - but you get what you get.
Let's talk about your team at the moment, how are you feeling, losing one player to a visa issue? And can you tell me about the visa issue, what was the problem?
It's hard coming into the Major Qualifier and losing one player. It's the same thing that happened the last time for Columbus almost, that time we got two visas rejected for Dima and S0tF1k so we used the two Poles. So this time we got visas for the two players that who had issues last time, and we already on our way to the bootcamp. COLDYY1 was on the way to Moscow to the bootcamp when he found out that his visa has been rejected.
What actually happened - he applied with the visa with all the documents, they didn't approve it at the interview but they told him they will do some research, a background check, but it didn't go through and he didn't have time to apply for it again. So we decided to use Certus, our coach.
Can you clarify when exactly the visa got denied, how much time did you have with Certus?
The visa got denied five days before our flight to USA, so we had about four days to prepare with him. But at least he is into the team so he knows the tactics and stuff even though he was not calling.
COLDYY1's visa got denied only five days before their flight for the US
What are your thoughts on the whole visa thing, having them denied for two qualifiers now, it must feel bad and frustrating?
It's kind of disappointing to get hit by the visa issues two years in the row. But, esports is developing and people are trying to get professional visas for esports like the sports people. If esports were more recognized, if you could just show up at the consulate and be recognized it would be better. It's already better than before, but there are still people who don't know what esports is.
It's hard to get American visas, it's much easier to get European visas, but moving events and Majors from NA to EU is not how we should deal with us. We need to deal with the visa issue itself.
Looking back, Spirit had a good run online around August-September, what do you think was the key to that success and why couldn't you continue with that form and maybe push it to the next step?
The key was playing a lot of tournaments and official matches, we were in good shape. Later, the problem was the lack of preparation itself, we couldn't prepare tactically - too many official games to practice as we would like to.
Playing with a stand-in here at the Major qualifier, what are your expectations, what are you looking to do?
There are no expectations for us, we came here and the goal for the tournament is for every player to show his maximum. So we must not just have mediocre games, but do our best. And we won't look at our opponents, even though we are facing dignitas. It doesn't matter what team you are facing, we just have to be in good shape and in good mood and show the best Counter-Strike we can show on the Major Qualifier.
Professeur writes for HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter.