We sat down with Dmitriy "jR" Chervak ahead of the Major and discussed with him Vega Squadron's preparation for the upcoming Valve-sponsored event.
None of the players on the Russian team have ever competed at a Major, but they have shown in the past that they can never be taken lightly. Their 16-2 thrashing of NiP at the ELEAGUE Major Qualifier is still remembered by many, with that result marking the downfall of the Swedish giants, who have taken several months to bounce back.
Read on as Dmitriy "jR" Chervak talks about the feeling of finally qualifying for a Major, the team's preparation for the event and the recent criticism of CIS Counter-Strike.
In a recent video Q&A, chopper said you only would qualify for a Major “when pigs fly”. And yet here you are. How does it feel to be at the biggest event in the world?
Yes, it seems that pigs can fly. I really cannot believe that we have qualified for the most important tournament there is. It feels like I am dreaming and about to wake up.
You had come close to qualifying for the ELEAGUE Major, and this time you did it. What do you think that the team did better this time around? Between Atlanta and Bucharest, how much did the team improve?
This time we came into the qualifier with more experience and not as nervous. Everyone had grown individually and, of course, we had also improved as a team. Looking at what we had done wrong and fixed all the mistakes were key.
Of the five teams you faced at the qualifier, only one managed to qualify for the Major. Do you think that luck was on your side when it came to the Swiss draw?
I think so. Luck was on our side - finally -, but I also think we were ready to face any team that was in the qualifier. The victory against NiP gave us a lot of confidence and made us realize that we can beat anyone if we are well prepared and mentally ready for it.
How is your preparation for the Major going? Are you bootcamping or just practicing online? What kind of aspects are you focusing on?
Apart from me, everyone went to our bootcamp place right after the qualifier. I had to solve some problems, so I was playing at home. During the bootcamp, we gave our best to improve our team play, fix and add some new strategies, and, of course, focus on our individual game.
Your first match will pit you against Virtus.pro, a team you have never faced before in official matches. What are your thoughts on the Polish team?
I admire them as they have not made any changes to their lineup despite the fact that they are having a tough time. I still believe they won't jump into a reshuffle even if they do not get the results they would be happy with. Together, they can overcome this rough patch and strike back, for sure.
What are your expectations heading into the Major?
To be honest, I do not know what to expect from this tournament. It will be a whole new experience, for myself and for my teammates.
As we approached the Major qualifier, many people criticised the level of CS played in the CIS, but there will be four teams from this region at the Major. What do you have to say to those critics?
I would like to give a shoutout to all the ginger analysts who keep talking about the CIS Minor being a waste of slots for the Major qualifier. I hope we proved that the level of Counter-Strike in our region is growing. The growth may be slow, but we are still giving our best to improve and have decent results. That is why we will have four CIS teams at the Major this time.
A lot has been said about your players not being invited to FPL. Has that situation changed already? Have you been invited now?
They want to invite us but there not enough slots yet, so they have to remove someone before adding new people, I believe. Or perhaps they just do not want to listen to mad Russians screams "rush b c*ka bly*t" all over Teamspeak.
Your success has not gone unnoticed, and a player like Mir, widely described as one of the biggest young talents in Eastern Europe, could soon find himself courted by bigger teams. Do you think Vega Squadron will be able to resist the potential interest from other organisations?
There is no doubt that Mir is a big talent. I am pretty sure that there are teams out there who would want to have him on their lineup, but I am sure that will only happen if Mir wants that himself.