snatchie: "We changed our IGL [to Furlan], and I think we are playing much better"
We sat down with AGO's Michał "snatchie" Rudzki after his team managed to retain their ESL Pro League Season 8 spot in Leicester.
AGO gave a great account of themselves in the Pro League relegation stage and managed to reclaim their spot in the prestigious tournament after walking over Windigo and Envy without dropping a single map.
Dust2.us' Michael "DuckMoriarty" Moriarty met with Michał "snatchie" Rudzki after the match to discuss the team's return to Pro League, the struggles in their debut season and Damian "Furlan" Kislowski taking over as in-game leader, among other topics.
You've retained your ESL Pro League spot. How much does that mean to you and your team?
I think it means a lot to us. We had reached the Pro League in the previous season after winning ESEA MDL against a tough opponent, eXtatus, but we were still trying to learn how to play against tier 1 teams. At the end of the season we managed to win some points, but in the early stages we simply could not do it, only against LDLC, I think.
Towards the end of the season, we started figuring out how to play against tier 1 teams, and I think that this qualification means a lot to us because in the new season we can try to gain more points than we did in the previous one since we now know how to play against those tier 1 teams.
You made your way through the relegation tournament with a perfect record, beating Windigo and EnVyUs on just two maps. With such a strong performance, does that leave you with confidence to go into the next ESL Pro League season, and also in your future events?
I think so, we have a lot of tournaments this month, like DreamHack Tours and StarSeries i-League Season 5. I think we badly needed those wins against Windigo and EnVyUs. We changed our IGL, now it's Furlan, and I think we are playing much better. TOAO is like a second IGL, he is helping Furlan when he does not have any ideas. We started practising with Furlan as IGL one week ago, and I think we are still improving.
Now that Furlan is the IGL and TOAO is not, how different is the gameplay now? Is it fairly similar in terms of structure, or is it there a difference in your plays and tactics?
I think that Furlan has way more ideas because he is a new and fresh IGL. TOAO was our IGL for a year, and he had always been one, so I think his mind stopped being as fresh as it used to be.
Furlan has a hybrid style between tactics and FPL style. Sometimes we can do a tactic, and sometimes we can play like in FPL to try to catch some standard frags. I think it's a better style because, in our previous style, ideas came from TOAO's head and we were not as flexible as we can now be. We can now adjust ourselves to our opponents' game style.
Before this event, you competed in tournaments in China and Belgrade where you had fairly good performances. Looking back, do you think you could have done better in those events, or were they on par with what you were expecting?
I think we were really disappointed with those results because in Belgrade we won the group stage versus hard teams like HellRaisers or GODSENT. We even won easily against GODSENT, a team that we always struggle to beat, but then we lost against TyLoo in the playoffs. Although it was really disappointing, our mood got better when we saw TyLoo's great results at IEM Sydney.
Where do you see yourselves finishing in your upcoming tournaments, DreamHack Tours and StarSeries i-League Season 5?
I think that our main goal is always getting through the group stage, especially in tier 1 tournaments. I think that would be a good success, especially at StarSeries. At DreamHack, I think we can make it to the final, but we will see how our form will be there. If we play as well as we did here, I think we can even win DreamHack Tours.
With the sizeable backing AGO are giving you, how much of a relief is it to have a performance coach, a coach, and a sizeable group of managers always backing you and making sure that you can perform at your peak?
I think that AGO are a really great organisation. Our performance coach is a great man, he is always preparing us for offline tournaments with gym practice, mental preparation and such, he is really cool. With AGO's backing, I think we can even win more in the future. They also recently set up a gaming house so we can bootcamps and this is something we definitely need.
With the ESL Polish Championship Spring Finals coming up this weekend, how confident are you of making sure you can stand as the best team in that competition?
I think that we really confident after this Pro League relegation. Our first match will be against x-kom, probably one of our hardest opponents out of all teams we have played before – it is like a second Heroic [laughs]. I think that, if we beat them, we will win the tournament.