Our last interview from day two at ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals is with Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth, who shared his thoughts on the IEM Sydney grand final and Astralis' improvement over the last few months.
Astralis have already secured a spot in the playoffs after defeating OpTic and SK in Group B, with their match for first place against Liquid set to decide who will advance directly to the semi-finals.
After the Danes beat SK on day two, we quizzed Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth about the IEM Sydney grand final, in which Astralis lost to FaZe after three close maps. He also shared his view on why he and his team have improved over the last few months to become the No. 1 team at the moment.
Going back to Sydney, throughout the tournament you guys looked almost as dominant as in Marseille, though in the end it didn't end as well, was there anything in particular you took away from that grand final especially?
I think what the public should take away is the scoreline on all three maps and a very well-playing FaZe team. I think all their players stepped up, it wasn't just one-man show or anything like that.
And also it was a day on which we felt a bit off our game, especially on Overpass on the T side, other than that I can only applaud FaZe for their performance during that tournament, but we're looking to take our revenge on them here.
You're already through to the playoffs with just the match for first place left, so far do you feel like you're still in the same form that you've been in for the last month or so?
I think what our problem right now is — if there is any problem — is that players can feel a bit of a burnout because of the traveling and timezones and all the stress. But other than that, I don't feel like we have changed much to the worse, we have been improving.
While we were at home we were coming up with new strats and coming up with new things. In that regard, I feel like we're improving, but it's obviously hard to improve when you are at the top, it's just maintaining and trying to do new things. But it's always hard because everyone will be studying you and looking at what you are doing when you are at the top of the list.
What do you think got you to this point, what have you improved at the most before you got to the top, before you won Marseille in such a dominant fashion?
Being productive is one thing. No, but in general, just having a common sense of what is good for you and what is not good for you, it goes from real life stuff, training, working out, to just in-game stuff, how we communicate to each other, how we work on things.
We have a structure now in how we work on things, it's more like a real job, I would say, where you expect things from your teammates and vice versa. I'm just happy that we figured out a way where we can improve a lot and I'm sure that other teams will follow the thing we're doing in the near future. It's what every sports team does, I don't feel like we're different from sports.
You could say it's a mix of the preparation before the tournament, and when we get to the tournament, we know what to do, it's structured and we have a set plan, what we do before the match, what we do after the match and stuff like that.
I'm happy that we're doing this stuff and that it's paying off, because there is a lot of work in it and I think it's what is holding back teams from doing this, it's really hard work and it's also why some of our players are feeling burned out. It's not just like going to a match and then we're going back to the hotel room and just relaxing.
You, gla1ve, and Magisk have been some of the very best players in dealing damage with HEs and Molotovs this year, which leads to a very high average for the whole team. Is this something that you improve on consciously as a team, perhaps coming up with the new nade stacks, etc.?
I think it's not a secret that we've been practicing a lot of double nade stacks. It's basically a thing that Danny, zonic, came up with in practice, he was so eager that we had to try this, because he had found some nades and in an official game we kill so many on it, like it was on Overpass.
It's become a thing in our team now that we have to find so many spots where we can nade, but kudos to Danny, because it was his thing to do, and it worked out, it's shown in the grenade stats and it's shown in the game. It has no risk when we do it and the reward is so high, it can potentially be a kill or someone is left with 10 HP, so it's really insane that we can do it. That's one of the things that we improve on, we come up with innovative things, one of many I would say.