zonic: "[The event schedule] is getting out of hand"
After winning their first two matches of ECS Season 5 Finals and securing a spot in the playoffs, we talked to Astralis coach Danny "zonic" Sørensen about their rough start against Cloud9 and the team's policy of skipping certain events to boost performance.
Astralis had somewhat of a shocking start against Major winners Cloud9, but managed the comeback after an extremely well played CT-side on Inferno. Their next game was an easier task against the other North American team in their group, Liquid.
Going into the playoffs, the Danes seem to have benefited from the break they took by declining their invite to the recently concluded StarSeries i-League Season 5.
So, let's start with your first match earlier today, an epic comeback against Cloud9 after being behind 3-12 at halftime. Did you expect that matchup to be so difficult?
No, to be honest, I didn't. Obviously, Cloud9 is a very tough opponent, but after the recent news about them putting Pujan "FNS" Mehta on the transfer list, I expected them to play carelessly, which they did, and that kind of bit us in the ass. They were playing quite fearlessly and we sometimes struggle against teams who are playing extremely offensively against us. It made it quite difficult for us, but we kind of love our CT-side on Inferno at the moment, and that helped us out this time.
Talking about teams that play carelessly against you. You have a pretty tight setup and are pretty strict organizationally, so shouldn't you be able to take care of these things pretty easily?
Definitely. We try to play structured and, how can I say it, in the most logical sense of playing Counter-Strike, where the right move is always the right play. But in fact it's not, to be honest. I think it's a work in progress, and I do believe we've become better at handling these teams, but sometimes, when they are extremely offensive, it still catches us off guard. So we need to be aware of it and this was just proof that we still need to keep working on that aspect of the game.
So, you skipped the latest big event, Starseries, which was last week, to have some time off. How do you think that helps you, taking breaks like that?
After the Cloud9 game I was actually thinking we should have maybe gone to Starseries, because we seemed a bit rusty. But I think it's good for the team, and we talk from experience, with device being sick and all that, so I think it's good to take a break now and then. We had a run with three events in a row with Marseille, Sydney and then Dallas, so we travel quite a lot and that's why it's important that we rest. People say that we're riding on a wave right now, that we beat everyone, and that we could have probably won Starseries, but in the end it's not going to be good for you if you just attend every event. You need to give your players a rest at some point.
You're not going to ESL Belo Horizonte either, is skipping events to gain strength something you're going to utilize more in the future?
Yeah, definitely. Like I said, it's important to get a break now and then, and obviously, we are also looking at locations regarding that. Not that we have anything against Brazil, it's actually still my favorite country and I was there as a player in 2005, but to travel these 15-16 plus hours to get to events is quite difficult for us. I probably shouldn't reveal anything, but I think it will be very difficult for you guys to see Astralis in Sydney from now on, because it really hurts the players, especially device, when we travel so much.
You're just saying that because you lost the final this year...
Yes, of course. laughs
We're looking at a very busy schedule right now and you obviously have an organization behind you who's also pushing the agenda of making things easier on the viewers. Do you believe it's the future for Counter-Strike?
I hope it's the future. I think it's really important if we want to maintain the hype and if we want to build a larger viewer base. I think it's extremely important that we schedule it into seasons, and tournament organizers will at some point need to find out how not to battle each other. I also think there should be a governing body taking control. I think it's getting a bit out of hand and I'm also getting some complaints from the family at home that I'm traveling way too much. It needs to fixed at some point, and maybe Valve can interfere here.