Let's start with the addition of niko and how that has changed the team's dynamic, how have you dealt with that change?
niko is a very funny guy and he brings a fun element into our team that we lacked a lot, I think. We have a really good team chemistry now and as far as everything else, I just think that he's a very good rifler who can take a lot of roles that are not so good.
How comfortable are you now that you're back to the AWPer role, in which you haven't been for quite a long time?
We chose niko because we felt that we needed an experienced player for these two events. I think it was better to get an experienced player than taking an inexperienced player who is the AWP, so we just decided that I should try out playing the AWP because I can take a lot of good positions and be smart with the AWP, and we still have a lot of good riflers.
For me, it's very weird right now because I played it for 14 days and played like four matches online, officials, and this is the first LAN, but with the preparation I have had with the AWP I think it's pretty good so far. I think I have played pretty well after such a small amount of time.
I heard you started practicing quite early compared to other teams, and you mentioned having two weeks with the AWP, so when did you start playing as a team?
We started on August 13, I think. We played a lot of teams, so I think a lot of teams started, but teams like Astralis and the teams that we are ELEAGUE started a bit later than us. Maybe we got like four days more than some teams.
Let's get into the Astralis series. Tell me about Nuke at first and about how it slipped away from you after you had the 7-4 lead as CT.
Nuke is not good to talk about (laughs). We tried to antistrat them really hard, we knew coming into this game that we needed to do something different than other teams, I've seen teams looking like they didn't even look at a demo from Astralis, so we chose to really go deep on the antistrat this time and it didn't work at all.
We made so many mistakes, I think we lost three force rounds on Nuke where I made some bad decisions, and one time they just rushed inner and they killed all three of us in like five seconds, so I think if we didn't lose those forcebuys, we would have had a really comfortable CT side. And as T, we tried to antistrat them even harder with nade stacks and going completely away from how we play just to make them feel uncomfortable, but it didn't work at all.
We got out of our comfort zone and they played really well, gla1ve pushed the right places and caught us off-guard. So Nuke was just really horrible, I think we just learned that we can't antistrat that hard and go out our own play, so when we came to Inferno we just had small antistrats on them, some positions that we knew we needed to nade, or some things we needed not to do, so we just played our own game with a bit of antistrat and it worked out really great.
On Inferno you had a comfortable CT side and then, importantly, you managed to grab the pistol and the first gunround in the "bonus round", where it looked like you had a very clear idea on what to do - was that first gunround one of those antistrats you were talking about?
Yeah, on the T side I said to the guys that we needed to rush A in the first round. I think that Astralis know I'm very stubborn with taking banana control and all my teammates are always saying I'm stubborn about it. And I think it's the way to play it, but this time, I just wanted to rush A because I knew that Astralis would have three guys B at the start and try to take control away from us and device is often peeking down middle from short, so I knew if we just rushed, we would catch them off-guard.
Even on Mirage you had a pretty substantial lead, but in the end you didn't manage to close it out until overtime - what were the problems with the ending of regulation?
Yeah, on Mirage it was very hard because we lost the second round after we won the pistol. I think if we won the second round, it would have been a pretty comfortable victory. But they won the second round and they just came slowly into the match. I tried to make some contact calling, it was a messy game, but we tried to go B three times because we thought they were going to stack A. It didn't work out, but, happily, in the overtime our CT side was really good.
How do you feel about the competition going into the playoffs, especially coming off of the player break, now that you've beaten Astralis who are widely considered the best team in the world?
I think it will be very tough in the playoffs, there will be a lot of good teams and it will be very hard. We're still a new team with a new man, so we just need to grind it out, anyone can win any match right now. But I'm just looking forward to playing in the arena and, hopefully, we will play as well as we did in this group.