The in-game leader claimed his first MVP in Stockholm after taking on the AWP role following the off-season, helping his team defeat Astralis for the second time at the tournament in the grand final, winning Dust2 in a dominant manner and the deciding map, Overpass, after a fantastic run on the Terrorist side.
After the match, we caught up with MSL to talk to him about the grand final and his first big-event victory since EPICENTER in 2016, as well as the award and what lies ahead.
First of all, tell me how you went from losing 0-16 to mousesports on Dust2 to winning it 16-1 against Astralis.
We didn't play the T side against mousesports (laughs) because we lost 15-0, but I knew that if we started T side and we'd get momentum, push long and get long control, I knew that if we could long control and kill them, we could begin to fake it around.
I could call very easily on the T side because we got control every time and we could go fast short after, we could go middle, we could go B, and so on, it was a really good and easy game when we got the momentum.
It looked like you then just couldn't get into Train, winning the pistol and from there on it was all about Astralis - what was the problem there?
I actually think we made a huge mistake at 4-4 or something where we only took one eco instead of two, in which case we could get me on the AWP and get good utility, so I should have taken more responsibility there. I felt like we should take two ecos, but one guy said that we should buy and I listened, so it was just a mistake by me.
But I also think they played great, I feel like we knew what they were doing, I have seen it a lot of times in demos, I have watched 150 demos of them or something. But they played great and they caught us off-guard.
Going on to Overpass, towards the end you seemed like you had a clear idea on how to close it out, so tell me about your perspective and your calls at the end.
We started off great, we got a good start, and I knew that they would think we'd go B in the fourth round, so I called a rush A and it worked perfectly. And from there, I just felt like we were in control the whole game, and when they kept forcebuying... there was one round where we were close to losing because we wanted to win too much and didn't play so smart, but luckily valde shot two through the smoke.
But, overall, I think we were really in control on the T side of Overpass, we made really good choices and valde came with great input on some calls, so it was just really insane. And in practice we have played really well on T Overpass, so we felt like even with six rounds if we get the pistol round we can win.
In general, in both of your wins against Astralis here, it looked like once you got momentum on the T side you started running fast-paced strats, is that something you knew would work against them specifically, or was that more in the moment...?
We didn't have so much time to prepare, so, on Overpass, I just had a feeling and I went for it with the fast strats. But, yeah, in general I like fast strats and I like to slow down, so it's like a mix and it's what I'm feeling, or if someone has a good input...
This is your first MVP award, does that have a special meaning to you?
It has the biggest meaning in the world. I have gotten so much criticism and been down a lot of times. And playing the AWP, nobody would expect me to do any well, I think everyone thought that it would go to shit. And now I'm standing with the MVP and I'm really proud of myself, I'm proud of the team, I'm just so happy.
Did you expect yourself to play this well with the AWP?
I felt really good in practice, actually, in a lot of matches I felt that I was very close to getting a good level. But it was like 14 days with the AWP, so it's very hard, and I just felt that with every match we played I got better and I got smarter with how I should position myself. Yeah, I'm really happy with how I played.
Given this win that you have under your belt now, have your expectations for the Major changed, improved?
It's always a goal to win for us and it should be in North, no matter what, but this is insane and I didn't expect us to do so well, so of course your expectations will be higher for the Major. But we need to stay humble, work hard, and prepare well like we did here. And just take one game at a time because if you're not hungry you will not win any matches at the Major.