phr: "Polish scene was frozen for way too long"
The Polish side was in control from start to finish on Train, with Mateusz "TOAO" Zawistowski and phr leading the way to secure a 16-3 map victory for the team. AGO currently await the winner of Luminosity/Heroic to battle for the top spot of Group B in the winners' match.
Dust2.us' Danish "Nohte" Allana sat down with phr after the match and discussed a ranger of topics, including the recent addition of Grzegorz "SZPERO" Dziamałek and the development of the Polish scene, now with the mixture of old and new rosters.
Let's start with the match you just played, you destroyed Imperial on Train with a solid CT side. Was there a game plan coming into the match, and what did you expect from them?
We didn't really prepare for them. We knew they were worse than before because they just changed a player, so we just played our game and everything worked out.
Speaking of changing players, you also recently lost snatchie to Virtus.pro and picked up SZPERO. How has that been?
snatchie is a really good player, of course, he went to Virtus.pro. Pretty much the only option for us was SZPERO, he had been benched for over half a year on Kinguin. So we knew it was going to be a problem at the beginning, but it's working pretty well.
Has your playstyle changed around SZPERO or is it similar to how it was with snatchie?
It's almost the same. SZPERO has the freedom to do pretty much anything he wants, and it was the same thing with snatchie, so nothing [significant] has changed.
Virtus.pro was the best Polish team for a number of years, always at the top without swapping players while the rest of the Polish scene was catching up. But for the last year, things have changed. How has it been, with new players coming in vs. the old guard?
I think it's good for the Polish scene — in the Danish scene they are making a lot of changes, bringing new players to the highest level, and that is something we were missing in Poland. Now there are more old players playing with new talents, and it's going pretty well. The Polish scene was frozen for way too long, but now we have fresh blood incoming, and teams and players get new opportunities.
It started with Kinguin. Their players started competing at a top level, and after Furlan left he joined AGO with GruBy. The knowledge of playing at the top level expanded, so now we have more and more experienced players, which is good.
Do you think the playstyle for Polish CS as a whole has changed, and how does it compare to the rest of the world currently?
Most of the Polish teams depend on the day. What I mean is that if they're hitting their shots, then they will win. That's pretty much it, they have no team play. But now old players can show them some tricks, and I think that's the most important part about that.
You were on the rise just before the EU Minor qualifier started but narrowly missed out with close losses to Japaleno, NiP, and Sprout. What was that experience like?
After Starladder, where we finished 5-8th, we kind of stopped growing and just began dropping. It was a huge crisis for our team and we knew that we need some changes. After we changed one player we started to win games. Our style has changed a little bit to adjust to the new player, but we have fresh motivation, we started working hard again.
With all of these changes in Polish teams, who would say are the top 3 Polish players now?
First one is byali. Even if his team is losing a lot because Virtus.pro is in crisis too, he's still at the top and doing his job pretty well.
The second one I would say is Furlan, after we changed snatchie he's feeling his power, going around and shooting heads.
I would put snatchie and SZPERO in the same place. It's hard to say who's the better players, there are different factors like who the best aimer is.
What is TOAO's style like?
He has been playing the game for practically as long as I have, about three or four years. I would say he's pretty calm. When someone doesn't listen to him in-game then he's getting mad, but I guess that's pretty normal. TOAO is on his way to being a top player, he's pretty much the smartest player in Poland, I would say.
It's now confirmed that byali is leaving Virtus.pro after the Major. Where do you think he would fit best?
For now, I think he is taking a break. After that, I don't know. Perhaps he will join an international team. Maybe mousesports with Snax.
That's harder... maybe sunNy? I think he's better than sunNy, but I don't know if that would be an upgrade for them.
The last three DreamHack events you've been to, Summer, Valencia, and Tours, you got knocked out in the group stage. The last two, Summer and Valencia, you got knocked out by North...
At StarSeries too. We lost three times 1-2 in tough games with many overtimes. Now there's no North here, so we're going to win. laughs
If you're going to win you have to make it through your group, what do you think about the teams in it?
Imperial is not in the best shape right now, and we have played Heroic couple of times before. Those matches were close but we managed to win every game, I think. Now they changed players, they have mertz, so I think it's going to be harder but I think we can manage to beat them again. I don't know about Luminosity, we have not played them that much, only one time in a practice a month ago or so. It is going to be random.
What can you tell me about other upcoming Polish teams, how do they compare to the teams in the rest of the world and what do they need to break out?
I think they need more experience, that's the main goal for them. It's a tough question. There's a big competition between the tier 2 Polish teams. Izako Boars, x-kom ... they are trying to reach an international level.
Experience, experience, experience. They just need to play and have a bit of luck in qualifiers and qualify for something big. Everything is about the experience, when you have a little bit of luck in online qualifiers for a big event you gain more experience, you go up in the rankings, you have a better position for the next qualifier, maybe get invited. The hardest thing is always the start.