With victories over North, Gambit and OpTic, HellRaisers advanced to the New Legends Stage of the FACEIT London Major. This is the first top 16 for Özgür "woxic" Eker and Issa "ISSAA" Murad, but the seventh for bondik, who represented dAT, FlipSid3 and HellRaisers at Majors.
I'll start by asking why do all of your wins need to be so close and so exciting?
(laughs) I don't know man, it is a mystery even for me. It's probably better for viewers, right? So we are making a show for them, I don't know. To be honest, we would definitely like to get it much easier. This game we... I don't even remember this game, honestly, but if we look at our game against Gambit from yesterday and the one today against OpTic, we lost both pistols and it's pretty hard to play, especially on Train, without any pistols. We are gifting the opponent six rounds, that's why I believe we played such close games, but we have to think about pistols more, find conclusions about it... We even discussed everything and we were prepared, but something went wrong. I can't say it right now, but I'll have a look at the demo.
The second pistol especially, it seemed like you had it, you went into the B bombsite, got the plant, forward positions into the site, but somehow it fell apart. Can you remember that at all?
Yeah, I remember, the plan was to push them more, but we didn't kill anyone, they forfeited the site completely so it was too risky to push more. That's why we decided to stay and that was a problem, we played so passively and it is pretty easy to retake the B site on Train, it is probably the most retakeable site on any map. That was definitely a mistake, but that is why we are playing this game, to do mistakes and then make some conclusions.
You are a pretty emotional team, does that impact you negatively as well, in some of those rounds, when you get too hyped up after a good round or something like that?
To be honest, I'm also a very emotional player, I've been even more emotional in FlipSid3, but when I joined HellRaisers, the lineup with oskar, STYKO and Zero, they were affected by it negatively, they weren't as emotional as I am, we weren't on the same wavelength. That's why I worked on not showing emotions. Then, when I came back to HellRaisers with ISSAA and woxic, they are also emotional and I can do whatever I want. I enjoy when someone is showing emotions and I like to do the same.
Now that you mention it, I remember that there was an old clip of you bashing a table after some bad round...
To be honest, it was only once when I smashed the table, but everyone remembers it. It is pretty funny because a lot of people saw that clip and thought that I'm toxic or something, but it is not true, to be honest, if you would ask anyone I played with they will confirm that I'm not toxic. Pretty much, in an emotional sense, I'm feeling much better.
I'll go on to your role in the team, coming back to the roster I think Johnta described you as someone who will be the entry fragger, is that still where you find yourself in the team?
It is hard, to be honest. When I was coming back to HellRaisers they told me about my roles and I didn't like it that much, to be honest, in TYLOO I played more like a lurker, a guy who is clutching a lot. I really fit that role and I feel, still, that it is my real role, to lurk. Because I can work with zones, I understand a lot of timings, I visited a lot of tournament, I'm experienced enough to do it.
About the point of Johnta... I can be a good teammate, you know? If they need this role, I'll try to do it. But anyway, they gave me not the best roles as CT, for example, B on Train, (laughs) I never played B and I hate it still, it's pretty hard but I'm playing it. I talked with guys who supported me a lot throughout my career, for example, xaoc, the CEO of HellRaisers now, or Russian casters like yxo, and they said it is fine, it is a new step, different step forward. I took on the challenge and I'm trying to overcome it right now. But sometimes, sometimes it is really hard for me.
Talking about it in general, the entry fragger should be someone who has really good aim, who can go outside with one flash and tap one or two guys, you know? And also, someone who isn't scared, that also matters a lot, because then anyone behind him sees that and it gives confidence to your whole team. When someone is going out, but he doesn't really want to, when he is hesitating, it is GG for the team, everyone is going to be like "WTF, should we go or no?" (laughs).
I also want to touch on not entry fragging as a role, but just getting opening kills in rounds. That is split up between all of the players, obviously woxic does it with the AWP, ISSAA has his timing lurks where he finds kills, but the way ANGE1 gets opening kills is a risky style of play that sometimes gets you the round easily and sometimes doesn't work out. How do you see his approach to that aspect of the game?
ANGE1 is risking a lot and we discussed that a lot. Sometimes players don't accept that he is doing risky moves, but we are still working on it, we are a young team, I think that we are getting better and better with time.
The game against Liquid that you played, it seemed like one of those games where they are not giving you space to do anything, they were pushing you, putting you out of your comfort zone. Is that something that you struggle with as a team?
For that game, we just came from Stockholm and I was sick so I had an awful first couple of days, I couldn't find my individual game at all. Only today I'm getting better, also the PCs are much better, thank you FACEIT for that because they heard us and improved it, I really appreciate it that they are working on this stuff. For me, it is very important that you are playing on a good PC. For example, if you compare my spray today and yesterday, it is going to be a polar opposite.
Regarding Liquid, out of these 16 teams they were on another level, with Astralis. We were unlucky that we got first North and then Liquid in this stage of the tournament, I think if it would be further in the event, we could've played a much better game. However, Liquid was playing really well and we felt like Liquid was prepared for our game. We are a young team and it is not every day that we face someone who is really prepared for us. That's also a lesson for us and I hope we will work on it and fix it. But I would like to play against them one more time in normal shape.
You've been in a team with B1ad3 for a long time, you played five Majors with him, now he is in a trial coach role with Gambit. They haven't been playing well for a while and with him, there hasn't been a big change instantly. What do you think he can bring to that team, how can that work?
To be honest, I know B1ad3 more than eight years probably, I played with him in CS1.6 and he knows how to make a structured game in any team and how to teach people how to make good decisions, to catch good timings, all of that stuff. For me, he is still a teacher who can teach anyone. What he will bring will be structure, a lot of structure. I mean, it was a bit weird for me because when I first heard about B1ad3 joining Gambit because as far as everyone knows, Gambit play a lot individually and B1ad3 is exactly the opposite, it is team play, structured game, it is a style of game where every flash counts and stuff like that.
It was a bit weird for me and I knew it was going to take a lot of time, that they need to work a lot before B1ad3 brings all of his structure to their game. And also, first of all, they should accept it themselves: "OK, we played individually for three years, now we should play structured because it is right." Anyway, I think it would be really good if they mix it, if they find the key to mix it together, they will be really good. They are good now as well, but I don't know what happened to them, it is hard for me to say. As I said in a different interview, for me, B1ad3 is a guy who can make any team a top team.
I'll touch on you, your seventh Major in total and second with HellRaisers...
For me? I think it is the eight, right? Yeah?
I mean, with TYLOO you did qualify, but you didn't play.
But I'm counting that... oh, okay, well, let's say it is seven.
I mean, especially with that one that you missed with TYLOO, coming here and making it through, how does it feel?
You know, making it to the Majors with HellRaisers is always hard for some reason (laughs), it is some kind of karma. First of all, I can't congratulate ourselves, but a lot of guys from the CIS region who were really mad that we played in the CIS region qualifiers. I hope that they are satisfied that now we are representing the CIS region at the Major and, to be honest, I'm proud to represent it myself, and we won't come back there next time. First of all, I want to congratulate those guys.
Second of all, I would say that we put in a lot of work, it was really hard, you can't even imagine our schedule. A lot of guys are asking how to be a pro and stuff like that, I want to say only one thing: hard work pays off. We worked hard and, as you can see, we are at the next stage of the Major. We achieved our first goal and I'm sure there is going to be a new goal, getting top eight at the Major.
More interviews from the FACEIT Major New Challengers Stage:
cajunb: "I really want to win a Major, that's when I can retire and be happy"
somedieyoung: "We pretty much knew everything North were going to do"
AdreN: "It's me and Hobbit who are trying to make the mid-round calls"
hutji: "During his 1v1, chopper said 'no worries, guys, I'm going to punch him'"
tiziaN: "I've actually practiced it 3 or 4 times, but I wasn't planning on doing that shot"
Twistzz: "We knew that bootcamping was the way better option"
BnTeT: "We're confident in our skill, but I'm not sure we're confident in our team play"
Lekr0: "I think I learned the most about [in-game leading] from pronax back in the day"
stanislaw: "We have all the pieces to really do some damage"
B1ad3: "We still haven't found the perfect in-game leader"
crush: "We didn't play much [officially] because we wanted to find our game"
Hiko "American teams are dependent on the momentum they gain"
NEO: "byali wanted changes even before Snax told us [he was leaving]"
DavCost: "The main goal is to show who we are"