jR: "I believe people were tired of playing with each other; tonyblack and crush brought synergy to the team"
After starting 2-0 in the FACEIT Major New Challengers Stage, Vega Squadron struggled to make the final step, losing to Liquid and Complexity in overtime. In round five, Vega Squadron faced North, eliminating them after a confident, 2-0 series.
Talking to jR, with the team manager Alexander "Lk-" Lemeshev translating, we learned about the inception of the iconic Vega Mac-10 B rush, their approach to the veto against North, where HellRaisers analyst Amiran "aMi" Rehviashvili helped them out by suggested them to leave Nuke in, and the newest additions to the team, Anton "tonyblack" Kolesnikov and Igor "crush" Shevchenko.
Going into the last match, you draw North, and you obviously started 2-0, after which you got back to 2-2. Was there pressure to close it out, to not go out after the good start?
We had pressure yesterday as we were facing compLexity, we thought that we could win against them but we were playing poorly because we were afraid to do some things that we planned before. We were playing really bad, I would say. Today, I just told everyone to do whatever they want, if someone has a call or wants to do a stupid move, they should just go for it. It was kind of a mix with freestyle with team play.
Also, I told them that if it doesn't work, we shouldn't stop. We need to keep it going, and we have a lot of attempts since it is a BO3. That was pretty much it. I believe that North actually had more pressure than us, they won the last big tournament. When they went 0-1 and then 0-2, the thing I had in my head was that it was a bad timing for them to win a big tournament. It usually puts a lot of pressure on you because there is no way anyone will underestimate you. That is pretty much it, we came into the game with the mindset that we have nothing to lose, to play the game and play whatever we want.
Specifically, about the game plan, you mentioned a little bit about playing freestyle, playing confidently. Except that, specific for the two maps you played, did you have anything prepared that you wanted to do against North?
To preface this, last night we had kind of a meeting with people from the CIS region, thinking about what maps we should go for, and props to aMi, the analyst of HellRaisers, he actually suggested to us to leave Nuke in the first stage and ban Overpass. We think that that actually caught them off guard, because after we banned Overpass they were thinking about their first pick for like one minute, and usually when you have a plan you just go for it, you pick the map and let your opponent choose the side. We've been practicing Nuke, it perhaps didn't go so well for us but we were still ready to play it.
Actually, what we kept in mind was that North lost Nuke to Spirit, another CIS team, another crazy Russian team that just catches you off guard, rushes you out. The score of that game says it was close, but actually, Spirit just lost some stupid rounds and it could've ended 16-5. So North was afraid to pick Nuke against us because we haven't been playing it, our last Nuke was from the 17th of October of last year and you don't know what to expect from those crazy Russians, so why would you go for that pick? They decided to go for Inferno, we did the homework, we studied their replays so we knew how they would play, we knew the timings, what they like to do most of the time, and I was picking our rounds which would be the best to use against them. And it worked.
When you are talking about Inferno, one of the classic Vega tactics on the map was the five Mac-10 rush B. You did it at the last Major as well, it is pretty old by this point, but how did that strat get created, when did you come up with it? Tell me about that strat since it is a trademark for you guys.
It probably came up from some practice when we were tilted, losing 0-12 and I just said: "Let's buy those freaking Mac-10s and rush them". And I guess it worked as the opponent was playing an aggressive round on banana, we killed them all. Then, when we saw that this round was working, our coach was trying to perfect the round, he added a flash, a smoke, and it seems like the round has been working lately. We've seen some other teams try to play the same round, it feels really good when you literally invent something so that others can use it. So I guess it is the creation of me and Fierce.
I want to touch a bit on chopper, because he's been playing great in this tournament, he is one of the best players here actually. Is there anything that he needs in the game to be activated, to play on this level?
He is the one that is firing up the whole team, he has a lot of emotions, he is always trying to cheer up all of the guys. If the team feels it, if everyone is fired up, if everyone is shouting, doing great, he takes the energy from it and I believe that's the key for him to play better. If everyone is in the right mood, if everyone is hyped, we just go and he is doing great, as well as all the other guys.
Lastly, tell me a bit about the last two players you added, which are crush and kibaken, aka tonyblack. What do they bring to the team, where do they fit in?
There is no point to talk about them one by one because they both brought synergy to the team, which we've been missing it lately. I believe people were tired of playing with each other. Maybe we had some internal problems, but that is what we decided to go for. From the point when we took in tonyblack and crush, we got that synergy going and the atmosphere became a bit calmer when it comes to discussions about playing. Coming to this tournament, it is our first LAN tournament with that lineup, this was kind of an exam for us. So far, we are doing good, but we can do even better.
More interviews from the FACEIT Major New Challengers Stage:
ShahZam: "I'm speechless, I can't believe it; I won't lie, I went outside and cried"
gob b: "I'm looking forward to the fifth round, now we can show we're a really good team in the BO3s"
bondik: "I enjoy when someone is showing emotions and I like to do the same"
xccurate: "We changed so much on the T side of Inferno [after playing OpTic]"
gla1ve: "[As an IGL,] cadiaN is really good at the same things as FalleN"
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"