Astralis secured the series 2-0, but it wasn't all smooth sailing for the Danish squad, as they closed out Mirage 16-14 despite a good start into the opening map and had to come back from a 3-10 deficit on the Terrorist side of Inferno.
We talked to dupreeh about the two close maps and their approach to preparation against FaZe, who changed leaders mid-tournament. He also discussed Astralis' loss to Liquid in the previous stage and how that will affect the upcoming rematch in the semi-finals.
Considering FaZe's situation regarding NiKo calling, did you approach the matchup any differently than you would have with FaZe normally?
No, not really. For some reason, we knew there was probably something going on in FaZe since they wanted to change a caller in the middle of the Major. Then, obviously, there is something going on between the members of the team.
But we just took it as any other match, any other team. We knew that NiKo probably wanted to call a little bit slower like he used to do in mousesports, but we knew they were still going to use the same playbook, they would have the same set strats and all that stuff. I don't know who was calling in our match, but it didn't really matter to us who was, we just played our own game.
Did you notice any of that in the match itself?
I just felt like some of the defaults they ran were going a little bit slower, but they were playing like old FaZe, in my opinion, the same type of style, going aggressive and playing off individuals, and obviously having some good set strats here and there and playing off momentum which they're so good at. We didn't really feel anything different.
Tell me about Mirage and why it got so close, as you were up 12-6 and almost dropped the ball...
We won the pistol round and we wanted to do a really fast execute on A and... we just got killed, basically. We ran the execute 3v5 and we weren't really having the momentum in that situation. From there on, we just lost a lot of unfortunate rounds and I felt like we started to play a little bit scared at some point, when we did executes, people maybe hesitated a little bit too much.
Even when we were in a favorable situation, we just allowed them to have too much space instead of playing off intuition and closing down the rotations and stuff. I think that was probably the main reason why, we hesitated a little bit too much and then they basically had some good reads.
What was the call for the last round, where you ran up connector and got those two openings?
Mainly, we had a lot of intel on how they play and we knew that if we that specific move, we had a good situation that NiKo would probably be copying the smoke in connector. What we did was just something we've been trying to work on and it just worked out, I got up there and I got him.
I actually started thinking I could potentially just let NiKo live and go deeper into the site and get more kills, but, in that situation, I was just thinking 'I need to get this kill, I can't mess up here' and Xyp9x gave the callout that they were playing two guys close on slope, so I just knew when I killed that guy, I had to go peek deep into slope, as well.
I got those two kills and it just turned out to be a really frustrating and a confusing round because rain didn't die in slope and everyone was like 'ahh, he has to die!', oh sh*t, everything just started messing up. We won in the end and that was a huge relief, we didn't want to go into overtime again.
You got off to a bad start on Inferno T side and couldn't seem to get into it, what was that down to?
For me, personally, I had a really good game on Mirage and I started out pretty slow on the T side on Inferno. I wouldn't say there was a specific reason to being slow, I think we weren't as prepared to play against FaZe because we hadn't seen that much intel on how they played with olof because we've been seeing them play with cromen and Xizt, but not with olof.
We got quite surprised that we saw that I think NiKo is now playing on A, so that changed up something, and the way they played pit, rain was playing super passive down there and did a really good job. But, overall, I just think we got off to a really bad start because we didn't get the kills, we didn't get the entry frags and then when we actually executed, we were hesitant and didn't get the entries as we wanted to. From there on, we just grinded out as many rounds as possible, we didn't really get any momentum or break their economy at any point, so... it was a hard match on the T side, definitely.
Did the scoreline push you into those forcebuys, especially at 10-3?
Yeah, we were just thinking that we weren't going to get that good of a buy, anyway, so we could either forcebuy and have a few AKs and a few grenades. We had a really good idea of what to do in those rounds, though, because we knew what to do based on what we had seen from them so far, and that's the reason why we decided to forcebuy. We won some clutch rounds, which was really important, so we got a 5-10 half, which was obviously really important.
Once you've almost completed the comeback and you were up around 12-10, did you start getting impatient? There were some chaotic rounds and overpeeks in advantages...
A little bit, maybe we wanted to end the match faster than we actually were supposed to. We got killed in middle quite a few times, either by Deagles or an AK... I think one of the reasons was that we wanted to use our utility down deep middle because we had a really good approach with taking banana, so we knew they were going to be waiting on slope and we could deep grenade them down there.
But, overall, I think we just wanted to end the game a little bit too fast. Every time we just waited out the rounds, played it slow and played off each other, we just won the round, so I think it was a mixture of getting too hyped, we wanted to win a little bit too much, and we just started doing some stupid things. But we're going to take that into consideration for the next game. We had a discussion that we don't want to play scared because if you play scared against FaZe, you're going to lose, so we wanted to show that we had... balls (laughs).
Given that you've lost to Liquid in the group stage, does that add any more pressure on you for the upcoming matchup given that your record against them has been broken?
Not really. I had the same question when we did press earlier at this tournament and a person asked me if that, as you mentioned, the mental aspect had changed, the fact that they've now actually beaten us. I think it actually plays into our advantage because they were up so much and we made the comeback. I think they remember the fact that they almost lost more than that they beat us.
And best-of-ones versus best-of-threes is so much different, I think we have a really strong map pool going against them, so I'm just looking very much forward to playing them. As always, we have very close matchups against Liquid and we have played them so many times by now, so it's really about mindgaming, as well, it's a really tough one. I think it's going to be the best match of the Major no matter what. Even though the final is going to be whoever, I think the semi-final is going to be the best.