LDLC are playing their most important tournament to date with their current lineup in Chicago, where they have already taken FaZe to 30 rounds in their opener and defeated Renegades in the first round of the Group A lower bracket. Tomorrow, they will have to face the Danes of North for survival in the second round of the lower bracket.
We talked to ALEX about several topics concerning his team, including what it feels like for some of the players on the team to be at a tournament like IEM Chicago, the matches against FaZe and Renegades, the changing of the guard in LDLC, and what the team hopes to achieve moving forward.
IEM Chicago is a big event for you, did you prepare any particular way for it?
No, we didn't have time to prepare because for the past three weeks we've had like 60 or 70 matches, so we really didn't have time to practice anything. We're just relying on what we had before and we're hoping it works out.
Tell me a bit about the evolution of the team. You've been in LDLC forever, and have seen it transform completely. The big change was when AmaNEk and devoduvek came on, tell me about the energy they brought with them, and tell me a bit about the youngster, LOGAN, as well.
We had Ex6TenZ and Maniac, the old guard, who had tonnes of experience, but it came to a point in which we didn't agree on certain things anymore, so the organization decided to remove Ex6TenZ and Maniac stepped down. We picked up AmaNEk and devoduvek, but surprisingly they didn't bring that much with them, and they're learning new things with us. What they are bringing is a lot of firepower, which we lacked before, and they're generally better players. Not better players, I don't mean it in a bad way, they're just more suited to what we needed.
LOGAN played for MAXISAUCISSE before, and he had a match against BIG which was really his breakout match, on LAN, where he got something like 36 kills in a 16-9. We watched him there, and from then, he came into the team with Maniac and DEVIL. He's been slowly learning since then. He has insane aim, ScreaM sort of aim, but he lacks a lot of team play. He only played in like two squads before us, so we're teaching him how to play on a team. He's also quite young, so trying to keep him mentally stable is a big challenge for all of us.
As you were telling me before we started the interview, this is really big for you, this event, so what would you say the expectations for the team are? Did you have big expectations or is it more of a learning opportunity?
We're used to the smaller LAN events, like the ESL European Championship, but this is way different. Even just arriving, you have this nice hotel with the practice rooms and everything, it's almost overwhelming. At least for the three of us, LOGAN, to1nou, and me. I think we're lucky to be here, to be honest. We beat OpTic to be here, but I don't think we were better than them in that match. We're happy to be here, though. We felt like we could beat teams here, like we could have beaten FaZe, but at the same time we're not thinking we'll make top 8 or something, because it's a new experience for us.
The best-of-one against FaZe must have lasted 40 or 50 minutes, but it felt like it lasted 10. You have four buy rounds in a half but then NiKo can just come up with a deagle, get three kills, and that's it. Game over. In the smaller events, the skill isn't as high, and for me, it feels like you have more time. You're more in control, whereas against FaZe, even though we were in control on the CT side, we always felt like if they got one round that would be it, and that's exactly what happened. They got a round at 13-13 and went on to close it out. So yeah, it's definitely harder, a lot harder.
You said it's a bit overwhelming, so do you think the team is ready, mentally?
Well, to1nou and I played three seasons of EPL, AmaNEk and devoduvek were at the Major, and we're in ECS, so we're sort of used to the online part at least. I don't think we arrived here by luck and I do think we can compete, but the little problems we may have at smaller events just look so much bigger here because the margin of error is so small. I'd say that's the biggest difference.
Tell me a bit about the FaZe match. How did you feel when you saw the draw?
We played FaZe in ECS. We won a map and came really close in the second. That was before the draw, so when we saw it, we were thinking that we could win it. Obviously, on LAN it's harder, but we were happy. Our coach does a lot of work for us, so we knew everything that was going to happen. That was actually how we got back into the game, we knew what to expect.
It was a close match, what is it made you let it slip away in the end?
Obviously, the T-side was horrendous. We were winning 3-2 and ended up losing 4-11. As I was saying, the small problems we had were just magnified here, and not even just in-game. We have a weird system in which AmaNEk and I share the in-game leadership, so if we don't agree that impacts the team. Our T-side was shameful, at half-time we literally said we can't play like this at a big event, and we managed to motivate everyone. We got into it as CT, and we knew what was going to happen. Every round we lost, I called what was going to happen during it, and that's why this loss is so disheartening for us. We needed to be more on point as a team, and in the rounds in which we knew what was going to happen, we weren't playing enough as a team to counter it.
Then you had to face Renegades. They took the first map, and it looked good for them, but you managed to bring it back in a close Cache, 16-14, and then you breezed past them on Mirage. Run me a bit through that rollercoaster.
I said our first T-side on Mirage against FaZe was horrendous. Well the T-side on Overpass against Renegades was disgraceful. That T-side has no place at an IEM event. It was shocking. I have no words to describe how bad it was. I knew they weren't that good in Overpass, because I watched them play the only time they played it, at the Major, and they got destroyed. So I said that if we started to get rounds we could come back. It was the same situation as the first match, and when they got that one round that was it.
Overpass was a low, to start, and we were mad during the break. I think the coaches lost their hair during that one. Then came Cache. We haven't won it in like six months. Don't quote me on that, but we're terrible on Cache. Especially on the CT side, which is the one we came back on. During the first T-side on Overpass, which AmaNEk lead, were terrible, so they told me to lead. We shared the leading on Cache and got eight rounds, which isn't bad, but it wasn't good compared to our practice. Then we got well ahead, we got the triple AWPs out, and prayed that we could win every round.
We were very happy after that, and we went into Mirage, where I took over the leading completely. I knew we had a good T-side and we were in control the whole time. I was very happy with our Mirage game and with the game against FaZe, except for the T-side.
Did you expect the Mirage to be a bit more competitive than it ended up being?
Yeah, I think Renegades are a good Mirage team. If I would have been them I would have started on T, though. We had just said that if we could get some T-rounds and take control of the economy we could just steamroll it, which is what happened. I think on a different day, even if just tomorrow, it wouldn't have gone the same way.
You had a good game against FaZe, survived against Renegades. How are you feeling about tomorrow? How's the atmosphere in the team?
We play North tomorrow. We lost against them in ECS, but we're feeling OK. We're happy to have won a game, and perhaps that will settle our nerves going into the game tomorrow. Hopefully, we can show a good face, even if we don't win, that's what we're really here to do, play well. If we lose, we lose, but at least do it playing well.