bondik: "I will probably join a team where I can play more of a star role"
HellRaisers hit a rough patch following their historic FACEIT London Major run, and ended up parting ways with bondik after the Ukrainian's contract ran out. bondik has been a free agent since, joining Gambit in Malta as a stand-in for Dmitry "dimasick" Matvienko who couldn't secure a visa for the event in time.
In our interview with bondik, we talked about his departure from a team he was a long-standing member of, going back to Russian communication and reuiniting with Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy, an IGL he played under for a couple of years.
What was leaving HellRaisers like for you, from your point of you and what is your outlook going forward from that point?
It the second time that I'm leaving or the team is cutting me, basically, it is a decision from both sides, I believe, because I'm pretty sure that they understood that it was wrong after they cut me the first time. And they asked me to come back to a new lineup, they renewed it [with woxic and ISSAA]. At that time I had a contract with HR which ran for one more year, so it was an obvious decision to come back. But the thing is, they gave me roles which are not mine. I didn't feel comfortable and it also put pressure on me.
For example, it is pretty hard to play the B site on Train, on the CT side, to be the main guy on B. For me, it was impossible. I asked, a lot of times, to change my position, but for some reason, no one would sacrifice themselves so I was the guy that was doing the sacrificing. It was weird for me. We are a team and if someone is not comfortable, you can help your teammate, right? So I can't say I was 100% happy in HellRaisers. I mean, we had some good results, like we won BETS.NET, we were top 12 of the rankings all the time. I mean, we had decent results, we also managed to go through to the whole Major and finished top 8, which is also a good result. Anyway, I felt like I was not in my place and I asked to change my roles a lot of times, or at least make it some sort of a hybrid, so I can feel more comfortable, but no one wanted to sacrifice.
Seems similar to when STYKO left the team, or at least to what he said when he left, that he was stuck in some roles, couldn't change them and no one wanted to adapt...
I mean, I didn't have the support role, but for me, I played on the A site for 10 years probably and now I'm playing B and it was really weird for me. I mean, now I understand that the main B guy is playing his own game, just his own game. I watched a lot of demos of Xyp9x, valde who is playing B on Train really good, but they are playing their own game. Sometimes it was really hard for me, but I went through it, I put in a lot of work to be better there, but it didn't help for some reason and that put pressure on me. I mean, I was putting pressure on myself because I was doing this and that, I'm doing everything, but I couldn't adapt for some reason. I didn't want to give up, but it was really hard.
You've been playing with HellRaisers for quite some time, does leaving the team, for good this time, bring some feelings with it?
This time I didn't have a conflict with anyone and I don't think I was a problem in the team. I think they also know that, and I'm pretty sure that they also know the problems they have in the team that they should fix. To be honest, I feel happiness because I left HR and I will try to explain to you why. It is because if you look at my career history, without HR I played much better, in any team. FlipSid3, dAt team, Ukrainian national team, TYLOO, any team. I was trying to figure out why, it is not about English, I'm pretty sure, but probably about roles or my conditions in the team.
Now I'm really motivated and I want to get back and show everyone my best game. I couldn't say that I played really good in HellRaisers, I played just on the average level, and I understand that I played better in the past, if you would look at stats. "But stats are shit", bla, bla...
I want to get back to playing, probably in the star role. Even when I was leaving HellRaisers Johnta told me that I have to play the star role, and I couldn't do it in HR because no one wanted to sacrifice. I will probably join a team where I can play more of a star role, because even if you look at my games in HellRaisers, I could carry one out of three games.
What is your outlook moving from here, do you have anything lined up, did you have any offers? And is there something specific you want from a team you would join?
Basically, I'm playing this tournament as a stand-in for Gambit and I realized I'm nostalgic about a Russian-speaking team. It is much easier for me, I'm really having fun. I would like to join some CIS team, but I had an offer from an NA team as well. However, that is a really big move, not only from the CS perspective but for your life overall. I can't tell you my future options right now, but I'm pretty sure that in two weeks you will find out more.
One thing that I would like to do in the future, for sure, is to qualify for the Major through the NA Minor. I already went through the EU, Asia and CIS ones, so to be the first player to go through all four is something that motivates me and would be a cool achievement.
The communication is something I really wanted to ask about, moving from CIS teams to HellRaisers and then to TYLOO and now you are back, just temporarily for now, in Gambit, is the communication significantly easier or better in Gambit now than it was in HellRaisers?
The thing is, when I joined HellRaisers I didn't have any problems with English, but basically, the thing would be that information from someone comes in your right ear and it goes out from the left one, you are just missing it. You don't understand what is going on on the map. It was a really bad issue for the first months in HR, but it is normal, you have to go through it.
Then I played in international teams for three years, HR and TYLOO, and now I switched back to Russian and, for sure, it is much easier for me to communicate, I can explain everything, I can call, I can do whatever I want, but the thing is that I'm still calling spots in English, that is the main problem right now. You know, for example, we are playing Overpass and I'm calling "Underground, underground... oh". So I have to get used to it once again.
This chance to play with Gambit that came up because dimasick couldn't get his visa in time, do you see it as an opportunity to show your skills again and prove yourself to other people well?
They asked me to play with them one day before they went to the event and I knew I would face HR and I would probably meet the TYLOO guys, so that [was nice]. But the thing is, I didn't even think if I should go or not. I was just like "Ok, I'm going". I don't care, to be honest, who I would play against. In the HellRaisers game, first of all, we played their best map because we understood that we are playing like a mix, we don't have any structure because we practiced for two days and the first day was only three games.
So we understood that we need some really really simple map to play against them. But on the other hand, I told the guys that Dust2 is probably their best map, I'm pretty sure of that, I saw that they practice it a lot. We still understood it is easier for us because it is a simple map and we can do simple calls, it is based a lot on aim and it is a bit random, as it always was. We practiced the map twice probably, it was tough but we had a really good first half, 9-6 and then the CT side, you saw everything, zero rounds. We also lost both pistols. If we had more practice, at least two weeks, I believe we could do much better, I see potential in this team, to be honest.
What is it like to be reunited with B1ad3?
I did an interview with you at the Major I believe and I told you that B1ad3 is the mastermind of the CIS region, I'm pretty happy. It is also nostalgic, I'm sitting in-game, listening to B1ad3 explain strats or something, it is like the good old days, I'm enjoying it.
B1ad3 explaining strats, does that take up 90% of the time anyone is talking? Because from doing interviews with him, he always likes to go very in-depth about everything. Is he like that when he is coaching, when you are practicing... is it mostly him talking and then everyone else just listening?
For sure, when he is talking you have to listen to him and not disturb him, you'll have time later and you can ask him whatever you want and he will explain or answer to you. Just regular stuff, nothing special. Yeah, he likes to talk a lot but it is not bad, it is good for a coach, he is trying to explain things to you, to take knowledge out of his head and give it to you. You just have to listen to it.
He probably has... (laughs) 20 years of experience, you just have to understand that and respect him. I know that for some people it is very hard to listen to their coach, but also, it is bad when there are some conflicts between the coach and players because in that situation the coach is losing the respect of the players and they don't want to listen to him. That is the worst team that can happen in a team. But for me B1ad3 is still the same guy that I played with from 2010 or something, we spent 5-6 years in the same team and I don't regret that.