BARBARR: “I think Plopski is better than Brollan”
x6tence Galaxy won in dominant fashion on the first map, Nuke, with a 16-4 scoreline. The second map, Mirage, was a closer affair, ending 16-14, but the Swedes' strong CT-side managed to keep them alive. Youngsters Tim "nawwk" Jonasson and Nicolas "Plopski" Gonzalez Zamora were the biggest points of individual interest.
In front of a home crowd, you've managed to score an incredible upset against LDLC in a BO3. Could you talk me through how you're feeling generally to begin with?
It's amazing just to qualify. That was our goal, it wasn't our goal as much is it was our dream to qualify for Dreamhack Open Winter here in Sweden. It's an amazing feeling to not finish last in the tournament (laughs). This is a learning phase for us like I wrote yesterday on Twitter. And it's only young guys and they just need to learn how it is to be on bigger stages and stuff like this. This is helping very much, to win a game like this against the 12th best team in the world.
The player who caught most peoples eye was Plopski, many haven't heard about him before this tournament. Could you talk a little about him individually and what you see in his game?
Plopski is probably the biggest talent alongside Brollan in Sweden right now. He's evolving really fast and this guy is 16 years old. Together with nawwk, they're a power duo and they're really, really firing off on every cylinder as well. I think Plopski is better than Brollan in my eyes. He has huge potential. He has been playing like this online but not in the bigger games because we haven't been in the bigger games yet. It's amazing to see nawwk and Plopski fire off and ZINKEN and baaten have a little bit more experience but... It's really amazing to see. I hope he keeps evolving like this.
Speaking of these younger players, you and Alex ("rdl" Redl) have a clear role in helping them as sort-of mentors as the most experienced people on the side. What do you do specifically to help enable big performances like we saw today?
It's more taking away the stress factor. It's a big tournament, there are many people watching and everything. So you just have to get them into that practicing mode as they say. You have to show them with your energy and everything that this is not dangerous, this is fun. We don't have any pressure going into this tournament. It's more about removing the stress factor and helping them with anything they need mentally. You can see it pretty clearly on the younger guys, so I think me and Alex are working hard to get them level headed before games.
For yourself, a lot of people reading this interview will know your name from the Epsilon line-up that featured draken, disco doplan, REZ, and Freddieb, how is this for you individually?
It's an amazing feeling, I've been on and off the radar now for quite some time since Epsilon and I feel like I'm reborn. I think I'm playing, reading, and calling, some good CS right now that I think can work against top teams. It's just a dream, I'm smiling through this entire event. Every minute, and hour on DreamHack playing games is just amazing. My mother and brother see me [play] for the first time also which is amazing. To see their smiles and their happiness when we're winning is the best feeling so far.
Looking ahead, even though you got this upset over LDLC there are still maps to play against compLexity. What can you bring to this matchup that may cause another upset result?
They should be scared of the firepower we have. There are not many teams who they can face in terms of the firepower we have. We've been called the biggest onliners in EU pretty much for a while now. I mean, now we have proved we can play on LAN now, so all the stress is gone. Plopski and nawwk had good games on LAN - that pressure is gone. So I think they should be scared because we aren't scared to lose. We think this is a fun tournament and the teams that have nothing to lose are the teams you should fear.
Max Melit covers DreamHack Open Winter 2018 for HLTV.org and can be found on twitter.