freakazoid: "This could be my last opportunity to ever play this game professionally, so I'm living it to the fullest"
Ghost came to iBUYPOWER Masters as one of the underdogs in a group that featured Liquid and FaZe, the latter which they were able to beat two times in the opener and the decider to make it out of the group stage. They then played a semi-final against Astralis, but were unable to take a map from the Danes despite coming close on Inferno.
In the interview, freakazoid talks about signing for Ghost, coming to play his first event with the team at iBUYPOWER Masters, and the relationship with his brother, Austin "Cooper-" Abadir, after he left their former team to join eUnited, among several other topics which can be found in the interview below.
Most teams here are getting ready for the Major, but for you coming here was a bit different. So how was the preparation and the expectations and so on?
We prepared for two weeks. I recently joined the team, I officially signed on the 2nd or 3rd, and we started practicing a bit after New Year's, around the 4th, so we had two weeks. We've been bootcamping for about seven to eight hours a day and let me tell you right now we've been getting destroyed in practice. Destroyed. Literally destroyed by teams, and coming here I knew it could have been a 50/50 thing. We could have been mentally down coming into the tournament, but it seems like we brought the energy and intensity and it seemed to pan out for us, we had a good run here and I think it was a good first tournament for us and we'll only grow from it.
As you said, you just signed for the team, can you run me through how it happened?
I was offered to join once before, probably around August or September/October, and I said no because I wanted to stick it out with my brother and see if we could make Pro League together. My brother ended up leaving for eUnited so I thought that even if we made Pro League I was going to see if there were any offers that were better for me long term. I completed my goal of making Pro League and Ghost still offered me to join. I've always liked Josh as a caller and I like the players on the team and I believed in the talent, so I entertained it and once we squared away the behind-the-scenes details it was a no-brainer. I wanted to come to this team even if it meant leaving the team I worked hard to get to Pro League with, but I wanted to do it for my career.
As you said, your brother going to eUnited and you joining Ghost now, it seemed to be quite sour. Did that whole parting of ways put a big separation between both of you? Was it really as dramatic as it seemed from the outside?
Oh, yeah, it was dramatic! I mean, look at the tweets and look at my stream, you know what I'm saying? But at the same time, what brothers don't fight? At the end of the day, no matter what, we had that day where it was bitter. I was upset because I cared a lot about him and I wanted to play on a team with him and it was just the timing of what happened, which is why I was upset, but right now I put that behind me. I'm focusing on myself, on my career, and my team, and I wish him nothing but the best and still love him to death no matter what. Just like I said before, you never know what happens in the future. We could team up again or we won't, but he's doing his thing and I'm doing mine.
So how was Christmas dinner?
He lives in Texas, so he didn't come out for Christmas dinner. I was at my dad's house and hung out with my sisters, and he was still in Texas.
Moving on, it's good to see you and steel back out here, beating teams like FaZe...
Exactly! How does it feel for you?
Well, I don't know if you saw or heard me after the first FaZe game, but I went ballistic! I was going crazy. This is the most hyped I think I have ever been in my entire career because I know this could be my last opportunity to ever play this game professionally, so I'm living it to the fullest. I can and am putting all my energy into the game right now, and that's what I'm bringing to the team. I'm playing to win, before everything. Right now you can see it in my energy when I'm playing. If the camera ever pans on me you can see I'm bringing everything to the table and laying it all on the line.
You have the Pro League season coming up. Have you talked about goals within the team?
Right now we're just practicing for a few months and if qualifiers come up we'll just be practicing for those and the upcoming Pro League season.
Think about it, now... We just beat a team that I think is top 5. Maybe not as much since karrigan left, but I consider them a top 5 team and dangerous. We didn't put up that good of a fight against Liquid, and I'm not gonna give any excuses, but then we did against Astralis, the best team in the world. You aim for the top, work hard to be at the top, and that's all you can hope for. You have to play your best and that's all you can do.
Is there something that impressed you about this team when you joined?
The one thing I like is that I realize that everybody is a professional. Regardless of the issues you have outside the game, everyone leaves it behind when it's time to practice or especially for matches. I noticed it this LAN, some people had issues outside of the game, and they're able to play the match and focus on the game itself, and that to me is the most impressive thing. Acting like professionals and conducting yourself in that way, as well.
To close it off, the Inferno against Astralis got so close at the end. What was it you would have needed to get that little extra push to win the map?
I think a huge thing is experience, first off. More experience as a team, for me especially, but I think if you're not playing against the top teams and you come in expecting to beat them, it's tough. You need to get that practice in and you have to be focusing a lot harder in practice. Those 2vs2 and 3vs3 scenarios, that's where the biggest deal was. And just being ready, expecting everything and playing ready, like if you get caught off-guard... That should never happen in a match, you should always be ready. So I feel like Astralis are very good at that, but nothing to me was out of this world. I think people give them that respect and it causes teams to lose, although they are amazing, no doubt about it.