gade: "It's a rough period, but we have to refocus, find our game and our playstyle"
Having achieved early success with a 2-1 victory over AVANGAR, the Danish squad is now through to the upper bracket final of the $50,000 event, set to take on fellow Danes Heroic for a spot in the title decider.
Shortly after their triumph over AVANGAR, we sat down with gade to break down the series, discuss the internal state of the roster post-EU Minor and picked the player's brain on recent coaching adjustments.
The series against AVANGAR was rather close, with you winning your map pick, Mirage (16-12), and the decider, Inferno (16-9). What did you make of the team's performance as a whole?
I think we were pretty happy with the veto, they did not surprise us at all. We were prepared for them picking either Cache or Dust2. It's tough to say what map we're best on right now, so I think we're somewhere in-between. We're not really sure what map it is, but we play all seven maps, so that's a big advantage for us.
I think they are very readable, you can kind of understand what they're up to when they throw their set nades. If Jame, their AWPer, is on one side of the map, he's probably going to rotate to the other side of the map as soon as he takes a shot, so I think we had quite a good understanding of how to approach them as a team.
This victory must have almost been like a sigh of relief for the team, considering that recent events haven't been particularly fruitful for you, specifically if we talk about the EU Minor. What was the internal dynamic of the team after that?
Obviously a lot of disappointment. When we lost to ENCE, and later to Vitality, going on to the Minor Play-ins for a third place decider chance, I think we were kind of saying to ourselves: "We still have a chance". We just went back for five days, had some practice and I think we were pretty confident going into the third place decider match, but yeah, things went wild and we didn't really find our game in that series at all. Out of those series we only had one best-of-three where we played well, which was against Envy, but we didn't really take much from that match. We should've beaten ViCi, but I'm also happy for the Chinese team.
After we came back, ave said his farewell to the North organisation. Now we brought on mithR as a trial to see what kind of a new coach we want to get. I think there were a lot of things going on - we couldn't really find our playstyle and we had a tough time getting a good start in most match-ups. It's a rough period, but we just have to refocus, find our game and our playstyle. Just beat teams on and on to get some confidence.
Before we dive into the coaching situation, let's discuss the takeaways from the EU Minor result. Did you change anything immediately after? Was there some sort of a revelation regarding what was going wrong or was it a matter of getting your heads straight?
It was a mix - we had a team talk debriefing the whole tournament and all the match-ups, but I think we came to the conclusion that we just have to play with more confidence. We can't sit back and focus too much on anti-stratting or how they play: "If they throw some set grenades then we have to do this and that". We just have to play with confidence and play off gut feeling, you know?
Let's talk about ave's departure. What do you feel the team will miss most in his absence?
Ave was special because he was so focused on the details and he could really anti-strat teams well. We're definitely going to miss that, but it also gives us a bit more freedom, I think. He was such a good analyst, he could really see the small details in teams' play. He could explain tiny little details regarding what the teams did and how their defaults worked. He was a really good analyst.
When it was announced that mithR would join the roster, many pointed out the difference in experience between him and ave. Why did you, as a team, come to the conclusion that he fits within the system and should be given a trial?
It's tough with a coach, because you can't really bring in someone who is experienced - there's no one out there. You have to give someone a chance, right? It's the same with bringing young talent into a top team - if they never get a chance, they'll never be able to prove themselves. I think mithR can definitely bring some hype and a new perspective - a fresh breath, so to speak. He has a different approach and I think that's very good for us.
You'll be facing off against Heroic in the upper bracket final - are you looking forward to embracing the Danish rivalry?
Yeah, it definitely going to be a brawl with a lot of roaring and cheering. I think we last played them in ESL Pro League online, and we beat them quite convincingly, so I'm confident going into this one. They have a new player and I'm just looking forward to beating them.
Lastly, what were your thoughts on blameF's LAN debut with Heroic? He landed some impressive clutches against Na'Vi.
He has his moments, so we'll just have to see what he brings tomorrow [today], right?