apEX: "It feels like we have pressure on ourselves because it's a Major"
Vitality have left the first day of play in Katowice with a 1-1 record, but they were close to starting out 0-2 after their initial loss to TYLOO on Inferno, as they were down 2-13 following the T side on Nuke against Grayhound before mounting a massive comeback on the defense to eventually take it in overtime 19-17.
Going back to the Minors, I talked to both NBK and ALEX about the roles and how ALEX only slotted into Happy's, so what has changed since you left the Europe Minor and started preparation for the Major?
Well, from the Minor, as ALEX and NBK said, ALEX adapted to our gamestyle. He picked Happy's role overall and he played it as well as he could. But as he's a way different player, for the month we played in practice, a bit less, actually, we just adapted to him and tried to make strats and make things for him, not around him but playing in a way that he likes, not like before. That's the big change we did.
Did that change the team dynamic significantly?
Yeah, because with the previous roster with Happy we lacked calls for making great decisions and helping in a trio, like for example on Inferno, ALEX is in the trio on the CT, so we lacked some calls like that. As he was an in-game leader, he knows all those things. It was pretty hard for him to adapt because we are way different players and in LDLC he didn't have such great support around him, we are talking a lot contrary to his team before. So that's what we did overall, try to help him and make him comfortable.
Going into the first game here, you struggled against TYLOO on the T side of Inferno. What was the issue there? They are a team that has changed the lineup and hasn't played anything in the meantime, was it difficult to prepare for it, expect what was going to happen?
TYLOO is a pretty good team individually, but I feel like their gameplan isn't crazy, you're not playing Astralis if you know what I mean. Even if they changed two players, we felt like we knew how we could play against them, but we played so badly against them. They are really great individuals, but we had the rounds, how many times were we behind them and sandwiched them. For example, they were executing banana and we just pushed behind them, but we lost the round in the end. So, we just had a great view of the map, but we just made really poor individual plays and we lacked a lot of skill, we never made some doubles or things like that. That was difficult, but it was mainly because of us playing pretty badly overall. Normally, we have a pretty good T side on Inferno, but it started on the CT side.
Did that carry over to the second match against Grayhound, where you went down 2-13 on the T side of Nuke at the start?
I feel like we are lacking some match reference on LAN because we haven't played that much on LAN yet on a map like Nuke, for example. It's really difficult on LAN because people don't play like in practice and things like that. We just need more games on LAN to be better overall, but yeah, I feel like we played the same way as against TYLOO at the beginning, we were scared, we didn't hit any headshots, not making great individual plays, etc., so that was pretty tough on that T side. We just played badly.
What was the key to the comeback, then?
Overall, we have a really good CT side, like almost everyone on Nuke, obviously. But we were playing really well and changing our setups a lot, so it's pretty difficult to adapt to our gameplan, I guess, and we just hit our headshots and played pretty well in the end. We finally won this f*cking second game.
Choosing Nuke over Inferno, was that a result of the first match?
It's always about that, but as I told you, we don't have reference matches on Nuke yet, but we felt pretty comfortable in practice, playing well mainly on our T side. We felt like we were ready to play any team on Nuke - maybe not Astralis, right now (smirks), but we felt we were a bit better than that. I think we're good, but we need to think about our gameplan and not like... I feel like we were running the strategies and when something went wrong, we just struggled a lot, not making the right calls, the right individual moves. If you don't have that, you will lose the round, that's we lacked today, I guess.
Is there anything that you can do for tomorrow to fix this, to get over it?
I'm pretty sure when we come back to the hotel we are going to watch the game together, see what happened. There is a sure thing is that we are a pretty new team, two of our players never played a Major and that's what we told them as the veterans, kind of. Playing a Major is way different than any other tournament. You can feel more pressure, it's more prestigious, you just need to adapt and not be scared of doing your moves, doing what works for you. For example, ZywOo is such a young player, he's the most talented player I have ever played with, for sure, but he needs time. That's why for example on Nuke, normally, he would have 15 kills minimum, but now he had like five. He needs time. And when he gets more experience, he will wreck everyone.¨
So with that being said, what kind of goals have you set for yourselves here?
Well, the first thing is to play way better than we did because I felt like everyone in the team is really disappointed in ourselves. We used to play way better, even if it's only practice or other matches, we used to play better than this, I'm sure of that. Even if we're not top one in the world, we play better than that. I just want us to play better, have way less pressure, it feels like we have pressure on ourselves because it's a Major. We have to take match by match, map by map, round by round, and we will see what's going to happen. Of course, I have won a Major a long time ago, but I just want to do that again and I'm going to give my best. Obviously, with the level we are at right now, it's going to be tough, but let's remember Cloud9 on the first Major of 2018, they didn't show up at the beginning and they played such good Counter-Strike at the end. I'm sure we can come back from this sh*t day and just get better every day and grind, grind, grind. That's all we have to do.