ALEX: "Especially on Nuke, we had no idea ViCi would be this resilient"
After a shaky day one, during which Vitality went 1-1 with an opening loss to TYLOO and a dangerous encounter with Grayhound, the French squad recovered following a dominant win against Vega Squadron in round three and a hard-fought 2-0 series versus ViCi to qualify for the New Legends Stage.
We quizzed ALEX about the team's recovery from the lackluster beginning in our next interview from IEM Katowice, in which the British player also commented on whether he has gotten more comfortable on Inferno as a map he hadn't played before his time with Vitality and on his overall progress since the Minor.
Going back to yesterday and your recovery from what apEX called a sh*t day one, you looked incredibly dominant against Vega Squadron, so what was different on day two?
We had a big talk between day one and day two, trying to get everyone to relax, especially me, ZywOo and RpK, who were a bit stressed coming into day one. Yeah, just talking about it, knowing what we have to do, and then just being able to concentrate on killing people.
Tell me about your side of this, dealing with the stress as someone who is coming in as a rookie?
Actually, coming into it, everything was going well in practice, we won the WePlay Lock and Load tournament, so everything was looking good. I didn't feel particularly stressed coming into it, but I guess on day one it just kind of came in the wrong moments, in the 1v1s and stuff like that. I think I was in like four or five 1v1s and I didn't win one and I'm used to winning like 70% of them, so it's kind of a big difference. It's hard to explain, I'm not quite sure where it comes from, but I will work on it.
Going into today, ViCi were one of the teams that came as a big surprise to some of the favorites, how did you approach that and how prepared were you for them?
We knew they were going to let us have one of Cache or Nuke, so we prepared for that, but we weren't sure what they were going to pick, whether it was going to be Inferno or Mirage. We were pretty sure it would be Inferno, our analyst managed to prepare that coming into the game. I think it was kind of weird coming into it because we weren't sure if they were really good or if it was fnatic and Cloud9 that were off. With them both losing two matches, we weren't quite sure what to expect, but ViCi were a lot better than we expected. Especially on Nuke, we had no idea that they would be as resilient as they were because they only played it once in the last six months, so we thought we'd be able to control the game, but they had a lot of depth in their game so it was a bit harder than we thought.
On Inferno, what were the early issues that you had on the offense, where you had trouble getting into the match and ended it with just five rounds?
I think in the first six rounds one of us died first every round, and playing 4v5 on Inferno with them taking banana and being four on A is kind of an impossible task. We had to be more careful with taking the initial positions, making sure we throw the right flashes and just not dying in the first 10 seconds. Then we could take mid or take banana, but we were having real trouble mid-round, we were deciding on what to do, but one of us was dying. It's quite surprising for us how bad our T sides have been, because they had been pretty good online, especially T Inferno, but I think it's not down to the gameplan, it's more down to individuals not doing what we should be doing.
What did it take to close it out after three overtimes?
We knew our CT side was good, we worked out what they were trying to do, so we were fully confident as CT. And then it was just about trying to find some easy round, try to not overcomplicate things because they were moving around a lot. I chipped in for one of the rounds and apEX chipped in for another one of the rounds that won us the game. It was just using what we could see instead of just NBK calling what we usually do.
At the Minor, you were talking about not having played Inferno with LDLC, how has getting used to that been and your progression on the map from a personal standpoint?
It's still a problem (laughs). I've been working hard on it, but because they're all so good on it, I don't think we play it as much as I would have liked to, for example. I don't think I'm as confident on it as they are, so it's kind of a weird mix because I've got such a big responsibility on the CT side. But the CT side went well, so I'm happy with that. I think we just need to keep playing it and it'll just come naturally.
What about from more of a general point of view, getting into some more comfortable spots for you instead of just slotting in for Happy as you had at the Minor?
On certain maps we've changed quite a few things around and on others we haven't. We had three weeks or something after the Minor, so it's still kind of fresh. I should be playing better than I did on the first day, I know I need to play better, but I still need to get used to some things. Not finding any excuses because I should play better anyway. But yeah, it's still kind of fresh.
Give me the lowdown on what your expectations and goals will be in the second stage, how far can you go?
It's just match after match, really. We want to get a win to make sure that we're in the next Major, where we'll have a lot more time to prepare for it because it'll be in god knows how many months. I think if we play well, we can face any team - maybe not Astralis yet, but, you know, face some good teams and win. If we make it to the playoffs then so be it, we'll be happy.