zonic: "We have a deep playbook and it worked out even if we had a bit of a rocky start"
Astralis, the tournament favorites at BLAST Pro Series Miami, started off their run at the event with two victories on Inferno over Cloud9 and Natus Vincere to go with a clean record into the second day of play at the Watsco Center, where they will face MIBR, FaZe, and Liquid.
In the quick chat we had in the mixed zone, zonic talked about the two matches of the day, against Cloud9 and Natus Vincere, the importance of keeping all of the maps in the map pool fresh and practicing them on a regular basis, and the coming inclusion of Vertigo.
The first match was against Cloud9 on Inferno, they're a new team, run me a bit through it. How did you go into it?
Yeah, we couldn't prepare against them since they changed three players. We knew from back when Golden was calling that he likes to push Banana, so we talked a little bit about that. I think it would hinder us if we put too much focus on trying to figure out how they'd play, so we just played to our own strengths.
It's a bit weird nowadays because we usually rely on our preparation, but yeah, we have a deep playbook and it worked out even if we had a bit of a rocky start. First game of the tournament is always a bit weird, and going up against our former teammate cajunb played into it as well.
Then the Na`Vi match, which was maybe more exciting for the fans on paper... Do you think it was a mistake on their part to let Inferno through?
I don't know, I don't think it's for me to say, you should ask that question to them. For me, we have a very good map pool and we've been very fortunate to beat some of the best teams in the world on their map pick, previously, so I understand why they would take a different road. Since we're not playing Nuke and Inferno that much, maybe they've worked on it, and I believe they looked great on Inferno at StarSeries. So yeah, I didn't expect them to go to Inferno, but it was quite all right.
You say you don't play Nuke and Inferno that often anymore, but at the same time you have these amazing streaks on them. How do you keep them going?
We keep practicing them, I have a record of all of the practice we do and the maps we play each week. It's very important that we continue playing Nuke and we keep spending hours on the server trying to find new stuff because the meta is shifting all of the time and we don't want to suddenly run into a team that's playing a completely different Nuke than what we're used to. It's really important that we play all seven maps. I think it's important to keep working on the map pool, but yeah, going into BLAST and knowing it's mostly best-of-ones, Nuke was probably the map we played the least during practice.
How about the match itself, they started winning early on, but then you brought it back convincingly and closed the first half 10-5.
We won the pistol and lost the second round, then we didn't have much economy because we decided to force, and it has been a good map for us to force on... When we got full utility we got control of Banana, which was a bit difficult, but we got some backup from some of the A players so that gla1ve and Xyp had some late round utility. It was really important to get that control and after five or six rounds they played a bit weird, they didn't play as we had anticipated, and we just got rolling once we got the economy on the CT side.
A more general question to close it out. Cache will be out for Vertigo soon, which helps you in the map pool. Have you thought about it yet?
Yeah, we're definitely going to play Vertigo. We knew it wasn't going to be here at this event and I don't think it will be until Madrid, so we haven't put too much focus on it, but we will definitely play it.