blameF: "Our goal is to attend a lot of tournaments, stay together, and make sure we get some experience to develop as a team"
Heroic started their run at the ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals with a victory over underdogs DETONA, but were then unable to match their Danish compatriots of Astralis in the best-of-three winners match last night. On day two, they took out fnatic, the favorites in the match-up, in a three-map series on Nuke, Mirage, and Overpass, to move on to the lower bracket semi-finals.
blameF talked about Heroic's first matches in Montpellier, the team's progression in the recent past and how they're trying to find a way to become more consistent, their current goals, and some of his personal growth since signing for the Danish team.
We can start with what happened here so far, you beat DETONA and lost to Astralis, which were expected results, but today you beat fnatic. Had you prepared much for them?
After our loss yesterday, and it's fine and acceptable to lose to Astralis, but what made the night so bad for us was the way in which we lost. We played scared, we didn't play our own game, and we kind of felt the pressure as individuals and as a team. Our approach going into today was to not anti-strat as much, but rather rely on what we knew they do and focus way more on playing our own game without trying to do anything special to counter them. We've had so much trouble in the past during important matches finding our own game and hitting our shots and playing great when we have to, so this time we said "we don't have anything to lose, they're obviously the favorites." We just tried to go in and play our own style, which worked.
You've been doing pretty good qualifying for Cologne and winning against fnatic here, but you also had the slip-up in the Minor Qualifier. Where do you see yourselves as a team right now?
The thing we're working on the most now is being consistent. I feel like our ceiling is really high and our bottom level is extremely low, so we're trying to find a way to be more consistent as both players and a team. It's kind of night and day, one tournament we'll go and lose in the group stage, like Sydney, then we qualify for big tournaments like Cologne and Pro League, then we lose the qualifier to NoChance... I think we can beat the best in the world if we play our A game, but we usually don't, so that's probably what we're working on the most, becoming more consistent.
What do you think it is you need to find that consistency? What is it you need to work on or figure out?
We need to be on the same page as a team, we use a lot of our time talking strategy and theory, but it seems like when we go into the game we end up in the same situation with bad communication, or small mistakes that cost us rounds. We go in, watch the demos, and we ask "why the fuck did we do that?" And then we go and end up doing it again. We need to be on the same page, find our play style... we kind of know how we want to play, we like to play aggressive on most CT sides and all of that, but to actually make it work and have the confidence to do it is our biggest issue right now, which we're trying to fix.
For you personally, and I'm going to go way back to when you joined the team, you were kind of trying to find your game. How have you evolved within the team since then? It looks like you've found some of what made you noticed in the first place which was being an impactful player round to round...
I had a really rough start on the team, I think I played fine individually, but we had so many problems on the team and we had some roster changes, so it was hard to get consistent performances. Ever since I became the IGL I had to make some sacrifices, I'm buying a lot of nades on T side and I'm doing a lot of the support, but the team has still allowed me to have some more space and the positions I really want on the CT side.
We're trying to find a balance between me being the leader and doing all of the stuff a leader has to do, the tactical work, but also being able to still perform at a decent level. I'm still working individually as much as I was before, I'm doing as much aim training every day even though I'm also doing the tactical stuff, but I also have the team to back me up. For example, if I ever want to drop some of the tactical work, peacemaker is always saying he will do it for me, whatever I need, although I like to do it and to be the one that sets the team and make sure the arrangement in-game is working.
You had a role change, NaToSaphiX is rifling now, and he told me earlier that he's enjoying it. Can you walk me a bit through that role change?
That's part of the conversation of being consistent. We felt like we hit a peak with NaTo as an AWPer. He's a really great team player, and he brings up a lot to the team both moodwise and doing everything to make it work for the team, which is something we really needed. On the other hand, we have es3tag who has been performing really well as an AWPer lately and we were in a situation where we felt that we hadn't achieved what we wanted so we tried to switch some roles around.
After the Minor loss, hitting rock bottom, we didn't have much to lose, so we tried to switch some things around, not just NaTo, we switched some other positions around, and it seems like it's working a bit more. The way we played against Astralis shows that our problems are not over, but we're trying to get better.
You're alive here after beating fnatic, you have Cologne coming up, what are the goals for the near future of the team?
We're still trying to reach playoffs, that's our biggest goal in any of the tournaments, so if we reach playoffs at the Pro League Finals or in Cologne, that alone would be a huge achievement, especially because we have a bunch of inexperienced guys, so I think that's the main goal. Overall, our goal is to attend a lot of tournaments, stay together, and make sure we get some experience to develop as a team and become more consistent in the future.