EliGE: "We're 100% the best team in the world"
HLTV.org sat down with Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski after the American player was named MVP of the ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals in Montpellier, France, where Liquid beat G2 in the best-of-five final.
Liquid beat Astralis, mousesports, and G2 in the ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals playoffs to end up raising the trophy in Montpellier. In the final, EliGE had over 1.20 ratings on all three maps his team won, ending the match with a 1.23. Added to the rest of his tournament ratings, the 21-year-old ended the event in France with a tournament-leading 1.29.
In the interview, EliGE talked about the crowd-pleasing fourth map, Inferno, where Liquid closed the series against G2, their place as #1 in the world, using the SG553, and what's to come in the near future, including ESL One Cologne and a shot at the Intel Grand Slam.
Tell me a bit about Inferno, a triple-overtime match, a very exciting map for the spectators. How was it on the inside?
The first half was super scrappy, we didn't have good money at all, we were going on a lot of half-buys, some people had guns and some people didn't, like nitr0 was saying he didn't have a real gun until the eighth or ninth round, which is really frustrating.
We were making little mistakes, miscommunication was happening here or there and we were losing rounds because of it, but when we were on the T side they started to make the same little mistakes here and there that we were making. We were playing it slow and getting a lot of map control with the right reads, and Stewie2K had a great performance. Not so much the shooting as him reading the game, he gives a lot of mid-round calls that are really good for us. He does that on every map and he does a really good job at it.
It was a bit of a gritty back-and-forth which ended in a 1HP clutch by Twistzz, but you seemed to have the upper hand in overtime for the most part. How confident were you that you'd be able to close it out?
I was feeling really confident, as soon as we made it to OT I was sure we were going to win. I feel like every time that I see a team come back into it and push it into OT they are always the one that goes in with the momentum and knows what was working for them to be able to get them into OT, and we kept the same gameplan that we had on the T side. On the CT side, we got caught off a little bit, but as soon as they turned it down a notch and started to go slower we were able to read it and play off of it better.
You finally got that important best-of-three win against Astralis, you won the final against G2, you beat mousesports, who are a team that are very exciting and playing very well. Where do you see yourselves? Do you consider yourselves now the #1 team?
We're 100% the best team in the world. I think people just needed to see us beat Astralis, and we did that. I think HellRaisers and mousesports, and G2 now, they all played super well against us, so I'd classify all of the teams we played against as really amazing teams. Our performance here, especially coming from the losers bracket and playing a best-of-three every single day against the caliber of teams that we did, there's no way to see it other than us being the #1 team.
Especially after Dallas, as well, where you beat the likes of FaZe, FURIA, and ENCE. All of the teams that are up there. But how about you individually, you got your first MVP just a couple of weeks ago, now you earn your second one here... How do you feel about your own play?
I feel amazing, like every single thing that I do is going to work. As long as I get into a situation where I'm able to shoot back at them, I'm going to be able to win the fight. I just have a lot of confidence in everything I'm doing and my teammates are helping me a lot, too. During other matches, they were even dropping SG553's for me, like they'd get an AK, see an SG553 on the ground and be like, "I got this for you, Jon," so I think it has been awesome how much my team has been supporting me.
Talking about the SG553, you're really pushing the boundaries with that gun. At first people found out about the AUG, and everyone started to use the AUG, but now you're starting to use the SG553. Well, you used it before, as well, but now it's becoming more and more apparent how well you're using it. Is it just time before more players figure it out, or is it just your thing?
Well, people just need time to get used to it, for sure, the reason it's showing so much for me now is because I got a head start. I started with both the AUG and the SG553 back when the update first happened. I think that the SG553 has a way higher skill-ceiling and a lower floor, so if you're not as good with it and don't practice the right way with it, then you're not going to be able to show how good the gun is.
Next is ESL One Cologne, the biggest tournament of the season outside of the Majors, how are you feeling about it now?
Pretty good, coming off of two tournament wins in a row, beating all of the good teams, I think the only top team we haven't played and beat yet is VItality. I don't think we've played them in a series. We're very confident and have a lot of things we know we need to fix, things that were happening in the games that we need to address, and as soon as we fix those flaws we're going to be even stronger. Oh, and if we can win some pistol rounds? Oh my God, these scorelines are going to be so different! [laughs]
One last thing, you're three for three in Intel Grand Slam tournament wins. Is that a little extra motivation?
Yeah, we've been thinking about the Intel Grand Slam ever since we won the first one in Sydney. We've been looking at how many there were before the player break would happen, and you know, we're right on track, we're almost there. We have a shot in Cologne, a shot in Chicago, and I think we're looking pretty good to take it.