huNter: "I don't think we are aware of who we beat and what we accomplished here yet"
The majorly-Serbian team managed to take down two European powerhouses in BO3 series, fnatic and North, to earn a second place finish at the Minor and a spot at the StarLadder Berlin Major Main Qualifier.
Following the conclusion of the series against North, which CR4ZY won with a dominant 2-0 scoreline, we sat down with huNter- to hear about the road to this point, developing the team, and changing their approach for the rematch.
I'll go straight into the rematch against North, it seemed like you were pretty motivated after the defeat earlier. Tell me a bit about the first game and going into the match now.
We watched the last match together, we learned from it and saw what our mistakes were, starting from the preparation for the match and everything after that. The first mistake was deciding to pick Train instead of Mirage, which today proved to be the right choice, and from there, everything went wrong. We were too focused on what they were doing instead of what we wanted to do, so we decided to switch that around today. We decided to focus on only ourselves, prepare ourselves and that is it. What we did was a mistake, we learned something from it which means that we are smart, and I think with this game we just proved that we are better than them.
Going into the match, Mirage, you started on the T side and were pretty dominant. How did you manage to have such a one-sided game?
Starting Terrorist on a Mirage, a CT-sided map like everyone knows, we lost the pistol and they took a 3-0 lead. After that, we just decided to play our own game as we decided to do before the match. We decided to just do defaults, go mid, and find picks - what we do best. Because I think we are individually significantly better than them, if you compare it player to player, and I think that was the deciding factor. We didn't really do set plays, executes, we just focused on doing defaults, going mid, splitting A and B, and that is it.
Before this you took another big scalp by defeating another big team, fnatic. How was it after that step, a step perhaps even more important than this one because it ensured you didn't get eliminated from the Minor?
You know, a year or two ago you are watching POV demos from people that won Majors like Kjaerbye, JW, KRIMZ in order to learn something, and that is how you develop. That takes time, it takes time to get to a level where you can beat teams like fnatic and North and qualify for the Major. That is everyone's goal, everyone's dream when you start playing Counter-Strike, to qualify for the Major and have your stickers in the game.
We are of course extremely happy about it, but I don't think we are aware of who we beat and what we accomplished here yet, I think we will only be aware of that in 5-6 days when the impressions sink in. Now it is time to celebrate and rest a bit, but it is a really beautiful feeling when after the match you look and see that you've defeated JW, KRIMZ, or Kjaerbye who won a Major two years ago and was an MVP there. It is really a beautiful feeling.
This roster had a lot of moments when you were close to achieving something, such as MDL where you were great but didn't make it through the playoffs, close in other qualifiers, you weren't able to lift a trophy at any of the DreamHack Opens - was all of that suffering worth it after what you've achieved now?
It was, surely. The thing that was the hardest for us was the last Minor in Katowice where we were leading against ENCE 1-0 and had 10-7 on Mirage as CT, but we somehow lost that. After that, we played against Vitality where we had four match points which would ensure us a match against North for the second place, just like we played now, but after four match points we went into overtime and lost.
That was our toughest defeat, the rest was ok. We have been together for seven months now, we trusted in each other and this team, put in a lot of work to progress from day to day, from month to month. After two months we had two bootcamps and we really gave our all to prepare. MDL, as everyone knows, we had a 17-0 record and we traveled from a bootcamp to Sweden for DreamHack and then the day after coming home we played the MDL playoff against Spirit and I think that was the reason we didn't get into Pro League. I think we deserve that spot.
Having stickers and being the first team from your region that managed to get to the Major, regardless of having two "foreigners", is a big achievement. How do you look at it from that side, how do you think it will impact players from the region?
I am very glad that we are the first team that managed to do so and I think everyone was cheering for us, the whole Balkan, and I want to say thanks to everyone, we really had a lot of support over Twitter and everything. So in a way, this is also for them and everyone that was cheering for us, the whole region and everyone in the world that cheered for us. We really had a lot of support here and we felt it. Maybe we were underdogs against teams like mousesports, North, fnatic but I think that we are a top2 team here and we deserved to advance. I'd also like if we had more teams in our region, if CS was played more, I think this will draw the attention of more people, more kids that will start playing, putting in the effort, and making teams.
What are the next steps for you guys, obviously, tonight is going to be fun, but after that, the summer break, Major, and things coming up?
Tonight we celebrate, we will have a team dinner and talk about our break, how long it is going to be and when we are going to start preparing for the Major Qualifier. I don't know how many official maps we have played in these 7 months, it must be around 300 which is really too much, and you add to that practice, two bootcamps, tournaments, I think we are really too tired, I think we need at least 10 days to rest and then start preparing for the Major. And I think that there we can do a lot because it is Swiss BO1 until 0-2 or 2-0 and I think we can beat anyone in BO1s because you can see that we have four very strong maps. Now we have to work on the rest and prepare even better for the upcoming tournaments and the Major.