sterling: "We've got a real good chance to make a run of this"
After AVANT successfully made playoffs at the Asia Minor we spoke with Euan "sterling" Moore to discuss the team's progress, their run at the Minor and his thoughts on the upcoming series against TYLOO.
AVANT have successfully ensured participation in the playoffs of the Asia Minor following a close 2-1 series against 5POWER. The team will now face TYLOO in looks to advance to the winners' final of the tournament.
In an interview conducted immediately after AVANT bested 5POWER we spoke to sterling to discuss the team's progress over the past five months, in-game adjustments made since conception and broke down each of the match-ups from their Minor run so far.
AVANT has been a unit for five months now - talk to me about the progress you've managed to achieve over the course of this time.
To be honest, we've had a lot of issues. We've straight-up missed out on around two months-worth of practice due to technical issues and people getting sick, like J1rah was out sick for two weeks, ap0c's PC was broken for around a week and a half, we didn't know how to fix it.
We've actually had a really rough time practicing for the event, but luckily we had AVANT organise a bootcamp at the Kinguin EPC to prepare, which helped immensely.
The quartet of you, HaZR, ap0c and J1rah joined AVANT in February - have there been any significant role adjustments since you came together?
Our roles have mostly been consistent. I think we've only done one role change which was bring Mike (ap0c) to Banana in place of Jay (soju_j). He went back to apps because Mike's more of the second person in the team to activate at Banana. That's the only real role move we've made, everything else has been super consistent.
Let's get into the Minor - your opening match against 5POWER was quite convincing, where you won on Dust (16-9). Did that best-of-one kind of set the pace for the team? What did you extract from that match?
That match was sort of just getting rid of the nerves for the other players in the team - this is HaZR and J1rah's first large event; I think Jay (soju_j) played for Legacy at IEM Sydney, but it's his first real big event where there's stuff up for grabs. Getting those nerves out the way was pretty crucial. That's really about it.
Next up was the series against Grayhound, where the team struggled quite a bit, dropping 0-2 and witnessing a 0-16 blowout on Nuke. Two questions: in hindsight, were you comfortable with the map veto, and what exactly went wrong on Nuke that caused such a lop-sided outcome?
Nuke, specifically, with the veto - we're very confident on Nuke, I think, but that series we maybe misplayed the veto a tiny bit because, to be honest, we didn't realise that if you get to the third map you get to pick sides, so if we left Nuke as the third map and we got to pick CT, I reckon we could've had a real good chance at it.
The other thing with the Nuke series - J1rah has currently got the flu, and he's our IGL, so we had no preparation for Grayhound at all. You probably saw on the stream or whatever, he just had blood coming out of his nose constantly, so last night he actually had to go to a hospital for it. It's been rough in that department, but after he went to the hospital yesterday he's feeling a bit better, so we should be good moving forward.
In the rematch series against 5POWER you exchanged map picks in that you took Overpass, while they converted Mirage. How did that pan out? Did this catch you off-guard?
I think the map vetoes with us, specifically, are pretty weird because we've only played a certain amount of HLTV games over the five months, so there's nothing to go off of for teams. We wouldn't have been practicing against Grayhound because they've been away, and they've had issues with visas and stuff like that, so they wouldn't know about the vetoes and, obviously, the Asian teams wouldn't either.
We have an unknown factor about our vetoes. We're fairly confident on most of those maps; Mirage - we're confident on it in Australia, but practicing in Europe a bit, it was kind of iffy, but we still felt confident on it, even though we lost on it in the end. I think that was down to giving them the early momentum, they won both pistol rounds, which ended up giving them 6-0, and then 3-0 on the CT, I think. Had we won a pistol round or two, it would've been a completely different series, 2-0.
Inferno was very close as the T half very nearly saw you concede the map after allowing them to push overtime from a 6-14 deficit. Later you went on to take them down in a single OT, ensuring playoffs. Talk to me about what went wrong on the offense and how they managed to come back so convincingly.
I have to be honest, our communication and everything just broke down, people were feeling the pressure. They were going for double AWP setups, getting stupid picks on us that we need to fix. Our communication broke down completely, but we took those tactical timeouts and, in the end, we were sort of getting there. Once we made it to OT, and people knew there was no choke anymore, we managed to reset and had some clean rounds.
You're now set to face TYLOO in the playoffs - tell me about that match-up. How familiar are you with them? Have you faced them in pracs as of late?
No, I don't think we've practiced against any of the teams playing at the Minor at all. There's nothing to go off of from practices, and also it's kind of iffy with TYLOO'S roster, we don't know much about them because they brought in Freeman. The only thing to go off of is this event, and I think the EPL finals, there were a couple of demos. It'll certainly be an interesting series. They don't seem as strong as they used to be, say, 6-7 months ago, when they were like a top 15 team in the world, so we've got a real good chance to make a run of this. We're very keen.