AdreN: "When the big tournaments come, the CIS teams are never scared"
The 29-year-old spoke about his wishes to join a Russian-speaking team after his stint with FaZe at the start of the year, as well as his first two months with AVANGAR and how he is fitting with the young core as the experienced veteran.
We also asked AdreN about the team's first couple of days at the StarLadder Major, where they have so far beaten Complexity in a close encounter, lost to mousesports in overtime, and beat HellRaisers convincingly on day two, and got his thoughts on the CIS region's success so far in Berlin.
First of all, I'd like to ask you about joining AVANGAR, going back to your roots, back in a Kazakh team. Tell me about how it's been to play with them for these past two months, how are you fitting in?
I feel great playing with them because it's something different for me. First of all, after FaZe I wanted to play in a Russian-speaking team, so AVANGAR was an obvious and good fit for me since it's a Kazakh organization. Playing now with the guys, they are all young and I can share my experience with them. I like that they like to improve, they aren't the type of young player that is just playing and trying to aim, they're improving all the time, their skill, macro, micro, everything. I like that in them, I don't need to be super-focused on their game, I just need to be focused on my game and share some experience and maybe confidence at some big tournaments.
Speaking of your wishes to join a Russian-speaking team, was your experience in FaZe eye-opening in that sense? Did you realize it was not going to work for you playing in an international lineup?
When I played in FaZe everything was good there at the end. I got used to playing in an English-speaking team, I got used to thinking in English, so it was easier at the end. But overall, I always think about playing in a Russian-speaking team because it's just much easier for me to focus on my game and give information that I need to give during the games. It's obvious for me, it's easy to play when I'm speaking Russian.
What is the dynamic between you and the rest of the team. You are coming in as the big veteran, a Major champion, do you have a big authority over the rest of the guys?
Of course, our win as Gambit in Krakow affected them, they got motivated. They just told me they watched our demos and practice and our gamestyle, so it was pretty easy to fit in with the team. So yeah, maybe I have some kind of authority. Sometimes it's good for me when I'm telling them something, they're like 'OK, let's do that, it's going to work.'
Jame and saving has become a bit of a meme in the scene and even some pros are calling him out sometimes for it, what is your take on it now that you're playing alongside him and see what his thought process is?
The first time I met him, I was thinking like 'this man, yeah, he's saving' (laughs), but during the game, seeing how he is thinking, these are smart moves. Obviously, saving the AWP in a crucial situation is always a big plus, you always have an opportunity to get the next round. Every time you have that chance to win the round, unless you're playing with pistols or something, it's just much better to save the AWP and win the round. This is a smart move from him, not that many pro players save their guns when they need to, they're trying to make clutches and stuff, but this is more about teamplay.
So far at the Major you've had some close matches against Complexity and mousesports, losing the latter in overtime, and beat HellRaisers with relative ease. How has the tournament been for you up until now, are you happy with your form?
We practiced a lot and we feel that our shape is good. There is some mental stuff, we have to solve the problems with the mental stuff because this is a big tournament for us, we prepared for that, and right now we feel much more confident than when we played in the first two matches yesterday. Those first two matches were more mental for us, right now I think we just went through it.
We've seen Syman and DreamEaters pull off big upsets, forZe have been at the top of the list in the CIS scene for a while, what do you make of these lower-tier teams from the region coming up in the international scene?
I always knew that the CIS scene is good. They might be bad in practice or something, but when the big tournaments come, the CIS teams are never scared, they are playing out of their minds and just play with their hearts. The CIS scene has always been big.
What do you think is it that makes these teams kick into another gear at the Majors? We've seen similar things from teams like Vega Squadron in the past, but they often fall off and can't replicate it outside of the Majors.
I think it's a lack of experience, playing the group stages is one thing, but when you play in the playoffs, in front of the crowd or something. When you feel like you can't win a big match against a big team, this is where the mental stuff works. Yeah, the CIS teams are never scared, but when you play like crazy, it sometimes doesn't pay off. It's good when you're playing the group stage when everybody is scared to play, but when you play the playoffs, no one is scared, everyone is playing out of their minds. I think that's the main issue.