Magisk: "I started playing again a week before we were supposed to; I've been putting in a lot of hours individually"
The Danish squad, currently ranked third in the world, arrives in Berlin after almost two months of inactivity, with their last tournament being ESL One Cologne where they lost to Vitality in the playoffs, placing 3-4th.
At the StarLadder Major, Astralis opened up with a win over DreamEaters who previously claimed scalps of NRG and Vitality. Following the match, we talked with Magisk who stressed that you can't underestimate anyone at a tournament like this one.
Astralis had just 23 official games played in the last three months, the last tournament you played was almost two months ago, so how does it feel to come here and play some games?
Obviously it has been really great to have some time where you could actually chill with family and friends. It has been a pretty long break, though, so in the end, we also really wanted to start playing again. I know for myself, I started playing again a week before we were supposed to start, so I have been putting in a lot of hours individually before that.
But in general, it has been nice being here, (laughs) because it has been almost two months since we last played a tournament. You can definitely feel it, there is a difference between playing practice and going to a tournament and playing other teams. So we knew we had to do all we can to be individually warmed up, because for us it is always about grinding into the tournament. We don't just peak in our first match and play our best CS in the beginning. We always slowly grind ourselves in the tournament and become better with each match. So it is good to be back, yeah.
device, doing the interview before the tournament mentioned that practice, in the beginning, didn't go so well, I think that before the break that was also the case. How has it been during practice matches, what were the difficulties at the beginning?
I think it came down to everyone in the team started feeling the energy levels dropping off a bit [before the break], I think that is classic when you suddenly have everything going against you. We have been on a high for a long time and everything was going our way. Suddenly, things were not going our way and we started losing tournaments, we didn't get the results that we wanted, it is like a mental thing you have to get over.
I think the player break was really good for us to actually watch some tournaments at home before the official player break started, get some motivation, watch the other teams, study them, I think that is why the practice has been really hard for us in the beginning, even when we started out this season because many people haven't been playing... I know for myself I didn't play for 23 days in a row because of the player break, but it definitely hurts your individual level. Even though you play matchmaking, FPL, practice, it is not the same when you are not playing tournaments, you will always be a better player when you have a lot of maps played on LAN. All in all, the practice wasn't that great in the beginning but it got better.
You mentioned watching other tournaments, I want to ask you about watching the New Challengers Stage here, what were your takeaways or things that surprised you from the first stage of the Major?
When you watch that stage you always realize that you can't underestimate anyone, especially in these Majors. Because people have been grinding, bootcamping, coming up with new stuff, and it can be really tough to really anti-strat people going into the tournament when they haven't played any matches at all. Now that we have been watching those games we know there are a few maps we can anti-strat on, but it is not the same as when you have 20 maps go back and look at. That is definitely a thing that is difficult for us because we are used to being able to a anti-strat a lot and use a lot of time on it. This time we anti-stratted, but we didn't even predict the veto correctly.
That is what I wanted to ask you about, the Dreameaters veto. It ended up being Dust2 or Inferno, the latter is historically a pretty good map for your team and they played a couple of Infernos so far, that was a good opportunity to see what they were doing. You ended up going to Dust2 which people say is kind of a puggy map, random map, underdog map. Why was the decision made that way?
For us, it was that we can play any map. We don't mind which map it is and for us it doesn't make sense to give them a map like Inferno when it is statistically one of their best maps, and also, they have been playing the map two times here and they won both times, against CR4ZY and Vitality, so it made no sense to give them the comfort of playing the map they feel good about when we know we are just as good on Dust2 and their results on Dust2 haven't been that good prior to this tournament. We took Dust2 because we feel confident on it and we practice it a lot, there was no reason to make them feel comfortable going into the first match here.
We've seen you have a few highlight clips with the AUG on Dust2, is the weapon still good enough to be used?
On certain positions I think it is still very good. Actually, I think that is the only position I play it, Dust2, because there are so many good angles you can hold, you can do spraydowns, it just has good positions in general and angles you can take with the AUG there. On other maps, I don't really like it that much because it is no that good without the zoom anymore. So it makes sense to go with some off-angles with the AUG on the B site because it is also kind of long-range duels. So yeah, it is viable at certain positions, it depends on how you play it, but I only play it on that bombsite actually.
Lastly, after you won the last Major, people were asking about your next goals and I think one of them was to win Cologne, and that didn't happen this year at least, but the second was three back-to-back Majors and the fourth Major for Astralis. Is that going to be happening?
There is no doubt that we definitely want to win this Major, we have had our backs against the wall for a few months now, and of course, we did everything we could to win in Cologne. Sadly, Vitality played a really good BO3. There is no doubt that we will do everything we can to win this Major and get back-to-back-to-back Majors, make it four for the other guys and three for me in total.
But it is going to be a long road and an exhausting tournament, we just have to be sure to do everything we can and make sure that we follow our plan going into the rest of the tournament. Don't underestimate anyone because, as you saw in the other stage, there are a lot of upsets, and even Vitality was struggling to just get to this stage. So you never know how good the other teams are. Even though Dreameaters on paper shouldn't be a good team, we practiced against them as well, a lot of times, and they didn't look good in practice at all, but they have been showing good signs here. You have to be prepared for anything and land headshots. (laughs)