dastan: "The pressure will be on our opponents in the playoffs"
Despite a rough start in the New Legends stage, which saw AVANGAR lose to ENCE in a one-sided Overpass affair, the Kazakhstan-based side made it through to the playoffs with three wins in a row, taking down Renegades, Liquid, and G2.
We spoke to their coach, dastan, about the team's improvements from the first day of the second stage and how they managed to beat the best team in the world, Liquid, en route to the playoffs in Berlin. The 26-year-old also gave us his thoughts on what Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev's addition has done to improve the squad and
You suffered a big loss to ENCE on Overpass in the first round of the tournament and since then you've beaten Liquid on it and now G2. What changed from day one to now?
I think the ENCE game was good, but they won two pistols, sergej played well, he hit every shot. And when you lose two pistols and don't win a force round you can lose to everyone. After we beat Renegades, we knew we would play against Liquid. We learned a lot from Liquid's Overpass, we know every single thing they do, we knew they wouldn't change anything because we are the underdog team and they had the best Overpass in the world. We watched maybe 20 demos of Overpass from Liquid when we prepared for the tournament and we know everything about them.
They had a big lead, 9-2, we knew they wouldn't change anything when everything works. The second pistol round helped us come back, we had some weird rounds like losing to NAF on A site. Liquid is the best team, but their strongest side is mentality, the mentality of a winner, and when you practice against them, they don't look as strong, just like NRG's coach said. When you play them they play like you can't beat them, but it's another story if you play in an official match.
How did that help you beat G2, as well? You looked very confident on the CT side there.
I don't know, maybe it helped us, but it wasn't really about Overpass, it was all about our mentality. We had a good feeling that we could beat them, we had Inferno and Overpass, we believed in each other. We had a 4-1 lead and then we snowballed them on the CT side. They won the second pistol and almost made a comeback, but we managed to win. It wasn't the Liquid game that helped us, but Liquid helped us be strong mentally. After you beat Liquid you can do everything. Confidence, that was very big. Yes it's a best-of-one, just one time that we beat them, but we will remember that every time.
Your guys don't have much big stage experience, you've really only played at one at EPICENTER, how do you think you will fare up against the pressure in the playoffs?
I don't think it will pressure us, I think we will have a good feeling going through the crowd. Yes, we aren't a tier one team in the rankings, we weren't in many playoffs, but we were at almost 30 LANs, we've had two years of good LAN practice, the pressure is not that big. I think the pressure will be on our opponents in the playoffs, it's all about a nice feeling.
I wanted to get your thoughts on AdreN, what has his addition done to improve the team?
I think he brought the best ways to prepare for a tournament from FaZe and Gambit and we used the best ways to prepare from them, that was a nice experience, that's the first. Secondly, he's an MVP of a Major, this guy is training with us and he has made it, it helped a lot that this guy is sitting beside us and he won that final. He has always been playing tier-one tournaments. When he came to us, maybe we played a lot of online matches, but online matches and Major matches is completely different, it's another Counter-Strike. In an online match, you don't have pressure, you have nothing to lose, and some teams, underdog teams, can beat you easily.
AdreN helped us be confident. The difference between the new roster and the former roster is that AdreN and SANJI are more confident. In the big rounds he had good calls against Liquid and against G2, he had confidence in a lot of situations. It's not just about the game, it's also mentally because he has faced every scenario from his teams, from the 15 years of experience, that is helping us a lot. But first of all, it's the mentality. He came to us and he told us that we should think that we will win any tournament, it's helping a lot.
You were saying that he has made some great calls in those two games, can you talk about AdreN's impact in that aspect, helping Jame and qikert?
He's helping when something is not going well. He called the last round against Liquid, the winning round, it was a FaZe round (laughs). He helps when Jame and qikert are struggling, but it's not that Jame is calling, then qikert is, then AdreN is, the decisions come naturally. He can say something any time and it will work. He can call some rounds when we are losing and he knows how to break the enemy. But he has some new positions in our team, I think he will play better individually in some time, maybe in the playoffs? It's AdreN, everyone expects him to be the top fragger, and he will be. He just needs time.