qikert: "I'm so happy that I didn't join Na`Vi when they invited me; I believed in my friends and made the right choice"
The team from Kazakhstan continued their run at the Berlin Major, and after defeating Vitality in the quarter-finals, 2-0'd Renegades in the semi-finals. The series started on Mirage, where AVANGAR mustered an overtime victory, following that up with a dominant performance on Dust2.
We talked to qikert shortly after he stepped off of the stage in the Mercedes-Benz Arena and heard about keeping composure in a tough match, his individual form, and the decision to turn down Natus Vincere and stay in AVANGAR.
You just beat Renegades and moved into the grand final of the Major. Coming into it, obviously, no-one would've expected you in the final, so what is the feeling like right now?
It feels like a dream, I wasn't ready for this, I didn't expect such a cool result and I still have literally no words. But I'm happy with our performance, we did great, we did good with preparation, we did well on the stage. We were playing on Mirage, they were leading 15-13, but nobody gave up. I think that helped us win matches. We never give up. And I'm feeling really amazing because my team never gives up.
What do you think was the key point in the history of this team that allowed you to get to this point? What were the key roster changes or decisions that you made as a team to get to this point?
I don't know, we were just becoming stronger and stronger after every opponent. I think that after the win over Syman in the New Challengers Stage we became more confident, we believed in ourselves that we have to do it, we have to show ourselves on the New Legends Stage and now we are here, in the final. It feels amazing, I'm so shocked still.
Talking about the Renegades game, you started CT and they have a thing that they do quite often, boosting AZR mid and just overwhelming mid pretty fast. What was the game plan, how did you cope with that?
Mirage, as I said, we started really shaky, we weren't playing our game because we were a little bit stressed, but after some rounds we got used to the game, got used to the crowd, got used to the huge pressure and we just showed what we are made off with a great comeback.
Do you think you dealt with the pressure better than Renegades? Because even when they were winning all of the clutches, you still managed to stay on top?
I think we are one of the best teams in terms of our mentality because we were losing such rounds that 90% of the teams would already give up, but we didn't. It is so cool, I'm so proud of my team because of this. On Dust2 we had a really bad start but again, magic happened and we started grabbing round by round and it provided us the victory. Amazing rounds, amazing calls, even though every time we were losing the entry, I don't know how, but we were winning rounds 4v5 every time. I don't know how it happened, but I think that at that point Renegades got stressed because they lost like five 5v4 rounds. I think this just tilted them and destroyed them mentally.
What is the key to your individual form? Because you have been playing pretty well, especially in this last series. Is there anything special you are doing before these playoff games?
I don't know, I have been playing so badly since the first day of this Major and I thought "Where is my individual form?". I was shocked we got to this stage with me playing this way, like "I'm playing so badly and we are still winning". I was so proud of my team because they are carrying me.
Yesterday, before going to sleep, I thought I had to carry this game, it was now or never. My teammates' performance inspired me and I thought that it was now my time to win them the game. But I didn't win this game, my team won this game. It is a team game as I said before on Twitter and I'm so happy.
What was the meaning behind the "It is a team game" Tweet, can you explain it a bit more?
Sometimes, community, players, and other teams are focusing on one player like ZywOo, Jame, even me, but they don't see great players like buster, great players like SANJI. They are not focusing on them because they are not having good numbers on the scoreboard. And it annoys me, because even our bosses, our management, our CEO, before thought about the statistics [too much]. They were looking at CR4ZY's games and saying "Oh, huNter, such a nice rating. EspiranTo, oh, such an amazing team!". And they once asked us how we managed to win against them. So even our CEO and our bosses were underestimating us and it made us really mad, really angry, we wanted to prove everyone that it is a team game.
For people that don't understand what buster does, or what SANJI does, can you give us some examples so they can be better educated, get better insight into it?
Every guy in our team is individually really strong, they are stronger than average pro players, I'm 100% sure that all of my players are at a really high level of individual skill, especially buster, he is one of the strongest players I've ever played. Individually, I'm sure he is much stronger than me, much stronger than anyone on the professional scene. But he is playing positions where he can't show it, but he is so consistent, he is just a cool player. As well as SANJI. When SANJI joined our team we had really good results, we won a tournament in Kiev and a tournament in Brazil and he was delivering really good at these tournaments. But after that, something happened with our team and this was the period where we lost 10 important games. These were officials to get to some cool leagues, like ECS, or cool LAN tournaments like ESL One New York.
We were losing and I think we were just lost as a team at this period. We were seeing some problems in SANJI, we were talking with him a lot. But the problem wasn't in him, it was a problem in our team because we never believed in our fifth players. We always had a fifth player in which we didn't believe. But recently, when our boss came to our gaming house, to our bootcamp, we had a really big talk about everything and we started believing in each other. He said some very cool things, our CEO [Yongun Kim] is just an amazing guy in terms of psychology and he helped us before this Major. I have no words, he inspired everyone to believe in every other player in the team.
You are in the Major grand final, you don't know who you are going to play yet, what are your expectations?
My expectations? I don't know what will happen because before every game we were sitting and thinking about how we don't know what is going to happen. But we were focusing on the current day and not the future. So now after we won against Renegades we are focusing on this game and we really want to play against Astralis because we know they have one of the highest levels in terms of team play. They are a really good team.
Is there anything you want to add?
Yeah. I'm so happy that I didn't join Na`Vi when they invited me after our really good start in Rio and Kiev. I think that is what forced me to believe in my team. And now when we hit the grand final stage I'm so happy that I believed in my guys, my organization, in my friends, and made the right choice.
You decided to not join Na`Vi? Why?
Yes, they invited me when they were having struggles with Edward. They also invited Boombl4, but one guy wrote to me, I can't say who, and he said that I'm one of the first guys on their list. But I decided to reject Na`Vi because I believed in my team and my organization. I did this because back when I was a nonamer, I was just playing from home and one day I was in a really bad mood. I was 17 years old, playing PUGs, and I was dominating, but everyone was calling me a cheater. Nobody wanted to invite me to a team in the local scene and I wanted to delete CS:GO. I was already pressing "Delete" and one guy wrote to me on Steam. That was my current CEO, he invited me to a team and after that we achieved something after a year on bootcamp. When he asked me if I would accept an invitation to Na`Vi or another team I said: "No. I'll only leave you after I've given you three times more then you gave me". I gave a promise and since that day I'm playing for an organization in which I believe.