Jame: "We need a lot of game time in order to contend against teams like Astralis"
Earlier this evening AVANGAR were crowned champions of BLAST Pro Series Moscow 2019 following a 2-1 victory over forZe in the grand final of the event. The teams exchanged close performances on Overpass and Inferno, followed by a blow-out 16-6 Dust2 that saw the Kazakh-majority squad walk away with the lion's share of the $250,000 prize pool.
Following the conclusion of the grand final, we sat down with Jame to award him his first-ever MVP medal, get his thoughts on AVANGAR securing their first $250,000+ event title and broke down the best-of-three grand final.
BLAST Pro Series is a monumental achievement for both yourself and the team, in that you secured your first MVP award, and the team just won its first $250,000+ event. What's going through your mind right now?
There are no emotions, I'm very tired. I've been tired since the morning, I didn't get much sleep. The day kept going, and I'm not too sure where I got the strength to perform, because the final matches, particularly the best-of-three, was largely emotionless for me.
When we spoke during the media day, you mentioned two things - one was that AVANGAR came to take the tournament title and the other that it was important not to go 0-6. If we take a look at the team's performance on the first day, a 0-6 record didn't seem impossible. What changed overnight?
During the first day we didn't play good Counter-Strike, myself included as a captain. On the second day we refocused, and the victory over Natus Vincere really gave us a boost. We consider them a nemesis, and it was the first time we beat them, which reminded us that we're still in the game.
Outside of the mentioned victory against Natus Vincere, was there anything else that boosted the moral component of the team in this time?
I gave my all towards preparations and the games, and on the second day we came in with the approach that we have nothing to lose since we were faced with an 0-2 record. It may have made things easier for us because we weren't too worried about the tournament.
Let's break down the grand final series against forZe. First up was Overpass, where you experienced difficulty on the offense, but managed to adjust in the end of the first half, running away with five crucial rounds. How did you change your approach to accommodate for this?
Personally, I didn't adjust, but as a team, we managed to secure important rounds which boosted our confidence and allowed us to close out.
On the defence, it was apparent that you had a very good idea in regards to what to expect from forZe. Was this a case of you anti-stratting them?
forZe are a very interesting team and I frequently watch them play. I had a rough understanding as to what to expect from them. I'm not sure if that was the case for everyone in the team, but I did. There wasn't any team-wide preparation for it. We were in for a best-of-three, we didn't know who our opponents would be, and as a result, we didn't prepare, but because I watch them play and I really like how they play, I approximately knew what they would do.
On Inferno, you had a chance at closing the map towards the latter stage of the second half, but you were unable to do so in the end. What prevented you from concluding in two maps?
Talking about the final rounds specifically, we gave away entries, and throughout the game, they outplayed us on Banana, consistently. They adjusted to our game, but we didn't adapt to their Banana plays. Even when we left the stage in-between maps, we discussed that we need to revisit our approach to Banana, because it has proven to be a clear weakness that well-prepared teams exploit.
The concluding map of the series was Dust2, where you demonstrated a significant improvement on the 14-16 result you sustained against forZe on day one. How did you adjust in order to secure a dominant 16-6 closure?
Firstly, we didn't concede as many entries, and we managed to turn convert rounds, for example when buster clutched a 1v3 on B or when we breached on B and managed to hold them off despite a number disadvantage. I'd say it's because we adapted to them and because the team was looking a lot better today than it did yesterday. Perhaps it was because we prepared ourselves from a mental perspective, maybe it was the presence of viewers. Personally, I was trying to perform to my usual standard.
Lastly, what plans does the team for the near future?
We are flying to a press conference in Alma-Ata tomorrow, and we have another event immediately after. I would like for us to get some rest and rearrange our game a little bit, because we've identified a list of mistakes, and we need a lot of game time in order to contend against teams like Astralis, for example.