apEX: "shox is not a bad guy, I never hated him, I just had a problem with him as the captain"
The 26-year-old went over the semi-final triumph against Natus Vincere, in which Vitality's Nuke pick backfired, but they were able to come back with a dominant win on Overpass and a good recovery from a slow start on Dust2 to advance to the grand final.
The Nuke pick certainly surprised people, can you tell me why you decided to go that way and why it didn't work?
Well, to be completely honest, our Nuke hasn't been good lately, we didn't play that good on it, but we practiced a lot on it online to try to get better form on it because we used to be really good on it. We wanted to pick it because, as you might know, Na`Vi have never been a really good Nuke team. I don't think it was about strategy, it was more about individuals, we just got so wrecked, we couldn't headshot at all, they just played way better than we did. They were in better form on the first map.
Tell me about how you recovered from that on Overpass, then, because it seemed like a completely different Vitality, everyone was on fire on that flawless CT side.
Outside, we just spoke together and the first thing to say was "let's wake up a little bit," because the communication was a bit too slow and too sleepy. And the second was "guys, we need to headshot just a bit more to beat them" (laughs), so we just tried to refocus together and it happened, we played better in the end.
You had a bit of a slow start on Dust2, on the other hand, but from that point on looked quite confident, how did you turn it around?
Once again, we started really badly. The pistol was lost, but then we bought, we almost won the round, we wanted to rebuy but we just didn't play well in that round, we didn't play together. It was a tough game at the beginning, we tried to refocus at 5-0 and we won that French forcebuy, obviously, and we just came back into the game and played better from that round.
I imagine you didn't expect to be in this position where you can compete for the title this early into the lineup, but now that you are here and up against fnatic in the final, are you confident that you can go all the way?
As you said, at the beginning of the tournament we didn't expect to go in the final. Our main goal was to go to the quarter-finals, and we did it, so now we're really happy to be here, obviously. Yeah, I didn't expect to play fnatic, also. They're a really good team, they're new together, and I think they showed some promising things. It's going to be a tough one, for sure. I'm really happy that they found some success again with flusha and Golden because I think they're a big piece of the Swedish scene right now.
I wanted to ask you about the addition of shox, with whom you have quite some history. Can you talk about the relationship that you have with him now?
I haven't played that much with shox, I played with him in 2011 in Source and the second time was on G2. To be honest, shox, he's not a bad guy. I never hated him, obviously. I just had a problem with him as the captain because - he will say it himself - he's not born to be a captain. He lacks many things and that's what happened in the team. I always tried my best with him, but, obviously, when they wanted to bench me I was pretty sad because I always gave it all. But we don't have anything bad together, he's a really great player. When my team wanted to add him, I was okay with it because I know that it was really important to have a lurker and an experienced player in his role. He's helping a lot in the mid-round calls etc., so I'm really happy to have him in the team, mainly not as a captain, but as a player. As you know, when shox is in form like yesterday, he can shine a lot.
Speaking about that form, what do you think of this newfound combo between him and ZywOo, who have won some ridiculous situations together, particularly in your Dust2 games?
Well, to be honest, ALEX, RpK, and me cannot be much of star players because we're playing a lot of aggressive roles and trying to be first most of the time, mainly ALEX and me. And RpK has a strict role as an anchor on the T side, so he can't be the star player either. Obviously, we needed to have a big star player that can help ZywOo because obviously in the statistics it's really hard to help ZywOo, but we can have a second star, and that's why we picked shox. ZywOo is put in the best condition in the team, as we have said. I'm not going to say like ALEX "we flash for him and he kills many blind people" because it's a meme now, but the guy is so good. When you have the potential to be the best player in the world, you have to put him in the best conditions, and that's why we tried to do it. He has always the best conditions and he performs, so what can you say, we still play like that and give it all for him.