dupreeh on the SG 553: "I think we are looking at the most overpowered gun in the history of Counter-Strike"
Astralis will be hoping the third time is the charm for their team as they head into the event in their country's capital, aiming to win BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen for the first time.
Starting here at BLAST Copenhagen, it's the third time you'll have it here, it's a special event for you guys since it's the capital of Denmark, and I think you personally live nearby as well, you see the arena every day. Is there an additional desire to do well here? What's the feeling like coming into the tournament?
There's obviously the fact that we have all the Danish supporters coming here, and that we have a sold-out arena and we know that at least 99% of the people coming here are going to support us, so there is a huge thing going on for us. Me, personally, the fact that I see the arena every time, I do think every time I get close, I think: "Oh, the game is coming closer and closer". We are very confident right now, and we hope that we can show the real Astralis. We've been trying to show it the last couple of months, it's been going a little up-and-down, but I feel like we've started to come out ahead, so I feel like we feel confident and we just look forward to playing.
Are you favorites to win this event?
I think so. Without being biased, I think we are the favorites here. I mean we have Liquid coming in, and they have been looking a bit shaky as well; then you have Na'Vi at the same time, they have been looking really up-and-down as well, so I think it's really hard to say, but at the same time when you play against all these players and you've played against them so many times, sometimes it's just about the day. Sometimes one of the teams just shows up in a way that you didn't expect and then if you don't show up yourself, you're just going to end up losing. There are just no bad players here.
Kind of by surprise, this rivalry between you and Evil Geniuses started developing; they overtook you in the World rankings just a few days ago. What is your feeling on them, their rise and come to prominence, and the three-way thing that's going on between Astralis, Liquid and EG right now?
I think EG is probably the team we have the hardest time beating, and I don't really know why because it also was a problem when they had daps. We always seem to lose the winner's match against them, and then we lost against them in New York as well. I don't think we played that great of a final in New York, to be honest, but they are a team that seems to be doing really well in terms of how they work chemistry-wise. They are really solid in the meta with the new Krieg and everything, it has definitely given them another tool to work with - not saying it's the only tool they work with, obviously, because I also have to be polite (laughs).
No, but they are a team with really strong talents, they have the core of CeRq, Ethan and Brehze, it's a core that has been working together for a long time, and especially Brehze has stepped up tremendously the last couple of months. Then, I think the addition of tarik and stanislaw has given them some experience, and especially when it comes to stanislaw, he's the type of in-game leader I could see that looks at the game a little bit in the same way as gla1ve does. He's really good at reading the game, knowing when to go aggressive and when to push for information and when not to push for information - I think that really benefits the team. I think he's a really smart in-game leader, and then obviously with the raw talent they have, the team chemistry that they have built up, I think they are a really great team. I think it's really hard to determine who's the best team in the world right now because there is really a lot of up-and-down, and even though they are the number one ranked team in the world right now, and we were the best team previously, I don't think anyone could actually claim the spot. I think we're going to see who is going to win in Beijing, and who's going to be the best team there.
You touched on the Krieg, obviously, there's a lot of discussion about it at the moment. Throughout the last five years of CS:GO we've had different metas, different overpowered guns and stuff like that. How do you feel the current Krieg stands the test against the CZ-75 back in the day and the AUG, and other things? How bad is it, really?
I think we are looking at the most overpowered gun in the history of Counter-Strike, honestly. You had the combination of the AWP with the quick-switch of the CZ75 back in the days, you had the M4A1-S shooting really really fast, you had the AUG meta, but I still think the Krieg is the one that is by far the most powerful. There are two things to it: when a CT gets a Krieg, he will go for duels that he would've been unable to take with an M4 or an AK, for that matter, and he's just going to sit there and hold an angle, and it's just really powerful. It seems that you can actually out-duel AWPs, and when the Terrorists decide to go for aggressive peeks against M4s, there are just certain peeks you can't take anymore as a CT, because you know there's a Krieg waiting for you there, they're just going to peek you.
I think it's a shame, actually, for the game, I think it's really not in place, the gun is basically too powerful in terms of the accuracy of the gun, it has a scope, and some people claim that it has an easier spray pattern than the AK if you just learn it. I think it's up to each individual person how good they are with it, but you can definitely see the popularity of the gun has risen since everyone started using it, obviously. There are players that are just so good with the weapon, that whenever they get it, a player like Brehze, a player like Brollan from fnatic, you can just see how their individual level has gone skyrocketing since the gun. They are still really great players without it, obviously, but it's still at a point where I think it's too good for how it is in pricing.
So what's the solution? What do you have in mind to make it more manageable?
There is a tonne of solutions, but the thing is about finding the right one. Is it to nerf the fire rate? Nerf the scope? I think Twistzz came up with an idea that he would make it semi-automatic only. I kind of like that idea a little bit, but at the same time, I'm also afraid that it's going to make it completely useless because I don't want to see a gun that's completely taken out. What I like about what they've done to the AUG right now, is that it actually feels like it's still really viable in certain situations and some positions, and a few players in my team also decide to pick it up whenever they play a certain position, and it seems to be working pretty well for them. I think that would be really nice that you can actually find and balance in a way where you can have the Krieg being still in the game, but not as the main weapon always, unless you actually want to invest more money into it. Obviously, put it up in price, but also make sure that you can actually still use it.
Moving on from that, I think an interesting thing about your team, maybe you in particular, sometimes you seem to vent frustrations out in the match, like punching the table and stuff like that. How does that work in relation with the whole sports psychology and stuff that you kind of pioneered as a team? Is that something that's thought of as acceptable, venting? Can you tell me about that dynamic?
It's not really a secret that I'm an emotional player in a lot of ways. It's definitely improved for the better over the past couple of years, because when I was even younger, and everything just didn't work out for you, you could just really end up in a situation where you would just not play well because you were not feeling it emotionally. I've been talking it through with my sports psychologist, and, obviously, it is just a part of me - I can never remove it. I don't think I can ever just take it away that I will never get frustrated or never get pissed about something in a game, because that happens, and that's how I am as a person. That is also my strong side - I mean if I end up being in a situation where I get frustrated about something, the key is to get away from the frustration and find the right path again.
That's kind of what I've been trying to learn and it's still really hard in some ways, but what I have learned the most is that despite being frustrated, I can't let it affect my game so much that it will affect my teammates. If I start getting frustrated and start being an idiot, and start not giving the right calls, or being late on information, it's going to affect my teammates. That's what I've been putting my focus on making sure that I'm still a good teammate despite actually being frustrated. But obviously it's also one of my strengths - if I have a really good game and everything just seems to be rolling for me, it just adds into my game and I become even better. It's finding the right balance, but it's definitely something I've been working on lately.
Coming to the end of the year, there are a lot of tournaments, as there are always, like finals of all these leagues and stuff like that. It's kind of a busy schedule, you also decided to go to IEM Beijing, which is in China, flying East is something that you've been avoiding recently. Can you tell me a bit about the thinking behind the scheduling going into the end of 2019?
For our team, we've obviously had the discussion about traveling East, and the fact that we have a couple of guys in the team that are affected very much by jet lag, and obviously going East is always going to be worse, and we've had issues when we went to Sydney before. What I think has changed this time around is that we want to try to go East again to see how everything works out because we have been working on getting a better schedule and working on people focusing a little bit more on their mental health and their physical health as well. We want to give it a shot going East, see how everything works out.
We felt like, foremost, going to China was to get the experience of going East, but also going to see our fans and actually experience playing in Asia, because we haven't really done that yet. I don't think it's an effort towards redeeming ourselves or saying: "We can still go East", or anything like that, it's just a part of the schedule. I don't think there's any special decision behind going there, apart from that it fits better in our schedule and we decided not to go to Turkey because we had BLAST Pro coming up, which is a tournament we really want to focus on. Also, we had the ESL Pro League qualification, and the ECS that we wanted to go to, so it just didn't fit that well for us. Putting BLAST Pro in Copenhagen as a tournament we really want to win, we also wanted to put in extra effort in practice.
With all the tournaments that you're going to be playing, what is the goal? What will you be happy with when the Christmas break comes up?
Being the best team in the world in the rankings would definitely be the goal for us, it's always the goal, so maintaining that spot and claiming it back is our top priority. By now, we can already see that we're not going to achieve the same things we did last year, and that's not something we go around and cry about, because that's just how things are. We want to go and win at least a couple of tournaments more, it would be really nice to win in Copenhagen, but also in Odense, which we've already qualified for. Just making sure that we have a stable situation once we go into the Christmas break, and then taking it from there.