gla1ve: "This was one of our best showings in a long time"
Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander chatted with us after lifting the IEM Beijing trophy and being awarded the MVP medal, the first he has ever won.
Astralis lifted the silverware at IEM Beijing after going on a nine-map winning streak, from their opening match against against local team ViCi to the best-of-five grand final against 100 Thieves. The Danes also had a remarkable series in the semi-finals as they lost but two rounds in a 2-0 thrashing of FaZe.
The Danish in-game leader shared his happiness regarding winning his first MVP medal after previously coming close during Astralis' era in 2018, and talked about his team's current form and what awaits the Danes in the coming months as they prepare to play their final events of 2019.
First things first, you have finally won an MVP award. How does it feel?
It feels amazing, I never thought I would get one because I fought for one for so long, and every time I felt like I played a good tournament, especially in 2018, there was a teammate who was better. I was pretty close at DreamHack Masters Marseille last year, but s1mple stole it, so I'm really happy that I got it.
You did not drop a map the whole event in a really dominant performance. FaZe were only able to get two rounds yesterday, today you won all three maps in a best-of-five. Is the good old dominating Astralis coming back?
It's tough to say, it's only one tournament right now and we crashed out [in the groups] in Copenhagen, so to say that the old Astralis is back would be a bit sad because it wouldn't look too good, right? It's just one tournament, we have to work hard now to keep the level we had here, but I'm really happy with what we showed and I think it was one of our best showings in a long time. It was like playing the Major playoffs again.
Did you expect to have such a good tournament, coming into it?
No, not really, although I was expecting us to have a better tournament than we had in Copenhagen because it's a different format, one that suits us better. We had a pretty good gameplan and we had been working hard on both Nuke and Inferno, which we knew we'd play a lot, so I was pretty confident in our Nuke again and that made it a lot easier for me to feel confident going into the tournament.
Tell me a bit about the FaZe blowout, 32-2 across two maps. Were you surprised by how easy it was?
When you're FaZe and you're used to playing against a team with an in-game leader that has 70 ADR and you suddenly play one that has 120, you're going to have a tough time no matter if your teammates are also playing well, and they were playing amazing. There was nothing to touch on, no negativity, everyone was on the same page and we just knew what to do. I think FaZe also had a pretty bad game, so them having a bad game and us having a good one made it look pretty easy for us.
The biggest moment in the grand final today against 100 Thieves was maybe the 14-14 on Vertigo to close the first map out, but pretty straightforward other than that. How was it and what did you think of 100 Thieves?
It was tough on Vertigo because we had no idea how they played and we didn't exactly know 100% how we wanted to play ourselves because we only had practice matches, so when they came up with something new we just thought, "OK, what are we going to do against this?". We just tried to work around them and try to find some stuff we could use. We had tried some things in practice but we weren't sure if they would work. Some things did, some didn't, so now we need to scratch some things and make come up with some new things. We need to think about what we'll do on Vertigo.
100 Thieves is a pretty good team, but when you prepare against them you'll have an easier time because I don't think their playbook is that big. If you look at FaZe on Inferno, they have so many tactics, but when you look at 100 Thieves they don't have as many, so that's a difference between those two teams, for example. They have huge individual players, a lot of skill, jks and jkaem have both been really solid at recent tournaments, so I look forward to playing them more.
The year is starting to wind down, you have three events left. What does the final sprint look like?
Right now, when you stand here right after lifting the IEM Beijing trophy, I think saying that we want to win one or two more tournaments is fair. Two tournaments would be really nice for the team before going on vacation, it would be amazing, so that's my goal. We haven't talked about the goals for the next tournaments yet, but mine would be to win two more tournaments to make it a really good year for us.
There are a lot of teams circling around the top. You are a well-oiled machine, you have Evil Geniuses, who have been going up and down but can win tournaments, fnatic, who are showing up, Liquid disappearing a bit, FaZe... how do you see the rest of the pack?
There are so many contenders right now, us, EG, fnatic, FaZe, Liquid, NiP are doing a good job now too, Na`Vi.. that I think this is the moment in which you can pull through and get ahead of the rest if you do good late in the year. If we have three good tournaments, that would be our chance to show we are better than all of those teams. That's what we need to do, but it's going to be really tough. It's all about hitting the right day and tournament right now because you have one good tournament, then the next one you crash out and lose to some team that you shouldn't lose to, and it feels like it's the same for every team. I'm looking forward to seeing if everybody can find the right procedure to add more stability to their game and we can see better games.