device: "There are two tournaments left and if we win them I think we can definitely call it our year"
An exciting grand final capped off ECS Season 8 Finals, with Astralis picking up yet another victory over the North American side, with a 2-1 scoreline. As the dust settled, we managed to sit down with device for a quick interview about the match and the rivalry with Liquid.
The 24-year-old AWPer opened up the interview by joking about Liquid's "gimmick pick", touching on some of the issues his team had early on into the series. The question about the best team of the year is still open, the Dane added, with the last two events set to decide the best of 2019.
The grand final was a roller coaster of a match, starting with the veto and Liquid picking Vertigo. What was the initial reaction to that map coming in?
I'm just kidding, it was something they said when we picked it at the Major. It is pretty funny I think, both teams could've won Vertigo, I had such a bad start individually, I actually had some FPS issues, I had 190 FPS, not to use any excuses but the admin was also noticing it, trying to change things up. I didn't really get into my game and I was thinking too much about that, you know, sometimes as a player you lose focus.
But of course, they surprised us a lot even though we knew we would probably get it as a third map, after they picked Dust2, so in the end it was just in a different order than we expected. But yeah it was a little bit tough to play against them, they are really good with the wallbangs, especially.
The start of the T side on Vertigo looked shaky from your team, it seemed like individually, Liquid was pulling off multikills where they werent' supposed to, what was the issue there?
I mean, we were just running around like headless chickens, saying that we need to force ourselves into the game individually. Then we got a first pick and because we didn't have the structure we are used to — because we were trying to just play ourselves into the game individually —, we were just getting caught off guard. There was a round where nitr0 did a 4K in middle or something like that where if we would've just gotten him if we held an angle.
And we lost so many rounds where they had MP9s and they only lost to us when he had Deagles, so it was such a weird game to play and I can't imagine what gla1ve was thinking (laughs), he is the in-game leader, trying to figure out what we should do and every time we had a Deagle round we would win but every time we had money we would just throw the round or wouldn't execute perfectly, so it was a pretty weird game, to be honest. It didn't remind me at all of the other games we played against them on Vertigo.
Was it difficult to get back into the game on Nuke after that?
Yeah, we even threw the pistol round against nitr0, I think that tilted us a little bit, we know how to deal with it so it wasn't really that serious, then NAF hit the shot through the vent and then he hit a shot on the ladder... so many things were going their way but gla1ve pulled out some really good calls, we got a lot of good openings and we knew that they had to try to control the pace on the CT side, push lobby, push outside, so we just tried to bait them into what we wanted to do.
I think we played amazingly on the T side and then started off pretty slow again on the CT side. Then everything started working for us, I got a double kill, gla1ve got a lot of smoke spams - as usual. So yeah I think we just played to our strengths even though we didn't have momentum at any point. And then on Dust2 we just had the momentum from the beginning.
Going into the final few tournaments of the year with a big win, how do you feel about the year as a whole now? Obviously you started with the Major win, then Liquid had their run, now you are back to winning a couple of tournaments. Will you be able to claim this year as your own or do you think it is already set?
There are two tournaments left and if we win them I think we can definitely call it our year, we won both the Majors, I think those are probably the most important tournaments that people think about. Then the other thing is, when we had that amazing 2018, everyone was thinking — but not saying it—, that it is kind of impossible to replicate it. But I think that we've shown that it is almost possible to replicate it, being in all the finals we've been in, playing amazingly, reinventing ourselves after the group stage losses at last ECS and some weak tournaments.
Yeah, we won both the Majors and we've been playing amazingly, so I'm of course extremely happy with how everything has panned out, it could've been a lot worse and it just shows that everyone that is involved with the team, the players and the staff around us, we just have a good understanding of what we want and which direction we want to move in.
This is another ECS MVP for you, your fourth. Is there something that especially suits you at these ECS events?
When you say it like that, there must be something, right? But no, in all honesty, I think it is not as stressful of a tournament, we only have one game per day and if you do well in group stage you have a day off so that is pretty nice. I think other than that, it is pretty random. I think that at this tournament Magisk also deserved to be the MVP. It is always like that, when we win tournaments it is not only one player doing the heavy lifting. Shoutout to him, and other than that, I'll see next ECS, hopefully I can get it again, it is always a bonus when you win the final to find out that you are the MVP.
Of course, it also helps with the top 1 [player of the year] spot, I don't know, ZywOo has amazing stats, but he is not going to be at any tournaments so I just have to play amazingly to maybe be able to deserve it. But I'm trying to focus on the tournament and then we will see.