Jerry: "DreamHack Winter gave us a lot of energy and we can use it at EPICENTER"
The Russian squad hit a monumental milestone on Friday as they secured entry into ESL's showpiece league after beating HAVU 3-0 in the MDL Finals in Dallas, taking advantage of the map-advantage they had due to coming from the upper bracket.
In an interview conducted by Dust2.us' Collin "CarbonDogma" Davis, Jerry explained the significance of qualifying for a tier-one league, shared his thoughts on the team's solid track record against HAVU and gave insight into recent LAN results. Concluding the interview, the Russian captain gave insight into whether roster adjustments were ever in discussion, and elaborated on the role of Anatoliy "liTTle" Yashin, the team's coach.
What does the victory at MDL and qualifying for ESL Pro League Season 11 mean to the team?
It's a big pleasure because we always wanted to play at a tier-one event. We can fight and practice against teams in the top 10 of the world rankings, and maybe we will get better invites, you know? We just won it, we didn't show many emotions. We did our job and we knew that if we won Train, we could beat them 3-0. Maybe we relaxed a little on Mirage when we had the advantage at 15-8, ending the game 16-13. It was a little hard to end the game, but we did it, and I'm really glad, as is my team. We're happy.
Going back a few months, you played HAVU in DreamHack Open Rotterdam. Do you think you have a good matchup against the team?
Yes, because two or three months ago we tried to train Dust2 a lot, and, as you could see from the veto here, we just banned it because sometimes a team just doesn't like a map, and I think Dust2 is the map we don't like. We tried to train it for two or three months, during that DreamHack we tried to train Dust2, but it just didn't work well. I watched a lot of demos of tier-one players from EG, fnatic and the good teams that can play Dust2 well, and tried to steal something from them, but it's not working for us.
It's because when you don't like a map, maybe you don't get satisfaction or enjoyment when you play it, and even if you copy something or steal something from a good team, it's not going to work for you because you don't know timings well, or maybe you practiced the map less in FPL or matchmaking. You practice the map less, you play it during practice and don't like it, as a result, it's a bad map in our pool. Maybe we will try to start working on Train more. I think we have some good strategies on it, but we need to work more on this map.
A short while after was the WePlay Forge of Masters event, where you lost to GODSENT and GamerLegion. Was that a disappointing event for you?
I kind of expected that because as a captain I can see the state of my team, and we were going there with low morale. My team needs to be in a good mood, well-rested and well-fed to play well. That's a big problem for our team because sometimes you go to tournaments and you're jetlagged, you might dislike something, but you have to play well in any situation. In our case, we are not a team that can play well in any situation, but I think we can reach that state in maybe half a year and become part of the first tier.
We lost to GODSENT 16-14 at WePlay, and that was on Dust2 actually (laughs). We just lost a lot of rounds on the CT side, we had a really bad start, and after that, we tried to come back on the T side but we lost. I can't say that GODSENT were better; we're a team that can come back even if we have a bad start, but it doesn't always work. We can lose 16-13 or 16-14, whatever, but my team needs to have a good start, that's the thing.
Most recently, the team won DreamHack Winter, where you got revenge on GODSENT and you also beat FURIA and Tricked. What was it like being able to win an event like that?
I really enjoyed the win, as I've said many times in a lot of interviews, the team needs confidence and the only way to get it is by winning matches; if you win a LAN, you gain a lot of confidence. HAVU don't play many LANs, and we just came back from DreamHack in Sweden, and before that we had attended WePlay, so we are used to playing at LANs already. HAVU haven't attended a lot of LANs, so we kind of felt like maybe they would be better prepared but that we could still outplay them just because we feel really good on LAN.
Back to the original question, DreamHack gave us a lot of energy and I think we can use the energy at EPICENTER, which is coming up after these MDL finals.
There's an interesting stat, whereby whichever team wins a DreamHack Winter goes on to win a Premier event next year. Do you think forZe will be able to win a Premier event in 2020?
Do you mean DreamHack Masters? Yeah, I think we have a pretty solid chance, but, as I said before, we need to have a good result at EPICENTER, because I think if we could even reach the playoffs stage, it would be a really good boost for us. If we reach the playoffs stage in that kind of a tournament, where only good teams are playing, we can try to put up a really good fight at DreamHack Masters. I think we are prepared for it.
Your lineup has been together for a very long time now, well over a year. How have you been able to keep improving over this time, and was there ever a point where a roster move was considered?
No, I can say that there were no moves considered, not from management or our players. We know that if we keep the roster together, we have a really good chance of reaching the top. It's a simple thing that a lot of CIS teams don't understand, they think that if you change something you're going to play better, but it doesn't work like that. You need to work with your current roster, and if you don't like something you need to say so. If you don't like something within the team you have to be vocal and discuss it. I think the most important thing is to have a good coach.
We had 5TRYK#R, now we have liTTle, so there are three things, I suppose: you need to have a good captain, you need to keep your roster together and solve all the problems you have, and the third thing is that you have to get a coach that can help you solve these problems. Also, I'd like to say that our management used to play Counter-Strike a long time ago, and they sometimes help us solve little problems inside our squad.
You just mentioned liTTle. He was brought on recently, but you had played with him before. What has he been bringing to the team as a coach?
I think the first thing he is trying to introduce is discipline. The coach has to be a man with a capital "M" because if your team doesn't have discipline, they can play poorly and lose advantages, as a lot of teams do. I think the first thing is trying to develop discipline, and the second thing is tactical solutions for specific players; not the entire team, but for example, FL1T because he is kind of young and needs more experience, xsepower because he is statistically a good AWPer but he needs to improve more. It's a rule, you have to always improve, and that's what liTTle is doing, he's trying to help us improve.