Players comment on last day of BLAST Premier Spring Series
The last day of group play at BLAST Premier Spring Series kicked off with a rematch between Evil Geniuses and OG for a spot at the BLAST Premier Spring Series Finals. Despite losing the first time around, the North American team were favorites after shedding some of their post-vocational rust against 100 Thieves, while OG failed to show up in the winners' match against G2 on Saturday.
Evil Geniuses quickly took the series lead on Train, OG's map pick, 16-4, but were beaten on their own pick, Mirage—two maps that weren't played when the two teams faced off the first time around. "I really don't think overconfidence was it," tarik said in a post-match interview in the mixed zone, "I don't think we went into the second map, Mirage, thinking that we won. I don't think any of my teammates did that, we just couldn't get a rhythm going and it spiraled out of control."
Evil Geniuses then lost in a thirty round bout on Inferno, the decider, but tarik downplayed the blunder saying "it's the first event of the year, so we can't kick ourselves too much over it. We still have a chance of making it to the finals in Moscow, we just have to make sure we're prepared for Showdown."
"IEM Katowice is up next," the North American player said looking forward to the first Big Event of the season, "and that's a whole different ball game. All it comes down to is making sure we're ready for it and I don't think it's worth our time to be too down about this. We didn't play to our potential here and we know that, so we just have to make sure that moving forward we turn things around."
"We practice Train a lot, but playing on LAN against a strong team like EG is a different experience," said mantuu, giving his take on the best-of-three series, "we were surprised, to be honest, but Mirage is a more puggy map and anything can happen. Even if it was their pick, If you have good aim and you're comfortable individually you can just smash the enemy."
"I'm really, really happy," he said about winning Inferno and qualifying for the BLAST Premier Spring Series Finals, "I don't know what it is, some days we're really in the game and some we're not, we just need to find the balance and be consistent with our energy levels." Ahead of the final match against G2, mantuu said that OG were "more mentally prepared," adding that "we won't respect them as much as we did the first time around and we'll see how it goes."
mantuu then admitted that "we were still pretty jittery at the start although I said we'd go into it with more confidence," when answering some follow-up questions after the loss to the Franco-Serbian team. "It's okay," he continued, "we should have won, but personally I felt a little bit of exhaustion towards the end—not sure about the others. If we would have taken a few more rounds on the T-side of Nuke I think we could have taken the map and won the whole thing. If we would have been fresh without having played a best-of-three before maybe it would have been a different thing, or maybe not. Credit to G2 either way," he concluded, "they played amazingly."
"OG anti-stratted us a lot in the first game we played against them," huNter- said in the last interview of the day, "they also did some of that this time around, but we were able to adapt our game a lot more the first time around. We expected Evil Geniuses to win, honestly, so we prepared for EG, but OG beat them again. They did it twice in three days which is really hard."
"The third map of the final was a great way to finish this BLAST Premier group stage," huNter- said of their 16-14 victory on Nuke, "the fans were going crazy and everything was great. It was for everyone to enjoy, for us too, we were playing and enjoying ourselves, so I think it was really good for the people watching. I'm so happy we secured first place in this group, it's important that we didn't fall out and have to go to BLAST Showdown because a lot of good teams like Astralis, Vitality, 100 Thieves and Evil Geniuses will be there."
"We only lost one map out of seven in a group with 100 Thieves, Evil Geniuses and OG, all really great teams, so I'm happy because of that," huNter- said about the takeaways from the BLAST Premier group stage, "we had a bootcamp because nexa and I didn't have much time to prepare anything when we joined the team last year, we just prepared at events, before the matches, so now we had a bootcamp and we prepared well and I know we can keep becoming better. We'll see, we have a few more days of practice before IEM Katowice, where we'll try our best as we did here. We'll try to make the playoffs and see what is possible in front of the crowd."
"Our team is driven by momentum," the Serbian rifler added, wrapping up the interview as contractors started to pour into the warehouse to break down the studio that had been home to BLAST Premier during the past three weeks, "when we have good momentum and win eight best-of-threes in a row, that's really good for our confidence. Kenny started to play really well again, I mean he was already playing well, but now he's a monster like he was two or three years ago, and nexa is doing a really good job as IGL. I didn't play that well this event, I mean I did a good job, but I can still do it a lot better. AmaNEk and JaCkz are great as support and entry, our coach maLeK also did an unreal job regarding mentality and timeouts," huNter- said trailing off, "so yeah, I'm proud of everyone."