ALEX: "We had won like 95% of our practice games before BLAST; we were a bit overconfident"
The Brit tried to explain what happened to his team back in London, where after a comfortable opening match against Natus Vincere something went wrong and Vitality conceded a convincing series to Complexity and another in the rematch against Na`Vi.
ALEX explained how the team's practice results may have affected them despite acknowledging they are meaningless and discussed their form in Katowice, where they have won their first match against NiP to start their journey.
The in-game leader also commented on the decision to stop picking Dust2 and explored the latest update on that map as well as the changes to Mirage.
From apEX's interview back at BLAST, you started the year early on compared to others, why weren't you able to translate that preparation into a better result in London?
I'm not too sure. I don't think it was just us, Astralis lost, EG lost, 100 Thieves... We had started practicing early just to avoid that specifically, trying to avoid coming to the first tournament with like two weeks of practice and not hit the mark straight away. We played well against Na`Vi and then everything seemed to crumble after that. I'm not too sure what happened.
Practice obviously means nothing, but it's the first time in our team's career that we won like 95% of our practice games. We're used to losing them all (laughs). I think we were a bit overconfident, and when we started losing we hadn't lost for so long that it was weird to lose. Maybe some nerves came into it when we started losing, I don't know.
How does that make you feel, that you can just not show up in the middle of the tournament?
It's tough, yeah. But I think we worked out why and we fixed for here, so hopefully, it won't happen again.
So what form are you in for Katowice, then?
So we're back to losing practice games, so I'm feeling pretty confident (laughs). We're going back to what was working last year and it worked out today, hopefully it'll work out for the rest of the tournament.
It seems like you have given up on picking Dust2 as one of your primary maps. Have you given in to the theory that it's just a volatile map?
Yeah, I've specifically said that I'm never picking Dust2 again. I think we're pretty good at Dust2, I don't think we're bad, it's just that I think we played two Dust2s and we had zero long spawns. That just shuts down half the map straight away because it's really hard to go late long, but I just feel like there are many things that can go wrong on Dust2, whereas if we play more technical maps then we have more control over what's going to happen.
Do you think the update is going to change anything about that with the skybox opening towards B?
I don't think Dust2 has changed at all. Maybe for retakes on B, it makes it a bit easier, being able to flash from tunnels as well, but I think the good change is on Mirage.
Let's get into that, as well, what do you make of Mirage now? The prevalent opinion seems to be that it helps T side a lot.
Yeah, I think it helps T side a lot. I think the bench is too much, I don't think that should exist because it's already hard enough trying to hold connector and window without the bench, and with the bench it just makes it impossible. You could send one guy in connector, one guy ready to jump up, and if he's fighting the guy in connector he just jumps up and he's behind. But I like the change on B because I feel like Mirage B was really hard to attack, you had to work out when they were going to be four on A and it just made life difficult, and now it opens up the map a bit more. We'll see how it works out in officials.
Touching on the match against NiP, it seemed like you had some good reads on their defense early on with a lot of openings there, what did you see in terms of weaknesses in NiP?
We had prepared for that game, we knew it was going to be Vertigo, and we were expecting them to play really slow, but they were playing much quicker and more aggressive, which was catching us off-guard. After a while, I just felt like I needed to take control of the game and look for entry frags, and that worked out. Once we calmed them down, them running around and beating us that way, then it just made life easier and we understood that we're using our utility wrong, and then we could use it as we should be and managed to come back.
Next up you're facing Astralis, what do you expect from that matchup?
I'm looking forward to it, it's always fun to play against Astralis. I'm just looking for us to play well. If we play well I know we can win, but the most important thing for us coming off of BLAST is just to play well and see where it takes us.