HObbit on their Dust2 loss to Astralis: "There was a lot of stress inside the team"
Abay "HObbit" Khassenov's team secured their place in the Legends stage of the PGL Major in Antwerp after going 3-0.
Players cruised through their opening best-of-one games against Sangal and Anonymo ahead of their qualification match against Astralis. The Danes proved to be their first challenge at the event, forcing the CIS squad to go all the way to the third map on Inferno to decide the match.
A 2-1 win over the Danes sealed their status among the top two teams at this event, claiming a one-way ticket to the last sixteen of the Antwerp Major. Following their victory, the Kazakh veteran sat down with us to talk about Players' preparation coming into Romania as well as the role of the coaching staff in the organization.
You are now 3-0 and skipping the Challengers stage at the Major. What have you thought of your performance so far at this event? Are you satisfied with it?
We had a good boot camp before the tournament, it was our third international one and we went to Germany. It was a good opportunity and we even got to play with 5 ping. There is a big difference between playing with 5 and 40 ping, the feeling of the game itself and aiming feel different, so it gave us a lot of confidence coming into this.
Your best-of-one games against Sangal and Anonymo were pretty straightforward before facing Astralis. The last game was a bit tougher, you took their pick of Ancient and dropped Dust2, a map that you have been really good on. Talk me through it.
There was a lot of stress inside the team, I mean, everyone wants to go to the Legends stage and we had a good chance. These thoughts sometimes break into your mind and you might not think about the game, but rather about the result. It destroyed our game.
You went to Inferno and played really well. What were the discussions like after the second map?
Our coach and manager spoke a lot, and I have a lot of experience, so I also had a couple of words. In the end, the communication between our team before the final map helped us a lot, and I need to give a big thanks to our coach who stayed calm and had a very good game plan.
As the veteran of the team, how do you fit in this dynamic with the players, manager, and coach? When something goes wrong, are you one of the first to speak?
We have a coach and he is the head of everything: the structure, the system, how we need to practice, what time we need to practice, what maps we need to plan, etc. He's always helping us, and the same with our manager, he's helping a lot with the outside stuff, you know? They allow us to focus on our aim, crosshair, and our roles, that's it.
Have you prepared anything going into the Major? Any boot camps?
We don't know yet to be honest. I mean, of course, we all wanted to go 3-0, but no one planned like we were surely going to go 3-0 and then we'll boot camp next, for example. I can say that we are going to have a few weekends off, we need it very much. I have not seen my family in two months, and last year I was only able to see my family like three or four times, so I want to see them. Everyone wants to go back home and chill.
Have you got any aims for the Major?
I mean everyone wants to win the Major, it's the main goal, the big dream. To be honest, my goal is to show our best form, and my dream is to have the guys show themselves, me as well, but I have some experience while they don't have as much. I know from practice and other tournaments what crazy things they are capable of, I mean, they are very very talented and if they are going to show their game, I am just going to be happy no matter how we place.