juanflatroo: "The way we went through to the Major makes it an even more beautiful story"
Bad News Eagles were, along with Astralis and Spirit, one of the three teams to come out of the 2-2 decider series on the last day of the PGL Major Antwerp Europe RMR B alive, qualifying for the event in Brussels that will take place on May 9-22.
After effusive celebration, juanflatroo sat down with HLTV to talk about Bad News Eagles' run at the RMR and what it meant to be the first Kosovar team to reach such heights. The 25-year-old also chatted about his team's style and evolution, and what's to come as they head back to Pristina to play BLAST Premier Spring Showdown, which they kick off against NIP on April 28.
You're the first Kosovar-Albanian team to reach a Major. What does that mean for you guys?
It's a dream that we've been following for many years and the way we went through to the Major makes it an even more beautiful a story. Even back in Kosovo, the newspapers, the televisions, they're talking about us, so you can tell how important that is for us.
We're a new country and we're the ones that should make it more visible in the eyes of the international community and the whole world because we have a lot of potential. We need a lot more experience and showing ourselves, so it's something really big for us. It's a huge milestone for us to reach the Major and we're really happy about it.
As individuals, you're puggers getting together to create a team. How has that journey been?
Each one of us was a pugger. We played PUGs and stacks all day long. We really have good individuals, but what we were lacking is experience getting to play tier A, tier B tournaments, which was something that was never done before. So we had to do it, we had to break the ice and get into the scene. We used to dominate FPL and FACEIT, we were just clicking heads and everyone was scared of us. Coming up as a team we knew that we have to change some things because it's a team game, you can't do anything individually and we had to work a lot on the team play style. We had to learn some nades, something extra, and we created rounds.
Playing individually, it just wasn't working anymore. It works in PUGs, but in official games it's not going to work. So we realized that and did a couple of bootcamps, which helped us a lot. We were playing a lot of qualifiers, so when we lost we looked at our mistakes, what went wrong, what we should have done better. That helped us a lot. We also watched other teams to see how they play, getting new ideas and everything to switch the PUG style into a more structured game. It took a bit of time, but we're getting better at it.
Even now, you still rely a lot on repeeks, outaiming opponents, stuff like that. The matches you struggled against were G2 and NIP, who have incredible shooters but also more structure. How do you improve now to compete against them?
A lof of work. Persistence, getting together and having a few more bootcamps, realizing our mistakes, watching demos, watching the tier one teams. We want to transform into a tier one team, definitely, we know what we need but we need to work really hard on it. Nades, map awareness, all of these external factors that play a huge role in the game.
When we have good days individually, we're never scared to peek, repeek, ask for a flash. When we feel it, we're always hyping each other up, like 'peek them, peek them, you're better than them.' We have a lot of heart, we have a lion's heart, we're not afraid of anything. We just want to fucking win, we have a lot of passion for the game.
Do you think you need to find a bit more balance? When you win you're mega hyped, but then when you're down it's very dramatic so there's all of these ups and downs.
This is a topic we tackle a lot, not daily, but we talk about it a lot. Especially on LAN because we always go crazy. We've played a couple of LANs and we lost a final against forZe when we were leading like 13-5. There was all of that hype and that pressure and everything, but in the end we choked because we were like out of energy. It was like, 'What's going on? My hands are shaking, I can't shoot.' After that game we realized that something was wrong, but it wasn't our aim, we were just spent. So we realized that we need to keep a balance, we're human beings, not robots, just leave the hype until the end of the game.
So we came here with a more clear head, we knew what we had to do. We still hyped, but during the mid-rounds, even if we hyped a bit, we tried to keep it more balanced. We were always telling each other to chill and everything because we need to save our energy — we can go crazy when we win the game. That's what we did today.
When we tackle these topics as a team and realize the mistakes we're making, and actually reflect on these mistakes, that makes us a lot better. That's what actually won us the game today, we kept it calm, we were chilling, trying to play the game slow, not hyping too much, not going down, and just keeping a balance. I really think that's what won us the game.
You had an early game, too, 10AM. Being puggers and used playing a lot at night, did that affect you?
I believe that was the main problem, the early schedule that we played on. It's Orthodox Easter and there were guys chanting [outside the hotel] until like 3 or 4 AM so we had pretty much three or four hours of sleep. None of us slept well, we knew it was going to be rough. So we had to wake up, the first map was like warming our hands. Then we went into Nuke and you saw what happened.
We knew that they were getting the good timings and so on, they didn't win because they're better, they won because we were worse, a lot worse than we can usually be. So we really have to work on this, it was a really good lesson to learn from in the future — to be more prepared for early games whenever they come. It's just experience that we really have to get.
Yeah, yeah, Pablo's mansion is waiting for us. [laughs]
You have the BLAST Showdown now, will you stay and bootcamp there until the Major?
What's the plan?
We'll play BLAST and relax a bit. Not too much, we'll still practice and everything, but we're full of emotions right now. We really need to clear our minds, have a few days with our families, relax a bit, get back to practice, reflect on this tournament, realize what went wrong, what we can fix, and fix it for the Major.