Aleksib: "It feels like we're bringing the energy and hype into this event"
PGL Major Antwerp's Challenger Stage is underway with the first round of best-of-one matches, and G2 kicked off their run at the event with a dominant win over Liquid, taking down the North American side 16-6 on Inferno.
After the match, we caught up with Aleksi "Aleksib" Virolainen to get some quick insight into how the match went from his eyes, as well as what G2's preparations for the Major have been like following the conclusion of the European RMR two weeks ago.
First of all, congratulations on the win, you started the Major pretty strong. How are you feeling after putting up such a dominant performance against Liquid?
I think for every stage, especially if there is best-of-ones included, it is super important if you win the first match convincingly, I feel like it boosts your confidence and morale of the team. Liquid is not a team to joke about, they're improving a lot since the last couple of weeks, so yeah, it's really good by us.
What are your thoughts on how the actual match went?
It went according to plan, I would say. Whenever we lost a round, we had a really good plan after, and another time we lost a round we took a timeout and had another good plan after, they always did exactly what we expected them to do. We adapted really well and didn't let them come back into the game at all, and obviously when we switched to the T side, we can just take it easy, save some money, don't need to panic at all, take it one round at a time and that's it.
Before the Major, you went 3-1 at the RMR, and before that you had EPL where the team didn't end up qualifying for the playoffs, so you had some time off to practice. What sort of changes have you been trying to make to improve ahead of this event?
Overall, philosophy, reactions, we had a long time to practice so we spoke about big picture things and principles we should follow. Honestly, I think Pro League was a joke of a tournament for us because I didn't play in half of the matches even, and only one game decided the fate of our playoffs run, so we didn't really care about that and we tried to use the practice as we could.
Unfortunately when we joined the last stage of the RMR, I feel like we started really slow, I feel like we weren't there to win it, to be as hungry as some of these teams you can see and feel here. After the first day we had a couple of discussions, and I feel like we showed up ten times better for the second and third day. Now it feels like we're bringing that energy and hype into this event.
Did you end up bootcamping for the Major at all? m0NESY mentioned at the RMR that you'd likely just be practicing online.
We bootcamped for a long time before the RMR, but we went home for a week before the RMR started, so it was a bootcamp into some online practice into the RMR tournament.
Between the RMR and the Major, which was what, one and a half weeks or something, we didn't bootcamp this time because otherwise it might be a bit too much considering Ilya [m0NESY] turned 17 and he wanted to go back home and stuff like this. In the end everything went pretty well, and us coming here into the Major, we have a lot of energy now and it's good.
I wanted to touch on NiKo's performances since Katowice, he had quite a dip from the playoffs onward and since then he's been getting better, but it's obviously still substantially lower compared to last year and the start of this year. Is that something that's an individual issue, or something the team are working to solve?
I wouldn't blame everyone if they're having trouble after Katowice since we only played the Pro League in between that, and most of that tournament was without me, and when I entered the tournament, it wasn't the most optimal starting point obviously, losing to fnatic and me travelling the whole night, going into the game straight up.
After that, there's only been the RMR, where we were there as a team and had fully prepped for the tournament and what not. So I think right now, everyone will be feeling way more confident, I think our star players as we get deeper into the tournament, everyone will be stepping up.
Considering you started off like this against Liquid, how do you feel about your prospects for the rest of the stage, and the Legends Stage if you get through? Can you go 3-0?
I think so. We still have a best-of-one today, and in the Legends Stage also, and I think those are the factor that I feel like may not be our strongest suit in terms of us feeling really confident in best-of-threes. But us winning this game and starting the tournament strong is really good for us, and yeah, if we play one game at a time and we just see how it goes, I feel like we can easily go 3-0 in both of these stages. I feel like as I've been watching the analysts and the community trying to pick their favorite, it's really hard to predict who is going 3-0, so we can definitely do it if we play well.