degster: "It was amazing, we surprised everyone"

Abdul "⁠degster⁠" Gasanov was still incredulous of his team's feat at the Major in Antwerp up until the tournament's last day, stating "I need more time to understand that I was in the semi-finals."

Spirit put forth one of the most impressive runs at the PGL Major in Antwerp, where degster and his young teammates, the youngest at any stage of the event by a whole year with an average age of 20.7, made it all the way to the semi-finals before being knocked out by the would-be champions of FaZe.

degster believes getting the jitters during the Major semi-final can be a big learning moment for Spirit

The day after their elimination at the hands of Finn "⁠karrigan⁠" Andersen and company, just a few hours before the start of the Major grand final, we sat down with Spirit's AWPer to have one last chat about what it was like to have such a deep run, constantly pushing the boundaries of what people expected of them, and becoming a top 4 team at the Major and by extension the sixth best team in the world on the HLTV ranking. degster also recounted some of the big moments during the event, what went right, what went wrong, and what lies on the horizon for him and his teammates.

You made it all the way to the Major semi-finals, which is something that nobody expected before the event started. I imagine it must be hard to process everything just one day after, but what are your first impressions?

I told my team that we did a great job. We have four young players, very young in my opinion. Actually me, as well, but for my teammates I'm an old man or something like that. I told them that this was amazing, we surprised everyone. A lot of pro players put us as 0-3 [in the pick-ems] and they never respected us. When I was asking some of them why they were doing that, after, they said 'I don't know, I just didn't believe' or stuff like that.

First of all, we did a great job here. It was unpredictable for us as well, no one in our team I think expected that we would make the semi-finals before the RMR started. We came to the Major from the open qualifiers, so it was great for us. I need more time to understand that I was in the semi-finals. I told my team yesterday, and two days ago, that when we're playing I understand what we do, where we are, but after [playing] I'm thinking and saying to myself 'oof, is that the semi-final or not?' [laughs] It was amazing for me, I was not expecting to be in the semi-finals at this age. It's great.

As you mentioned a lot of players had you going 0-3, analysts also had you going out at every turn. But you kept winning and beating expectations and after your match yesterday karrigan gave you a lot respect saying that you have been playing very well. How was it hearing that from him?

Actually, I'm not going to lie, I didn't hear the interview after the match. I will watch it. But on the stage you can't hear what he's saying. If he said some good words about us, that means just a few things for me, that this guy is one of the best and he respects other people's hard work. That's great and I have big respect for Mr. Finn Andersen, who is one of the old callers in our scene. Thanks to him, it was a great match and I believe that he will win at least one Major in his career. [editor's note: this interview was conducted on the morning of the grand final]

Talking about your match, there were two very close maps, but especially that Dust2 with multiple overtimes. You had some map points but weren't able to close it out, then FaZe got their match point and won. How did you live that from the server?

The match against FaZe was the first time during the Major that we got nervous. I heard it from some of my young teammates and, you know, if you're feeling that the atmosphere isn't right you'll make mistakes in one or two rounds, mistakes you would never make if you weren't nervous. We had a lot of situations in which we should have made other decisions and we just didn't make them.

It's OK, because no one in our team has ever been in a Major semi-final or Major play-offs, but if you want to fix your mistakes you can just think about that right now. If we get more experience, these mistakes will be fixed and a lot of us understand that.

You, personally, had a very good tournament, among the top 10 highest-rated players at the event. All of your teammates also had their moments and games. Being less experienced than the rest of teams here, how did you get yourselves to play your best?

The best thing we bring in this roster is an atmosphere in which you can do a lot of things. It's because of the atmosphere, nobody is going to blame you if you make mistakes because everybody makes them and you should never blame your teammate in-game if he does something bad. We just say 'it's OK, it's OK, we'll do our best and try to win the round.' It's the best thing you can bring to the young players with no experience and who are not ready to be blamed. That's only my opinion, but it's important.

How do you maintain this atmosphere, these positive...

Vibes? We talk about it, positive vibes and atmosphere in the team is a very important thing. If we don't have positive vibes in the team we'd have a smaller win-rate in this tournament. We have very funny moments, being loud and smiling, I don't remember smiling like this a year ago.

Do you think you'll be able to keep this going even if things get harder? Are the personalities on the team bright enough?

I think it's hard if you're losing, it's harder to be funny, to have positive vibes, especially for me. I'm very critical of myself when we lose. If I see my mistakes I'm not as positive as when we're winning. We have a psychologist and our coach, both of them are trying to make a positive atmosphere in our team, that it's really important. Everyone believes in that and if we feel like there are any bad vibes we try to fix them.

We talked a bit about how young you guys are, but it's not just that you're young, you were the youngest team at the Major, in any stage, by a whole year. How have you been able to develop so quickly?

I don't have an answer to this question. The synergy in the team just worked at this tournament. I don't think we'll just keep beating teams because of our synergy, we need to work more, but if you're a six-month-old team then synergy is very important.

We can look at other more experienced rosters with more experienced callers, and they didn't get to the semi-finals. We're a team in which nobody has ever played Major playoffs and we made it through to the semi-finals. I think that's because of our synergy.

Have you broken a mental barrier with this result? Do you think you're going to be able to keep this up and get more established?

I hope so. Being stable in the top ten is a lot harder than getting into the top ten. I'm not going to lie, I didn't make it in the old roster, so now I have this experience and now I will use it to help this team.

What's next for you guys? What's on the horizon for Spirit?

We don't have invites to top tournaments right now, but I hope we'll at least get invited to IEM Cologne. First of all we'll play Pinnacle and after that I believe everyone will get some days off. After that we'll see what invites we have and create a plan to prepare for them.

To close things out I wanted to talk a bit about the FURIA trash talking and shooting dead bodies. From what I understand hally doesn't want you to do it and I've also seen it in a lot of CIS teams, that they find this quite disrespectful. How was your understanding of it all?

I cannot answer this for my whole team because all of us have a different opinion, so I can give you my own: it's a part of the show.

I didn't hear what arT said before the match, but after we won the first map my teammates told me what he said and I really took it personally. I would like to say thanks to him because he made me more angry in the match. I have no hate towards him, but I think it's disrespectful to say that he lost because of luck. I don't like that.

Russia Abdul 'degster' Gasanov
Abdul 'degster' Gasanov
Age:
20
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.19
Maps played:
675
KPR:
0.79
DPR:
0.60
Denmark Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Age:
32
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.91
Maps played:
1985
KPR:
0.62
DPR:
0.69
#4
 | 
Andorra K1r1to
true
2022-05-24 18:06
2 replies
GIGACHAD Abdul
2022-05-25 19:00
1 reply
#106
 | 
Niger Feline
+1
2022-05-29 22:34
degster <3
2022-05-24 18:06
1 reply
#90
 | 
Norway FubarIno
This spirit lineup, with an older igl a good awp'er and 3 youngsters, looks really good. Hope they can show us more at the next major, would be sick if they could be FaZe's new rivals tbh
2022-05-25 20:07
Congratz!! Well played by Team Spirit. I thought you guys would repeat the magic of TS in Dota 2 and win it all. Even though it did not happen, it was amazing, specially Faze vs TS.
2022-05-24 18:07
10 replies
#32
based | 
United States Virgin Islands zj2
they did better than NaVi vs FaZe
2022-05-24 18:40
8 replies
+1
2022-05-24 20:50
2nd best team in the major for sure.
2022-05-24 23:37
3 replies
#79
 | 
United States leeneptune
FaZe > Ence > Spirit > NAVI > Nip > heroic > idk
2022-05-25 02:21
2 replies
Nah, spirit before ence then navi then ence
2022-05-25 05:35
1 reply
+1
2022-05-25 09:07
they literally had a better match than NaVi did, TS 2nd best team at the major confirmed
2022-05-25 02:18
2 replies
#87
based | 
United States Virgin Islands zj2
Yep that's what I said
2022-05-25 11:12
1 reply
and I totally agree wid u
2022-05-26 17:17
#61
 | 
United States DarkFX
He taught Fart and all the Brazilians a lesson
2022-05-24 21:18
okay
2022-05-24 18:07
#8
 | 
Canada firtlast
deagster to finsls next time??¿?????
2022-05-24 18:08
3 replies
nope fluke run bye
2022-05-24 19:26
2 replies
#48
 | 
Germany So_Dumm
I say: flair and flag, you say: name checks out
2022-05-24 19:40
1 reply
name checks out
2022-05-24 19:45
- No coach - Young team + Repsect, you made it happen
2022-05-24 18:08
9 replies
+1 i had them as 0-3 in the legend stage and damn did they prove me wrong
2022-05-24 18:30
5 replies
Only no brain people could pick them for 0-3, thay always play really good, but never enought to qualify to the main stage, but this time they did it
2022-05-24 20:47
4 replies
Check my name mens
2022-05-24 20:48
1 reply
xD
2022-05-24 21:25
u call s1mple no brain?
2022-05-24 23:38
1 reply
#81
 | 
Indonesia dharmasura
YES
2022-05-25 05:48
Faze no coach neither
2022-05-24 20:29
2 replies
FaZe has Karrigan is worth 3 coaches
2022-05-24 20:53
#77
 | 
Bangladesh ppgod
the faze roster obviously has a lot more experience and is also more well established in the t1 scene
2022-05-25 00:24
Indeed
2022-05-24 18:09
#13
 | 
Hungary TheBudi34
pogster
2022-05-24 18:09
#14
 | 
Finland AliSabid
GODSTER
2022-05-24 18:10
#16
swag | 
Cyprus Porgos
Pog
2022-05-24 18:11
NiKo should learn from humble degster. The best thing we bring in this roster is an atmosphere in which you can do a lot of things. It's because of the atmosphere, nobody is going to blame you if you make mistakes because everybody makes them and you should never blame your teammate in-game if he does something bad. We just say 'it's OK, it's OK, we'll do our best and try to win the round.' It's the best thing you can bring to the young players with no experience and who are not ready to be blamed. That's only my opinion, but it's important.
2022-05-24 18:13
6 replies
#37
 | 
Turkey orionski
he might be talking about mir maybe. there were rumors that he's hard to work with etc.
2022-05-24 18:50
1 reply
could be yes
2022-05-24 19:53
niko living rent free in so many heads smh
2022-05-24 20:31
THIS. So much this. I think ppl still overlook team atmosphere like its not important, but I tell you, you aint winning shit if you dont have a good atmosphere.
2022-05-24 23:40
+111111
2022-05-25 08:55
#85
 | 
Ireland reyno0o
Probably very true. I can't remember the last time I saw Niko smile during a game. I'd say it's very tough to play with him, constantly worried about pissing him off
2022-05-25 09:39
Spirit played well, I'm really disappointed that they aren't in any of these upcoming tournaments.
2022-05-24 18:13
3 replies
#20
 | 
United States cybonics
praying for an IEM Cologne invite
2022-05-24 18:14
1 reply
Same
2022-05-24 23:41
#62
 | 
United States DarkFX
So am I, they are now ranked #6 in the world and should be at all these big events. They would destroy every team at IEM Dallas except Faze!
2022-05-24 21:22
#19
 | 
United States cybonics
future goat
2022-05-24 18:13
n1
2022-05-24 18:16
Lots of love for King Degster!
2022-05-24 18:16
degster king art clown
2022-05-24 18:17
1 reply
#98
 | 
Slovakia Adwarin
+1
2022-05-26 13:47
#24
 | 
Denmark Rubix__
Spirit has amazing potential spirit first team to win TI +Major would be nice
2022-05-24 18:19
2 replies
NaVi?
2022-05-24 19:05
1 reply
artstyle punching air, no respect 😭
2022-05-24 19:19
#25
 | 
World waltsuu
ALFA
2022-05-24 18:23
And he took that personally
2022-05-24 18:24
hltv confirmed degster plz
2022-05-24 18:25
1 reply
#100
 | 
Slovakia Adwarin
+1
2022-05-26 13:50
patsi new star? gj godsterrrr
2022-05-24 18:35
3 replies
#64
 | 
United States DarkFX
What about Magixx? I think he is really really good
2022-05-24 21:39
2 replies
He is. And he has been for some time already which is funny cuz he's still only 18.
2022-05-24 23:43
1 reply
Rapid Multifrag machine
2022-05-25 22:15
Are Russians called Abdul a lot?
2022-05-24 18:38
5 replies
yeah so
2022-05-24 18:45
He's from Dagestan, it has a high Muslim population
2022-05-24 18:46
1 reply
#99
 | 
Slovakia Adwarin
interesting
2022-05-26 13:50
muslim russians
2022-05-24 19:20
nope only muslim population. we have some korean/jewish names too. and we also have people from the post-Soviet space and also a lot of Finns
2022-05-24 21:42
#33
 | 
Denmark 12inchNRG
Put up a tougher fight against faze than Navi did.
2022-05-24 18:44
sad thing they won't get much invites because they're from russia
2022-05-24 18:45
1 reply
#97
 | 
Slovakia Adwarin
+1 :(
2022-05-26 13:45
#38
 | 
Norway HologramM
GIGACHAD
2022-05-24 18:51
#39
 | 
China Zhusha
respect, great match vs faze and could have gone either way
2022-05-24 18:56
#40
 | 
Canada Lachance
degster the new legend
2022-05-24 18:57
#44
 | 
United States NineSpot
Spirit deserves huge credit for making top 4. If they can maintain their form, it will be even more impressive. Things get harder when you reach the top, not easier as Degster is suggesting. Pressure and expectations increase, they had nothing to lose and played that way in the major. Teams will start to focus on what they do even more so now
2022-05-24 19:23
1 reply
#65
 | 
United States DarkFX
I think he messed up his words about staying in the top 10 because that didn't make sense. Anyhow, they are not invited to any big torny's yet and they should be.
2022-05-24 21:40
#46
 | 
Russia mshkoda
good luck, this roster looks solid
2022-05-24 19:32
godster
2022-05-24 19:37
Gigachad Degster.
2022-05-24 19:41
Pride of Dagestan.
2022-05-24 20:09
Degster will be a legend for years and future top 20 players no doubt. Love this team :) <3
2022-05-24 20:29
1 reply
+1 this guy is great
2022-05-24 23:45
Nice degster
2022-05-24 21:41
#68
mSx | 
Latvia CVJMZ
Nice, well played Dexter, see you SOON :)
2022-05-24 23:01
Chad
2022-05-24 23:51
#76
 | 
South America Huascaran
Respect, and proud of you guys. Keep your heads cool and work hard! beautiful stuff will happen.
2022-05-24 23:58
Respect, this is why I love csgo when I saw them playing. I was really impressed and moved by his smile and emotion after he won those clutches, and patsi's. I remember there was barely someone who cheered and supported them at the first time, because their rival is Faze and some stuffs like Ru-Ukr war. But more and more people started to cheered for them after they won those amazing clutches and put some nice shows. He is my favorite Russian player now. See you soon )
2022-05-25 06:22
invite Spirit to more tournaments ffs
2022-05-25 09:42
4 replies
Please dont, bann them from all
2022-05-25 22:21
2 replies
come to brazil
2022-05-26 14:22
1 reply
Come to sweden little boy, ull have s good time, ull forget spirit
2022-05-28 10:44
#96
 | 
Slovakia Adwarin
+1
2022-05-26 13:42
#88
 | 
Europe Zwenix
Great performance, great team
2022-05-25 17:10
Is he talking about the match against Finest?
2022-05-26 07:37
1 reply
Hahaha nice one
2022-05-26 07:39
dexter sexw
2022-05-26 12:02
People malding because they lost in known clown tournament named pinn cup where underdogs are usually given radarhack
2022-05-28 10:45
#105
 | 
Russia zoper
ez4spirit=)
2022-05-28 16:53
I really enjoy watching Spirit
2022-05-29 23:55
3 replies
reported for bumping
2022-05-29 23:55
2 replies
Piece of news is promoted on the main page of the HLTV website. I didn't read it until now, felt like writing it cause they are fun. Not sure how you think that violates anything, but whatever makes you happy. Your post history is basically a bot spam in and on it's own adding 0 substance to any conversation, 3 words max capacity. Bye spam bot
2022-05-30 00:07
1 reply
lul had to laugh ( 4 words)
2022-05-30 00:09
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