Ax1Le on bouncing back in Dallas: "Before the Major, we just had a lot of problems"

The newly-crowned HLTV x MVP of IEM Dallas spoke to us after Cloud9 secured victory over ENCE on stage.

Cloud9 broke their Big Event LAN curse in Texas on Sunday as they were able to lift the IEM Dallas trophy after winning a one-sided grand final series against ENCE, one where the Russian side were in control for for the majority of the proceedings with the support of the roaring crowd behind them.

Ax1Le earned the MVP award for IEM Dallas, ending with a 1.32 rating

After the winning moment, we spoke to Sergey "⁠Ax1Le⁠" Rykhtorov, the recipient of the HLTV x MVP award thanks to his stellar form throughout the tournament, which he ended as the highest-rated player with a 1.32 rating over 16 maps.

Congrats Ax1Le, you've broken the curse, a dominant win on stage at a Big Event as the fans cheer on and an incredible experience I'm sure. Can you describe it?

I was so happy to win this one. My team is the best, we just worked a lot for these last months- YEARS, what months? Years. We deserve it, and we are happy.

That series was in your control almost through and through. You started a little slow on Mirage, down 2-8, how were you feeling with that initial start?

Our first maps every time are just a little bit shaky, we just need time to click our mouses and feel the game. With time when we're playing we start feeling the game, we're trying to communicate more and offer more in the game, more rounds, more communication, things like that. It helps us to be confident and it helps us to win a match like that.

After Mirage, you steamrolled. Overpass had a few close rounds and it got a little close, but in the end pretty much in your control, Ancient completely dominant. It seems like you've shaken off the nerves on stage a bit.

We're just feeling the crowd, they're supporting us and it really helps. When they are screaming for us, cheering for us, it gives us confidence, and we're feeling confident on the stage, feeling really good. We can aim like we aim in practices, deathmatch and so on. It just helps us so much, and for myself, I'm really feeling confident on the stage. I really like to play on the stage but not in studios, I really like a crowd.

Going from the low of getting eliminated from the Major to coming here and beating teams like FaZe and ENCE to win the title, how was it being able to bounce back from that result into this?

Before the Major, we just had a lot of problems. We didn't have a real place to bootcamp, to practice. We moved around the world and it was really hard, but now we practiced good for this tournament, and with time, with every day, we felt our game and got more confident.

This is your first LAN Big Event win, you had that whole period with the online era winning some titles, but people were starting to doubt whether you could do it on stage too. Is this just the first of many now that you've got a win?

Of course. We will win many tournaments in the future, I believe it.

You also have the support of Cloud9 behind you now, what does that mean to you?

Cloud9 is a really good organization, they help us in everything. They're giving us merchandise, so much merchandise, they're helping us with traveling, searching for bootcamps. It's a very good organization and we're happy to be here. We just were shocked when they offered us to join them, and it's a really good opportunity.

Russia Sergey 'Ax1Le' Rykhtorov
Sergey 'Ax1Le' Rykhtorov
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
best rifler
2022-06-05 22:50
8 replies
Brazil lilyyyyyyyy
2022-06-05 22:52
Canada MiLkBaGzz
2022-06-05 23:08
2022-06-06 00:04
2022-06-06 02:17
2022-06-06 08:37
2022-06-06 20:02
2022-06-07 05:07
2022-06-07 10:58
2022-06-05 22:51
swag | 
Cyprus Porgos
2022-06-05 22:51
Best rifler
2022-06-05 22:51
2022-06-05 22:52
United Kingdom Bullitead
Deserved MVP.
2022-06-05 22:52
United States zovint
new top 1 team. bye bye faze
2022-06-05 22:52
2 replies
2022-06-05 23:04
nt, faze bouta thrash them next time they meet
2022-06-06 22:50
So they need another event in NA :o
2022-06-05 22:53
2 replies
I think this pushes the narrative even further about how the pressure is getting to them. When they are in NA under C9 im presuming they have the crowd advantage and back in EU the crowd is more against them/with the bigger teams FaZe, Navi ect
2022-06-06 04:46
C9 > Faze
2022-06-06 08:49
deserved, best rifler this year and top 3 overall in 2022
2022-06-05 22:54
3 replies
fnx | 
Russia P0vTr
>best rifler this year >top 3 overall in 2022 bruh
2022-06-06 08:45
2 replies
top 3 if you also count awpers, s1mple and sh1ro have better stats than him
2022-06-06 12:06
1 reply
fnx | 
Russia P0vTr
misunderstood the word "overall", sorry
2022-06-06 12:21
CIS edgepy
no way they're not top3 tommorow after this
2022-06-05 22:59
7 replies
that would be a bit much
2022-06-06 00:04
Hopefully #4. Gap between them and Ence is too big. Plus Ence reached final as well. But it doesn't matter as long as they maintain this form.
2022-06-06 00:23
5 replies
navi will be out of top3 i think
2022-06-06 01:46
4 replies
Unlikely, 2 place at major will keep them in top 3 for now.
2022-06-06 02:42
3 replies
I didnt look up their points but losing a player also loses you some points afaik
2022-06-06 13:10
2 replies
Points are for 3 players core so it shouldn't affect their standing.
2022-06-06 15:56
1 reply
Not really, even one move affects the points
2022-06-06 19:50
nice they did something on LAN, I am skeptical about them keeping that up though.
2022-06-05 23:04
10 replies
Lol. Doubters gonna doubt. And keep doubting.
2022-06-05 23:09
9 replies
its because of how much better statistically all of these players are online. You would be a fool not to doubt them. This COULD be the turnaround point where they actually figure it tf out though.
2022-06-05 23:10
8 replies
"We're just feeling the crowd, they're supporting us and it really helps. When they are screaming for us, cheering for us, it gives us confidence, and we're feeling confident on the stage, feeling really good. We can aim like we aim in practices, deathmatch and so on. It just helps us so much, and for myself, I'm really feeling confident on the stage. I really like to play on the stage but not in studios, I really like a crowd." C9 was probably the best that could happen to the team. They now have people cheering for them at LANs.
2022-06-05 23:13
6 replies
United States cybonics
Well, maybe a tournament in Russia or Kazakhstan while they were on Gambit could've given them a similar experience. But that's all what ifs, super happy for em.
2022-06-05 23:54
5 replies
Russia Whileyoung
Nah, Russians mostly cheer for navi (at least they used to)
2022-06-06 00:01
4 replies
CIS edgepy
the world will need decades after the war will finish before russians will ever cheer for navi again (as well as ukrainians for russians)
2022-06-06 00:47
3 replies
Idk I actually dont think so. As long as ppl dont make political statements or search the fault in the russian government I think the support will be there still
2022-06-06 13:12
1 reply
CIS edgepy
hope so
2022-06-06 13:20
Russia fslexcduck
No, there is a big difference actually. In Russia we always considered and are still considering ukrainians as brothers. And I will always be rooting for NaVi at least while they still have russian players. But even if they will not at some point, there will be no big difference because of the point I made. In the ukrainian minds the situation is quite different. And that was already a thing before the special military operation.
2022-06-06 14:57
Chad kdorek
One very overlooked fact for when they dipped on results going into LAN is the fact they were top1 for months and won several tier1 tournaments in a row. They not only had to transition into LAN, but people had them more figured out and studied. They were the team to beat. Now that's mostly talking about 2021. Their performance in the Antwerp Major was inexcusably poor. But it felt less about LAN performance and that they almost griefed in the BO1s. They went Inferno vs NIP (even though teams like FaZe always pick Inferno vs them as it's one of their less good maps) and then had to face FaZe at 0-1... and well, Nuke happened. That's a very silly way to find yourself at 0-2 tbh.
2022-06-06 03:45
Latvia Roberts2k
small tournament xd
2022-06-05 23:07
was expecting NaVi to win this But i suppose these bots can enjoy their 15 seconds of fame
2022-06-05 23:09
2 replies
Poland tailal
cope kid
2022-06-06 00:00
CIS edgepy
lolololololol FaZe fan malding
2022-06-06 00:48
Canada firtlast
2022-06-05 23:13
1 reply
fnx | 
Russia P0vTr
NA + CIS <3
2022-06-06 08:46
Well deserved!
2022-06-05 23:28
France mk@
Thx C9 for saving them
2022-06-05 23:31
Ax1Le's skillset is nothing short of incredible! His 2 signature moves "see through wall" and "lock onto head" never cease to amaze me. Teach me pls master!!!
2022-06-05 23:32
2 replies
You’re aware this was a LAN ?
2022-06-05 23:35
1 reply
his name probably checks out
2022-06-05 23:54
Great crowd atmosphere for C9 even though it’s a Russian squad. Lots of people having so much fun.
2022-06-05 23:35
China ynafan
Next S-Tier trophy is also ours!!
2022-06-05 23:52
best player NA
2022-06-06 00:12
I was kinda surprised with the amount of cheering for this roster and I realised I underestimated how many fans C9 have from past rosters and just want to see the org and its players succeed. These fans are good for the players no doubt.
2022-06-06 00:25
1 reply
Political statement as well imo, but really nice to see them have the crowd behind them like that.
2022-06-06 09:03
proud of na <3
2022-06-06 00:27
Juli | 
Canada Yaokon
Happy for them! Honestly cs is starting to become si fun to watch.. last time I was this interested in cs was back when the old vp and optic NA roster were still around
2022-06-06 00:29
Brazil Ricardogwz
Top 5 for sure this year
2022-06-06 02:58
France cedd
ax1le and sh1ro the pride and soul of north american cs
2022-06-06 03:45
They've got themselves a new fan. It's been a long time since I've wanted to see one specific team win everything, but this c9 lineup is fucking awesome. I hope that they continue this success, shi1ro and ax1le are next level good.
2022-06-06 04:09
1 reply
Yeah you could see them just being happy to be there, they showed how much it meant to them to get picked up by an NA org, one of the best and biggest orgs in Esports, especially in those times. Well deserved for wholesome ppl
2022-06-06 13:15
Australia imissdevvy
NAFany NA pride
2022-06-06 04:11
lol one the greatest NA players
2022-06-06 09:04
Cloud9 are really happy it worked out the way that it did, Jack was so happy on stage after they lifted the trophy. He was really happy they signed Gambit’s squad and a month or wut later they had already managed to produced a lan win. Congratz again.
2022-06-06 09:57
1 reply
North Macedonia MungosE
Is it me or his dad looks like Stan Lee
2022-06-06 20:19
One of the best roster acquisitions wp c9 org
2022-06-06 23:24
Ax1Le | 
China fu22Y
ez for Russian pride. yall delusional NA fans should stop
2022-06-06 23:47
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