Ax1Le on bouncing back in Dallas: "Before the Major, we just had a lot of problems"
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.
After the winning moment, we spoke to Sergey "Ax1Le" Rykhtorov, the recipient of the HLTV x Bitskins.com 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.