degster: "I am looking only for international teams; NAVI I think can be possible"
With a fantastic showing in Lisbon under his belt, Abdul "degster" Gasanov took some time with HLTV for an interview to talk about his experience at the event and his future.
degster came into BLAST Premier Spring Finals as a last-minute replacement, taking up the AWPing mantle for OG, and he did not disappoint, helping the new-look roster make a swashbuckling run all the way to the semi-finals.
The Russian sniper's personal performance was a huge factor in this run, with the AWPer being the sixth-highest rated player in the tournament and appearing near the top in a host of other categories like total AWP kills, multi-kill rounds and opening kill success.
After enjoying his appearance in the showmatch before the grand final, degster sat down with HLTV to talk about his tournament performance, elaborate on why he is looking for European team offers, and to share what his plans are for the immediate future.
How are you feeling after that showmatch? It looked like a lot of fun up there!
Yes it was great, very cool (smiles) but I got knifed one time, I will remember the nickname of this guy and I hope we will meet in official matches. We will see who will have fun there (laughs).
What has tournament been like for you overall, it must have been a crazy experience?
It’s a crazy experience, it’s my chance to show myself in an international team because right now I am looking only for international teams in my career, except NAVI, and when I am talking about NAVI I always talk about in the CIS region they have some of the smartest people in Counter-Strike history.
This was very good for me, I wasn’t scared when OG asked me to go to Lisbon. I was at home and I didn’t play CS for five days, after I left Spirit I was having a break for myself, and I say yes okay, they gave me two hours to decide and I said yes okay I will fly tomorrow for you. I was confident, I understand that it was cool that I didn’t feel scared.
So you have said that you are looking only for international offers, unless of course NAVI came knocking. Why do you prefer international over a CIS team?
First of all, VP and Cloud9 are closed. VP have Jame as caller, Cloud9 have their own sniper, and they are playing in two different styles of AWPing and I understand that it’s not possible. NAVI I think can be possible, I’m not looking only for them, but I am just saying that if they start talks with me I will agree to join.
Otherwise, in Europe, I can join a lot of good teams and I can work with a lot of good players, new players that I didn’t meet at all. That’s good experience for me in my life and career, it’s like every single sport that we have in the world, when someone is from his own country, leaving towards Europe helps him get better as a person, get good organisations, and they help him level up in everything. That’s what I want.
You were one of the best performers in this tournament, how were you able to do so well as a stand-in coming in on such short notice?
The most important reason is that nexa and Casper said to me that I could do whatever I want, and they would adapt for me. That is very important because with my style of AWP, I cannot adapt for them, I am doing a lot of aggression, all that I need is help from them and for them to be ready to fight with me. They were ready, nexa was saying “do whatever you want, I will adapt,” and that’s very good to hear because you understand that this man who didn’t know you two days before believes in you more than some of your teammates.
It paid off, you played really well!
Specifically you have had great success in opening kills, the highest success rate in the tournament I believe, why do you think you are able to be so efficient in that regard?
Actually I wasn’t thinking about it. I remember some moments when I am catching people, like s1mple on Ancient, it was very funny to watch when he saw me and he was jumping, he was trying to live (laughs).
I think it is one of my skills, I am not thinking about it I can just feel it when I can kill someone.
So it is just a result of the aggressive playstyle?
Of course, if you are playing safe and throwing flashes you cannot get a first kill as a sniper (laughs).
In my opinion the sniper is a very powerful weapon, and if you can do that why would your teammates ask you not to do it? It’s the most powerful weapon and if your sniper is good on it, why shouldn’t he play aggressive.
If I could touch on you leaving Team Spirit, obviously you had your reasons, but considering the success at the Major and the potential that seemed to be there, were you disappointed to not see where it could go?
I would like to say that when we started to talk about moving and leaving, the two decisions, I was disappointed because I was not ready to choose between the two. After they gave me time to think I was already ready, I made the decision, I have confidence in it and I was happy that I made the decision. I wrote a list about what would be good or what would be bad, and I wrote a lot for leave, but I wrote not a lot to stay.
I chose what I want to do in my life, and I chose what person I want to be. I am happy with my decision, if I have made a mistake, I will work on it and learn from it.
What is the plan now, obviously the player break is coming up, are you going to try and talk to teams then?
First of all I want to have a break, in the last five years of my career I didn’t have any break, never. I was not going outside and stuff like that, I would work in my breaks.
Right now I understand that I have gone through a lot of stuff, it was a hard period for me, so I want to have a break in the summer. After that I will speak with teams that already invited me, I have not read any invites because of this tournament, and I said to myself to focus on that and after you will talk about it.
I will take a break, after that I will choose who will be my team for the Rio Major and the next year.
Have you already had offers?
I am not going to lie, I have not read my email, even today still because I woke up and went for the showmatch (laughs).