HooXi: "Coming into G2 I have to get used to being the big dog"
After a quick and clean 16-0 win to kick off the RMR, Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen sat down with HLTV for an interview.
The moves seem to have paid dividends, with a successful campaign in the BLAST Premier Fall Groups followed up by an impressive top-four finish at the stacked ESL Pro League Season 16.
With their journey to qualify for the IEM Rio Major off to a winning start, G2's HooXi took some time with HLTV to speak about their match against ECSTATIC, how he rates the team's performances so far, and how he is feeling about the attention he now receives from the community.
Congratulations, how are you feeling after such a convincing win?
Obviously it feels good, there’s not really a lot to say.
I think it’s probably often like this, but I don’t think the score represented how close it really was, I think it was a bit closer. It came down to close rounds in the early stages of the game. We’re happy, but there is still room for improvement even though it was 16-0.
Do you think starting CT side gave you an advantage that ECSTATIC just couldn’t overcome?
It did, but we prepared for starting CT. I think it’s always best for you to start CT right now, with the meta.
Talking a bit more generally, do you think you maybe have a slight edge on some of the teams here because you came straight into the RMR from ESL Pro League? Obviously, you have been in Malta for a while.
There’s pros and cons to it. We just played, we didn’t have time to really reset and come up with anything new or change our game.
The pro is that we are ready to play, we are used to the environment, but the con is that we didn’t have time to do anything else.
How does it feel in general playing underdog teams, where you are expected to win and win comfortably? Does it make it hard to prepare with that dynamic?
I think the preparation is all in your head.
For me for example, I’ve always been the underdog team myself, but coming into G2 I have to get used to being the big dog (laughs). I think it’s a lot in your head, and mentality wise you just have to be ready and don’t think too much about it.
Taking a step back, I mentioned you came straight into this RMR off the back of Pro League. How did you feel about your Pro League result?
I think looking at the tournament overall, it was more than acceptable. Happy to get top-four in such a stacked tournament, one of the first tournaments for us. The progression we made as well, not only looking at the result, I’m really happy about. The way we went out was the only thing that I have a lot of regrets about.
Understandably! I was going to ask about that progression, it looks from the outside like you are getting better match by match. How does it feel to you?
That is how it feels, and that’s how it should be as well (smiles). Especially here in the start, it’s kind of a honeymoon for progression as well. You should feel it every game because there are so many things to look at and so many things to improve, if you put in the work the results should also be clear.
One aspect in particular that has improved plenty is m0NESY, he seems to have been unlocked under your leadership. Is this down to something you have done, or is it maybe m0NESY’s natural progression? What do you attribute it to?
Obviously I can’t take all the pride for what m0NESY is doing, he’s crazy talented and is a really good kid, working hard.
I think that it’s a mixture of him getting more and more used to tier-one, and at the same time getting more space. I am also forcing him to do some things, not only me but NiKo is helping him and XTQZZZ is helping him. Before, Ilya was not utilised in the way he should be when he’s as talented of an AWPer as he is.
So it’s intentional, you want to harness that talent, you see him as a star player who can put the big numbers up?
Don’t get me wrong, but I would do this with every AWPer.
I did this with nicodooz if he was not doing too much and not talking a lot, not taking decisions and having initiative, that’s the most important thing for me in an AWPer. I am just so fortunate to have another good AWPer now (laughs) it feels good.
Since joining G2 you in particular have had a lot of attention on you from the community, starting with some focus on bad performances, whereas now it seems to have flipped. Do you pay much attention to the gigachad HooXi memes?
I try to take all the good things in and leave all the bad things out. I used to, in Flames, read every message and also answer people all the time, now it’s impossible because so many people are sending me stuff (laughs).
I’m just really happy when people support me, and when people are throwing hate left and right I just try to either ignore it, or use it as motivation to do better.
You personal performances improved vastly between BLAST and Pro League. Do you think the community attention added some extra fire inside you, or was it just a case of getting settled in a new team?
Oh I think it’s mostly the second thing, everything still is pretty new to me, speaking English and new people I had no relation to before. Usually when you get into a new Danish team you kind of know people already, but here I had never talked to the guys before, none of them! So yeah, I think it was getting used to everything, maybe a little bit of nerves, not really being in official form so to say because I didn’t play for a few months.
I think it’s a mix of a lot of things, in the end you can’t do anything but work as hard as you can and hope for results (laughs).