Ax1Le: "After the Major [...] I understood that most likely someone would be replaced"
The Russian rifler shared some thoughts in an interview with Escorenews.com ahead of IEM Katowice.
Cloud9 have been inactive since their elimination from the IEM Rio Major, where they suffered a defeat to MOUZ in the quarter-finals. The Russian team were favored to get through their side of the bracket but failed to capitalize on the opportunity, and have since been sat on the sidelines awaiting the start of the 2023 calendar.
Ahead of the IEM Katowice Play-In stage, Sergey "Ax1Le" Rykhtorov did an interview with Escorenews.com, where he discussed how the team fared in 2022. He voiced his thoughts on topics ranging from the move to Cloud9 to the benching of Timofey "interz" Yakushin, and shared words regarding how the team progressed internally through the last year.
The 20-year-old rifler spoke about Cloud9 missing out on the opportunity to play in BLAST tournaments in 2022, stating that "it affected our tournament form hard, as well as our points in the HLTV rankings." The organization is not a partner team of BLAST nor ESL, but have been able to repeatedly secure invites to events held by the latter tournament organizer thanks to consistently placing highly in the ESL world rankings.
Ax1Le also touched on playing in LAN environments and how it affects the team, and the difference between competing in Dallas versus Katowice and Rio. "You can still hear the crowd, their chants," the rifler stated. "The question is how the players react to this: personally, I do not have stage fright and it does not affect me. But for others it's a little bit harder not to pay much attention to it.
"By the way, it is much easier to react to the fans when the crowd is in front of you, and not in a circle, as it was in Rio. So, the fans really pressure you: you can hear everything from everywhere, especially without booths. If you want to make a circular arena like in Rio, you should build booths. In any other case it doesn't affect you as much, so booths are not needed."
He went on to describe his first thoughts after losing to MOUZ in the quarter-finals of the IEM Rio Major, saying it was a disappointment and that the team failed to live up to their expectations. The long break that the team had following the Major allowed them to cool down from what he refers to as a "hurtful defeat."
"After losing the Major, there was a little depression: I understood that most likely someone would be replaced," Ax1Le explained when asked about the benching of interz. "Basically, the coach and management come to the decision to replace the player. We took part in the selection of players during the try-outs."
He wasn't asked nor did he touch directly on the addition of Timur "buster" Tulepov, but alluded to the change when asked about analysts asserting that the team struggle with psychological problems. "It was so. Will see how it works with the new player. One replacement can change the mood of some part of the team. In any case, in terms of psychology, we have upgraded for 3 years, and this is less of a decisive factor now."
In other parts of the interview, Ax1Le touched on his motivation when it comes to playing CS:GO, issues he had with his mouse in Rio, the captaincy divide in Cloud9, and more. The complete interview can be found here.
|IEM Katowice 2023 Play-In|