HooXi: "There's some hunger to beat Heroic"
G2's in-game leader talks riding the wave of momentum, his team's winning streak, and threats going into IEM Katowice playoffs.
After going undefeated at the BLAST Premier Spring Groups, G2 have continued to ride the wave with three consecutive wins in the IEM Katowice groups and extending their streak of map wins to 17 in a row and a 10-0 record on Nuke. The team now head into the playoffs of the tournament with a few days off and await their Friday's semi-final opponent, which will be the winner of Vitality vs. Liquid.
Before G2 head to the Spodek Arena, we had a chance to catch up with Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen and asked him about their streaks, confidence levels after going undefeated for so long, and who he sees as the biggest threats in the playoffs.
Congratulations on making it to the Spodek Arena and straight to the semi-finals. Tell me about this run, it has been a continuation of a run of a dominance, 17-0 now in maps, 10-0 in Nuke.
I lost track, I don't even know. Feels great (laughs).
What's behind this form? You win World Final seemingly out of nowhere after some struggles before, but since then you've been on a tear.
I think we showed already in EPL [S16] that we had potential. We went to top four and we choked a huge lead that could have been different. Then, obviously, we have high highs and low lows, so I think we just found a bit more consistency. Then, also, when you get this win in Abu Dhabi it just gives some momentum. In general, we're just riding the wave and I think we are showing what we have been working on for six months.
A straight-forward victory against NAVI, only at the beginning of Nuke it took you a bit of time to get into it and eventually have a good T side. Can you tell me about those early decisions, trying to break their economy and not being able to, until finally getting on the board?
We lost the pistol, we lost the forcebuy, we lost two anti-ecos, but I guess we were just lucky again, right?
After that point, was there something you saw in the defense that you started to exploit? There were a couple of those upper hits that didn't work at first and then you finally broke through.
I had some things that I wanted to do on T side, and obviously you cannot do everything in five rounds. We tried some things in the start, and honestly it worked out fine, we got clean into A, but then we just didn't have good trades. I think we just tried some of the other things in the gameplan and it worked out, so I'm pretty happy with the preparation.
Tell me about this streak from a mentality side. Is this something that adds pressure on, that you haven't lost anything in quite a long time? Do you think about it, what it would mean once you finally lose that one map?
No, because I think the record is like 87-0 or something, right? (laughs) That's a way to go, still. No, honestly, it is just fun to play, fun to win, we all love to win, right, so I'm not thinking too much about it, I'm just enjoying that we play well and I feel like the effort in the team is just super high. We keep both feet on the ground, and just in general obviously happy with the streak.
We've seen you get - I don't wanna call it cocky, but I did call it cocky. Are you guys just that confident, taking all kinds of duels and fighting across the map? We've even seen you do solo plays a lot of the time and getting away with a lot of these. Do you feel that in the game, is it part of the gameplan?
That depends on the situation and what we are doing. Obviously, there are some aggressive plays, that's not really cocky, that's just preparation and gaps that we want to explore. And then obviously sometimes, if we are ahead like 12-3 or something, then the first weapon round we have some more confidence to do a bit crazy plays. For example, I think in this game we were ahead like 12 or 13-8 on the CT side of Nuke and we had money, so we feel confident, and then I just went for a door push together with Nema [huNter-] and it worked out. We got full lobby control, so it just pays off sometimes to be aggressive. It's really nothing to do with being or cocky or anything like, we just want to explore whatever we can against the opponent.
You've already passed FaZe 2-0, NAVI 2-0, tell me about the biggest threats that you see in the playoffs.
Well, I said in an interview with karrigan that I think FaZe and also Heroic is our biggest opponent, but that doesn't mean that the other teams are a level below those, even. I feel like everything is so close and you have seen the last six months that everybody can win a tournament. No matter who we face, we'll have to be fully focused and just as prepared as we have been so far. I guess there's some hunger to beat Heroic, because they were No. 1 before we took over the No. 1 spot in the ranking, and I think if we beat them we will feel like No. 1.