gla1ve: "It feels really good to have device by my side once again"
Astralis have had a turbulent 2023 so far. The Danish squad missed out on an appearance at the BLAST.tv Paris Major, and were thus forced to watch from the sidelines while playing in online events such as CCT South Europe Series 4 and Brazy Party. That seemingly gave new additions Christian "Buzz" Andersen and Alexander "Altekz" Givskov enough time to bed into the team, as Denmark's most-winning team looks revitalized in their return to tier-one competition.
At IEM Dallas, gla1ve and company fought through Liquid and Cloud9 to secure a playoff berth, with a game against ENCE on the horizon to decide if they enter the playoffs in the quarters or semis. After their impressive win against Cloud9, gla1ve sat down with HLTV to talk about the new additions, their road at IEM Dallas, and expectations for the playoffs.
gla1ve, congratulations, you're into the playoffs. Tell me how that feels, your first one [at a Big Event] since IEM Cologne 2022?
Yeah, that feels amazing. I didn't even realize that it was that long ago since we were in a playoffs, so it feels really good. I'm really looking forward to playing in an arena again. I feel like we have a much better team now than we had in Cologne, even though we also went to the semi-final back then. Hopefully we can go straight to the semi-final, win against ENCE tomorrow, and then let's see what happens.
Tell me about that new team, because we haven't talked to you since you added Buzz, Altekz, and also with device coming back. Tell me about working with this new lineup as a whole.
A lot has been happening with Astralis. Since 2023 has started we've gotten Buzz, Altekz, device, all of them really good players. Especially of course device, he's putting up really good numbers. Somebody maybe thought that he couldn't do it again, but he's proving himself over and over again and he's a really good player. It feels really good to have him by my side once again.
Then also we have the back of Astralis, I mean the coaching staff, the sports psychologist and stuff like that. That also has been changing for 2023, feels really good, now I have two coaches behind me. I've been asking for that for some time, so that feels really great.
YEKINDAR yesterday when asked about Altekz said the gap between these new young players and the tenured experienced players is quite small nowadays, would you agree with that?
Yeah, I agree. I think that's also why you see tier 2 and tier 1 is so close to each other because the game is so individual right now, you have to make plays all the time. It's not utility-based, of course the utility is really important but because everybody knows how to play with utility, everybody also knows that you need to take duels before the utility is used.
I think that's why the players are so good in tier two as well, because it's just about their aim a lot, and they have good aim.
Did device say anything to you when you knocked over your monitor, was he like, 'that's my job' or anything like that?
[laughing] No, he didn't. He was just laughing a lot. I didn't even realize that my monitor fell down before I saw his face and he was just laughing, and I was like, 'why are you laughing?' Then I saw it, so yeah... but it was nice [smiling].
You played Cloud9 in Brazy Party, you ended up on two different maps at the start of this series. Was that a conscious choice for you, not to play the same thing?
I think we kind of had the same mindset, that last time they probably knew we didn't expect Vertigo and that's why they picked it, so this time around they knew that we probably expected Vertigo and they picked Mirage. It was kind of the same thing with Overpass and Ancient going into the game for us, we tried to surprise each other a bit and this time around it worked out better for us. The veto is always fun because you don't want to pick the obvious choice all the time, then you will get too readable, so that's how it is.
Going back to yesterday, you had this overtime versus Liquid. Did you have some flashbacks of years gone by?
It was a great game against them. I think we could have won easier to be honest, we threw some rounds at the beginning on the T side so it was a little bit closer than it should have been.
Tomorrow you're going to take on ENCE for a spot in semi-finals, so a chance to skip a round. How do you feel about that matchup and being able to skip a playoff match?
It would be nice to go straight into the semi-finals of course, we want to go as far as possible. If you go into the quarter-finals it can also be nice too, maybe if you're lucky you can get an easier opponent — I know there are no easy opponents right now —, but that would be nice because we have two new guys and stuff like that, they can warmup a bit and don't have to perform instantly in the arena. But they're good guys and we will try to talk to them and make them comfortable with playing in an arena, and let's see what happens.
You were mentioning earlier about having two coaches as part of your support staff, can you talk me through what they do for you and the different roles that they have?
One of them is the main coach, and the other guy is the analyzer. HUNDEN is the analyzer and casle is the main coach, and they're both doing a really good job. They have a specific set of roles doing different things and they are working great together.
For me, it's just nice to have more eyes looking at our game and more guys helping me because I have a lot of good things that I want to do, but sometimes I need more hands to help me out so I don't have to do everything myself because then it can be a little bit too much sometimes. Being able to put out some tasks for them to do is helping me a lot and then I can have a little bit more time to focus on myself as well.
Has it helped you revitalize your calling a little bit, bring it more up-to-date in a way?
Yeah I think so because they are helping give me more time to actually watch demos, and I don't have to only think about our own game but I can actually also use a lot of time to look at opponents, what is the meta right now and stuff like that. I'm trying to do that a lot and it's working out really well, both of them are doing a really good job helping me out.
Xyp9x was a long-time member of this roster, do you feel his absence much on the server right now?
It's tough to say. Xyp9x is a really calm guy, Altekz is pretty calm as well but Xyp9x is really good at communicating. What you see about the young guys is that they are not that comfortable with communication, so sometimes they don't say what they do.
Xyp9x was really good with communication and I think communication is one of the things that we can [improve] a bit, but we are doing our best to do it and work on that. Xyp9x of course is a great guy and a great player, and I hope all the best for him.