m0NESY: "Our individual form is maybe not on our highest peak, but it's really good"
After a disappointing return from the summer break, G2 have kicked into higher gear at IEM Cologne off the back of the star trio's superb form.
In an impressive recovery from a shaky start to the new season at the BLAST Premier Fall Groups, G2 have made it through to the IEM Cologne semi-finals undefeated with victories over Astralis, FaZe, and Vitality.
The Russian youngster quickly recovered from a poor individual showing in Copenhagen and is back in candidacy for the MVP as the highest-rated player of the IEM Cologne group stage (1.33). Nikola "NiKo" Kovač and Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač follow close behind and Justin "jks" Savage is delivering stable performances as well, possibly the best shape the team has been in since their streak at the brink of 2022-2023.
"We just started the tournament as in Katowice, almost the same, everyone is in good individual form," Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov says in an interview with HLTV ahead of the playoffs. "I would say our performance now and our individual form is maybe not on our highest peak, we can still do better, but it's really good."
The 18-year-old also spoke about what it means for him to make it to the LANXESS Arena for the first time, what importance Cologne holds for him, and community backlash towards Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen. You can read or listen to the full interview below:
You made it to the semi-finals, you didn't make it to the LANXESS last year, how big of a goal was it for you to play in the LANXESS?
Every time I play a tournament I put the goal to play in playoffs, but I didn't have like the biggest goal to play in the LANXESS Arena. Obviously, last year we didn't make it, but last year I didn't understand what the LANXESS Arena is at all, because I was a new player on the pro scene. I didn't understand how big it is. Now when we arrived here, I saw some pictures from the arena and it's really amazing, the crowd is amazing... My goal for this tournament was just to make playoffs and obviously after we will see.
Now that you've seen it, how high up do you place Cologne? You've won Katowice, the Major didn't go quite as well. Is it in that third rung? Would you rank it as more important than a Katowice?
I think both tournaments are really good and both are important. Per year you have three tournaments that teams want to win, it's Katowice, the Major, and Cologne. These three tournaments are really big, they're something special, even when you arrive in Katowice or Cologne you already feel maybe more confident.
We played at BLAST the previous tournament, I played maybe my worst tournament, and I just didn't feel the season has started yet. I felt like I was still on vacation or something like that. That tournament felt really bad for myself, but after when we arrived in Cologne it was just something else.
You're back in MVP form, you had a huge map yesterday as well. Is that the recipe? You, NiKo, and huNter- have been popping off all tournament, is that something you can carry into playoffs? Is this the old G2 we're seeing?
About our form, we played the same way in Katowice as well. We just started the tournament as in Katowice, almost the same, everyone is in good individual form. Rasmus is performing really amazing and everyone is performing really good.
One game I cannot have the best game, but someone else will [make up for that], he will do his best. Everyone is just trying to bring everyone up, if someone is down we just try to cheer everyone up and everyone is stepping up in important situations, important rounds. I would say our performance now and our individual form is maybe not on our highest peak, we can still do better, but it's really good.
What instigated this change? After the Major the team atmosphere didn't look the highest it's ever been and then at BLAST it was the same. Coming into this event it really is noticeable from watching you guys, it feels like you're back up to form. What do you think caused that reversal? You got a new psychologist, is that a factor?
We also got a new psychologist, yeah, his name is Luka. Our previous psychologist, Edward, me personally I didn't know that he would leave. Our whole G2 team decided.
As for me as a player, even though I'm losing a Major or some tournament, because I'm young I understand I will have a lot of tournaments in the future. Even though we lost the Major, I just want to learn something from it because I just think the bad experience will be really good experience in the future if you learn from it. If you don't take this learning, you will not have better experience in the future. I'm just trying to work on myself more.
As a team, obviously it was frustrating for Nikola, first of all, because it was the last Major and he didn't win one in CS:GO. There's gonna be CS2 coming out soon, so obviously he was tilted. For other players in my team, they're all older than me by seven or eight years, so it's something else for them. For me, I'm just trying to learn from every tournament even though I'm losing. It would be really good to win Cologne to win something after the Major. We will see.
What about HooXi, there's obviously so much community backlash. Within the team you're always so supportive of him and it feels like it's paying off now. He's coming back to be more like the character he used to be, what was it like inside the team trying to fight back against everything people are saying?
Personally, I also had people who were writing shit in comments after BLAST in Copenhagen and I also had some shitty comments because I played really my worst tournament, as I said before. I didn't care too much what people are saying, but personally I understand everyone is human and everyone can make mistakes, everyone can have ups and downs.
About HooXi, I think he's just lacking confidence in the game. I don't think he's reading all these comments, I never asked him, I think he doesn't care, he's just lacking confidence. But at this tournament he's showing he's getting his confidence back. I was always telling him that you need some confidence and you will shoot good. Everything is coming from that, initiative and really good comms, everything else is coming from confidence. I think if he continues doing it, he will be really good.
To compare you with FaZe a little bit, they had a similar flurry of trophies at the start of last year and since then they've been a little more inconsistent but always dangerous just because of all the individuals. Do you think being international is a factor in a little bit more inconsistency?
Being international, of course it's a bit... It's not tough when you have really good friends around you in the team and good relationships, then you're going to be a good international team and you don't have to care about anything else. You have some international teams where it's tough to find a topic with someone else. I had this before when I joined the team, I didn't have the best English and it was tough for me to find a topic to speak about with them. But I had JACKZ with whom I was spending a lot of time because he was almost the same as me with English in the past, and we just found our vibe with each other.
Being an international team in the game is a bit rough in some situations when you have chaos in TeamSpeak, everyone is screaming, you have to load information in the brain. If I spoke my native language, I don't even want to compare, because when I play pugs with my friends it feels much better.