KaiR0N-: "I skipped all my [online] studies playing officials, so COVID kind of helped me"
HLTV Confirmed's latest guest was 19-year-old Russian rifler Aleksandr "KaiR0N-" Anashkin, a young talent currently plying his trade for Vladislav "nafany" Gorshkov's new BetBoom project. Despite being a relative newcomer to the upper echelons of the CS:GO scene, KaiR0N- has already experienced much, having lived through a whirlwind stint on the then-reigning Major champions Virtus.pro, being benched mid-RMR by Virtus.pro, and having featured for 13 teams according to his HLTV profile. The podcast touched on these subjects and much more over the course of two hours.
One of the topics the podcast crew discussed was the aftermath of the ESL Pro League groups, with notable focus being given to the successful campaign of Eternal Fire. KaiR0N- expressed his admiration for the way players like Özgür "woxic" Eker and Ismailcan "XANTARES" Dörtkardeş were trying to elevate their national scene, considering their potential to play for a top-tier international project.
"XANTARES and woxic could have played in European teams and been on the top level, and they just decided to put themselves into developing their own scene. Wicadia is just the first fruit of this system, he just came out of nowhere, you know?" the 19-year-old said. "Now they are trying to turn themselves into an esports country, you could say it like that, like Turkey into an esports country, and I respect that."
KaiR0N- gave his insight on the new team he is currently a part of, nafany’s BetBoom project, and their first steps as a squad. Something he addressed was the relative lack of staff support the team currently have at their disposal. "For now we don’t have anyone, not even trialling anyone, we are just having our manager sitting next to me, that is the whole staff we have right now," the youngster stated. He went on to clarify specifically why the team hadn’t found a suitable coach. "Some of the guys we wanted to come didn’t want to leave their current teams, some of the people that are free agents we just don’t want ourselves."
Of course, the podcast dived into KaiR0N-’s turbulent time with Virtus.pro. The Russian went into detail regarding his benching from the team mid-RMR in 2022, revealing he harbors no hard feelings towards the organization. "We just all felt the pressure, and since we lost the second game it was quite understandable that they made the decision that they made. Something was going wrong, and they understand it."
He did however state he did not feel the same level of pressure at the time. "I’m not a recent Major champion, I’m nobody literally, so basically for me it was fine. We could lose those games, but we could win the next and there we go, but they felt so much pressure. At the end of the day they made a decision, and I respect it. I just wish them the best, and what they did is fine to me."
KaiR0N- went on to give his opinion on why he was the person singled out and benched, dispelling the suggestion that he was a specific problem. "We all did the same amount of mistakes, we all played not as well as we should have played, and they just decided to come back to the roster that won them a lot of games and won them a Major, which is kinda understandable... I think that was in their minds, but I'm not sure." Despite his relatively rough experience with Virtus.pro, KaiR0N- made it clear that he does not regret his decision to join. "For sure I would do it again."
The young rifler also described some of his experiences coming up through the scene, and he interestingly cited COVID as having helped his career. "I wouldn’t have been able to skip my lessons if COVID did not exist. I basically went to online school and skipped all of my studies and classes playing officials, so COVID kind of helped me." When the podcast crew probed further, KaiR0N- described exactly how he would covertly play in official matches during school hours. "I would join, say a few words that I’m here and my mic works, then I just muted myself and whatever it was, Microsoft Teams or Zoom, and would just go play officials."
KaiR0N- proceeded to discuss how his HLTV team history, which features 13 teams at the team of writing, affected the perception of him within the scene. "Many people were asking, ‘oh he’s leaving another team in a month, not again!’" He then went on to describe why he has featured for so many teams in his short time as a player.
"Most of them are just being a stand-in, that’s it, play for one tournament and go away. Being a stand-in, a nice guy who helps the guys you are playing with in FPL-C and other pugs. So basically it shows like 15 teams, but they are one month max, being a stand-in and not being a real player. It looks like I am leaving every team in month, but it isn’t actually, because I didn’t even really join!"