After a second place finish at WESG 2018, Anna “Ant1ka” Ananikova talked about the difference between her current squad and the former one, shared impressions of working with the coach of Vega Squadron, and the dynamics between male and female Counter-Strike.

For Ant1ka’s Lazarus WESG Finals was a bitter-sweet event. The Russian team entered this year’s competition as reigning champions and their expectation were high.

Lazarus started in Group B with a 1-1 tie against Those Damn Canadians, followed by two straight wins against Team France and ArkAngel Pro Team from the Philippines.

In the semi-finals, the Russian team overcame Australia’s Carnage esports in a two-map thriller. It was on Nuke, where a fierce fight between two teams lead to a 28:24 scoreline.

In the grand final, they were ultimately defeated by Counter Logic Gaming Red — one of the best female Counter-Strike teams in the world right now. On both Train and Overpass the game ended with a 16:14 scoreline, making it a very bitter defeat for Ant1ka’s team.

Following her return from the Chinese event, Anna “Ant1ka” Ananikova talked about her thoughts after finishing second.

It’s not your first time in China. How do you like the country this time?

Very cool! Here people are so hardworking and responsive that it never ceases to amaze. I’ve always noticed it, but this time, it’s especially obvious. The same applies to the organization of the tournament. Our whole team admires the work that is done. Also, Chongqing, as I noticed, is a typical Chinese city. I love it!

Did your practice for the event went well?

Yeah. We played on a local gaming platform and also practiced with a Chinese team. The girls themselves gave us an offer, we are in good relations with them. Unfortunately, we did not perform as well as we wanted, but it’s even better – we immediately found our mistakes and fixed them.

Have you tried practicing with men’s teams?

No, we haven’t. Although, now it seems that it would be worthwhile to offer to practice. But guys tend to be skeptical about such proposals.

On a ten-point scale, how would you rate the shape of your team?

9/10. I would have given the maximum rating if we had more time to prepare with our coach.

Your coach is the coach of Vega Squadron, Fierce. As far as I know, you’ve been friends for a long time. How did you come to the idea of working together?

It’s a very interesting story! I did not even know that he was invited to coach us firstly. After losing four qualifiers for IEM in Katowice, we came to a conclusion with the team that we need a coach. And as a result, Dasha invited him to look at how we play, and he agreed.

Will you work with him only during WESG, or the cooperation can be long-term?

I don’t know, it’s up to him. I would like him to continue being our coach. He is very competent and clearly explains all the things. Moreover, he has a huge experience – two times he led Vega Squadron to Top 16 of the Major. I have great respect for him, and of course, I would like to continue working together after the tournament.

Was the result at WESG disappointing?

We came for the victory. That was our goal.

You were defending the title. What does that mean to you?

I wanted to be a two-time WESG champion. I’d be the only girl who could say that. That would be really cool. I believe in our team, the girls try very hard, play a lot, train a lot. We were all set on victory.

Last year, you played with a completely different line-up. Then it was the most famous and experienced female players in the CIS. Can you compare your current team to the previous one?

In fact, the girls in Lazarus are also very experienced. There is a thing in women’s esports: if you do not take first place, you are a noname. The girls used to take second or third places in international competitions, and they individually perform very well.

In Lazarus, we have a team of friendly and family relations. I have known them all for a long time, and the relationship is very strong. We also were all friends in the last year’s line-up, but I can’t say that it was like this.

Which team impressed you the most?

To be honest, TyLoo plays very well. I hoped to meet them in the playoffs, but we were basically ready for every opponent.

How did you spend the money you won last year?

I put it in the family business. I won’t tell you which one. But this is my joint project with my mother and sister. I hope this works.

For men’s teams WESG is special, but still one of many tournaments. Girls have much fewer championships. Tell me about your preparations, please.

For us, it is much more responsible tournament. We prepared and trained five days a week. Closer to the tournament, we increased the number of training days to 6-7. We tried to train at least five hours, but often it took more time. When I arrived here, all I do is train my aim and movements. 

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