bondik: “After we defeat Liquid, we would rather play FaZe than Astralis”

bondik: “After we defeat Liquid, we would rather play FaZe than Astralis”

They surprised everyone by getting this far, but now HellRaisers have to overcome an unstoppable Team Liquid squad. Vlаdуslаv “bondik” Nеchуроrchuk thinks their chances are better than you’d expect.

HellRaisers took the scenic route getting to the New Champions stage in the FACEIT Major London 2018. They won the CIS Minor, overcame the Challenger stage, and against all odds qualified through the New Legends stage.

Team Liquid, on the other hand, breezed through the FACEIT Major, winning all six of their games. We asked some CS:GO pros and even they were almost certain the North American team will win tonight.

Esports fans at the PvP bet exchange platform VIE.gg are giving HellRaisers odds of 4.19, compared to 1.12 for Team Liquid. It seems only the most loyal fans still believe in the HR dream.

However, Vlаdуslаv “bondik” Nеchуроrchuk in an interview revealed that they may have a better chance of winning than people seem to think.

Note: The interview was translated from Russian.

Vie: You worked so hard to get to the playoffs. How does it feel finally being here?

bondik: I can’t even comprehend it, to tell you the truth. There were some tears, not gonna lie. But those were confused tears: maybe I’m happy, maybe not. You know, what I worked towards for so long finally became a reality. We worked hard, we are well prepared… Four weeks we’ve spent inside CS:GO and it’s paying off.

bondik

Vie: You had four days of rest after the group stage. How did you prepare for your game against Liquid?

bondik: We took a day off after the last game of the New Legends stage. We made the playoffs, everyone relaxed. I played some FPL on Sunday and Monday. But the plan was to prepare for our opponents and to practice. We reached our goal, we made Top 8, but if you have a shot at something more, why not take it? We played against them before, in the Challenger stage. We lost 16:9, but we feel like we can do better. I’m a bit angry with myself right now and I want to show that we can win.

Vie: What do you think are Liquid’s strengths?

bondik: They are all very strong individually. It will be very hard playing against them, but at the same time, they don’t play Train, which is a great plus for us. If we want to have a shot at this we must win our map pick. They will probably go for Inferno again and we already know how to play it against them. If all goes right, we could even win 2:0 against Liquid. We just have to play really hard for it.

Vie: It’s your first Major playoffs. Can you feel the pressure?

bondik: No, why would I? Yes, it’s my first Major playoff game, but at the same time, I’ve played in many playoffs in some of the biggest tournaments before. No worries there.

bondik. Photo via HLTV.org

Vie: Your side of the bracket seems just stacked against you. Now Liquid, then Astralis or FaZe.

bondik: We are taking this step-by-step, one thing at a time. We have a game against Liquid, that’s the one we’re concentrating on. Yes, they are good, but we are no pushovers either. We have a good chance to overcome Liquid, after that — whatever happens, happens. After we defeat Liquid, we would rather play FaZe than Astralis.

Vie: Who do you think will go all the way on the other side of the bracket?

bondik: NaVi against MIBR is a crazy match-up. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I believe in the all-CIS final!

Vie: Draken made some statements on Twitter about the CIS teams. Did you take that seriously at all?

bondik: I wasn’t angry at him. He was just trolling, and some took it to heart. At the same time, fate took care of it, as he got matched against all the CIS teams. But I don’t take it too seriously. In the end, he got NaVi and us and that ended poorly for them. Since we won the CIS Minor, I guess it means he couldn’t have won there either.

Vie: Would you like to see a Double Elimination bracket in the playoffs?

bondik: It’s hard to say since it’s my first Major playoffs game. But overall I like Double Elimination.

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Pro players bet on the FACEIT Major Quarterfinal games

Pro players bet on the FACEIT Major Quarterfinal games

With the final stage of the FACEIT Major London 2018 kicking off today, the select pro players are putting their CS:GO knowledge to the test and bet on the outcome of the quarterfinal matches.

What feels like an eternity ago, 24 of the best teams in the world put their skills on the line at the at the most important CS:GO event of the year. Now, only eight remain in the new Champions stage. None of the teams had an easy ride to the playoffs and everyone had to give it their all.

With just two games left in the quarterfinals, we take a closer look at the games to come and ask some of the CS:GO pro players to pick their favorites.

Team Liquid vs HellRaisers

Even though the North American team are the clear favorites here, HellRaisers remain a constant threat. HR have already reached their minimal goal and then some by becoming Legends at the FACEIT Major London 2018. If knowing that will be enough to keep their nerves under control they can show a really good fight.

Issa “ISSAA” Murad has already shown how hungry he is for victory and quickly became a fan favorite for it. The journey throughout this Major was in no way easy for his team. HellRaisers had to qualify through the CIS Minor and then overcome a highly competitive New Challengers stage. There they defeated the likes of North, Gambit, and OpTic, and lost only once — to Team Liquid, 9-16 on Inferno.

HellRaisers, photo via HLTV.org

The New Legends stage was stacked with the best teams in the world, but that did not stop Kirill “ANGE1” Karasov’s team. Their future in the tournament came down to the wire, as HellRaisers had to battle Fnatic in the deciding match. Surprisingly, they overcame the struggling swedes and secured a spot in the Top 8.

Team Liquid, on the other hand, have been showing a really strong form, not dropping a single map out of six they played so far in the Major. They defeated Vega Squadron and OpTic Gaming in the New Challengers and then moved on to overcome Winstrike, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and even Astralis.

No wonder Team Liquid are the heavy favorites in this match-up. Our friends at the esports betting site VIE.gg are offering 1.12 odds on Team Liquid and 4.19 on Hellraisers.

We asked a few professional players to share with us who they think will come out victorious in this match:

Dmitry “S0tF1k” Forostyanko (Team Spirit) says: HellRaisers win

Abay “Hobbit” Khassenov (Gambit) says: Liquid win

Aleksi “allu” Jalli (ENCE) says: Liquid win

Filip “NEO” Kubski (Virtus.pro) says: Liquid win

Bektiyar “fitch” Bahytov (AVANGAR) says: Liquid win

Astralis vs FaZe

This is the kind of a match-up you would expect to see in the Grand Finals of the tournament. The rivalry between the two teams has been going on-and-off for a good year now. FaZe struggled recently, and it’s hard to say that the Major has been going as planned for Astralis either.

FaZe started the FACEIT Major with two losses against BIG and NaVi. They had to fight their way back, eliminating mousesports, TyLoo, and G2 Esports on their way to the New Champions stage.

Xyp9x

The journey for the Danish team may have been even weirder. The reigning number one team in the world right now had to start at the very bottom — the New Challengers stage. The qualifier wasn’t silky smooth for them, as they had to taste defeat at the hands of Ninjas in Pyjamas.

Astralis ended up on a tough side of the bracket in the New Legends stage, but even so, they overcame Natus Vincere and Vega Squadron. Even after a loss against Team Liquid, Nicolai “device” Reedtz and his team bounced back and destroyed the Brazilian mibr 16-0 on Dust 2.

Now the old rivals will clash again, in the FACEIT Major London 2018 quarterfinals. The players at the PvP esports bet exchange site VIE.gg see Astralis as the favorites, with 1.32 odds for their victory. Those hoping for FaZe to win will be facing the odds of 2.68.

The pro’s see this match to be much closer than the odds might suggest:

Dmitry “S0tF1k” Forostyanko (Team Spirit) says: Astralis win

Abay “Hobbit” Khassenov (Gambit) says: FaZe win

Aleksi “allu” Jalli (ENCE) says: Astralis win

Filip “NEO” Kubski (Virtus.pro) says: Astralis win

Bektiyar “fitch” Bahytov (AVANGAR) says: FaZe win

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chopper: “I just love winning. That’s all the motivation I need”

chopper: “I just love winning. That’s all the motivation I need”

Vega Squadron have made their way through the Challenger stage, but Leonid “chopper” Vishnyakov and his team don’t plan on slowing down just yet.

The Russian team had a strong start at the FACEIT Major London 2018, defeating both Team Spirit and BIG Clan. Even though they lost to North America’s Team Liquid and complexity afterward, they managed to secure a spot in the Legends stage by defeating North in a convincing manner.

The Legends stage proved to be a bit more difficult for the sharks. They took down Cloud9 in their opening match there, followed by two losses against Astralis and Fnatic.

Leonid “chopper” Vishnyakov talked about their preparation for the Major and the motivation going into the games.

Vie: Let’s talk about your preparation for the Major. I’ve heard you had a long break before it, how did that work out?

chopper: I went to Thailand, relaxed there for ten days straight, then went back and started preparing for the Major. In CS:GO teams usually rest once a year, 2-3 weeks at a time. There are no big changes in the game during that time, so you can afford to vacation for the whole month. If you can practice efficiently, then there’s nothing wrong with taking an extended break. You’ll get it all back later.

Vie: We basically heard nothing from you guys for months before the Major. You played barely any official matches, too. What were you doing during that time?

chopper: We were doing the same thing as everyone else — playing scrims. Just like everyone else, we dedicated six nights a week for practice. We didn’t play any tournaments from our homes, nor did we get any invites. The thing is we don’t show any results online. Especially when it comes to getting invites. At the same time, we had roster changes, etc, etc.

We tried playing as many online qualifiers as we could, but there one unsuccessful bo1 and you’re out. We did all the same things we usually do, even if we didn’t have official matches.

So all the talk that we’re saving strats or hiding something is a bit off. We simply had no opportunities to show anything.

Vie: You had a very short bootcamp. What went behind that decision?

chopper: It was the players’ choice. The management wanted us to stay longer, but we knew that returning after a vacation we would have to work on ourselves individually first. Then we can go to bootcamp and start working on our teamwork.

Plus we gained a lot of confidence. We knew that we didn’t need a long bootcamp.

Vie: And you don’t get tired of one another before a long tournament.

chopper: Yes, that’s true for every team game. If you spend too much time with someone, you start getting annoyed by all the things you normally wouldn’t. It’s always like that.

Vie: The Major so far had its fair share of technical difficulties. How hard is it to deal with that as a player?

chopper: It can be difficult. But if you don’t let it get to you and concentrate on the game during the pauses instead, you can maintain your focus. You just have to remember that these things happen and you just can’t avoid them.

Vie: Who do you think are handling delays the worst?

chopper: I think most European top teams do. They are used to the best conditions, whether it’s at home or at a bootcamp. When they are used to getting the best, every little thing hits them harder.

Vie: There have been some drama brewing with another CIS team getting some criticism from other teams. How do you feel about this kind of critique?

chopper: If it’s actual criticism and it brings some value then I’m all for it. The problem is that most of the time it’s not really a critique, but a circus, where everyone is just fighting for attention. They are trying to feel better about themselves at the expense of the other team. That’s not criticism and I try to avoid it.

If they are trying to reach conclusions, provide analysis, and are open to feedback it’s a good thing. It’s always good to hear other’s opinion and how they see the situation. That’s something you can discuss and help others understand your point of view. But usually it’s not like that and it’s just for show.

Vie: Did draken’s words give you any additional motivation for your match against Fnatic?

chopper: I just love winning. That’s all the motivation I need.

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Zeus: “electronic is completely lost on Dust2”

Zeus: “electronic is completely lost on Dust2”

Right before the FACEIT Major, team captain of Natus Vincere, Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko, opened up about their team struggles, preparation for the Major, and the future of CS:GO.

Teslenko joined his former teammate and a prominent CS:GO caster in the CIS region, Arseniy “ceh9” Trynozhenko, on stream for a lengthy discussion before the FACEIT Major London 2018. The two discussed NaVi, their preparation for the tournament, and a disappointing exit at the DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018 a few weeks back.

Natus Vincere will have their first match later today, at 19:00 London time. Facing them will be one of the favorites this Major, the Danish Astralis. Even though the Ukrainian team is ranked second in the world right now, they will be entering the match as heavy underdogs. Esports betting platform VIE.gg is offering 2.96 odds for those looking to bet on NaVi’s victory. Conversely, those betting on Astralis to win are offered 1.51 odds.

Their current form was one of the subjects Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko discussed on ceh9’s stream.

About DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018

“We had to work very hard to catch up because we had so little time to prepare for the DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018. Most teams practiced for two weeks, we had one day. We played for a few days with subs. Other teams were preparing very hard, and it wasn’t just for DreamHack, Major was coming after all. But we couldn’t.

After DreamHack we had a five-day-long bootcamp. We worked really hard there to gain back what we have lost. All the other teams already gained a lot of momentum but because of the force majeure, we had nothing to show for it. It wasn’t just because of flamie, a few things lined up to create this situation for us. Visa issues, for instance.”

Zeus. Photo via HLTV.org

About the FACEIT Major London 2018

“Everyone played really well in the Challenger stage. Guys from the CIS region worked really hard, Vega, Spirit, Hellraisers. Although you can tell that Spirit still aren’t skilled enough to compete against teams like Astralis right now.”

“As for us, our players aren’t feeling Dust 2 at all right now. They’re in a state of shock. Electronic, for instance, is completely lost there. He has no idea what’s happening, he never played this map. It’s a brand new map for him. It’s very hard for him. He’s getting the kills on his aim alone, but he wants to understand the map.

We had no time to prepare for every map. We need more practice, we need more time. In general, I think we’ll be able to get our first victory on Dust 2. At DreamHack we played it against Ghost just because we wanted to practice it some more. We need Dust 2 in our map pool.”

About the future of CS:GO

“The interesting thing about the future of CS:GO is that I have inside info on what’s coming next year, even though I can’t talk about it right now. Soon an interview will be released on my YouTube channel where you’ll be able to find out more. In a few words — Valve have finally realized that things can’t stay as they are for long and they are preparing a few very interesting surprises for us.

The rumor on the street is that one company is making a game conceptually similar to Counter-Strike and that it will likely become a competitor for CS:GO. That really made Valve reconsider things and get a move on.”

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balblna: “Major was our high-point and we, being a very young team, just couldn’t stay there very long”

balblna: “Major was our high-point and we, being a very young team, just couldn’t stay there very long”

The biggest surprise of the previous Major, Gregory “balblna” Oleinick and his team, are now carrying more expectations than ever going into the Faceit Major 2018.

During the ELEAGUE Major Boston earlier this year, Quantum Bellator Fire entered as the major underdogs. They were expected to drop out in the qualifier, and that was supposed to be it. But the Russian team (with a single Lithuanian onboard) had something else in mind.

They stormed through the Challengers, defeating the Chinese Flash Gaming, their rivals from the CIS qualifier AVANGAR, and Vincent “Happy” Cervoni’s EnVyUs.

As if that was not enough of a shocker, the virtually unknown team overcame Virtus.pro, Gambit Gaming, and mousesports in the Legends stage, to make it to ELEAGUE Major Boston playoffs.

The team came out of nowhere, qualified via a CIS qualifier, made their way through a highly competitive Challenger stage, beat all the odds in the stacked Legends stage, and made it all the way to Top 8, all in a single run.

Since then, the old QBF line-up joined Winstrike team and remained mostly quiet with their performances, making them once again an underdog. Gregory “balblna” Oleinick shared his thoughts ahead of their second Major.

Note: The interview was translated from Russian.

Vie: Help me find the answer to the biggest question there is — what do you feel was the reason behind your success at the previous Major? Most thought you were the worst team in the tournament and then you just went ahead and became Legends.

balblna: Most analysts still think that we were the worst team there. We did not go to the previous Major to win but to show everyone what we can do. Of course, we wanted to win but we were realistic in our chances. As the tournament went on we gained more confidence and left some of our opponents behind. You can’t say that luck played no part in our success, but we did not waste the opportunities that were handed to us.

jmqa, Kvik, iksou, Boombl4, balblna, waterfaLLZ

Vie: And after the ELEAGUE Major you just returned to the old QBF, winning just two minor tournaments in the past six months.

balblna: Major was our high-point and we, being a very young team, just couldn’t stay there very long. To remain at a constant level of play continuously you must have very strong fundamentals and that’s something that comes with years of experience. There were a few other factors that held us back, but that’s for another time.

Vie: What was your preparation like for your second Major?

balblna: We had a bootcamp in preparation for the London Major, we spent nearly two months there, with some breaks. We are taking practice much more seriously now.

Vie: And your coach?

balblna: Our coach brings a massive contribution to the team. He’s the head of the team, even in-game.

balblna, photo via HLTV.org

Vie: What result would you be happy with at the Faceit Major?

balblna: We want to show our best, after that — whatever happens, happens.

Vie: How do you feel about the changes Valve brought to the Major system, where 0:3 teams won’t be invited to the next Major?

balblna: Feels like a barrel is aiming at us, but I think it will be a miss (laughs)

Vie: Vega Squadron is another ex-CIS Minor team that managed to make their way into the new Legends stage. How far do you think they’ll go?

balblna: I don’t like playing a guessing game when it comes to other teams from the CIS region. I wish that they could find their best performance and go as far as they possibly can at the Faceit Major 2018.

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S0tF1k: “Last thing we want is to lose to ourselves”

S0tF1k: “Last thing we want is to lose to ourselves”

Team Spirit came into the Faceit Major as CIS regional runner-ups, but getting into the winning mindset proved to be difficult for S0tF1k and his team.

Back in July, Team Spirit overcame some of the best teams in the CIS region, AVANGAR and pro100, just to name a couple. And even though they came short in the grand final against HellRaisers, they came close to taking the whole thing home (14-16, 16-6, 14-16).

Here in London, however, the Russian team seemed shaky at best. In their opening match, they lost to their countrymen Vega Squadron 14-16, wasting a 12-3 lead.

And we nearly got to see a repeat of that in their next game. Facing the Danish North, Spirit gained a 10-5 lead after a first half but struggled to close out the game. In the end, S0tF1k and his team managed to secure a 16-13 victory, upsetting the heavy favorites North.

Team captain Dmitry “S0tF1k” Forostyanko thinks there’s more to their problems than just the nerves, and if they can overcome it they will surprise again.

Note: The interview took place before the game against Rogue and was translated from Russian.

Vie: It’s the first Major for the majority of your team and the pressure of it can be daunting. Do you think the nerves is your biggest enemy right now?

S0tF1k: I don’t feel nervous, honestly. I think we are as prepared for it as we possibly could be. I feel confident in our ability and I believe we are yet to show everyone what we really can do.

Vie: In January young FPL star somedieyoung joined your team. How difficult was it for him to adjust to professional play?

S0tF1k: He fit right in. There were are few problems at first, mostly with the communication, but he got better at it every day and now he is an integral part of the team. He is a very strong player individually and he thinks differently, which is a great asset because it makes him very difficult to play against.

Team Spirit

Vie: What was your preparation for the Major like?

S0tF1k: We changed a few things in our training and it should help us reach the best results. That’s about as much as I can reveal.

Vie: You have one win and one loss so far. What’s your mindset going into the match against Rogue?

S0tF1k: Last thing we want is to lose to ourselves. Way too often do we lose because of the mistakes we shouldn’t have made in the first place. You could see these mistakes happening again and again in our games. I hope we can fix that.

Vie: So your coach must be keeping busy with that?

S0tF1k: Certus is the most important part of our team, similar to that of a general manager in a football club. He has a wide range of responsibilities in the team and he dedicates himself fully to reach the goal. Every single one of us learned a lot from him already, and it’s thanks to him that we got so far.

S0tF1k

Vie: How do you feel about the changes Valve brought to the Major system, where 0:3 teams won’t be invited to the next Major?

S0tF1k: It’s a good change, I’m all for it.

Vie: What do you think about Winstrike? Will they be able to repeat their performance from the previous Major?

S0tF1k: To answer that question I feel like you have to be inside the kitchen of the said team. Based on their results alone, I can confidently say that they don’t stand a chance this time around, but you never know when it comes to Majors. Last time no one expected anything from them but they did something magical and surprised everyone. They have good players and they will always fight till the end so I wouldn’t write them off just yet.

Vie: What about Vega Squadron? Of course, you already played against them, do you feel they will go far?

S0tF1k: I feel like most people, after seeing their new roster, thought to themselves that Vega is done. I, on the other hand, saw a lot of potential there. We played against them before and knew just how explosive they can be. They have a very experienced line-up, deep understanding of the game, and they worked relentlessly on their teamwork.

If they can keep up with the level of play they’ve been showing us, I have no doubt that they will go very far.

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