Hobbit: “When I joined HellRaisers the atmosphere was just unplayable”

Hobbit: “When I joined HellRaisers the atmosphere was just unplayable”

With the New Challengers stage at the IEM Katowice Major 2019 well underway, Abay “Hobbit” Khasenov’s HellRaisers are waiting for their time to shine, while keeping an eye out on all the teams battling for survival.

Hobbit joined HellRaisers a few months back, after his departure from Gambit Esports. Khasenov already seen success in the Major before with his previous team, then lead by Zeus himself. This time the young player is looking for a repeat result.

HellRaisers, however, are no Gambit. The team showed some promise at the FACEIT Major London 2018, finishing in the Top 8. Here in Poland their sights are aimed much higher but the competition is stiff.

Abay “Hobbit” Khasenov talked about their chances in this Major, joining HellRaisers and the beginning of his career.

Hobbit, 3 months have passed since your transition to HellRaisers. Are you used to new teammates? 

Slowly getting used to the team. The atmosphere in the team is playable, it’s working. 

Can you describe each teammate in one word?

ANGE1 — thinking, ISSAA — calm, DeadFox — positive, w0xic — quick-tempered.

A few days left until the next Major stage. How do you rate your training at the moment? 

Our preparation, in principle, is good. I believe that we can go to the Legends and this is our first goal. Naturally, more would be better. I rate my individual game as average. I can do much better, my issues are connected with communication. I have some minor problems with English and some more personal problems. I try very hard to work, but for now it’s hard, I will try to make up for it and really want to be 100% ready for the Major.

How is your communication in English? As time progresses, how does your skill progress?

Now the difficulties are still there, but already much easier. I adapted. Sometimes even ANGE1 has problems with English. In stressful situations even in the native language it is very difficult to communicate correct and clear information, and in English this is twice as difficult. It is just a fact.

How is your daily routine going? How many hours a day do you train individually and with a team? 

The training starts at 15:00, I wake up at 13:00 — I eat, for me it is breakfast, I spend time with my wife, for example, I will watch one episode of a series. Then warm up before exercise. From 15 o’clock we train until 22 and after that we are free. I’ve been spending little time in Aimbotz and DM lately, since we train more than enough, but if I have to play, then I go to DM.

Did you find your game role within the new team?

There are some problems with this. When I came to the team, I counted on other roles, but it didn’t happen. I was given roles that are sometimes hard to handle, but this is all for the good of the team and I am ready to do it.

On each map, I play completely different roles, somewhere openfragger, somewhere lurker, somewhere support, and somewhere I trade frags. I’m getting used to it now, but, it seems, I’m doing pretty well.

What has changed with the arrival of “ami_R” to the place of the coach? What changes did he bring to the team?

When I joined the team, I saw a picture that I didn’t like. The atmosphere was just unplayable. When Amiran became a coach, the atmosphere became better. In tactical terms, Johnta helped us a lot, in principle, he helped us a lot, but since Ami is a new coach, he doesn’t have much experience in that. He is a very good and positive person, this is bearing fruit. Everyone in the team loves him and treats him positively.

During your career, you played under the leadership of two experienced CIS captains. How do you like ANGE1 as a captain? What are the obvious differences with Zeus?

Frankly, they are completely different. Zeus is the captain, the leader who leads the whole team, he strongly motivates and places emphasis on this. Finds and uses the strengths of each player. ANGE1 thinks more structurally and pays more attention to team interactions. In other words, ANGE1 — on game and tactical moments, and Zeus — on life aspects: motivation, confidence. It is difficult to compare them, they are completely different.

Let’s move away from the preparation for the tournament. During your career you have traveled a lot. Can you highlight the country or city that made the most impression?

Probably Los Angeles, and in general, in principle, the United States. When I fly to this country, I feel great. Very cool country and every tournament that takes place there, you understand that it will be a bomb. In Europe, I would single out Krakow. It is clear that we won there in a major, but I remember the city itself for its historical moments, we walked there a lot. I also liked Shanghai — a very beautiful and modern city.

Tell me how you came up with your nickname?

Nick came up with my brother. I was 9-10 years old and the Lord of the Rings movie was released. At that moment I was the smallest player in Counter-Strike and my brother called me that.

How did your parents react to the choice of such a profession?

They always supported me and treated this very positively. I am very lucky with this.

Will you allow your children to become cyber athletes?

Honestly, I do not know. Watching how he will succeed, probably so. If there is a talent and I will see that he is burning to play computer games, and wants to play and win, to put all his soul into it. I will support him anyway.

Are there any books or movies that motivate you?

Were once. For example, Itzhak Pintosevich: “Act! The Ten Commandments of Success,” but these books no longer motivate me. I used to read it, but now it is the motivational books that do not help me. From the films, I would even say anime — “Kuroko Basketball”, this is the last anime series I watched, and it gave me its share of motivation.

Do you have a favorite sport? Favorite team?

Football. Manchester United.

The best teammate for the entire pro-player career. Can you pick someone?

If you take the team Gambit, then every teammate was the best. Accordingly, in HR they are all top. I would single out fitch, who plays for AVANGAR now. I like the fact that it is easy with him even in stressful situations, even when you lose a tournament, it is always openminded. In a stressful situation, roughly speaking, I could shout at him, but he always perceived it adequately. Very calm, just a genius and top dude, probably the best with whom I played. Also Dastan and keeN, they would also be included in the list, but to describe each, you need a lot of time.

Who is the best player in CS: GO? Highlight top3 at the moment.

S1mple – no need to describe. Dev1ce, but I don’t like the way he plays. I would single out Magisk. My top3 is S1mple, Magisk and Electronic.

What crosshair and resolution are you using now?

1680x1050 (stretched). The crosshair is always different, depending on the mood.

A few words to the fans?

No matter how overused it sounds — thanks! Thank you for always supporting us. I will try not to let you down and show my 100%. I think time will put everything in its place and someday I will still delight you with victories!

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Five young players to watch out for at the IEM Katowice Major 2019

Five young players to watch out for at the IEM Katowice Major 2019

More and more professional teams bet on the young talent, we take a look at the five youngest stars of the IEM Katowice Major 2019 and what can we expect from them.

The next CS:GO Major starts tomorrow, Wednesday, February 13th with the Challengers stage. 16 teams will fight for the eight available spots in the New Legends stage.

Jere “sergej” Salo – 16 years old, ENCE

The Finnish Jere “sergej” Salo even retired in 2018, after the things didn’t go so well for them that year. The retirement age of 16 would end weeks later, with the return of veteran Aleksi “allu” Jalli to the local scene with an ambitious project ENCE.

The team made of biggest names in Finland, surprised early on with impressive results. Out of all of them, sergej was the highlight, doing the double with the veteran round.

The fact is that, even at the young age, sergej is the highlight of ENCE, doesn’t need to carry the star post, since Allu has that role. With the spotlight on the veteran, the kid has been showing incredible results. Of the 17 events in which he participated with the team, including face-to-face, online and qualifiers, none were negative at all. His lowest rating was in EPICENTER 2018 , with 1.04.

The greatest success so far in his career was the title of StarSeries i-League Season 6, with sergej himself being the MVP of the event.

Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin – 16 years old, Fnatic

Another of the club of 16 is Brollan, from fnatic. The young Swede is highlighted by his above average performances since the day he debuted in the legendary organization. Brollan was revealed by the reality show GAMERZ , when he was 15 years old. The performances under the command of the great Oskar “ins” Holm made the eyes of the whole Europe to put in a new name for the future, but few expected that this future would arrive so quickly.

Brollan is marked by a tendency for aggressiveness and very risky moves, but most of the time they work because of an incredibly sharp aim, with about 55% head shots during the last six months. Any other player would suffer from such playstyle due to dubious decisions, but it seems to work for the young Swede.

David “n0rb3r7” Danielyan – 17 years old, Winstrike

norb3r7 debuted competitively at the beginning of last year, by the revived dAT Team , completely unknown on the international stage, the youngster began to leverage his career in the local scene with good results.

It did not take long until he was invited by a bunch of great teams from the CIS region, much for the moment of shuffle that was made in the second half of 2018 there. Gambit and forZe entered the dispute, but it was Winstrike who took the young Russian home. It was them who took advantage of his high investment to give a good project contribution to norb3r7.

After the changes, Winstrike bet on a more experienced team, signing Georgi “WorldEdit” Yaskin and Jan”wayLander” Rahkonen, providing greater moral support and guidance for the young player, who can be leveraged by the experienced, caring for the game itself.

Mathieu “ZywOo ‘” Herbaut – 18 years old, Vitality

ZywOo is perhaps the player who has the greatest responsibility on his back. The 18-year-old is one of the most talked-about names ever and has been plumbed by several French teams over the last few years. The end of the novel came with Vitality betting on a promising player.

1.43 rating in the last six months and different figures from any other high-level player. ZywOo is the biggest name for the future of Counter Strike, considering his current firepower and potential for the future. Young man who was not in a hurry to appear to the world, preferring to finish school before signing a professional contract. Now, fully focused on the game, it’s not hard to predict who will be one of the greats of this year and most likely the next.

WingHei “Freeman” Cheung – 19 years old, ViCi Gaming

Counter Strike’s boom in Asia has brought a new crop of players in the last year. The player from Hong Kong, Freeman is a great example of this. Defending the traditional ViCi Gaming, the player was the absolute highlight in Asia Minor, with a rating of 1.32.

Freeman is already in a fairly common age for the players, but the vast ignorance of the region in which it operates, makes it a name to look closely at major events.

His role in the team allows him to become the star of the team, especially with local opponents. However, in big tournaments, the youngster still has not shown up to be prepared, turning negative in the only two occasions, in the ZOTAC world finals and in the ESL Pro League world finals in Odense last year.

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Named by many to have a great future ahead, Tsvetelin “cerq” Dimitrov, 19, is also a good player to watch out for. Much to NRG’s favoritism for such a stage a fellow Bulgarian, Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte also arrives at the Major as a recent highlight of the team.

There are still players who have come back to be highlighted by changes of function within the team, is the case of Ali “Jame” Djami, from AVANGAR, who at 20 years became the main highlight after changing the role of IGL with Alexey “qikert ” Golubev. Lucas “Lucky” Chastang of the discredited G2 has also shown potential, much for being a hybrid and being able to perform various functions with different types of weapons during the confrontation.

IEM Katowice Major 2019 starts tomorrow, Wednesday, February 13th with the Challengers stage.

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lmbt: “The roster simply outlived itself”

lmbt: “The roster simply outlived itself”

After almost two years of playing together, the old mousesports roster is no more. Released team’s coach, Sergey “lmbt” Bezhanov, weighs in on the decision.

On February 4th mousesports announced its longtime members Chris “chrisJ” de Jong and Martin “STYKO” Styk, as well as team coach Sergey “lmbtBezhanov will be moving to the bench. Excluding its three-and-a-half month long experiment with Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski, mousesports maintained this exact roster for almost two years — since Miikka “suNny” Kemppi joined the team in Summer 2017.

The team had varying results recently. Mouz finished first at ESL One: New York 2018 ahead of Team Liquid and first at StarLadder & i-League StarSeries Season 4 ahead of Natus Vincere. But many good results in 2018 wasn’t enough for the team. Recent failure at Europe Minor Championship Katowice 2019, where mousesports were eliminated in the group stage by Valiance was the last straw. It was time for a change.

The released team coach Sergey “lmbt” Bezhanov says the decision was a right one and it was time for a drastic change.

Do you agree with your transfer to the reserve? How can you comment on these changes in general?

You know, the Major is just the last drop. The composition simply outlived itself, if you can call it that. I fully agree and supported the idea that the changes should be dramatic, that you need to start from scratch. Given the important role, I agree that the coach needed to be changed in order to change the approach and vision.

Who, if not the coach, should be responsible for the failure? I was not transferred to the reserve — there is no such option. But in general, I am satisfied with the attitude of the club towards me, and I have no hard feelings. For the time being, I’ll deal with some non-game issues.

Is it possible to say that the mousesports failures started after Snax joined the team? Why he could not play in mousesports? What was the atmosphere like when you took back the STYKO?

I can not say so, there were failures before. Snax is a great player. It’s not about him, but about the team as a whole. Problems have haunted us before; it was not their immediate solution. He was not the fix for the situation in the team. In the working environment where Snax came in, he could not find his place. Both sides parted very peacefully and with the understanding of the mistake made.

Unfortunately, I cannot fully disclose the situation with STYKO, but when he returned we simply did not have time to consider other players. On the other hand, we all understood perfectly well how we would play with Martin. We knew that we would get the output due to the fact that it was the middle of the season and a huge number of matches started online. The return of STYKO helped us not to fall too far — we remained at the same level, but realized that we could hardly jump higher.

You think it was a right call by the management to leave these three players (oskar, ropz and sunny)? In your opinion, how should the team develop further? 

The leadership’s step is quite clear: they have left the core-players and want to build a team around them. This is an absolutely normal practice. So far, I have no idea who they will be able to take, but I think that until the end of the major, we will not receive answers to these questions. The team needs to finally become a team, and I think this is a key factor in the selection of both players and a coach in the future.

A potential team that is interested in your services will have to pay for the transfer? Are you ready to consider positions other than a coach?

I still have a contract, and I still work at mousesports. But the club will let me go if I wish for it. In general, we have a very good relationship with mouz.

I am ready to consider different positions, you can even dream of debuting as a player 31 years of age (laughs). But I understand perfectly well that the goals that confront me are in fact unattainable in this role. Last week I was in analysis desk — a very interesting thing, on this one I will even comment on the matches [lmbt was an analyst of WePlay! Lock and Load, and the ICE London Challenge 2019]. But I do not see myself doing that on an ongoing basis, neither an analyst nor a commentator.

Do you plan to continue working in the European region or are you open to proposals from others? Is there any chance of your return to the CIS? 

At the moment I do not plan anything, but if I train the team, I would like to work in a hungry team. Preferably with young players who want to listen, learn and win. The region in our time does not matter, because you are not a player and you do not have to move to another part of the globe as a coach.

The goals of any team are always the same — to become the best and move only forward, even if it starts from the bottom. Why go to the championship if you do not want to win it? 

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Counter-Strike meta is changing but not everyone is happy

Counter-Strike meta is changing but not everyone is happy

The M4A4 and the M4A1-S now have a strong counterpart — a rifle AUG, which is now being discussed by all. After the October update with this weapon, more and more often it is being played in pro-matches. Meta has changed significantly, but not everyone is happy.

What happened?

On October 9, Valve released a large patch for CS:GO, which added two new maps, weakened CZ75, strengthened Tec-9, and increased compensation for the lost pistol round. But, as it turned out, the key change was the price reduction for the AUG: instead of $ 3,500 the weapon now costs $ 3,150, i.e., only $50 more than the M4 series rifles.

At first, this detail of the patch did not get much attention. Yes, the community talked about the fact that AUG and SG 553 (which also dropped in price) will appear in games more often, but no one expected that the Austrian rifle could force out the M4: this has never happened in Counter-Strike history. For example, at iBUYPOWER Masters earlier this year, AUG made as many frags as AWP and M4. And in the American Minor for the IEM Katowice 2019, it had completely overtaken the M4.

Is AUG more powerful than the M4?

Not really. Judging only by the characteristics of the weapon, the M4A4 is even better: it has more damage, faster reloading and running speed. It is inferior only in armor penetration.

But the AUG has two really important advantages — a collimator sight and about the same spray pattern as the M4. That is, players almost do not need to retrain to shoot, but for ridiculous $ 50 they got a rifle, with which you can shoot your opponent faster and easier at medium and long distances.

With SG 553, the situation is somewhat different. It surpasses the AK-47 in the rate of fire and armor-piercing, but it has a key drawback — a spray pattern that is completely different from the AK-4. If you can get used to AUG after M4A4 pretty quickly, then with SG you need to completely relearn.

Is it that hard to adapt?

It’s all a habit. In fact, for 20 years, Meta in Counter-Strike remained virtually unchanged: pistol rounds were held at the default weapon, then the winning team took “farm guns ” (sub-machine guns, and sometimes even shotguns), and after that the players bought AK / M4 / AWP, which had objective advantages over its peers.

In the case of the M4 and AK — players for years honed the shooting of these rifles, and spray patterns were memorized at the level of muscle memory. Of course, no one forbade the use of other weapons, but no one was concerned about it.

In CS: GO, the situation began to change: the AWP became different, new grenades appeared as well as different ways to throw them, CZ75 was added to the game. But the assault rifles did not change.

It is easy to learn how to shoot SG 553, but it takes time to really get used to it. Most likely, the top players have not yet adapted to the update: the popular video blogger WarOwl believed that SG, and not AUG, would enter the meta, but he was wrong — the human factor came into play.

Who is protesting?

Publicly AUG got criticized by Nicola “NiKo” Kovacs and Richard “shox” Papillon: what is remarkable, some of the best shooters in the scene. The Frenchman generally called Valve to weaken the rifle before the major, and also made a reservation: the players did not know about the strength of the weapon because they did not play with it (to the question of habit).

Commentators, analysts and other members of the community rightly noted that there is nothing to criticize the weapon for, since the only thing that has changed in it is the price. Nobody prevented the athletes from using it before, but they did not do it even in those cases when they had no problems with the economy in matches.

The perturbations of NiKo and shox can be understood: AUG slightly smoothes the difference in the skill of the players, it became much easier to shoot an opponent from cover (and even more so at long distances). Vincent “Happy” Cervoni Schopenhauer, who admitted that he does not like to train his aim, is now indeed happy.

What will Valve do?

It will be clear after the major. Now AUG — just like SG, by the way — is actively used by Astralis and Team Liquid, but most likely the weapon will be included in the arsenal of other teams as well. In the past, the power of the CZ75 and Tec-9 skyrocketed in popularity just after major tournaments (thanks, Fnatic). Most likely, the same will happen with AUG.

Though belatedly, Valve always responds to the opinion of the community on the balance of the game. If everyone starts to resent, then the nerf is definitely worth the wait. And the most logical solution would be to increase the cost of rifles again. If they want to reverse the meta change, that is.

In the meantime, buy skins for AUG: they will soon get much more expensive.

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Nitr0: “I want to understand what our main problem is”

Nitr0: “I want to understand what our main problem is”

Liquid cemented itself as one of the best teams in the world in 2018 but there was always something keeping them back. Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella talked about the importance of psychologist in overcoming that hurdle.

In 2018 Team Liquid played in 19 major international events, in which they came out victorious only twice — in cs_summit 2 in February and in SuperNova Malta in December. More impressively, they finished second in the seven of those events. That’s consistency.

While in a lot of their Grand Finals Liquid faced Astralis — easily the best team in the world — some of their losses came at the hand of the likes of NRG esports and mousesports. It became apparent that there was a problem that needed fixing.

According to the team captain Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella fixing this kind of issue is a difficult task, especially when you don’t know what the root of the problem might be.

In CS: GO, American teams, look much better than in 1.6. What caused the growth of their game?

It seems to me that the European bootcamps contributed to this. This was partly due to the increase in wages. Previously, there wasn’t that kind of money. Along with their increase, the players had a desire to train harder, to progress. The teams began to pay more attention to the team play rather than their personal statistics. But the same can be said about any team. Just the level of CS as a whole has grown in the world.

What did you feel when Cloud9 won the Major?

I will not lie, I envied them, but at the same time I was very proud that my friends had become Major champions. Their victory greatly boosted our morality, they gave us hope.

After the Major you have started a serious rise, how did you manage to achieve this?

In February, we signed NAF, which was a breath of fresh air for us. We changed roles in the team, and he brought a lot of his own to our game. With his arrival, the desire to win has increased significantly. The victory at cs_summit greatly raised the morale of the team. After all, it was our first tournament with NAF and we immediately won against the Major champions SK and C9. We realized that we can win.

Despite the fact that you are now the top 2 in the world, you are always a little struggling to win one tournament or another. What goes wrong?

Yes, God knows. We are constantly being asked about this, but I have no answer. I try to understand this, I read a lot of books about psychology, I talk to our sports psychologist. I really want to understand what the main problem is so that it can be fixed.

What books?

Now I am reading the book of Michael Jordan “Ruthless”. It’s about him and his coaches, how he became a champion. There is also another good book, “From Good to Great”.

Let’s talk about your psychologist. How useful and really necessary is it for the team?

If you play at a serious level, then a psychologist is, of course, necessary. As it seems to me, it will help to reach a new level. If you are good, then he will help you become better. For example, our psychologist makes us do our best in every match, even against tier-2 and tier-3 teams. The logic in this is simple: as you train, you have to play as you would in a tournament.

If you can’t do your best in practice, then you won’t be able to do it the final of the Major either.

Does he work with everyone separately or together?

Both.

Can you tell us about the process of working with your psychologist?

We tell him our problem, then we start working on it. It is very important to be able to understand exactly what you are squandering so that you can work on fixing it. I remember how he helped me cope with my instability. We analyzed the situation at hand: what happens in the team, when I show the best result, what I did that day, etc. It was necessary so that we could understand what helps me and what does not, so that I can use it in the future. For this one time in each tournament, we filled out a small questionnaire with the whole team.

When you are in the game and something goes wrong, how do you get out of the situation and take the team out of it?

It is important to just be able to reboot. CS is a game where at any moment, in any round, something can go wrong. You can win 15 rounds in a row when you were losing 14:1. Not sure if it happened, but it’s definitely possible. You need to be able to disconnect from everything and leave your old mistakes in previous rounds, so that they do not affect the next. This is especially important for young players.

How to achieve this tranquility in the game?

You just need to learn it. Maybe come up with something that will help you reboot. For example, come up with a word that will help you understand that you need to reboot morally. Suppose you can take the “stress” as soon as it appeared in your head, you will understand that you need to exhale and throw everything out of your head. This is one of the techniques I have learned that helps to get rid of toxicity or to collect thoughts.

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bondik: “Chinese teams need to move to Europe”

bondik: “Chinese teams need to move to Europe”

After a very underwhelming result at the IEM Katowice 2019 CIS Minor for Gambit Esports, Vlаdуslаv “bondik” Nеchуроrchuk reminisced about playing for the Chinese TyLoo and his two years with HellRaisers.

Nеchуроrchuk, who departed HellRaisers after a two-year stint, joined Gambit on trial before the next Major. There was only one acceptable result for the team — win the CIS Minor, qualify for the IEM Katowice 2019.

But the additions of bondik and Sergey “Ax1Le” Rykhtorov wasn’t enough to bring Gambit back to their winning ways. They were overwhelmed by the underdogs Syman Gaming in their opening match. They managed to bounce back defeating Nemiga Gaming and qualified for the playoffs. But in the end, after two straight losses against Winstrike and Team Spirit, Gambit were sent packing.

But what became the real surprise of the event was the last chance qualifier. There, the two underdogs Winstrike and the Chinese Vici Gaming overcame the heavy favorites in North and Team EnVy and took the final two IEM Katowice spots.

Bondik, who spent a few months on loan in Chinese TyLoo is certain that what makes these teams from weaker regions prevail is their exposure to international events.

The Chinese scene has grown noticeably lately. In particular, TyLoo and now Vici Gaming. Do you feel a bit of your influence there?

When I came to them, they were already the best Chinese team. However, I had something to teach them. For example, I tried to show them what is right and what is not, how to behave in certain situations, to explain some subtleties. They asked me a lot about how best to train individually. I had to explain that everyone should have their own approach: for example, if someone shoots well, then it will be useful for him to devote more time to watching the demos, analyze his game and think about the meta.

bondik

You were as much a coach as you were a player?

In general, I suggested as I could. Since the Chinese players initially took me very well, almost were my fans, there was a lot of respect there. They listened to me in everything and were very open to take it all in. I understood that my efforts were not in vain. After all, all the time that we played together, they constantly progressed. I was very glad.

What exactly did you explain to them besides the approaches to individual training?

These were mainly micro situations, for example, how to play clutch rounds correctly. With those, by the way, they had huge problems. Perhaps because of the communication, because, in fact, they all communicated in different languages. I just tried to instill in them the habit of playing together, on exchanges, etc. Judging by their latest games that I have seen, they still apply the hints that I laid on them.

For the longest time, Tyloo was the only Chinese team that could compete with Europeans. Why is that?

This is the experience of international tournaments. There are many teams in China, but when the Major comes we see only one or two representatives from the Asian qualifier. Historically those teams were TyLoo and Renegades. By the way, I would refer the latter to the American region. It seems to me that it would be more correct. Although I understand the logic of why they are there, yet geographically they are closer to Asia.

Because of this, Asia’s representative was mostly TyLoo. Others have a hard time competing with them. TyLoo is a very experienced team that bootcamped in Europe several times. They simply understand the game better.

So that’s what Asian teams need to succeed — more international experience?

In general, if the Chinese want to make a good, efficient team, then they need to move to Europe, and not to waste time in China itself, where the CS level is much lower. There is a simple logic, in Europe everything has already been thought up for a long time and there is a lot to be learned from this great experience. China is at the very beginning of the road. So why repeat mistakes., there’s no point in re-inventing the wheel.

bondik. Photo via HLTV.org

Let’s go back a bit to the last Major, where you made it to Top 8 with Hellraisers. And after that things started looking down…

Look, before the FACEIT Major we did not get out of CS for a month and a half; we lived it 24/7. Even talked only about it. It was difficult physically and mentally. It only helped that we had a goal and a desire, first of all, to prove to ourselves that we could be in the top 8. I remember how we lost to Liquid (one of the favorites of the tournament) on the third map. It was very disappointing, I remember those emotions. We could win, need just a little more in a couple of situations.

So that’s where the experience in big events comes in?

Yes, and the difference in experience affected the end result, after all Liquid regularly play on large stages, but we did not. Plus we had young guys who still found it hard to speak to the public. When they lost, they became devastated, but not because of defeat, but because everything was finally over and all this fatigue that had accumulated in a month and a half was gone. We just exhaled and that break took us almost a week. No one even approached the computer, except for ANGE1.

You’ve been with Hellraisers for over two years. How do you make that choice that it’s now time to move on?

We had three days to prepare for StarSeries. The breather that we took, it seems like only a week but we lost our form and have not gained it back. This had to be fixed, so it is necessary that there is an understanding within the team that the result can only be achieved through training and hard work. In our team, as I believe, not everyone had it. I was in teams where we trained harder and more efficiently before. And for us there was just potential.

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