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 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

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, 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

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.


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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jR: “How far can we go in the official games even we don’t know”

jR: “How far can we go in the official games even we don’t know”

Vega Squadron have been plowing their way through the Faceit Major, but not even the team captain Dmitriy “jR” Chervak knows how long that will last.

This being a third CS:GO Major in a row for the Russian team, most of the players are well accustomed with the pressure of the most important event in the game. Even though the Squadron managed to secure a respectable 9th-11th finish at the ELEAGUE Major earlier this year, they could not avoid the roster change that followed.

Vega Squadron, which for years remained one of the longest-running rosters in the game, had to let go two of their players earlier this spring. Sergey “keshandr” Nikishin and Nikolay “mir” Bityukov were replaced by Igor “crush” Shevchenko of pro100, and Anton “tonyblack” Kolesnikov of forZe.

The roster change left a lot of doubts in the team before the Faceit Major, but the Russian Sharks proved the doubters wrong. After a very impressive comeback, they overcame Team Spirit 16-14 in the opening game of the Major and further increased their lead by defeating BIG 19-16 the following day.

Team captain Dmitriy “jR” Chervak revealed in an interview, that not even he knows how far their team can really go.

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

Vie: You had a strong showing at a previous Major, but you really struggled to find your game since. Even after a roster change, your performance remained shaky. Why was that?

jR: We ourselves are still looking for answers to that particular question. (laughs)

Photo via

Vie: You had a roster change a few months back. Your performance this Major looks really solid, but was it enough time to get used to your new teammates?

jR: The atmosphere within the team is much better right now, we can freely discuss our mistakes and look for ways to fix them. How much time will we really need to minimize the number of mistakes is still unknown. Scrims have been going really well for us lately, but how far can we go in the official games even we don’t know.

Vie: What did your training look before the Major?

jR: It’s the same as usual, actually. We practice a lot and we work on minimizing the number of mistakes both as a team and individually.

Vie: So it must have been a busy time for your coach, Fierce?

jR: He’s the one looking for mistakes and helping us fix them. It’s just so much easier noticing these faults from the sidelines, than when you’re the one immersed in the game.

Vie: What are your goals for this Major?

jR: Top 16 and that’s the worst case scenario for us.

Photo via

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

jR: They are a pretty good team. Lately, however, their performance was less than stellar, but that’s something they know best themselves, what they have to work on and what they have to fix. I think the repeat of the last Major is possible, even the upgrade, everything comes down to how well they will play themselves.

They proved that it’s possible once before, you just have to tryhard the best you can and trust your team.

Vie: Let’s talk about your game with Team Spirit. They looked really strong in the first half, but then they just collapsed. What do you think happened there?

jR: Team Spirit have gained a lot of momentum before the Major and they are in their best form right now in the history of this roster. The question always was whether they will be able to properly deal with the nerves and close out games. If they can find a way to do that, I could see them easily making it to Top 16 and once they’re there they would have a serious shot at Top 8.

It all comes down to whether they will be able to get ahold of their nerves before the rest of the games.

Vie: A few teams had some issues with the visas. Did your applications go well?

jR: It did, no issues whatsoever.

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Nexus sXe: “There is no excuse for us not to make it to the next level anymore”

Nexus sXe: “There is no excuse for us not to make it to the next level anymore”

Making it to the next level and qualifying for the Minor are the two most important things for the Romanian Nexus, according to Cristian “sXe” Nita.

Coming out of ESL Southeast Europe Championship: Season 7 victorious meant a lot for the Romanian champions Nexus Gaming. For once, it cemented their position as one of the best teams in the region. They overcame the Balkan KlikTech and Bulgarian HEADSHOTBG to secure a first-place finish and nearly $3,000 in prize money.

But even more importantly it served as a proof of concept for the newly gathered roster. With very little practice together, the team overcame their opposition and won the whole event. For Cristian “sXe” Nita that meant a successful return to Nexus Gaming after nearly a year competing for other teams.

Nexus has secured themselves a Top 4 finish at the ESEA Season 28 Advanced Division, consequentially qualifying for a 16 team Premier Relegation tournament. Seven of the worst performing ESEA Premier teams will battle it out against nine lower league teams for four spots in the next season of ESEA’s highest league.

There, Nexus will have to overcome the likes of, Movistar Riders, PRIDE, ENCE, and many others to take that next step towards international recognition.

To find out just how important it is for their team to secure this victory, we caught sXe for an exclusive interview.

Vie: How did you start playing CS? At what point did you realize you wanted to play it competitively?

I’ve been playing CS since I was 6 years old. My father got me into CS, he used to play 1.5 and 1.6 all the time with my uncle and so from there on it just kinda grew on me. I only played 1.6 just for fun, but then CS:GO came out and I got really addicted to the game. Slowly I sought competitiveness and so I wanted to pursue this stuff.

Vie: Then I guess your father isn’t really against your career in esports?

My family has always been very supportive of me and my career. For myself, it has been really easy to perform whenever because of all their support.

Vie: You went through the ESL SEE Championship in a very convincing fashion. Were you happy with your performance there?

Well, after I joined the team I knew we would win it because our synergy was tremendous considering we have played together in the past. The tournament was a great practice for us and we enjoyed playing it a lot.

Vie: There seems to be less and less competition in the whole SEE region for you guys. 

Our competition in the whole SEE region is based on two other teams actually, Valiance and Windigo. We will practice really hard in the upcoming weeks to prove that we can be the best team in this region. We will start with a bootcamp in the next couple of weeks and then we will move into a more permanent one, once Nexus finishes our brand new bootcamp location.

Vie: Both Valiance and Windigo had some success internationally, with Nexus somewhat lagging behind. What was keeping you back?

Well, first of all, we needed a serious organization in order to improve and some serious support, like the other Balkan teams had. Now that we have them there is no excuse for us not to make it to the next level anymore.

Vie: The last time you were on Nexus you reached #47 in the World ranking — a record high result. I know some teams really chase a higher rank but Is that at all important for you?

We want to go to a Minor, then to a Major, rank is not that relevant to us. It counts of course but not that much. We care more about results and frankly, going to a Minor is our next goal.

Vie: Anything you’d like to say to your fans?

I would like to thank all my fans for supporting me and everyone that supports Nexus. And don’t forget guys — 10k bots a day keeps bad aim away.

Follow sXe on Twitter @sXeCSGO.

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