qikert: “I was surprised that everything went very well”

qikert: “I was surprised that everything went very well”

After winning WePlay! Forge of Masters Season 1 with AVANGAR, Alexey “Qikert” Golubev talked about the event, the game against the highly accomplished HellRaisers and taking home first place as an underdog.

LAN Finals WePlay! Forge of Masters Season 1 was held from 3 to 5 May in Kiev, Ukraine, following a lengthy group stage online. AVANGAR dominated in the online group phase, finishing only behind HellRaisers with a single loss.

At LAN Qikert and his team quickly established dominance. In their opening match, they easily overcame DreamEaters, who had to play with Sergey “starix” Ischuk as a stand-in, winning 2-0. To secure their spot in the grand final they had to battle and overcome HellRaisers — the only team they lost against in the online phase.

In the decisive match, AVANGAR defeated the heavy favorites HellRaisers with a score of 2:0. The team from Kazakhstan received $20,000 dollars in prize money and earned themselves a much-needed win. This marks a second first-place finish in a few weeks for the team, following their success at DreamHack Open Rio de Janeiro 2019.

What was it like playing at the WePlay! Forge of Masters right after finishing first at the much bigger DreamHack Rio?

I can’t say that anything was worse. I was surprised that everything went so well, without any problems, without delays, except for the final, there was a technical delay of 20 minutes during the decisive match. But we couldn’t even feel the delay.

At the same DreamHack or ESL, they usually are. Here, at a tournament in the CIS, it is very nice that there were no hickups. Considering that the offline tournament is being done for the first time. In general, everything turned out cool: practice areas, hotel, schedule, media-day.

One of the AVANGAR players mentioned that the team is no longer training against teams from the CIS. Forge of Masters is aimed specifically at your region. How was it to meet again with representatives of the CIS?

We came from a two-week rest, and immediately on the first day we had an official match against Vega Squadron. We thought it would be hard to play against the CIS now, but everything went well. In fact, we very often played against teams from the CIS on qualifications online and on LAN tournaments. There was nothing unusual, we are used to playing against them.

As for HellRaisers …

Yes, the CIS team itself (laughs).

You played with them twice in this tournament, both matches ended with the score 2:0. How do you like the current form of the team and how different is this composition from the previous one?

Now their roster looks much stronger, precisely on the individual level. But if you look at the structural game, then they are a little inferior to the previous lineup. They have gathered recently, and they lack some kind of banal teamplay: everyone is from a different region and communication in the international teams can be very wasteful. Therefore, in the near future, they will definitely have problems with communication and team play.

Replacement of Aydin “KrizzeN” Turlybekova to SANJI: first left inactive due to illness, and with the second one you’ve already won two tournaments in a row. Are you even considering returning Krizzen to the lineup?

I can not say for sure, but the probability is always there. This esports thing is not friendship, but more of a business. If you, for example, play badly, you are thrown on the bench. In the case of Aydin, it was more because of his health — his back and arm were very sore, we had to temporarily transfer him to inactive.

SANJI came on as a substitute and played very well in tournaments. So far, we are not looking to change something. So far everything is going well: we win tournaments, win against very good teams and show ourselves well.

How do you like the potential of SANJI? He independently made his way into the FPL before moving into your team.

He made his way to the FPL from Uzbekistan, where there is a very bad ping. This proves a lot — he is very strong individually. That was our starting point. It was necessary to give him the experience of our team so that he quickly picked it up and understood how we play our Avangaresque Counter-Strike.

So that in some moments he would become more structured, and in others, he would play the role of the “X-factor”, who can simply run out and carry you with headshots alone.

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svyat: “I consider every victory earned and every defeat deserved”

svyat: “I consider every victory earned and every defeat deserved”

After wins against Winstrike, Vega Squadron, and Team Spirit, DreamEaters caught everyone’s attention in the CIS region. It was their time to shine at the WePlay! Forge of Masters LAN finals, and after the event, team captain Svyatoslav “svyat” Dovbakh talked about the experience.

DreamEaters had a strong start in the online group stage. Convincing victories against Vega Squadron and Team Spirit quickly got them attention from the other teams. They were still very young and raw, but the potential was there. Even more than that, as the Russian team continued getting wins against more achieved teams.

Svyatoslav “svyat” Dovbakh and his team did enough to qualify for the LAN finals in Kiev, Ukraine, but there their luck ran out. Team’s veteran Vladislav “Krad” Kravchenko faced with visa issues was unable to attend the event. A rare chance for DreamEaters to prove themselves took a big hit.

In the end, a Natus Vincere veteran Sergey “starix” Ischuk acted as a stand-in for the team, but it was not enough. DreamEaters lost in both of their games, 0-2 against AVANGAR and 0-2 against Vega Squadron. DreamEaters took fourth place and $2,000 dollars in prize money.

Your team has become a real highlight of the WePlay League group stage. Did you expect such a result?

Not to say that we expected it, but we understood that we are capable of it. The main goal was to show ourselves and play at the maximum — it happened sometimes, sometimes it didn’t, but the main thing was that we went to the next stage.

Can you comment on the victory over Vega Squadron?

In the match against Vega on inferno, we started to defend and in the first buy-rounds, we were given control of the banana quite easily. Due to this, we always understood at what point the opponent would come out and met them there.

Thus, we gained a significant advantage in the score and economy, and this made it possible not to do eco-rounds, when the “swing” began at the end of the side, and then to add pressure in the attack.

What came into your victory over Team Spirit?

Against Spirit, we also played inferno, but started offensively and dominated the entire side — we read the opponent well and went to the point, we could only play the post-plant situation in comfortable conditions for us, which we did.

During the game, someone of them burned down the computer and they changed it for half an hour, that probably ruined it for them, but we were already leading with a very significant margin and most likely would have won anyway.

And then you faced a much more experienced Winstrike.

The match against Winstrike was decisive for us and for them, so the pressure was slightly stronger than in the previous ones — it was decided who would get the 4th slot on the LAN. It was dust2, we started for defense and played just awful — bad positioning, bad decisions, bad exchanges.

Due to some crazy retakes, we managed to take a few rounds, especially the one with a score of 1-5, where speed4k entered the gate at plant B and crawled to the car, killing n0rb3r7, who was hiding there. Then we got a couple more rounds with the help of two AWP’s, and that was already enough to combine complete our plan.

In the second half, we carried out well-rounded openings, and then implemented them. And in the end, we did not lose a single round.

Do you think other teams underestimated you?

I doubt that our rivals underestimated us because it would be very unprofessional on their part. Especially in the group stage, where each game is super important and decides whether you will get to go to the LAN. So I consider every victory earned, and every defeat deserved.

At the same time, you lost to your former team — pro100. Why? The fact is that your old teammates knew you better than others?

We had a definite plan against pro100, but we failed to implement it, including due to the change of roles the day before. I think the fact that their players know me better had no effect on the course of the game. We completely failed the defense and because of this we lost the match, but the conclusions were made.

At the LAN finals you played with Starix, not Krad. How much does this affect your gameplay?

Any substitution weakens the team and forces you to use fewer strats and rely more on individual skill, play on communication, etc. Starix is ​​a good and experienced player and it was very interesting to play with him in Kiev, but the very fact of replacement diminished our ambitions for this tournament.

I think that made our main goal to be gaining experience when playing on LAN, rather than winning.

Who did you see as your rivals at the WePlay finals?

There were no rivals — but the number one team there clearly were AVANGAR, which means we had to prepare for them. Online, we lost to them with a score of 4-16, and both of them took the pistol, but in our opinion, the score was not at all in the game.

There were a lot of moments where we could play a little better and turn it over, so I would really like a second attempt. But on the LAN we had to play with a substitute and as such a rematch couldn’t happen as such, unfortunately.

CIS teams are historically very quick to swap rosters when things become hard. What helps you to stick together as a team?

Well, let’s start with the fact that we gathered in late December. Rather, I came 4 months ago, and when the team changes the lineup — it already becomes a new team. And during this time, we have very good results — two seasons QIWI, OGA Counter PIT, the tournament from Tricolor, passed on the WePlay LAN, went to the playoffs of the LootBet S2 tournament and already beat AGO there, a step away from the playoffs on Kalashnikov Cup. Is that not juicy enough for 4 months? Also, the Cup of Russia is ahead.

In a word, we are fine, but the fact that we are developing makes us stick together. It is clear that we have the potential and we are far from reaching our ceiling. We have a good atmosphere, good conditions, we are gradually evolving — so why would we split up?

Tell me about your team as a whole. Who is the main fragger? Who is a lurker?

My team is good, very comfortable and pleasant to play in. It is evident that everyone here is “necessary” and everyone wants to develop.

kinqie is a kind of rifler and seemingly a dolt but in reality he’s a very hard-working guy. Even not a guy, but a grandfather — each team should have its own grandfather.

Forester — the very same anime master. He will never wake up on time, and waking him up is a whole business on its own. And he is 100% aware that he is the best player on the planet, and everyone around plays like garbage.

Krad — a person who hears all the sounds in the game, even those that didn’t happen. And let’s you know. Does everyone have such a teammate? It also combines a teammate who is trying to ruin the training schedule with his rocking exercises.

speed4k — the stylish one of the team. All there are “Levi”, “Adidas”, “Calvin Kleins” — this is about him. And almost all of the most important clutches belong to him. Sometimes he should aim for the AWP and he simply gets USP and gets people on the character alone.

I … And what am I? I have 3 different mice connected to my computer and I use each one in turn, that’s all you really need to know about me.

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DreamHack Open Rio de Janeiro 2019 starts today

DreamHack Open Rio de Janeiro 2019 starts today

DreamHack’s debut in Brazil starts today, with a $100,000 dollar DreamHack Open Rio de Janeiro event. Five of Brazil’s top representatives will battle international competition.

Facing their South American counterparts will be two European invitees AVANGAR and Valiance. Joining them from the North American qualifier will be Edgar “MarKE” Maldonado’s eUnited. While Brazil’s favorite MIBR will sit out the event, many of the country’s top teams will gather to represent the local crowd.

Among them are FURIA, Sharks Esports, W7M Gaming, Redemption eSports POA, and INTZ eSports, headlined by Vito “kNgV-” Giuseppe and Gustavo “yeL” Knittel. 

The opening match of the event will see AVANGAR (1.54) facing off against eUnited (2.44). Unlike the odds for the game, the competition between the two teams promises to be fierce. eU have been steadily climbing North America’s rankings in the recent months, even placing in the Top 6 of the recent DreamHack Open Atlanta 2018 event. AVANGAR cemented themselves as one of the best teams in the CIS region, promising a close battle between the two.

The second match of the day, between the European Valiance (1.11) and Brazil’s W7M (6.40) promises to be a landslide. Valiance have been showing top-notch performance since they snatched the trio from the former Imperial roster. Rokas “EspiranTo” Milasauskas time and time again proves why he widely recognized as one of the most promising up-and-coming young talents in the scene. The only thing the Brazilian side will have going for themselves is a factor of surprise. 

Most Brazilian teams are unknown and remain a mystery to any foreign team. If W7M could find a way to use it to their advantage they might stand a chance, albeit a very small one. Even then, they would have to absolute explode with their performance. With some luck anything is possible, but Brazilian fans shouldn’t place all of their eggs in this particular basket.

In the third match, two local giants will clash early on in the event. To those unfamiliar with the Brazilian CS:GO scene, expect most local fans to root for either (or both) of these teams. At DreamHack Open Rio de Janeiro most fans expect either FURIA (1.43) or INTZ (2.80) to be the ones to stop the foreigners. That by extent makes this el Classico a very interesting match. 

While FURIA are favored in this particular match, don’t let that fool you. INTZ carry a lot of experience in their line-up, even if they haven’t been playing together that long. Possibly even more importantly, some of the players on the roster have what FURIA lack the most — experience playing on the international stage. While FURIA have surprised in the past, most notably by qualifying to the Katowice Major 2019 New Challengers stage, they still lack that fundamental key to victory.

Considering a very high ratio, the game might actually be worth a bet on the underdogs — it might be a wildcard, but 2.80 odds offer a nice payoff for fairly reasonable risk. Besides, if the first game of the event for both teams and it’s a best-of-1. What more could you want for an upset?

The final game before Round 2 will be between Sharks (1.34) and Redemption eSports POA (3.15). Sharks might be familiar to those following North American Counter-Strike, as well as to those watching global events. Recently Sharks finished fourth at the PLG Grand Slam 2018, placing just below Fnatic and G2 Esports. Redemption, however, remains a completely unknown factor. They were invited to the event as a second choice team after the Polish AGO Gaming pulled out. Where do they stand against the local and the international competition we will be able to see throughout the event.

Do you know who will win in the opening games of the DreamHack Open Rio de Janeiro? Take advantage of the opportunity, head over to VIE.gg and spice up your game with a free bet. Did you know that you will be supporting charity while playing as well?

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Fans invited to compete against Epsilon players and support charity

Fans invited to compete against Epsilon players and support charity

Belgium based Epsilon esports partner up with bet exchange platform VIE.gg in an effort to support charitable causes — team’s CS:GO players are set to put their game knowledge on the line in a month-long charity event against their fans.

Today Epsilon Esports announced they will be inviting their fans to join for charitable esports bets between the team’s pros and their fans until May 31, 2019, with all the proceeds going towards the charities of players’ choice.

The three players to take part in this event are team captain Teodor “SPELLAN” Nikolov, Kia “Surreal” Man, and Nils “k1to” Gruhne.

“I would like to donate my winnings from Vie.gg to Cancer Research UK,” said Surreal in a press release. “It has personal meaning to me and I would like to help further their research.”

His teammates SPELLAN and k1to chose to support Teach For Bulgaria and Holidays From Cancer, respectively.

“I know that life in Bulgaria is really hard for some children that deserve a better life,” SPELLAN stated in a comment. “I feel very proud and happy that I am able to help them through my esports play.”

The unique model offered by VIE.gg, which allows its players to bet against one another in a bet exchange format, is perfectly suited to let the team’s fans battle Epsilon players face-to-face. Unlike a traditional sportsbook model, where players bet against the “house”, at VIE players are betting against other players.

Several times per week, each of the Epsilon players will examine the markets and place a bet of their choosing on a team that they think will win. The fans will be invited to challenge their bets and bet against the team chosen by the professional player.

All bets won by fans will be theirs to keep, while all bets won by Epsilon players will be donated to their respective charities.

To further support the cause, the organizers will be giving all the fans that sign up through this promotion a free bet on VIE.gg for up to 20 euros.

“This is a fantastic initiative between VIE.gg and our players, and we are extremely proud to take part in helping make the world a better place,” Gregory Champagne, Chief Executive Officer at Epsilon eSports told Vie esports. “The trio, K1to, Surreal and SPELLAN have chosen to donate their winnings to worthy charities that have important meaning to each of them and I know they look forward with great excitement to challenging esports fans.”

“It’s a pleasure to get to work directly with players that genuinely want to make a difference using our website,” said Brian Cordry, Head of Esports at VIE.gg. “I’m excited to see how much money the guys can raise for their great charitable causes.”

Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) has approved the charitable event, and the players were cleared to bet on matches during this period. According to ESIC announcement, the players won’t be able to bet on their own games, nor will they be betting their own money or making a profit — all of the players’ winnings will go directly to support their charity of choice.

To participate in the event, fans should head over to the player page, where they can find out more about the event, the players and their charities:

Bet against SPELLAN and support Teach For Bulgaria HERE.

Bet against Surreal to support Cancer Research UK HERE.

Bet against k1to for Holidays From Cancer HERE.

This weekend Epsilon CS:GO are in Belgium, playing in Charleroi Esports 2019 for their share of €100,000 euros. Epsilon will start in group B with the likes of G2 Esports and Virtus.Pro.

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A premature April Fools joke: Pro players react to Vertigo

A premature April Fools joke: Pro players react to Vertigo

The introduction of Vertigo to official map pool caught everyone off guard and pro players, commentators and public figures once again went online to vent their frustrations.

Some were defending the developers and their decision, most were actively complaining. Others tried to maintain calm and offered how the current meta might look on this new map.

These and other reactions to Vertigo in our collection of tweets from top CS:GO personalities.

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Liazz: “I played in front of such a large audience for the first time”

Liazz: “I played in front of such a large audience for the first time”

During the Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2019, Renegades experienced an extraordinary adventure. Despite the complete lack of expectations from the fans, without losing a single map they advanced to the New Legends, and then, yielding only to Astralis, made it all the way to the playoffs.

It was a long journey for Renegades to the CS:GO Major. They qualified via the Asian Minor where they remained undefeated. In the New Challengers stage at the IEM Katowice 2018 the Australians picked up a win after win against the likes of AVANGAR, Ninjas in Pyjamas and ENCE.

Even in the New Legends stage Renegades shocked everyone after beating ENCE, FaZe, and Vitality, losing only to the eventual winners on the Major Astralis. The fairytail run at IEM for the Australians ended after a defeat against MIBR in the playoffs 2:0.

Team’s newcomer Jay “Liazz” Tregillgas talked a bit about the problems in the match with the Brazilians, impressions about playing on the biggest stage and plans for the near future.

You played very well in the first two phases of the Major, and then you lost in the quarterfinals against MIBR. What went wrong in this match?

Before the start, we were considering the choice of Cache, but we gave up the idea, thinking that they would expect it and prepare for it. It turned out that they were really ready for Cache, but they were also going to choose Dusta2.

Unfortunately, we were convinced that we would surprise them by choosing this map, instead, they got a free map. Moving to Train, we have prepared a little for it, but not enough to fight with MIBR. They are a really strong team and it’s hard to play against them.

For the first time in your career, you played in Spodek in front of the Polish audience. How do you rate it?

Playing at Spodek is amazing, there are so many people here. Personally, for the first time, I played before such a large audience. When I came out on stage, I was nervous, I felt insecure. It’s a crazy experience.

Two more important tournaments ahead of you, StarSeries i-League Season 7 and IEM Syndey 2019. How are you going to prepare for them?

Now we are coming back to the USA and we will start a two-week bootcamp before leaving for Shanghai. Considering our results at the Major, we will go there with quite considerable expectations. We hope that we will prove to everyone that we can play with the best of them.

Few people believed in your success. Did the game without more pressure help you achieve such a good result?

For sure, I think that playing as an underdog gives a really big advantage. The opponent feels he must defeat you. Before the matches, some teams may disregard you, I do not know it, but sometimes it looks like this from the side. Anyway, our preparation was really good, I’m happy with how we presented ourselves here.

You spent a lot of time in Katowice, then bootcamp in the USA, followed by more events. Are you aching to finally return home?

Not at the moment. We’re from Australia, so we do not have time to go home. We are currently living in America, so now we will be in our quarters for a few weeks. Then we will go to Shanghai and Sydney. We had a great time at this tournament, it’s a pity it’s over, because it was really nice.

At the beginning, you only aimed at promotion to the playoffs. Did you feel disappointed after the defeat in the quarterfinals?

For my team it may have been a dream to play in the playoffs, but for me, it was my first Major. I have never played it before, so placing in the top 24 was already extremely good for me.

The promotion to the best sixteen was already something great for the rest of the boys, and reaching the knockout stage was something absolutely incredible, in fact I still can’t quite believe it.

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