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.
After a second place finish at WESG 2018, Anna “Ant1ka” Ananikova talked about the difference between her current squad and the former one, shared impressions of working with the coach of Vega Squadron, and the dynamics between male and female Counter-Strike.
Damian “Furlan” Kisłowski’s AGO Gaming settled in Chongqing, China, where the Polish team will fight the world’s best for their share of $890,000 USD in prize money.
It was another disappointing event for Julia “juliano” Kiran’s Beşiktaş, where the European girls ended up third in Intel Challenge Katowice 2019 — just behind their North American rivals.