After a big roster change, Hellraisers are on a mission to secure their rightful place amongst the best in the world, according to team coach Ivan “Johnta” Shevtsov.

Although Hellraisers managed to secure a Legends status at the FACEIT Major London 2018, their overall performance throuout the year was less than impressive. It was time for a change.

Last month Hellraisers brought in Abay “Hobbit” Khasenov in place of Vlаdуslаv “bondik” Nеchуроrchuk. With the new roster Hellraisers finished fourth at the SuperNova Malta 2018, finishing behind the likes of Team Liquid, NRG Esports, and BIG.

There are two more LAN events before the winter holidays for them — ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals and PLG Grand Slam 2018. And according to coach Ivan “Johnta” Shevtsov the goal there is to learn how to play as a team again and get ready for the 2019 season.

Vie: You swapped bondik for Hobbit roughly a month ago. Did you part ways with bondik on good terms?

Johnta: I hope that yes and he does not hold a grudge. After all, we all felt that he could have more impact and play a bigger role in another team. For me, Vlad (bondik) was always a carry-player, such as Magisk, rain, etc. For some reason, this was not possible in our team. I hope he will find a team in which he can realize himself completely.

Vie: Did the contract run out and you just decided not to renew it? Why? Whose decision was it?

Johnta: Yes, sort of. The team needed a replacement for several reasons. Mostly to refresh the atmosphere. There are different stages in the life of each team, in our case, the next stage just didn’t come and changes were needed.

I will explain in more detail. After some losses, the key mistakes that were made should have been corrected. They were not corrected as time went on and after a series of defeats, the belief that this team could win was lost. And staying at the level between tier 1 and tier 2 isn’t our goal. In such cases, the longer you delay with a replacement, the worse it will get.

Vie: Have you considered swapping other players? Many were surprised because they expected you to swap Deadfox.

Johnta: Yes, in our roster there were three players whom we could replace. We thought for a long time before making a decision. The main factor was what role the newcomer will play, and how we see the composition in the new format.

Deadfox is a very cool support player that remembers all the tactics and grenades, is not nervous on LANs and does not mind taking on difficult roles. If we replaced him with a player who does not play such roles, it would be the exact same thing that happened with Mousesports and Snax.

Vie: A year ago there was a similar situation between the organization and bondik. How is this time any different?

Johnta: In some ways the situation was similar. But this time the choice to change Vlad was based on the distribution of roles in the team. Previously, he played the role which ISSAA now takes. On some maps he just felt uncomfortable. We could not change this, and eventually Vlad didn’t find a comfortable position for himself within the team.

Vie: Why did you choose Hobbit? Who else was considered for the vacant seat?

Johnta: Hobbit is a very capable player, ideally suited to the role that Vlad played. We discussed this and realized that we would be perfect for each other. Considered a couple of players, our second option was Cromen.

Vie: Is it true that you already trained with Hobbit before officially signing him? How did he show himself in training? 

Johnta: We discussed the roles and talked about what he would like to do in the game. After all, he has changed a lot of roles during his last days at Gambit Esports. For us, Hobbit looks like a better choice, if only because he is more comfortable with the roles that he wants to perform. We had a whole month to prepare. It shows itself well, he adapts very quickly.

Vie: Was a month of practice enough for you to get in shape?

Johnta: We have three LANs in a row now. Our goal is not to get in shape, but to play and understand what we can do with this composition and form the basis of team and communication. And with this go for a winter holiday, and after that begin preparing for the Major and set the form as early as next year.

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