Has Vega Squadron received an experience, for which it had come? In what match have you received it most of all?
We came there as outsiders and it was understandable that we were on one level lower than the rest of teams in terms of experience, because there was at least one player on every team, who had been on the Major at least once. If we look at PENTA, kRYSTAL has already been at the Major. People have been playing in any other team for 10-15 years and they have been at all Majors. We are the only team, which consists of 5 players, who have never been at the Major and have not had an experience of participating in such big championships. According to the game, everything has been expected, we have received a valuable experience and will be working on mistakes till our coming home. We have got something to look forward to, there is a space for improvements and there are a lot of mistakes, which must be corrected. If we correct them, I think we will get to a new level.
You are the only CIS team, which has no experience of participating in Major tournaments but you could win the CIS Minor, participate in a great way at the closed qualification and come out to the group stage of Major Krakow. What is the key to your success?
We have been playing with this roster for a long time and if we look at CIS Minors, Gambit is the first team, they came out from the CIS Minor to the Major. The rest CIS teams, Na’Vi, FlipSid3 were with a status of «the Legend» in the closed qualifiers, so they had not passed the Minors, only Gambit had done. We are the second CIS team to reach the Major through the Minor due to the fact that the four of us were playing together for a long time during a year and a half, and playing with chopper for a half of the year.
So, is the key to your success a stability and a long partnership?
Yes, it is.
What is your impression about the tournament?
Actually, we would have liked to participate in this tournament in a more proper way but we failed that’s why we had such an insulting loss. That’s an experience for us. Now you are sitting and watching teams playing on the stage and these are way different feelings. All players understood that this is another game and we have to try harder to appear on this stage. There are no viewers in a default bracket as they are in a playoff. A playoff is way another feelings, you feel all this atmosphere and it worth to be aimed.
How did you prepare for the tournament, the group stage?
Our preparation has not changed since the CIS Minor. We prepared for it as we had prepared for the Minor, won it and prepared for the closed qualifiers and passed them. We changed nothing, it was enough for us to get to the CIS Minor and to the closed qualification but as we see, we had to change the training process for the preparation to PGL Major Krakow. We had to spend more time on not only an individual play but on the team play too. We worked a lot, from eight hours per day. And this was only the team play, not including an individual training, when someone went to play FaceIt, ESEA, mixes and something else. We worked a lot enough but we achieved what we could.
You said in one interview that there had been only four players at the bootcamp, you had not been able to be there. How did this factor impact your preparation?
We had the same situation before the Minor. Almost all bootcamps were hosted in four players in recent time because I had family problems and due to them I was not able to join them. I would not say that this had a serious impact on our training, we had full trainings, there was no feeling that we were missing something. At the beginning we met in five, we have got used to each other now and a bootcamp is not so important, we can meet in four, two. A bootcamp is only required if a player has bad conditions at home: bad internet, poor computer, something else. Then yes, a bootcamp helps and, also, in the process of team creation. It is not so important later if there are comfortable conditions at home.
Tell us about opponents, who you enjoyed playing against at the group stage and about opponents, who you didn’t.
I, actually, enjoyed playing against all opponents because each match was against different opponents and on various maps. When we played against Virtus.pro, we made a stupid pick, it was stupid and desperate to play on de_nuke. Initially, we had not planned to play on it but there was a mess in the team in the last seconds of the map ban and pick: someone wanted to play on de_nuke, someone didn’t want to and due to that mess we made a decision: «Okay, let’s play on nuke». And, also, there was the factor that we picked the side, we decided to start as CT and to take an advantage and with its help to win the game. It was understandable in first rounds that we would not be allowed to do that and we were ridden over, we were able to do nothing and guys from Virtus.pro were cool, they showed who was the boss.
Talking about the match against VP, were you morally exhausted? Did this have any impact on future matches?
We get to the next match with a clear mind after any match, any loss, this means that we forget the match and it doesn’t matter what has happened in the previous one: we have lost or won. This is an another match, there are different opponents, we have to focus on them and to forget about what has happened in the last match. If you start thinking about the previous game, you will lose automatically.
Who do you think will reach the top 4? And who will get to the Grand Final?
Astralis has shown a strong play, to tell the truth. I was surprised how dev1ce had grown up, he fully overcame FalleN in terms of positions. I don’t know which duel score was there but every time I watched he killed FalleN all the time and SK started a lot of rounds, playing 4 vs 5. Astralis has been in a very good shape and the match Astralis vs Gambit is going to be very interesting but Gambit will have to try hard to win. I don’t know what maps have to be picked to struggle with Astralis, who are in a good shape right now. Of course, I will cheer for our guys, for Gambit. There are BIG, Immortals, Virtus.pro and North at the lower bracket, I think that Virtus.pro will beat North, Immortals will overcome BIG by the skill and the morale. VP will beat Immortals and the final will be Astralis vs VP or Gambit vs VP but I would like to see Gambit vs VP, this will be an interesting CIS confrontation.
What participant of the tournament has surprised you most of all?
BIG has surprised. I didn’t expect such a cool game from them. They won SK, Cloud9 and FaZe Clan. In global, they grew up a lot, I didn’t think that they would play so hard. They showed themselves good from an individual side, tabsen gained a good shape in terms of the individual play and all others were nice. There is the factor that they have won all three matches on de_inferno. I don’t know how they will play on other maps but, according to training sessions, guys have said that they are doing very well on other maps, so they can surprise in Bo3. They got to the playoff only on de_inferno. I guess if teams ban de_inferno and pick some other maps, they will be able to surprise a lot due to the fact that they have shown nothing on different maps.
If we are talking about inferno, what is your opinion about the fact that BIG has used a bug at various times during the participation?
They are clever, they have found a defect in the game and used it. This was not forbidden by rules. If someone else found it, he would use it too. I guess that they are cool because they have shown something that will be remembered at this Major, people start saying something, creating a hype and a mess, saying: «Let’s forbid this», «This is fair», «This is not fair». Guys have found a bug and they are great.
Who has disappointed you?
FaZe. They have disappointed everyone. I looked at the rate of bets, about 80% of bets folded because everyone had betted on a score 3-0 in the favor of Astralis, SK and FaZe. Three teams are the 80% of bets and none of them has not come out with such score. What is more, FaZe has finished with a score 0-3, they had a very bad participation.
Previously, you said in an interview for StarLadder that the Swiss system should be better run in Bo3 matches. Do you think so now or your opinion has changed?
A best-of-three format was fair for obvious favorites. The Swiss system with bo1 matches can help BIG or any other outsider team, which has somehow got to a tournament. You can make four mistakes in bo1 matches: you have not won the first round, the gun round and you have already been losing with a score 10:0, so a bo1 match makes pressure on famous teams, which are supposed to win in an easy way and so on. If you make one mistake in a bo1 match, you have no right to make one more and due to this you can make a mess, make more mistakes and lose bo1. And when matches are run in a bo3 format, you understand: «This map can be lost» and can allow yourself to press, to play riskily in one moment and not to struggle with such pressure. Due to this, outsiders can win the first map but lose the rest two because of the lack of experience. I think that the Swiss system with a bo3 format would be much better at the world championship. The GSL system was, also, good with bo1 matches and for an elimination match with a bo3 format.
What host system of a group stage do you like most of all? The Swiss, GSL or Round Robin?
I like the Swiss system at the moment, we got there through it but I guess bo3 matches would be great for the rest of teams for the final matches. So it would be great to make two streams and let all teams play bo3 matches, this would be more comfortable for teams. This would be normal.
What are your plans for the future? At what tournaments or leagues will we be able to see you?
At first, we will come home and have a rest because guys have been sitting in front of computers for eight months and have not almost had a rest, they had two free weeks during all this time. We need to have a nice time off from CS:GO, at least, two full weeks for guys to refresh, to forget what was going on here and to start their training sessions with new forces and to start working. We will have an open qualification to ELEAGUE right after the vacation because teams have not been invited to the closed one. There will be a hard mess because there are bo1 matches in the open qualifiers, every team will be able to win. You can lose against the team you see for the first at the beginning and, also, you can do that in the end: you lose one match, don’t get to the battle for a slot and that’s all.
Can you give any advice to aspiring cyber-sportsmen?
You have to train a lot to achieve a success in CS:GO. Interpersonal skills are very important in CS:GO too. You have to know how to admit your mistakes, to speak with people, to have consensus all the time, you must know how to deal with your teammate. When you can’t arrange, your team will not leave more than a month without reshuffles and your team will have to find people, who can make a compromise and communicate among each other well - this is the key to success. If you have at least a friendly atmosphere in your team, then it will be much easier to achieve your aims and results.