On day 1 of the New Challengers stage, Cybersport.com sat down with HellRaisers' rifler Vladislav "bondik" Nеchуроrchuk where we discussed their series against North, the state of the team going into the match-up, as well as his opinion on the outcome of Gambit Esports vs. TyLoo.
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Congratulations on the win against North, Vladyslav. My first question is whether North's performance in Stockholm had any effect on the team going into your match-up at all? Did you pick up on anything in their series versus Astralis that you used in your match against them?
Firstly I'd like to say hello to everyone. Thank you for the congratulations, but I think that there's not much to celebrate just yet — the main goal is to proceed into the next stage, the rest is irrelevant. One thing I'd like to say immediately about North is that, yes, we did prepare for the match, we watched demos, we anticipated the map picks. It came down to one of two maps — we ended up preparing Overpass before the match, so we had an understanding of what they would be doing. It was really helpful that we managed to get a bunch of rounds on the offense. We took a decent amount of rounds, but we could've secured more. I'm not sure what happened — I can't say that we were relaxed, but we gave them some leeway, you know? We could've gone further, securing a much more convincing half time score.
The main goal is to proceed into the next stage, the rest is irrelevant.
Afterwards, we switched over to the CT side, took the pistol, took the first rifle round. Everything was going well, but, again, we had a few silly rounds, they broke our economy and the end result was overtime. Having said that, I'd like to underline that the guys were making a comeback against us from 8:15, and despite this we were focused on the idea that we could win, because we felt that there were times where we were a little bit unlucky over the course of the series. Plus, it's easier to play as the offense because you're constantly breaking the CT's economy. We felt we were stronger, and so it proved to be the case.
Speaking for myself, when we arrived at the tournament I felt that I was in good form; I played well in scrims, but when we played against North today, I had the feeling of, "I have to destroy them", but it wasn't working out. For me, the match wasn't the most pleasant. I think I'll fix it all by tomorrow, perhaps my illness had some sort of an impact, I don't know. I think everything will be ok.
Let's take a deeper look at the T side. Initially, everything was taking a positive trajectory for you guys, but then North managed to get the better of you towards the latter portion of the half, bringing things closer at 7:8. You gave us a general description, but could you perhaps point out specific rounds or pivoting points in the half?
One of the crucial rounds was when MSL had an AWP on B, they had something along the lines of a semi-force buy. He was AWPing on B, and we were aware of this; despite knowing this, we still went there, I think this was a miscall. Then we ran a couple solo A rounds, where we gave up entry-frags; playing with a player disadvantage on Overpass without zone control is really difficult.
Generally speaking, playing Overpass is quite easy if you have zone control. For example, as the Ts, you have secured water, long, middle, made sure to fend off the CTs deeper. This gives you control. You're not readable because you can pull fakes — A/B/A/B. The CTs are too bunched up, so it becomes difficult for them. As far as I remember without watching the demo, I think we played poorly around zones a couple of times, and because of this we conceded some rounds. These two-three rounds, plus the round MSL was AWPing on B, summed up to 3-4 rounds that we shouldn't have conceded.
It was apparent that North were in form.
The only thing that remains is for us to watch the demo and rectify this by tomorrow's game because, theoretically, with every subsequent Swiss round we'll be getting stronger opponents. Then again, I'd like to say that we were paired against one of the toughest opponents in the first round — they weren't too lucky getting paired with us, at the same time. North just came out of victory at a pretty significant event, all the top teams were participating, barring perhaps Liquid.
They also faced and subsequently beat Astralis, the current No. 1 in the world, in the grand final. This is also a significant factor.
I agree. It was apparent that North were in form. We prepared. We also knew that we were in form; we've been gaining form over a long period of time and we felt comfortable. At DreamHack we had a bit of struggle because we had some sort of a psychological problem: "Will woxic arrive, will he not? Who will be the stand-in?" We found a stand-in upon arrival in Sweden. It was quite difficult to compose ourselves, you know? But after we lost, we started training immediately. We didn't give up, we knew that the most important tournament for us was the Major, probably just like it is for all the other teams. We're ready to play and the current goal is to make it to the next stage, and from there we will try to claw onto a top 8 spot. I don't want to dive too far into the future. So just to reinstate, the most important goal for us now is to make it into the next stage.
You mentioned MSL AWPing. Did he feel highly impactful fulfilling the role, or was it still apparent that he's processing it and there are some holes in his knowledge of it?
I'll be honest with you in saying that prior to the tournament it felt like we would be playing against the AWP MVP of the tournament. As strange as it may seem, he previously never really even used the AWP as the secondary sniper, let alone the primary. However, here they changed things, swapped out mertz and gave MSL the role. Maybe they didn't give it to him, perhaps he took it on himself, we don't really know. Again, at DreamHack, he was given the tournament MVP, and that wasn't for no reason. As a captain, he's great at reading the game. As a result he quite likely understands where he can land frags and does land them. It's not easy to play against him.
The AWP is the easiest weapon in the game, and if he continues to progress with the weapon, improving his sniping skills, I think he can be a serious problem for teams in the future.
Let's take a step back from the match against North. I wanted to get your opinion on the match between Gambit and TyLoo. Prior to the interview you said you managed to watch a little bit of it. What was your opinion on the result [TyLoo won vs. Gambit 19:17— Ed.]?
To be honest, my heart was split in half when I was watching the match, the reason being that in Gambit I have people that I constantly talk with, we can even call them friends, and with TyLoo there's also something familiar, friends that you love and have spent six months with. It's the Major, so I want to cheer for my own region, but at the same time I consider the Chinese guys my own as well. As such, my heart was really being ripped apart, it was difficult to watch the match.
My heart was really being ripped apart, it was difficult to watch the match. [Gambit vs. TyLoo]
Then again, the game was quite a strange one: forces everywhere, as I remember one team took the pistol, the next one there's a force, then there's a force to a force, something along the lines of 3:2 in force buy rounds. It felt messy. At the same time, I think Gambit were the ones to win the series, and everything was setup for them to do so. I think the score was 14:10, but if you count up the rounds that Gambit gave away, it's not acceptable for a Major tournament. I think they need to go over their mistakes. Furthermore, they have B1ad3 now, who, I'm sure, will do this and they'll fix it.
I think they're an experienced team; an experienced team like Gambit, who has in the past already won a Major should not allow themselves to do things like this. I think they'll fix this over the course of the tournament and we will see a different Gambit, not the Gambit that arrived to the tournament. If my memory doesn't fail me, when they won the Major, they had the same thing, where they gained a lot of form as the tournament progressed. Perhaps not individually, but as a team; then again, they played very well individually.
I'd underline mou. I can't imagine what's going on in the team, or rather I have an idea, but don't want to voice it. By the things that were written on social media — and by this I mean the post written by mou, not sure if you've read it or not — it seems like something terrible is going on in the team and, to be honest, this should not be happening in the run-up to the Major. Maybe he got things off his chest after writing the post, but in all honesty, I think that he is under massive pressure right now. I would like to wish him luck, may everything work out for him — I will be cheering him on, before all else.
In your answer, you touched on Gambit securing B1ad3. You have played with Andrey for a long while during your time on FlipSid3. From the perspective of an outsider, do you think he will be able to effectively help them rehaul their system? In an interview with Dosia I learned that he wants to do a comprehensive rehaul.
Yes, I have indeed spent a really long time playing with Andrey [B1ad3]; back in 1.6, and then CS:GO for a long while. He is an outstanding, legendary individual. He is a leader, a captain; his nickname among ourselves is "cap". I think Andrey can achieve everything, but the question is about who he achieves it with. If Gambit decide they welcome this, then Andrey will be successful; if they don't allow him to do this, then I don't really know.
He has a very specific outlook on Counter-Strike, and when he joined Gambit, I looked at it as: "Oh, this is a great move". But, again, Gambit are a team that played a lot individually, whereas Andrey played on teams that had very stringent structure from all standpoints: everything was sorted, down to the smallest details. I remember that there was rarely some sort of free will regarding decisions. Obviously we're not talking about the AWPing role, but more generally.
It seems like something terrible is going on in Gambit.
I think that for a really long time Gambit haven't played the structured game that Andrey envisions. This transition could be very difficult for them, and whether or not everyone will withstand this and welcome it remains a question. Whether they will entrust Andrey with this is what I consider the main question. Having said that, I think that if they do entrust him, and Andrey will be able to realise it all, I think they will be a very serious team.
The problem is that the Major is already here, and they want results now. Maybe they don't want results now, because they understand it's difficult to show results, but they understand that they have to. This is the largest issue, because they don't have that much time. What happens after the Major — only god knows.
Vlad, thank you so much for such a detailed interview, I'd like to wish you luck in your match tomorrow.
Thank you very much. A massive thanks to the people supporting us. Also, something I'd like to express towards the people from the CIS region that are cheering against us, because we supposedly came and took the slot, is that we previously secured slots in Europe, and it didn't really take much for us to do so.
I'd like to address these people in asking them not to hate on us, rather encourage them to do the opposite by supporting us, so we could make it to the next Major and wouldn't have to come to CIS and, as you guys say, "take the slots". Let's all calm down and support HellRaisers.
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