Astralis have played three matches in New York so far, with two victories against Danish rivals OpTic and a defeat at the hands of the newly christened Evil Geniuses. They are now set to face Liquid, their rivals for the top spot in the world ranking, in the ESL One New York semi-finals.
gla1ve talked about the matches in New York, how Astralis find their best form during Big Event and Major playoffs, their upcoming match against Liquid, what they did in their downtime before the event in New York, their current goal of reclaiming the #1 spot in the ranking after their Major three-peat, and dealing with playing against teams that use their tactics on Vertigo.
Before the decider match MSL said that OpTic were going to show they had a deep playbook on Dust2, what were your reactions to those comments?
They said they have a deep playbook on Dust2, so I don’t know why they didn’t show it! But it was a good match and I think we played it much better than we did against EG, although I think EG do have a little bit more individual skill than OpTic, you can just feel it. Especially Brehze, he was really good against us. We had a really tough time shutting him down, but now I’m just looking forward to the semi-finals.
Talking about the semi-finals, you’re going up against Liquid. That’s the big match-up right now. Liquid vs. Astralis. You guys got them at the Major, what are you expecting against them here?
For me, Liquid and EG are almost the same team, skill-wise. They’re really good teams and when we play either of them it’s just as hard. I’m looking forward to it because we had a great game against Liquid in Berlin and I hope we can get the win, go through to the final, and get a winning streak going, although I think they’ll be prepared.
Talking about Berlin, you won the Major there becoming the first team to win three in a row, which was your long term goal as a team. What are your goals now that you achieved that?
That’s a tough question, of course we want to reclaim the #1 spot on the HLTV ranking, but we also want to just keep winning tournaments because that’s what we love the most. It was quite a tough time when we didn’t win tournaments before the Major, and we don’t want to go back to that and be around the #2 or #3 place in the world. We want to be the best team in the world and the best team ever, but that is something that will only come with time. Right now we’re just focused on winning tournaments.
We want to reclaim the #1 spot on the HLTV ranking, but we also want to just keep winning tournaments because that’s what we love the most
You didn’t play the BLAST Pro Series in Moscow, which gave you some time after the Major before coming here. How did you spend that time?
It was pretty sad for us to not play the BLAST Pro Series because we love those tournaments, right? [laughs]. But on a serious note, we just practiced a lot. We had one bootcamp with computers and another without computers after the vacation and we practiced a lot before Berlin. We had good results and you could feel that people really wanted to win. After Berlin we took two days off and then started to practice again all the way up to now. We’re running almost the same strats as we did in Berlin since we didn’t have that much time, but hopefully when we go home after Malmö we’ll be able to make some new stuff.
In the first match against OpTic you played a pretty close Vertigo. How is that map going for you guys? How is the meta evolving?
It’s a pretty strong map for us, we’ve been “making the meta,” so to say. I see a lot of teams doing stuff we’re doing, especially things we did at the Major, and I feel that teams are getting better and better. That’s the toughest thing, right? You do something that’s really good and it works really well at one event, but then at the next event everyone copies it, so you have to know how you’re going to anti-strat or do something against it. So now we have to evolve and figure out how to counter our plays when other teams do them. That’s a lot of what I’m thinking about on Vertigo right now.
Now we have to evolve and figure out how to counter our plays when other teams do them. That’s a lot of what I’m thinking about on Vertigo right now
It’s a map that has a lot of utility usage on the sites, and playing through and around that utility, plus it’s a small map… is that something you like as a team? That kind of close-quarters utility-heavy style?
Yeah, if you look at Inferno there’s a lot of close combat as well and that’s one of our best maps. I think Vertigo is pretty solid for us because we have a lot of good riflers that are really good at spraying. I wouldn’t say we’re bad aimers, but we have better sprayers than aimers. Xyp9x, Magisk and myself, all three of us are really good with spraying the M4. dupreeh has great aim and reflexes, but I do think close combat is really good for our team.
You said Liquid are similar to EG, a team that gave you a hard time and beat you. Going up against Liquid, what do you think will be the key to get the best of them?
We have to play our A game to even be able to get close to winning because if we play the way we played against EG, we’ll definitely lose to Liquid. We have to be ready mentally and physically and be on point from the beginning to hopefully be able to make the American crowd a little silent. [laughs]
Now that you’ve had a bit of time after the Major, looking back, you lost to EG in the group stage and then beat Liquid in the playoffs pretty comfortably, going on to show great form in the playoffs…
We’re trying to find out what we did differently between the group stage and the playoffs because we played so much better in the playoffs. We’ve been doing that in the last few events we’ve played at, everybody has been so on point that we don’t even do our tactics. That’s the weirdest part. We don’t run our tactics, we were just playing on a whole different level at the last three Major playoffs. Something is different when we play those, I’m not sure why, but we’re trying to find it out the best we can.
Is there anything you’ve kind of pinpointed?
I have a pretty good clue about why it happens, but I can’t say it. That’s a secret, I’m sorry! [laughs]
No matter what happens after this event you have Malmö, which will come immediately after and where a lot of Danish fans will show up, are you looking forward to it?
I’m looking forward to Malmö so much. When we were in Berlin it was crazy, there were so many Astralis fans. I didn’t expect that from the crowd, and I know Berlin is fairly close to Copenhagen, but still, so many Astralis fans! We could hear them all over the arena. Now we’ll be in Malmö, which is only like 30 minutes away from Copenhagen by car, so I’m really looking forward to that. I know a lot of Danish people will go, but I also hope some international fans will show up and come cheer for us with the Astralis crowd and have some fun. We just love to play there.