At the media day for Blast Premier Spring Groups, TheSwedishJoker had a chance to talk to OG’s in-game leader Aleksib to discuss new player headtr1ck, what’s changed now that he’s here and the team’s overall preparation.
Hugo “TheSwedishJoker” Nilsson Meier, BLIX.GG: Your new AWPer, headtr1ck, was announced recently and you guys are coming here for your first event with him. How has it been so far?
Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen: I mean, it's been nice. I feel like I've been a part of this for like four months now and headtr1ck has just been introduced. We've got to play at the start of this year. We've still not had the best preparation but I think we got a lot of the basics out of the way at least. So, we are going to be able to play some kind of CS during this tournament and in the upcoming weeks. But I feel like we have a lot to learn and that's going to be the number-one thing this tournament is to learn and to try to do our best. For me, trying to enable my players to play to their highest capability and I'm just interested to see where it's going to take us.
BLIX: I think we all are. Have you changed anything as an in-game leader now compared to when you had es3tag considering the difference in experience between them?
Aleksib: We just need to make sure as a team that we help to bring in our new AWPer and try to make him comfortable. Overall we need to just try to play as a unit because I feel like if you bring in a new guy and just let him do whatever he wants but the rifles are super disjointed and no one is helping him to do his plays it isn't going to work. I just feel like everything I tried to create these past two weeks now, just trying to make sure that we’re trying to play as a unit, trying to help each other in all these situations, whenever Danyyl (headtr1ck) wants to do a peek we’ll help him. I just feel like it’s been just trying to make something happen fast as well as something that we can build on into the future as well. As we don't just go on the server now and just go guns blazing trying to play FACEIT style or anything, we’re trying to play as a unit and trying to learn from it and just trying to make sure that we can make something happen in the long run. We are just trying to make something happen so that we don’t need to start from scratch and change everything and instead we can try to build onto something.
BLIX: You talked about playing as a unit. Is that something that you guys have continued on from the es3tag iteration and then just put headtr1ck into the old system?
Aleksib: Obviously, we tried to play like smart CS, even with es3tag but for me personally… I mean, now I have a really good grasp on how these people are working and I know what I am a part of because it was completely new for me when I joined the team. I think the biggest thing is obviously that we have a new AWPer, new identity there, and we have REZ back on the rifle and we all know what he is capable of in terms of being really consistent, and you kind of know what you are expecting of him and I also try to enable him as well. So I feel like it is a lot of new stuff compared to the time with es3tag but we have some of the same stuff when it comes to how we work together and all these things but when a new guy comes in, especially one who is a bit more inexperienced, you kind of have to take a step back, the coach needs to spend some time with him and we just need to make sure we are working one-hundred percent.
BLIX: You mentioned REZ going back to the rifle, have there been some position changes on certain maps and how do you feel all that coming together?
Aleksib: There have been some position changes, yes. And on some, I just want to make sure that we have this rifle... I'm not going to say people are scared of but people know that he's going to hold his ground and when you prepare, you won't see too many gaps in the style that he plays and he's going to punish you. So, I just feel like I want to enable him but at the same time, on some maps, he has more responsibility for holding a site, and on some maps, he's much more free to do what he wants. But as we've talked together, nothing is set in stone. We'll see how the season starts. If we need to make changes, we'll make changes when it comes to positions on the map.
BLIX: How's the practice been for you guys coming into BLAST?
Aleksib: I mean it's been quite nice honestly. I mean we didn't have that much time as we needed to film a lot of content for NIP because it is a new year and headtr1ck had to do a couple extra days even because there was nothing filmed of him yet in an NIP jersey. We have been trying to work as much as we can but I mean you always want a bit more whenever you’re a new team, you kind of want to start from scratch. But yes, as I said I feel like it is just nice to play officials, I feel like we are going to learn five times more than we would normally in practice, so it's going to be a hectic month and there's going to be a lot of fixing after games and just trying to make sure that the next official we play after the last is going to be a bit better.
BLIX: What would you say is the difference between m0NESY and headtr1ck? You haven't had as much time with headtr1ck but I'm sure there are some differences and similarities that you can see already?
Aleksib: I can see some similarities but I cannot put my finger on a lot of things because of the fact that I haven't played that long with headtr1ck yet. But I feel like they're really good friends with each other so it is quite obvious when you're really good friends with someone that you have some of the same habits. So, I can see some of the same habits in headtr1ck, see that he likes to grind a lot, he enjoys the game a lot and he is having fun, which is something m0NESY did as well. It's really cool to see that he's enjoying the game a lot and it kind of makes you motivated as well when you watch him play. I feel like flashy is the word I want to use. Just watching them play, you can see that they have this flow in them that you know they're going to be good and you know that even though headtr1ck is inexperienced, but with experience, he's going to be good.
BLIX: Have you guys been able to talk about your expectations for this new season or this new year so far?
Aleksib: We're going to have some talks now when the tournament starts today. We're going to have a talk after media day, like a team talk where we join our first tournament and speak about everything. But apart from that, we've obviously been talking about some general stuff but I feel like we don't want to set the biggest expectations ever straight from the bat. But the thing is that everybody as individuals and me as a leader, like when I know the people now a bit better, we have our own goals. And I feel like my goal, at least as a leader, is obviously to try to be better and try to improve on the things that I learned from last year. And yeah, just trying to make sure that when it's going to be a hectic time like this, like a hectic schedule, with like two or three tournaments coming up, I will try my best to make sure that we improve as much as we can and do my best to enable my players so they're going to play good and eventually we're going to win.
BLIX: How do you prioritize between the tournaments that you play? Do you guys hide some stuff and wait for a bigger and better tournament to use it?
Aleksib: I think we're going to go all out from the first game, meaning that we will try to use everything we have thus far but the thing is that I think this tournament is going to make us improve a lot. So, I feel like for us, we might play a bit better when it comes to playing in Katowice or something because we got the first tournament out of the way or whatever. But who knows, maybe this tournament we will already play really well, or we might play better in the next one. Who knows, maybe we will play super bad here, you never know. I think it's really hard to say before we get into the server but yeah, I'm just excited to play now.