At the BLAST Paris Major EU RMR A, we had the chance to talk to Abdul "degster" Gasanov about a variety of topics related to his team's performance, goals, and future plans. Additionally, he shared his thoughts on the newly released CS2 game and the changes it brings to the CS:GO community.
This interview was taken when OG was down 0-2. Since then, degster and OG turned it around and ended up qualifying for the upcoming major.
Hugo "TheSwedishJoker" Nilsson Meier, BLIX: The last time I talked to you was at BLAST Premier Spring Groups, this time you’re here without Nemanja “nexa” Isakovic. How’s this time been for you guys so far?
Abdul “degster” Gasanov: I think, of course, it’s pretty difficult. You’re playing with a stand-in, who was the only real person who can join us on such short notice, so it’s different. It’s also for me a bit different but I’m trying to adapt myself to the game, but to be honest it feels sometimes rough for me.
I’m not talking about the whole team. I think we’re sometimes struggling and we just need to fix it if we want to go through from 0-2.
BLIX: Obviously Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen came in on very short notice, just thrown into the Major, has that affected the OG’s goals and objectives at the Major? Or is it still to qualify and go far?
degster: Yeah of course we want to qualify, it’s the last Major of CS:GO, so I think no teams who have been playing the RMR right now think they will have good chances, maybe or maybe not, and then they will play Majors on CS2! I think it’s a bad goal.
BLIX: How has the preparation looked for you guys? Did you guys boot camp? How was the run-up to the Major?
degster: To be honest, yes, we had a boot camp but four guys were there; I was not as I was sick. For four days I just living in my bed and then when I started to feel a bit better I joined them to play without stand-ins two qualifications.
The first one I missed, because I was not feeling great (BLAST Premier Spring Showdown, ed.), but on the next day I decided that I should play even if I’m not feeling great, so we started playing the qualifier with me and we only lost in the game for the spot (IEM Dallas Closed Qualifier, ed.).
BLIX: Obviously niko played in OG before you joined. How has he adapted so far? Has it been a tough transition period for him, with the old and new OG?
degster: I think he’s a good support player and he’s also an experienced person who knows what he can offer to his teammates. This thing is really important in my opinion because everyone’s feeling it – he’s the man who can really support them with nades, with peeks, in clutches, in executions.
I think maybe for him it was a bit harder than for us to adapt.
BLIX: This OG, without nexa or with niko, what’s the future like for you guys? Obviously, we only know that nexa is out. But what can you tell us about the future, and what can we expect from OG moving forward?
degster: To be honest I know only short-time information, we focused to qualify for the Major of course, and if we don’t qualify all of us will be very disappointed. Then we have IEM Rio, and after this, I think the organization knows better than me because I don’t have any other information inside of me! I don’t know, I’m just like… one of the main focuses for me was to qualify for the Major and to play the last Major in May, and then we see what is going to happen. We also had chances to qualify for two NA tournaments, BLAST and Dallas, but we didn’t so it’s already not the best result for us.
But I was sick through the first one, and we did really our best in the second one, so right now we are just a bit sad that we are going 1-2. We can still manage it, and I think we need to do that.
BLIX: Will you have a trial period after the Major, or will you keep playing with niko?
degster: I don’t know, right now I don’t know.
BLIX: Isn’t it a little bit scary, not knowing what the future holds?
degster: No I think it’s okay because it’s the Major cycle, it’s ok for every team. For example, if you don’t manage the results that you wanted to have after the Major you always know that you will have a period where you don’t know what’s going to be happening. If you are FaZe and other teams it’s different because you are winning tournaments, but with all the rest of the teams who have no achievements this season, it’s ok for every one of them.
For the first time when I had it, it was strange for me because I was used to playing practices, practices, practices, and now I know that I need to wait because we don’t know how it’s going to be and the OG roster. But after a year you already understand how it’s working, you know?
BLIX: In your last CS:GO Major in Antwerp you were very close with Spirit, making the semi-finals. Does it put a little bit more pressure on you knowing that this is the last CS:GO Major? Like your last chance to win a Major, after being so close back then?
degster: To be honest, no, just because I know that, for example, when you’re playing on the Major you already know from experience that you are trying to do certain things to qualify for the next stage, and then the next stage. If you didn’t qualify for the playoffs you already know that all of us, we just don’t deserve it because we made some mistakes, maybe someone failed, maybe you failed, who knows.
Every time it’s a different situation. But when you qualify for the playoffs of course you want to win. I remember there was one moment when I rewatched the Antwerp Major, and I saw that we lost a 1v4 clutch to Twistzz [Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken], it wasn’t a real 1v4 but he was the only one who killed us while we were killing his teammates.
We lost the round, and it was the 15th round for us if I’m not wrong. I was like “ok, we had a chance to go to the third map” and it’s like, if you can manage all of the things, you win your clutches and don’t lose these opportunities, then you’re able to win. For me as a person, I had an interview yesterday and I realized CS:GO is finishing. I have been playing for two years in Tier-1, maybe three now, and I didn’t win any real big tournaments, only online ones.
Of course, it feels sad because, for me especially, I know I’m not the guy who was chilling and expecting to surprisingly win a tournament. When you realize it doesn’t work out for you, at least in this game, and you have only a few chances now to win big tournaments it feels sad. But I’m okay with that actually, it’s life, in one moment you maybe will deserve it if you’re putting in a lot of work or you’re trying to find the way to success for yourself, and hope to be impactful and successful. This is life, this is how it is.
BLIX: Do you think there was something that you or the team could have done differently back in that semi-final to be able to win?
degster: To be honest I don’t like to think like that, so in my opinion, we did our best. Of course, everyone can say after the game, or even someone who is watching the game, “Okay, you can do this and this” but no. I respect the work we did before the Major, and I respect the result, so there was nothing that we could do.
Some people will think another way, but I really loved the hard work that paid off in that Major, and I don’t want to say that we could change something.
Thoughts on CS2
BLIX: You mentioned CS2 earlier, have you been able to play it yet? What do you think?
degster: Yes, I actually like CS2 a lot, I just want to know which version will be the final one, at least with shooting and stuff. In my opinion, the AK spray has been changed, it feels like when you’re shooting the wall it’s pretty much the same, small changes, but overall if you will spray 30 bullets in the body you will feel the difference, that’s what I see.
Overall I really like it, I really like the new AWP and I think I have seen some news that the shooting is still sometimes not working when you hit the body, but from the experience that I have I was looking at it and I feel that it’s better for me. That’s how I feel at least, in the game.
BLIX: Is there anything else that you think should be changed?
degster: I think it’s a great game actually, these changes with smokes… maybe it’s going to be tough, I don’t know, but I still think and I really believe that what Valve gives us with HEs and bullets through the smoke is something that is going to create for us a lot of things. Plus, you have 20-second smokes now, so it’s going to be very different. For example, we’re going to play a different Vertigo finally, if they don’t replace the smokes we at least have something to play on it! [laughs]
I think this was the plan of Valve, four or five years ago they put in their Vertigo to prepare us for CS2 when we can use them!
BLIX: Should the map pool stay the same, or do you think it could do with some changes?
degster: To be honest, I really believe and I wish Valve would understand that Vertigo was not the right decision and they would delete it! Because I just don’t like this map, in my opinion it’s one of the worst maps in the map pool by playing the strats, or teamplay, and also AWPers in this map never have been super impactful.
Yes, you can see that there are some teams like Cloud9, sh1ro, putting some good numbers on Vertigo but overall it’s not a game where the AWP can do a lot, so I as sniper can say that I really don’t enjoy so much to play on this map. Anyways, I don’t think that they will change this map to be honest, I think they really prepared us for this!
BLIX: We just had to pray to Gaben!
degster: No, now we have to pray for HEs! [laughs]
BLIX: Obviously it’s the last CS:GO Major, probably Cologne and other tournaments before the summer will still be in CS:GO. You said you’ve played CS2, so how much CS2 do you play per week, compared to CS:GO?
degster: There’s nothing like that behind it right now, it’s too far away from CS2’s official release so when I have time to have some fun I’m joining CS2 and shooting, running, looking for smokes. BHOP got deleted, that’s how I feel at least, I have seen some people who did this BHOP but I think it’s magic!
So actually right now I don’t put real numbers in CS2, I’m just fully practicing in CS:GO; also because I was sick and I need to grind my form. Later when it’s going to be closer I think that I will make some changes to it.
BLIX: Do you think that it was the right timing for Valve to release it?
degster: I think yeah, I was waiting for it for two or three or four years. Wait, five years ago, in 2017, when they posted on Reddit about Source 2, and now here we are “five years later…”!
BLIX: But has CS2 come out the way that you hoped for, or did you think that it would be in a different way than we have seen so far?
degster: I think the game is going to change. Really, there are a lot of strategies and things that will be changed. There are also some things that might be changed only because of the shooting, it feels like people will start to one-tap more with the AK because it feels better. I think we will see small, small, small details, but I know one thing, whenever a new version of CS is going to be released, it still needs time to be changed!
So I don’t put any predictions about it, to be honest, I’m just enjoying the game right now. I have seen that they changed some things; the only thing that I hope they will bring back is all the scopes with colors on the AWPs, because it was sick! I remember seeing it, and I was like “Okay, this is very nice”, and then they deleted it, so I’m like “ok, it was a bug.”