We sat down with Christopher "dexter" Nong following his team's Quarterfinal defeat to Astralis at IEM Cologne 2022.
Q: So, despite the unexpected run, I have the feeling that the loss yesterday was quite disappointing. You had Astralis on the ropes, the map veto favored you, and all the three maps you are comfortable on - Mirage, Nuke, and Ancient. You had the chance to go 2-0, 2-1; tell me about Nuke, Ancient. Why didn’t you close it out on either of those maps?
dexter: On Nuke, communication just dropped off quite a bit. I am not really sure why; maybe we just lost a bad anti-eco round in the third round, and that kinda just led to that. Other than that, we didn’t really get our Nuke going. We played situations wrong a lot of the time. When I had to rotate, I am one of the main A players; we didn’t really talk about how we wanted to play situations well enough, and when we did setups and whatever, we were punished for it a lot.
So, in general, I don’t think we pre-planned and played that great on Nuke and on Ancient on CT side, we just made too many mistakes on the gun rounds. Like every single gun round, we made one critical error that lost us the gun round, and we never really won a round convincingly on CT side. Which is strange because CT is usually our strongest side, but we made too many mistakes. Maybe it was because of the pressure or whatever, but I watched the game back, and there was an insane amount of mistakes.
Q: Your T side was one of the strongest here in Cologne, and your CT side was one of the worst. What would you say is lacking to make your CT sides successful? Is it the defaults that are not the best, or is it that the defaults are good, but the execution is lacking?
dexter: I think the proper execution is what is lacking. The defaults are okay. We know what to do at the very start, but when teams play this slow and whatnot, maybe we have to discuss a lot of things a little bit better because there was a lot of times where our CT side crumbled because teams were playing too slow and we just need to practice and re-evaluate that for the next season.
Q: The event feels like a rebirth for this current roster. You mentioned Dallas quite a lot. Can you talk to me about what was needed to have this talk finally and why didn’t it happen earlier?
dexter: Erm, we just didn’t really know, we had lots of pressure to do lots of different stuff like we had the Major straight away in two weeks and then next competition and then next competition and then next competition. So, there was just no real time, we just had to get things sorted, get the maps done, and everything like that, but then we just overlooked the whole system and the structure too much.
Q: When you won Flashpoint 3, many expected it to be the catalyst for upcoming events and that you guys could finally have a run. Sadly, you ultimately fell short. It is a different roster now, with you in it, does this one feel different? How does this deeper run feel compared to the Flashpoint 3 run?
dexter: Well, the Flashpoint one was just online, so you never really had the emotional attachment to everyone else. Like, it was great for the organization and the team and all that, but emotionally we didn’t go through the same process compared to this where we are together. People sweat, bleed, whatever, I don’t know, just have more attachment to each other.
Q: You have been living in Germany for 18 months now; mental fortitude is a great factor in competing at a high level. How do you manage to be away from home and your loved ones?
dexter: I am not sure, work helps I guess. It is a great distraction, but yeah, it does suck. It has been a year and a half since I have seen anyone, my family or friends. It is pretty crazy! So, I am pretty excited to go back, but yeah, I have been distracted by CS and working harder and harder and harder all the time. There were periods of time where I didn’t go out for like three days, like outside, because I just wanted to get things right for us.