Following NIP's qualification to the BLAST.tv Paris Major, BLIX sat down with their youngest member, Daniil "headtr1ck" Valitov to discuss the achievement, headtr1ck's progression as a player and Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke's addition to the team, among other topics.
Qualifying to the Paris Major
Hugo "TheSwedishJoker" Nilsson Meier, BLIX.GG: Congratulations on finally making it to the Paris Major. Your event started out in a rough way, but you’ve finally reached your first Major. You started from the bottom and now you’re at the top, how has this whole process been for you?
Daniil "headtr1ck" Valitov: I mean, big credit to our team because after the score [was] 1-2, after we lost to FORZE, we just realized that now it’s best-of-three. We have a lot of power in best-of-threes I think, we had practice before, so it was our good maps left. In best-of-one sometimes we played really bad, especially against FORZE, we gave them so much space to do [things] and they just smashed us on CT side. So big credit to our coach and our IGL, and overall for our team because we managed not to give up.
We understand that we lost against Vitality because they played really good, and I think it was also a close game, we could win it. They were better in some situations. And the second game was against FORZE, we played their really strong map and it was like… not NIP. Five different players, you know? We didn’t play as a team and because of it they won. After it we just didn’t think about results, we just wanted to play and show at least what we can be as a team.
BLIX: Against BIG you won the first map quite comfortably and had a solid lead in the second, I believe 7-1, but then they clawed back and it went to overtime. Why do you think it got so close in the end? How were you able to take the upper hand and get the win?
headtr1ck: I think we were winning close rounds in the beginning. T side is their strong side so we gave them a lot of mid control and they used this control, they know how to do executes and they know how to peek together, how to trade each other. It was tough, and we also had some communication trouble in the middle of the game.
It was a really tough mid game on Mirage, and after we were losing 14-10 our coach took a timeout and we just calmed down a bit. We understood that we have a third map if we lose this, so at least we need to try to keep it and not to be afraid to peek, because we played very bad on T side in the beginning. We didn’t do our job properly, and after the timeout it was much better.
BLIX: You’ve only played a few Tier-1 events so far, and now you’re going into your first Major. How are the other guys helping you? Majors can be overwhelming, have they helped you manage your nerves?
headtr1ck: Sometimes you just don’t control your emotions, especially on these matches, Major qualifiers and all the stuff here. They helped me, they’re definitely more experienced but they can also show their emotions. It’s not only about experience, it’s about passion, I think it’s not bad to show emotions overall. Everyone tries to help me with being more comfortable on T side and on CT side both with AWP, to be more active and to find more impact.
I really feel like it goes well game by game, I’m feeling more confident, I can feel it by myself. If I’ll find a proper way to balance how to play aggro and how to play more passive, how to switch, I think I can become a really strong player. It just depends on me, but there’s also some pressure from the community and from other people, but I’m trying not to listen to it and just to rely on my team.
headtr1ck's goals for the Major
BLIX: You signed Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke about three months ago. How has it been so far, and how do you feel like the team has changed compared to playing with Hampus "hampus" Poser?
headtr1ck: To be honest I liked hampus a lot, and I like k0nfig a lot. It’s different people but they both try to help me, k0nfig is like my big brother, he always tries to give me some advice and tries to help. I’m really grateful about it, because I know he’s an experienced player. Also like Frederik "REZ" Sterner, they’re both there, older players and they just want to win.
BLIX: Last time we spoke at BLAST Premier Spring Groups we spoke about your goals, and you said you wanted to play at a Major. Now that you’ve made it to Paris, what’s the next goal of yours? Have you been able to think beyond this event?
headtr1ck: If you take it realistically, I would say qualify for the Champions Stage at the Paris Major. I’m really happy that we qualified, it’s the last CS:GO Major and it’s the first Major I’m taking part in. I’m really happy that we managed to come back, it’s just great emotions to be a part of it, so thanks everyone!
BLIX: As you said this is the last CS:GO Major. Does knowing that this is your first and last chance to write your name on the Major trophy put extra pressure on you, especially as CS2 will be released soon?
headtr1ck: Yeah, I mean obviously it’s very hard to win a Major nowadays, because everyone is practicing so hard and everyone wants to win. I think if we play as we did the last couple of days, as we played [against] Astralis and BIG today, we really showed that we can be mentally strong and not rely on pressure. We will see, I just want to enjoy it.
It will be interesting to see what CS2 will show us but we need to enjoy CS:GO as much as we can.
Feeling on CS2
BLIX: Have you been able to play the CS2 beta yet?
headtr1ck: No, I don’t have a key!
BLIX: Have you still been able to gather some thoughts based on clips that have been floating on social media? Is there something you like, or don’t like, in particular?
headtr1ck: Yeah I’ve seen some clips, and I watched streams. I think it will be a good game and I think it will not be something different, but they obviously fixed a lot of stuff in CS2. Now it’s still not a fully grown game, I think they will take the feedback from pro players and when they do it as best as they can it will be a very good game.
Overall the game is the same, it’s just some details that are different and it just gives extra interest to the game.
BLIX: Viktor “sdy” Orudzhev told me that allegedly EPL will be played on CS2. The Major is only in 24 days, so how do you think you will divide the time after that? Do you think you’ll play some CS2 or will you still only play CS:GO?
headtr1ck: I don’t know, I think that while we still have tournaments in CS:GO we have to full focus on this game and these tournaments, it doesn’t matter what will happen. After CS2 will be released, when it will be public, I think it will be just a switch and every team will start preparing there.
I think that the people who are preparing now in CS2 won't have a lot of extra impact from these games, because it’s kind of the same and the mechanics are the same. Maybe they’re just playing for fun but I don’t think it’s some extra bonus.
BLIX: Now that you’ve qualified for the Major, how do you think you guys will celebrate tonight?
headtr1ck: I think we will celebrate very nicely! We will maybe do a team meeting to say what we think and then I think we’ll party. When we were playing the second map I wanted to win 2-0 because I didn’t have the best gut feeling, and it happened. REZ played an incredible game and overall we all played really good, so I’m just very happy. We’ll party for sure!