Although 18 of the 24 IEM Cologne teams made changes coming into the event, G2 were not one of them. Potentially a surprise given their downturn in form following their win at IEM Katowice, the organization decided to stick by their roster in hope of a return to their trophy winning ways.
After their opening win against Astralis, we sat down with Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen to discuss the victory, picking up momentum, and backroom changes in the team.
Sam “AN1MO” McKenzie, BLIX: A close game there against Astralis, how does it feel to get the win?
HooXi: Good, it feels good to win. That's something we haven't been that good at lately [laughs]. I'm not that happy about our T side on Ancient, I feel like I had a really good read on them and a good plan, but somehow we didn't execute it correctly and then we had a bit of a tough time closing out Nuke as well. We need to look at why we are so momentum based, right now, we struggle a bit, we always start like 5-1 and then the half ends 9-6 to the other team. Definitely something we need to look at.
BLIX: Astralis are a new team, what's your take on them after their changes?
HooXi: I think that they might be a new team, but that's not a bad thing, a lot of people value sticking together in CS a lot and that we have been together a year is a huge advantage. But it's also an advantage for them that we don't have a lot of games to watch and also that everything is new and nice for them of course, there's good mood no matter what. With us, it's like being married for a long time, if we fuck up a round maybe we feel a bit worse [laughs]. I think they look good and honestly, better than I thought. It's impressive that device is having this form after not being in the game for such a long time.
BLIX: You mentioned you guys sticking together, after the end of the season, did you think that you might have made a change?
HooXi: I think that it wouldn't have been weird if we did, but it's just up to the organisation to look at whether they think we have what it takes and I think we showed at the start of the year that we have the pieces and it's just about making it click and a few percentages. I'm happy with the trust, of course, and hopefully we will show here in Cologne that it was worth it.
BLIX: Your confidence seemed a little broken after Paris, and you recently parted ways with Edward Cleland [MindBodyEsports], can you tell me more about that decision?
HooXi: That's of course the organization's decision, but I think that even though we learnt a lot from Edward, we still could maybe learn something new from a new guy. It's like when you get a new player in the team, you learn a lot of new tricks and stuff like this, so I don't know if we felt like getting something new, but I think that it was also bringing a lot and you could see when he came in the team that it only took one event for us and then we started winning.
BLIX: You had a slow start to the season, but are you feeling like you're getting up to speed now?
HooXi: I think it takes a bit more than one best of three [laughs]. But for sure, if we start rolling in this tournament then we know that, being a momentum based team, it can be both a blessing and a curse, and if we start rolling, it will be tough for any opponent to stop us.