With the disappointment of the BLAST.tv Paris Major, you would’ve struggled to find many people who weren’t calling for the head of Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen, but just as he did at IEM Katowice earlier on in the year, the Dane has proved all the doubters wrong by guiding his team to another huge trophy at IEM Cologne.
After G2’s 3-1 victory over ENCE in the final, we spoke to HooXi about bouncing back, the team’s early form at BLAST Premier Fall Groups, and why the current meta suits him so well.
Sam "AN1MO" McKenzie, BLIX: You've now claimed both the IEM Katowice and IEM Cologne trophies this year, how are you feeling?
HooXi: Mostly disbelief [laughs]. I don't think many people expected us to win this one, so it feels amazing to prove to people that we are still one of the best teams in the world and that we can do it even with a hard group and no easy opponents. It's really cool.
BLIX: For you personally, how did you get back to this point after the disappointment of Paris?
HooXi: It was tough, I needed the player break to come back. The two events after Paris were pretty much disasters at both result-wise, but the mood and effort we put in was just below what to expect from us. We just needed that break to reset because it was just such a tough loss and we put so much effort into the Major and it didn't pay off so it just hurt. It's nice to have some ups as well now.
BLIX: Swani told us earlier in the event that you treated BLAST Fall Groups as a bit of a bootcamp, but with the close game to EG especially, were you slightly worried when results there didn't go your way?
HooXi: [laughs] With all due respect to EG, I think we should beat them every single time we play them, and honestly, we should have lost that game ten times, so I would say, yes, we treated it as a bootcamp, but we didn't expect to go to Showdown.
BLIX: In terms of your IGLing, try as they might, no one can take your achievements and what those achievements say about your ability away from you, but it felt like this event you really stepped it up a level, is that something you worked on a lot prior to the event?
HooXi: Yes and no, I think I have a good read on the meta right now and I think that getting more confidence made everything easier both individually and calling-wise. I think it's a mix between me feeling really good with my style, a good read on the meta, and confidence.
BLIX: Why does the current meta suit you so well?
HooXi: My style, I always say the key phrase is that 'you have freedom, but with freedom comes responsibility' and I think this way of freestyling, when we are playing good and we have momentum and everyone is confident, our top level is just so high. On top of that, the meta going more into a structured way is easier to read and make reactions to, which I think helps us too.
BLIX: This event is going to be the last big event in CS:GO, what's the plan now with CS2 on the horizon?
HooXi: [laughs] The plan is that we have no idea what's happening with CS2, which is fucking weird since it's our job and we spend so much time on the game, but right now we just treat it like CS2 doesn't exist and that's the only thing we can do until we know more, that's our plan.
BLIX: There's a little thing on Overpass with the clocks that's making people thing it comes out on August 21st, if it did, do you have any idea as to what you guys would do? Would you take an instant bootcamp?
HooXi: Honestly, no clue, genuinely, I'm being serious, we haven't treated it like the game exists at all. We just do our thing in GO, and when we know something we can work with, and that we can control, we'll make decisions and have a team talk, but until then, we just have to play CS:GO and do the best we can.
BLIX: With what you know about the game though, do you think it will come with a big meta shift? Obviously the smokes are very different.
HooXi: I hope the smokes gets removed at the last minute, but that's not looking good. If that doesn't get removed, it will change everything.