Team Spirit is the youngest team at the Antwerp Major. Players' average age is just a little under 21, but they managed to get through the Challengers stage almost perfectly, losing only to G2. Even more impressive is the difference in rounds: +27, the second-best of the stage, lagging only behind Vitality.
Watching Spirit play is pure pleasure. They play Brawley confidently, aggressively, and enjoy themselves. It's like they're too angry, but they can control it.
Pavel "s1ren" Ogloblin and Robert "Patsi" Isyanov are playing their first Major, their first huge tournaments. However, the newcomers do not feel nervous among other younger players of the same generation. On the contrary, they feel like fish to water. Both played at the Spirit Academy and got promoted to the main roster this winter when the CS:GO squad was re-introduced. And today, they are doing great.
In an exclusive interview for BLIX.GG, s1ren agreed to answer a few questions about the current state of the team, success against big teams, the players' attitude towards the ESIC-Hally ban, and told the origin of his nickname.
Besides the fact that you are the youngest squad at the Major, could you tell what makes Team Spirit different from others?
“Age does not affect our game in any way. It's just nice to know that we are the youngest team in the Major. Our main difference is that we enjoy playing with each other, and we have a lot of trust within the team.”
We see your interactions during games, and it shows how much work and dedication have been put into it. What helped create this chemistry within the team and made you guys so strong?
“I think we managed to create such chemistry because in the five months that the [current] team exists, we went through a whole bunch of problems together. Not only in the game, but also in real life: Moving to Serbia, finding apartments, training in internet cafes in bad conditions until our org opened the office, and a whole bunch of domestic issues."
During these five months, we literally saw each other and trained together side by side every day, which brought us together and made us a little more than just a CS:GO team.
Regarding your win against the Brazilian veteran gang. What were you expecting from them, what happened during the game, and what you felt afterwards?
“We initially understood that we could win this match. Although the Brazilians have that unreal experience, individually, we are definitely not weaker than them. After the victory, there was no euphoria because this was only the first match.”
And the match with Astralis? 2:0, whereas lots of people predicted the opposite. And you won against all odds. How do you manage emotions and nervousness during the Major?
“After playing with G2, we realized that we can compete with Tier-1 teams, so we approached the game with the utmost confidence, knowing that we are no worse than the Danes. We do not have any kind of problems with stress and anxiety, but if they appear, our psychologist, who came to Antwerp with us, helps us. He energizes us before the games and, if necessary, conducts individual sessions.
[And regarding the tournament,] Antwerp is not my first trip, by the way. It was scary to fly only the first time; everyone laughed at me, how I was shaking when we flew to Romania for the RMR. But now the fear has disappeared altogether.”
Do you remember the call-up? After playing almost a year for the Academy team, can you tell about its influence on your development?
“The current line-up was assembled completely by our coach Sergey "hally" Shavaev, with whom I worked for half a year at the Spirit Academy. Last December, I woke up and saw a message from him inviting me for a chat. I went to our TeamSpeak server, and he told me that he was taking me for a promotion. It was very unexpected for me, and I was very happy.”
Were you shattered when you found out about Hally's ban?
Everyone was very upset by this unfair decision. But we understood that nothing could be done. We could only get angry and show that his great work had not been done in vain.
What does your nickname mean? We can see a branch on your sticker. (Siren means Lilac, pronounces as [siːrən] in Russian)
The original idea was to take the character name from Dota, Naga Siren's, and shorten it to s1ren. But one day, my friend Dima Standart called me Siren, and it hit me. Then, when I got to Insilio [one of his previous semi-pro teams - ed.], Oleg "RachelR" Tyurkaev presented me to the audience as it is now. This is how I became a tree.
The Legends stage will begin very soon, and Team Spirit will have to face the Brazilians from Furia in the first match. It's definitely going to be a great matchup because Furia only aims for the top spots, while Spirit has the advantage of being in form thanks to the Challengers stage.