We caught up with Vitality's Lotan "Spinx" Giladi both before and after their win against Evil Geniuses at the BLAST Premier Spring Groups to talk about the team's preparations going into the event and the pressure leading up to qualifying for the Spring Finals.
Hugo “TheSwedishJoker” Nilsson Meier, BLIX.GG: Congratulations on the win! How was it to finally get back into it after the winter break?
Lotan "Spinx" Giladi: It's good. It's nice to start the year with a win and I think it means more to my Danish teammates to win against their ex-teammates. It's always that you have some feelings in the game and yeah, it's good.
BLIX: Did you feel maybe a little bit more bloodlust coming into the Astralis matchup maybe than you would normally?
Spinx: No, for me, I don't care. It's their ex-team, not mine. So, for me, it's just a normal game. Of course, I want to win it maybe a bit more because I know maybe it's a bit more important for them and yeah, that's it.
BLIX: What were the preparations like going into the matchup? Because this completely new Astralis that we're seeing really hasn't played that many games yet.
Spinx: We didn't do anything special. We just wanted to focus on ourselves and that's it. Mostly on your own game and not fixing but making sure that you have the edge on Astralis coming into this game.
BLIX: Was that the main plan? Working on yourselves rather than focusing on what they might be able to do?
Spinx: It's like trying to control the game, the fate of the game, and just play like we played in practice. We don't have to oversee everything, and we said just play like we played in practice and should be fine.
BLIX: You've been in Vitality for around six months now. How do you feel like this period has been for you?
Spinx: I think it started really well. There was a big downfall and shit happens. Nothing we can say about it now. It's in the past. I just hope the next couple of months, and everything will just be better.
BLIX: Have you guys set any expectations coming into this new season?
Spinx: We didn't set anything special, but I know that all of us just want a better year, a better season, and a better time.
BLIX: You will be facing up against EG who upset Heroic. Do you think that they will be a threat, or do you think that you will be coming out of it quite easily?
Spinx: I think everyone could be a threat right now, especially after the player break. It's hard to know. And they also made some changes, so it's all too hard to know. And they just beat Heroic. And Heroic are a good team. So, yeah, we shouldn't underestimate them.
BLIX: It must be nice to dodge that Heroic bullet in the lower bracket and just be able to focus on maybe the “easier” matchup?
Spinx: Yeah, of course, it would be a hard match against Heroic in the lower bracket and it's nice to dodge it. In a way, but eventually EG won over them, so it still means something.
BLIX: Do you think that you have the chance to come out on top here or do you just see it as a kind of practice coming into Katowice later this month?
Spinx: I think it's a combination of both. Of course, we do see it as a bit of practice, but at the same time, of course, we want to qualify, not like last time. And I don't think we care if we are on top or not on top. If we qualify, I think the goal is reached, but that's it.
Post Vitality's victory over Evil Geniuses
BLIX.GG: Congratulations on the second win here for you at Blast spring groups! Did you expect to win the last map so comfortably and almost 16-0'ing EG?
Spinx: We didn't expect to win 16-1. We just said to ourselves, let's keep going. Let's not leave the foot off of the gas and keep grinding each round. And yeah, it's really amazing.
BLIX: You guys are now one game away from qualifying for the Spring Finals. Do you think that after that you will be able to take a breather and focus on getting one of those top spots in the end?
Spinx: I don't think we think about it too much. Well, I think it would be nice if we win and then we can have a bit of a day off and practice before IEM Katowice, but if not, it's still okay. I don't know. We never talked about it.
BLIX: You guys have Katowice and ESL Pro League coming soon after Blast here. How do you guys prioritize your strategies in the events? Do you show a little bit less in the smaller events compared to the big stage events?
Spinx: I don't know if you show less, but definitely we know that, for example, Katowice will probably be more important than the BLAST groups, but it's not like we think about it too much. We are just focused on BLAST groups. We still want to win, but at the same time, we know it's not IEM Katowice.
BLIX: My last question before I let you go and meet up with the rest of your team. The major is in Paris this May. Vitality is a French organization with ZywOo and apEX being French as well.
Do you feel some pressure to be able to qualify and play in front of the crowd even though you're not French?
Spinx: Right now, no, I don't feel the pressure. I'm just happy to have the opportunity to help the organization and my teammates, apEX, and ZywOo, to kind of play in front of the crowd. And I hope we will do good. And no, right now I don't have any pressure. Maybe before, like when it will be closer to the Major, maybe I will, but I don't know. We'll see then.