Virtus.pro secured their ticket to the playoffs in ESL Challenger Atlanta 2023 by taking down M80 and Monte in consecutive best-of-one’s in the group stage. It was the continuation of an impressive form that saw the team finish in the Top 4 in the Roobet Cup, Thunderpick World Championship, DreamHack Winter and BetBoom Dacha.
Chief among those responsible for the team’s showing in Atlanta so far is Petr “fame” Bolyshev, who finished with a team-high rating of 1.54 and a 1.95 KD ratio. Following VP’s second match of their ESL Challenger journey, BLIX talked to fame for an interview on the team’s progression in the latter part of 2023, how he looks back at this year as a whole and much more.
Moving on in ESL Challenger
Pedro Romero, BLIX: Thanks for doing this interview, fame. VP went 2-0 in the group stage of ESL Challenger. It's a great start in this tournament. I want to start off by asking what is it like to progress to playoffs.
Petr "fame" Bolyshev: Thank you. I feel nice. It's always nice to not lose and get 2-0. It was a nice and easy day and I hope we manage to save our form for playoffs and play as well as today. So tomorrow is kind of a refreshment day and where we will prepare for playoffs.
BLIX: The two teams you faced today were M80 and Monte and you stood out as the team's highest-rated player. What do you think made it possible to perform so well?
fame: It's hard to say what made me do it. I just did multi-kills on pistol rounds and for round-by-round, I don't know how to explain. I played with more confidence, and everything went according to our plan. I just did my thing and it was nothing special and people just died.
BLIX: With the schedule, how it is for you guys (having to play four tournaments within this month), what did the team do to prepare for this event? Was there any practice made due to how little time there was to spare?
fame: First of all, we came here earlier than other teams. I think we came two or three days ago, so we felt a bit more comfortable. There was no jet lag for us today and we kind of fixed our sleep schedule and stuff like that. And yesterday, we got our PCs, so we got some practice and some deathmatches to prepare for today's games. We had great preparation, and we had enough time to check the city, get to the malls and see Atlanta. So it's nice to do that before the other teams.
Looking at VP’s progression
BLIX: One thing I want to touch upon is the form of the team. They were able to get at least the Top 4 in BetBoom Dacha, DreamHack Winter 2023, the Thunderpick World Championship and the Roobet Cup. How do you view the team's form, and what made it possible to play so well for an extended period including right now?
fame: We had a nice start to the CS 2 season. I think we made the playoffs in every tournament we competed in and the lowest position was Top 4. I think we played a lot when the game was released. We had two online tournaments and it was a good start to CS 2 for us. We had a lot of practice on new maps so we got more comfortable. We just played a lot and worked harder than other teams.
BLIX: Have there been any sort of difficulties from your perspective amidst the transition from CS:GO to CS 2?
fame: I don't know, actually. It wasn't easy, but it was not as hard as I expected. It was just a normal transition. We needed to fix all the maps and all the grenades. We needed to play a lot to feel the new movement and everything in the new game. But for us, it was a normal transition.
BLIX: In an interview that n0rb3r7 [David Daniyelyan] did with HLTV during BetBoom Dacha, he described the team's form as "at like 50% of [their] maximum right now.” From that event to now, where do you see the team's current form?
fame: I think it's a little bit upgraded. It's not 50% for me personally. I think it's around 60 to 70%. We still have a lot of things to fix and a lot of things to improve, but our individual form is at a decent level but not at its best because we don't have a lot of time to practice because of tournaments and flights. Still, I think it's around 60 to 70% and we still have a lot to fix.
BLIX: What are those little things that you feel the team needs to fix?
fame: It's the small details on maps. I can't say [what it is] but it's just improving our playstyle, our game and some different roles. There are small details we need to fix and we will be a better team.
“Still, I think it's around 60 to 70% and we still have a lot to fix.”
BLIX: In reflection of the team's form throughout 2023, how do you look back at what the team did? Is it good, bad, or the middle?
fame: It was a terrible year for the team and me. We didn't compete in most Tier-1 tournaments because of roster changes and because we didn't qualify for the Paris Major, we lost our ranking. We lost almost everything but we kind of found our playstyle again. We did some good roster changes, in my opinion, and now we get more points in [the] rankings, so I think, in the new year, we'll get more Tier-1 tournaments, and we'll get more chances to compete against the top teams in the world and win the top tournaments of the world.
BLIX: Around this time last year, this team, which was previously known as Outsiders, managed to win the Rio Major. Where do you see this squad in relation to that Outsiders team? Is it close or far to reaching that level from back then?
fame: I see us as a Top 5 team in the world for sure. It's my goal [to make that happen] and our main goal is to win the next Major and compete in every Tier-1 tournament and win all we can win.