We caught up with Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth after Astralis' win over Team Spirit to talk about how Buzz is settling in with the team and how they're dealing with pressure in 2023.
Hugo "TheSwedishJoker" Nilsson Meier, BLIX.GG: Congratulations on winning over Team Spirit, it looked like quite a hard series. How was it for you guys, and how were you able to close it out in the end?
Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth: Well, I think the first map was rough. We got off to a bad start and if you don’t get rounds on the CT side of Mirage it’s not great. But going on to Ancient I feel like we had a good game plan, everyone was hitting their shots and the rounds seemed easy. We were maybe a little bit more chill as well. And Overpass, it was just device (Nicolai “device” Reedtz, ed.), you know? Also blameF (Benjamin “blameF” Bremer, ed.) at the start, so happy about this one.
BLIX: You guys have Kasper Hvidt behind you at this event. Does it put a little bit more pressure, knowing that he is the boss, or is it just an event like any other?
Xyp9x: No, not at all. It’s just having a coach behind, he said some things like “try and be positive” or “try improving” in certain areas which we already talked about [and] he could say to us if he sees a tendency. So yeah, it’s just about having a coach who not necessarily knows a lot about CS but knows about the communication and stuff, which we talk a lot about.
BLIX: This is Christian “Buzz” Andersen’s first Major circuit. How has it been so far for him? In what ways have you more experienced guys tried to help him out?
Xyp9x: When you have a new player you don’t want to put pressure on the new player, right? So we have been trying to calm it a bit down. A Major is a big thing, but for him, it’s just about playing an online tournament, it has to be that! For us, it can be more like “now it’s serious business” because we’re used to it, but for a young guy like Buzz, it’s really important to protect him. It’s about protecting him from all the noise and stuff that’s happening about the Major.
BLIX: With Buzz stepping up in recent times and Nicolai “device” Reedtz coming back your team is full of heavy hitters. You started 0-2, but what can we expect from you guys moving forward in this Major and future events?
Xyp9x: I think the first day doesn’t show who the real Astralis are, I believe the Eternal Fire game was a mess but we showed some great tendencies in the Vitality game. So what should you expect from Astralis in the future? A team that has the potential to win tournaments.
We expect to go further in this tournament and not go out in these groups. Our expectations are high, so expect us to be at the top.
BLIX: Knowing that you have very high expectations, did going 0-2 on the first day put even more pressure on the team?
Xyp9x: We’ve been in this situation before, at least some of us, and we know what pressure it brings. We just need to live with it, it’s the same for the other teams. We meet teams with the same scores, so it’s the same pressure, and it’s about navigating it and not letting it get to you, letting the situations affect you. I think we’re pretty good at that.
Credit: BLAST/Michal Konkol
BLIX: You talked a little bit about the Vitality game. You played them many times in the past year, so what was the preparation like going into that match? Why do you think you weren’t able to get that first win on the board?
Xyp9x: We got off to a pretty rough start on the T side and to be honest they were maybe just a step ahead in some of the things they were doing. Maybe an opening game is pretty tough to play sometimes, especially on the T side if you don’t get the ball rolling.
So, I think that’s what happened, we made an insane comeback and almost won but it was 16-14. I’d say it was probably starting T, not getting the ball rolling and not getting the right reads and stuff.
BLIX: I would like to have your thoughts on how the team-building process has come along with the new teammates. How have you guys been working together to build the chemistry needed to succeed so far?
Xyp9x: We put a lot of effort into that. I think looking back at the old Astralis lineup that was something we were masters at, having the team chemistry right and knowing each other’s weaknesses and strengths.
I think we are working hard on that and we have hired B. S. Christiansen (Astralis’ Mental Coach, ed.) as well, who’s a great guy and he has a lot of ideas we implement every day. It works well, it’s something we are improving on every day and so far it’s going great!
BLIX: You also got through the IEM Dallas qualifier, and you had quite some success online but not as much in LAN events. Looking back at your results this year, do you think it’s easier for you guys to play together online rather than on LAN?
Xyp9x: No, to be honest, [we’re] struggling on LAN I would say, and we qualified for Washington (BLAST Premier Spring Final, ed.) and IEM Dallas. We beat good teams and we beat Cloud9, but we can still do that here. We had an off day, I wouldn’t say we’re an online team but of course, we have to analyze if we do something different online than at LAN.
But it’s not for now, we don’t have that time right here, it’s a hectic schedule, playing each day. You don’t have time to fix mistakes as well, so… yeah.