Vitality made the Playoffs in Katowice, the first time their star Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut had played in the Spodek. It didn't go entirely to plan, however, as they could never have predicted what would happen in their eventual elimination against Liquid.
In the second half of our interview with IGL Dan “apEX” Madesclaire and coach Danny “zonic” Sorensen, we discuss the game versus Liquid and their hopes for the rest of the year. You can view part one here.
AN1MO, BLIX.GG: The Liquid series was a rollercoaster of emotions the whole way through. Can you guys take me through that and how you felt during it?
Dan “apEX” Madesclaire: I'm not going to lie, during the first two maps, I feel we were the better team, but we fucked up. I don't think they won this game. We threw the best of three. I'm not going to say that a lot of times, but I think yesterday was true that we fucked up and they didn't win. We lost. We had a pretty good first CT side and then the problem was that we wanted to close it too fast in some sense and wanted to do individual moves. I also made one or two wrong calls too fast and that fucked us up at some point and that wasn't easy. But the good part is that we had a really good reaction on Nuke. It's never easy to lose a comeback, one of the worst comebacks in history, and then be able to come back on the second map. So, that's something we need to be proud of at some point. Mirage was just about the beginning of the CT side when it went left and right and we didn't win the economic battle. If we won two rounds in a row, we would have gotten a really good CT side. But that's how Counter-Strike is and we made way too many mistakes on this CT side. We tried to fight in the end but I could feel that Mirage wasn't a good one for us. We didn't play well, and on this map, at least, they really deserve to win.
Danny “zonic” Sorensen: I totally agree.
BLIX: Regardless, are you happy with the finish here? Because you haven't played here for a good few years now, right?
apEX: Yeah. Obviously, the team's goal was to be good at this tournament. I think the beginning of the year for the team is okay. It's good. Not really good, but it's good with what we've shown at the end of the last year. I think we're going the right way. But obviously, when we see the game yesterday, it could have gone a really good 2-0 for us, and we'll have been able to play the Semi-final today with a lot more confidence because we would have fucked Liquid up, to be honest. But today is a different day and we're really frustrated. But we know that the starts we had were much better at this tournament, at least on the CT side, where it gets a lot stronger and we understand each other. I think the work we put in before this tournament was really good. But the T-sides were a disaster. That’s just how it is. Counter-Strike is evolving really fast nowadays and you can improve on something, but if you get worse at something else, you're not going to win. So, it's about being consistent in everything.
zonic: I agree with what Dan is saying. I think for me, we won yesterday and I agree, rarely if you lose it, that's on your part in some sense. The way that we lost yesterday, without taking anything away from Liquid, it should have been a 2-0 in some sense. Mirage, I totally agree, they were the better team by far in some sense, winning the economy game, as Dan also said. But I think for me, overall, had we won the game yesterday, I would have been really satisfied. Even if we went out today against G2, who are playing really well right now. We qualified for BLAST being first in the group and a Quarter-final here. For me, if I compare it to how we were at the end of last year, I'm pretty satisfied. The way that we work right now and the work that we have put in, we are definitely on the right track. Ultimately, the goal is the Paris Major later in this Spring season. So for me, it's just about keeping on grinding. Of course, yes, our CT side was a big issue last year. It’s positive to see that it's been working. But it's really interesting how things work. You work on something and then it becomes good and then there are some other things. I guess that's part of every job in some sense, especially in sports. So it's just about keeping on grinding, keeping on improving the CT side, and obviously paying a little bit more attention to our T-sides as well because we know what we can work with. And that's a positive sign that we are not clueless about what actually went wrong, but because we can clearly see the mistakes that we are making, and that's positive for the future.
BLIX: Looking forward, obviously Paris, home turf for you. What are your expectations for Paris? Is it to win the whole thing?
apEX: Well, first of all, qualifying for the Playoffs because we want to play in front of our families and it's in front of the French crowd as well. That would be really important. But yes, obviously winning the whole thing would be fantastic. I think all the teams that come there, I mean, ten teams want to win the Major. Obviously, the main goal is to win it. But that's something we cannot control at some point. What you can control is preparing as well as possible, getting ready, and working on everything on the CS part, and then we'll see who has the better day at the tournament.
BLIX: What is there to do between now and then? Will it be more role-based stuff or map pool-based stuff?
zonic: I think there are obviously several departments that we need to focus on. I think we will keep working in the way that we are in terms of our map pool. I think despite our result yesterday, I think we have improved on some maps. I think for me, it's just about continuing in that fashion, having a stronger map pool. I think one thing that is really clear to see whenever people are having a good period is that they have at least one, maybe two maps they are really strong on. For me, it's about finding that. I think we're on the right path, but obviously, I can't go into detail about which map it’s going to be. But for me, yes, I think we're definitely on the right path and we just need to keep running for Paris because even though it's three months, that’s a short time in Counter-Strike and we have to use the rest of the tournaments that are coming up to be as ready as possible.