device: “My motivation is to knock Liquid off No.1, we have to beat them a few more times to consider ourselves the best team”
We asked the superstar AWPer about the one-sided grand final, in which the Danish side managed to stay ahead of AVANGAR‘s gamble stacks and kept Dzhami “Jame” Ali from getting opportunities to get picks to come out victorious after a clear-cut 2-0 victory.
device says Astralis still need to beat Liquid a few more times to knock them off the top
First of all, happy birthday. Where does this present rank among your lifetime gifts?
It’s definitely the best gift I’ve ever had for my birthday. I don’t think anything can ever match this. I’ll just try to enjoy the evening now, I was not thinking about it the entire day, trying to just focus on the game was pretty tough. There’s been so much support from around the world and people writing to me, so I’m just incredibly grateful.
We wanted to play our map first because we then could kind of control the pace of the game, and we’re a really good team at taking the B bombsite, so we just kept on doing banana control and force them into making some mistakes.
The grand final ended up being very, very one-sided, you seemed to be able to deal with their gamble stacks, something that caught many other teams off-guard, did you come into the match well prepared for that?
Yeah, definitely. We wanted to play our map first because we then could kind of control the pace of the game, and we’re a really good team at taking the B bombsite, so we just kept on doing banana control and force them into making some mistakes. We knew they were going to gamble and push and be two guys after the ones who pushed. Of course they caught us off-guard a few times, but that’s because they are so good at gambling. The mentality was just that whenever you get a kill just slow down, wait for them to have a reaction and gla1ve will call what to do.
Jame didn’t really seem to have many opportunities, was that also a focus of yours in preparation?
Yeah, definitely, the times he peeked down mid, we knew that, the times he peeked banana early, we kind of knew what his plan was on Inferno. Other than that, when you go a lot towards the B site you don’t really meet him, he plays a lot of short, so he had to force duels early and because he was playing a tough game, then it’s hard to get yourself into the groove, you don’t get easy kills, and I think we’re really good at not giving the AWPs opportunities just to get the easy kills and stay safe.
There’s a different level of motivation from us when we play these kinds of tournaments and it really paid off in the playoffs, we looked like 2018 Astralis. We were unstoppable, honestly, I didn’t feel like we were going to lose a map at any point.
Before the break you had a lot of time in between some tournaments but never managed to get back to your former level, what was different about this time?
I don’t know, man, honestly. Everyone knows what a Major is and what it means, doing something historical, winning three in a row, something that hasn’t been done before, I think it’s easy to get your heart pumping when you think about those kinds of situations, that’s what you dream of and play for. I definitely think that everyone was just a tiny bit more motivated, myself after the group stage I just kept on playing all day, just wanted it so much. I think that there’s a different level of motivation from us when we play these kinds of tournaments and it really paid off in the playoffs, we looked like 2018 Astralis. We were unstoppable, honestly, I didn’t feel like we were going to lose a map at any point.
The “three-peat” was the main source of motivation for Astralis
Was that the main driving force behind your preparation, making history by becoming back-to-back-to-back Major champions?
Definitely the driving force, but also you have a lot of stuff to deal with mentally as a player, so if you think too much about these kinds of situations you will put too much pressure on yourself, so treating it as any other tournament is also really important because in reality it’s the same teams. We went into this tournament as kind of the underdogs, we expected to be at least in the top-eight, but after that quarter-final [against Liquid] we just felt really well and we knew we had what it took to win the entire thing. We wanted to be in the driving seat whenever we played, we wanted to control the pace of the game, and I think that was the important factor combined with gla1ve’s calling, he was amazing the entire tournament.
I remember talking to Magisk after your previous Major win at Katowice, when he spoke about the next goals being Cologne and becoming back-to-back-to-back Major champions. You didn’t manage to pull off the first one, but in the second you pulled through, what is the goal this time, where do you go from here?
That’s a tough one. We always have the goal to win the tournament, New York is the next tournament for us and we’re not going to prioritize other stuff. It’s just about finding that source of motivation for you and the driving force for us as a team, we’re pretty good at that, it doesn’t have to be anything spectacular, now we have done this three-peat of the Majors and if I can recall correctly it’s like 240 days until the next Major, so we have to just focus on the upcoming tournaments. My motivation is to knock Liquid off the top 1 spot, in my opinion they are still the best team in the world because they just came back from the break and they won so many tournaments and we have to beat them a few more times to consider ourselves the best team in the world.
I wouldn’t be here without my teammates, they gave me so many opportunities to live this life. I don’t think I would be able to do it in any other team. I’m just grateful for them.
What keeps you going individually? You have the most MVPs out of anyone, now you’ve also tied coldzera for the only players to ever receive two MVPs from Majors, how are you managing to be this consistent from nearly the start of CS:GO?
I think that sometimes I have to think a lot about what the game has given to me. I was in a tough spot in 2017 where I was sick and I couldn’t play and I watched my team from the sidelines, it was obviously the most horrible thing in the world for me. I was considering if I should do other stuff in life. The driving force is the competition, competing to be the best team in the world and then the benefit is also competing for the best player in the world, and I wouldn’t be here without my teammates, they gave me so many opportunities to live this life. I don’t think I would be able to do it in any other team. I’m just grateful for them.
Speaking of the title of the best player in the world, that’s something that you are missing despite coming close a few times, is that something you look to, as well?
Of course it’s a motivation, but there are so many great players and for me the most important thing is winning the tournaments and making my team better in all situations on the map. At this tournament I was just feeling really great in all the pistol rounds, which is something I worked a little bit on, as well. It’s definitely a motivation, but there is ZywOo, he is a great player right now and you have s1mple, who in my opinion is also considered at least top-three, and EliGE was going crazy. Consistency is definitely one of the things that I thrive in, being a top-five player in the world, five, six, seven years in a row, how long I can keep it up I don’t know. It’s more important for me than to just peak in one year and putting too much energy into it and not be healthy.