HellRaisers haven't attended an international tournament since EMS One Katowice, as they failed to qualify for SLTV StarSeries IX Finals and decided to stop Copenhagen Games.
The CIS-based team is notorious for being a big threat to teams such as NiP and Titan, who they helped knock out in groups in Katowice, but often struggle against weaker opponents.
Continue reading to see what HellRaisers have been up to since March, who Markelov feels are their toughest opponents, and whether he regrets removing Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev from the team.
– How have you prepared for DreamHack Summer; do you feel ready for the event? Have you only practiced online or also bootcamped? How do you plan on spending the remaining time before the event kicks off?
markeloff: We started to play about four or five weeks ago, maybe even earlier. We had a small vacation in the beginning of May and after EMS One Katowice, but basically we never stopped playing, so you could say we've been preparing for DreamHack since then. We started our bootcamp in Kiev on Saturday.
– Do you believe the lengthy break from LAN competition since Copenhagen Games will affect the results at DreamHack in any way, or does constantly playing official matches online make up for it? Are you afraid of giving up your game plan too much online?
markeloff: We skipped Copenhagen Games and failed to qualify for SLTV StarSeries IX Finals, so our last LAN was EMS One Katowice. But I don't think it will affect our performance as we have always felt pretty confident playing on LAN. We have no strats, at least for now, so we don't really care about showing something in online matches.
– Who do you think will be your toughest opponents at DreamHack? Any potential dark horses who have seemed particularly strong lately that you think might surpass everyone’s expectations in Jönköping? Anyone who might disappoint?
markeloff: Our toughest oppenents (LDLC & dignitas :D) will skip this event. I would say NiP, Virtus pro and Titan are in good shape and it's always hard to play against them. And Na'Vi can do a lot of damage if they can keep playing like they did at SLTV Finals.
– What do you make of your chances at DreamHack? What would be a realistic goal for your team, and what would you be ok settling at? Is there any extra pressure for you to perform well at this particular event?
markeloff: It's really hard to predict anything considering that we have only played online. All the time we have a problem with pings (AdreN ~120-170, Dosia ~80). We will see how it goes at the bootcamp. I don't think we have any extra pressure or goals at this event. Just want to show our best game :).
– You have been fairly silent since EMS One Katowice, where you bailed out in a disappointing loss against dignitas. Has the inactivity affected your motivation one way or another? Why haven’t you been more active online?
markeloff: As I said before we didnt even stop practicing since EMS. We played 4-5 days per week and were focused on team's practice more than to play some online cups.
– Since removing Edward you’ve yet to reach the top three at a big tournament. What is holding you back? What are you still missing that would help you reach the next stage and once again become a title contender?
markeloff: First of all we won much more after Edward left our team (at least in terms of prize money). So I'm not one of those guys who continue saying that removing Edward was a mistake. We don't think so and don't regret anything. I think our biggest problem is ourselves and our preparation for the event and approach to training. We know it and are trying to solve the problem.
We will see if we can make it or not.