HellRaisers were fairly inactive for a few months after a quarter-final exit at EMS One Katowice, but resurfaced with a promising semi-final run at DreamHack Summer 2014.
In July they were dominated by Richard "shox" Papillon at DreamHack Valencia, and had to once again do with a 3-4th place finish, in a tournament with much less competition.
Now HR are hoping to break the final four after two 5-8th place finishes at the previous majors. Continue reading to find out what Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow makes of their chances.
– How have you prepared for ESL One Cologne so far? Do you have a bootcamp planned for the final days leading up to the event? Do you feel adequately prepared?
We had a little break after DH Valencia and then everyone came to Kiev where we are bootcamping until now. It is like 10-12 prac days for us on LAN. Our preparation still isn’t over, but I feel like we are ready to fight any team in Cologne.
– After a long hiatus from international competition, G3 took place last weekend. What do you make of the results? Were you surprised by anyone? What comes to mind when thinking about the event?
We can see the CS:GO scene evolving pretty fast and any team at Cologne is capable of surprising. G3 was just one [piece of evidence] for that statement. dignitas showed that they are in a pretty good shape, and I expect from them to proceed far at ESL.
– At ESL One you’ve been placed in group A together with Wolf, NiP and Epsilon. Can you go through each team one at a time, and tell us what you think about them, and your chances against them?
We have lost semi-finals at DreamHack Sweden and DreamHack Valencia to NiP and Epsilon, so it looks like ESL One gives us a chance to be rehabilitated. Can't say anything about the guys from India, I didn't see their games, but $250,000 tourney is not the best case to underestimate any opponent.
– What are your expectations going into the event? I realize everyone will say they are in it to win it regardless of stature, but would you be happy with a quarter-finals exit? Top four? A spot in the grand finals?
I prefer to solve problems step by step. First of all, we need to pass through the group stage, and then to fight for something more. But to be honest, the last two 250k tournaments we lost at our first playoff match and this time I want to get the better CS:GO in-game icon then "Quarter-finalist at ESL ONE Cologne" 🙂
– Do you have a clause in your contracts regarding the sticker money that will be coming in from ESL One? Is that something you had added later on specifically with Cologne in mind, or did it exist in the first place?
We didn't discuss the distribution of "sticker money" with our management in detailyet, but I’m sure we will reach a decision that will satisfy both sides. It seems to me, that the money should just be equal to the tournament winnings. The team management as well as each team player will get a percentage.
– It’s now been weeks since ESL announced the new map pool, featuring de_cobblestone and de_overpass. Now that you’ve had a chance to practice them, what do you think about them? What do you think about the new map veto system? Do you think these changes will work for or against you?
Personally, I like these maps a lot, it’s like a new challenge for me and my team. Matches on ‘cbble’ and ‘overpass’ will show how flexible the minds of gamers are. I think that rapid adaptation should be one of the most important components of a Pro player.
– At both of the previous majors we saw a new team win a title (fnatic, Virtus.pro), propelled by new players rising to stardom (flusha, schneider, byali, Snax). Do you expect another new team to rise up this time and if so, who could it be?
As I said before, I expect a real good performance from dignitas. They were a bit unlucky at Gfinity but I think they have had enough time to fix a lot and to get even better. And take my advice, look closer to the guys from London Conspiracy, they are doing a great job and are getting better day by day.
– Many penciled DH Valencia in as the event you’d finally win a title in with HellRaisers, but you wound up getting beat by shox, practically alone, on de_dust2. What do you make of your performance there? How come you couldn’t get over the hump?
We weren't prepared enough for that tournament and had a lot of random stuff in our game. We found out a lot of fundamental mistakes and immediately began to fix them at our bootcamp. So I just want to thank shoxie for this cold water shower 🙂
– You haven’t complained about the new maps being added and left ESEA due to them not being included in the map rotation. Do you think you’re the best prepared team out of everyone on de_cobblestone and de_overpass? Could they be the aces up your sleeves?
A couple of words about ESEA: this online-league map rotation system is the weirdest thing I have ever seen in Counter-Strike. We need to have 7 maps prepared? Maps, which we don't use for any other tournament? 4x de_train, while other maps are played 2 times? You can play 2 similar maps against the same enemy (and, of course, it’s going to be their strongest one)? I think they got to do something with that or maybe I am the only one who thinks this is wrong?