VINI: "When we were heading into this tournament we were like, 'we’re gonna qualify'"
The first day of the PGL Antwerp Major was full of excitement that saw Imperial end the day with a loss to Spirit and a victory over Liquid. Ending the day 1-1, they still have one BO1 to complete tomorrow before they go into BO3 elimination or qualification to the New Legends Stage.
Their results follow the trajectory of the other teams, not a single North or South American team defeated a European or CIS team on the first day of competition. Nonetheless, Imperial have a good chance to overturn that trend as they take on Bad News Eagles tomorrow.
Are you happy now that you're not going to be one of the 0-2 teams? A lot less stress heading into tomorrow?
Best thing ever. I mean, we're just going to see our match-up. It’s only a bo1, but I think it’s gonna be a good bo1 because you can go through one really fast and just perfectly smash it.
How are you looking to prepare for tomorrow? Are you going to see the rest of the matches, how they play out, and then stay up late and like prepare specifically against your opponent tomorrow?
In this stage, you don’t have any time to improve yourself, I would say just we're going to watch the match of the team we’re going to face and pretty much try to search for strats. What I want to do, like in this tournament, we are really good in practice against like really higher-tiered teams, so I'm just hoping to get a good team and see how it goes.
I know personally, you didn’t have necessarily the best map today. We saw fer and boltz taking the lead on everything. How important is it that when when you find yourself struggling that you have players around you that are able to lead it? Do you try and rely on them more heavily, or do you just play more confidently knowing that they can help you out?
I would say I play more confidently because I know that I can make more mistakes. I think that’s why I was playing solo on T-side. I was doing so many entries and doing crazy stuff because I knew that they could easily close out the rounds, even with the disadvantage. It’s pretty good! It’s really good.
This team has been formed only kind of recently. You guys haven't had a ton of success internationally but this game over Liquid I think is a very big statement, especially in the way that you guys qualified at the RMR. How are you guys and how are you feeling about this project and looking forward to the next few months. What are the realistic goals that you have here?
When we first started this project, we were like “we just need to grind these spots in tournaments”, and pretty much, that happened. For example, we have Dallas after this, then we go to Sweden. So right now what we're doing trying to do is like have a good game against the good opponents because we know that we're not going to face a lot of tier 2 teams.
So on goals, what are you thinking for the next few months? Are you hoping to make the playoffs for each event? Are you just looking to get consistently better?
That depends on how good we do at this Major. We're really positive and confident about our performance. We're going to see in the next matchups how we gonna do against good teams, but it would just be like grinding the spots. There's a lot of stuff going on, I think we're gonna try to play ESL Valencia, the ESL Challenger thing, and after that, we're going to hit the player break because I think it’s possible to get into Cologne. We're just grinding out, chilling, and bootcamping a lot. That's a big problem. We were supposed to move to NA, but there's no practice there, there’s no teams there, so the only thing we're going to do there is playoffs.
You're heading into tomorrow as a 1-1 team. If you go 2-1 very quickly, do you think that momentum can then help you get into that 3-1 much easier?
Yeah, definitely. When we were heading into this tournament we were like, “we’re gonna qualify” It doesn't matter how many matches we needed, we are confident that we can do it.
Going from a team environment like FURIA where you were so together for so many years must be difficult. It's regulated, it's structured, we've all seen how that operation runs and then coming into a team like Imperial, where at first a lot of people doubted it as being “the last dance” and not necessarily the best players, how has that transition been personally for you?
I think that we have like a really healthy environment where people want to do good in their careers. They know they're like they're in their end-stage, but they're not going to retire like in six months. So pretty much they want to give everything they have and we don't have that much pressure. We only have the pressure that we're putting on ourselves. So I want to say it's less professional but it's more like a group of friends that are they really want to play again.