refrezh: "We shouldn't all try and be the nicest people to each other"
After Heroic's close win over Vitality in their 2-2 game, Ismail "refrezh" Ali and Dust2.us' Ryan Friend discussed a wide range of topics. The two covered the details of the match, the importance of keeping the team hyped, and the recent uproar regarding Casper "cadiaN" Møller's trash-talk.
Congrats on Major playoffs, what a feeling! It was a little scary at the end there, what was going through your mind?
I mean whenever we are on the T-side of Inferno we are pretty calm because we know how good it is, and we have made so many comebacks. In the end, we were actually pretty calm. We had many rounds where we killed three or four guys, so we knew their economy was pretty down. So when we got fourteen rounds, we knew their economy was bad and we just needed that one round win to make them go on a bad buy so the last round would be easier, and that's what happened in the end. But I mean, we were pretty calm and always believed in our T-side.
The maps were a little interesting in the way that they played out, you swapped map picks. On Mirage, did you think it was going to be that dominant of a first half?
We started on our CT-side, and we know our CT-side can be so dynamic, we can push a lot, get info, stack the right bombsite, so we were really confident in our CT. I mean they got a few rounds when we were T. But we know that Magisk and dupreeh haven't played Mirage that much because it was the permaban in Astralis, so overall we feel like the better team on that map. People don't really know what a team feels like, so we feel our Mirage is really good, and maybe they look at the stats or something but the stats don't say it all. It's different to feel good on a map, but have bad statistics on a map because maybe some unfortunate things made you lose. But we feel pretty good, the veto against Vitality was pretty nice. They always ban Ancient because that's their permaban, and we ban Dust2 because that's our permaban, and Ancient is statically our worst map so it was pretty nice.
So what happened on your pick? Obviously, it went their way, and you guys seemed a little shaky. Do you think they were just more prepared for that map choice?
Maybe a bit, but I think the key factor was when we were on CT we couldn't block the right sides of the map at the right moment, our smokes were one or two seconds delayed. In the mid-round we had a pretty good read, there was a round where we stacked three guys on A, almost four because I was in heaven, but we still lost on A, so I mean I think we had the best reads, but we just needed that last percentage to close out the rounds because we had a pretty good idea how they played. Magisk also had some wild rounds.
It was definitely a close game either way. I think emotions for both teams actually ran really high in both ways, when you guys are winning cadiaN is usually the loud one, and Vitality you could hear them getting really loud as well. How important is keeping those emotions high for you and the team in your success?
It helps a lot to bring everyone up to the highest energy level possible because then you are gonna play your best, you're gonna be so hyped, you're gonna be so focused. But I mean, you can overdo it and make you unfocused, but we are pretty used to a screaming guy, and we like yelling and saying funny stuff, and bringing up the mood to loosen people up and not be too tight and scared of saying stuff. We just keep our emotions up, having fun is what you need. If you don't have fun, it's gonna be too serious and too strict, and then you're going to feel tight in your body maybe and you're not gonna play loose, which we need.
Speaking of playing loose, I think there's a lot of speculation, and a lot of online comments about Heroic as a whole. It's been this way for the past year, obviously, it's been very controversial. How have you kept yourself focused on the game and not let yourself into those comments, or have you let yourself into those comments at times?
To be honest, not really. I mean, it's more to shut people up because people are always gonna bring up new stuff. First, it was, "oh can they even play LAN?", and okay maybe we start out a bit bad playing out the LANs but we managed to go to the playoffs and the semis so many times, we have at least three or even four top-fours at big LANs, and even at the Major. So I mean people saying we cannot play offline, that's a lie, we have shown that many times. The next thing people are saying is that we cannot play the playoffs, and I think that we still have time to fix stuff at playoffs because we have had some bad semis, for example at Katowice against FaZe where we just lost 2-0. We still have things to work on but I think we are going in the right direction, and that's why we're standing here today qualified for the playoffs at the Major.
There was obviously some controversy this week with cadiaN and NiKo going at each other on Twitter, and there's been speculation over that. Has that fueled you at all or caused you any distress?
Definitely gave us some fuel, not the stress, I think the stress happened on their side, especially after the match when cadiaN said that stuff. I mean, it was slightly pretty funny, but in my opinion, it was deserved. It is a sport, and trash-talk is a part of it. We shouldn't all try and be the nicest people to each other, we are competitors and that's normal in sports to have mental warfare against your opponents. Personally, I like it a lot. It's something people use energy on, and I know it fuels the rest of our guys so it's a win-win for us.
With Heroic's 2-1 victory over Vitality, Heroic have secured their spot in the playoffs at the PGL Antwerp Major. The Danes now await their quarterfinal matchup against CIS powerhouse NAVI, on Friday at 02:00PM.