blameF: "I do think we're a team that lacks identity"
After the conclusion of day one at IEM Dallas, Dust2.us' Lukas DeWitt was able to speak with Astralis' Benjamin "blameF" Bremer. The two spoke about blameF's thoughts on the first day of the event, the issues that currently plague the Danish roster, and what the 24-year-old wants to achieve in Counter-Strike.
I don't feel too great because we lost to Vitality, and the scoreline was a little close, but it didn't feel close for us. So, I don't think that's a game we can be proud of. But then we beat Encore, and that's just a game that we have to win, anything other than a victory would have been a disaster. So, I'm not feeling too good right now in the team, like, how we're playing. But, of course, that can change very quickly.
So, heading into Dallas. You didn't go very far in the Major, is there any pressure to win the trophy here, or at least go deep into the playoffs?
I don't think there's any pressure for us to win the trophy yet, but I do think there's a little bit of pressure to start performing better. Obviously, we hear a lot of comments and a lot of people — the community and stuff — who want better results which we also want. So I think there's a little pressure in that sense. We have a lot of people underperforming right now, and a lot of people being called out so for sure, some people are feeling a little under pressure, but we just try to handle that as a team, play together as a team, and play as well as we can.
You play G2 tomorrow. We know that they're also struggling, what are your thoughts entering that match?
I think it's a team we've had a really hard time against; we've lost a couple of times against them in the last couple of tournaments. I think they're a really good team and they have good structure, great firepower, and a good in-game leader and everything — so I think they're a hard team to play against. But, map-pool wise, we're feeling decently against them; we have some good maps that they're not so good on and they have some maps that we're not good on. So, it's quite even map-pool wise and I think it's going to be a close game.
You're performing individually better now than you did even when you were on Complexity in 2020, can you tell me about your relationship with gla1ve and what he brings to you as an in-game leader coming from your previous experiences as an IGL? What does he do for you that allows you to become this star player beyond what we were ever used to?
I don't think I'm playing as good as maybe some people say. I think on CT-side, I have the roles that I'm used to and I was playing really good there. But T-side, I wasn't. When the new year started, I changed my T positions to all the passive positions, like Underground on Overpass, Dark on Dust2 and Outside on Mirage. And I was always used to taking map control, I feel like I kind of got a lot of hate from that in the sense that people kept saying, "he's playing so passive," but I kind of did it because the team asked me to play those positions, so other people could play the map control positions. I think it's just mostly CT-side that I'm playing good because I'm playing the spots I've always known and T-sides, I don't think I've been playing very good. I've not found a T-side identity on this team that I could rely on or work on, so it has been a little bit rough for me to feel a little bit useless on some of the T-sides, and not really feeling comfortable. But of course, we do it; it doesn't matter who is playing what position, we do it to make the team better of course, so it's fine — I don't mind playing it. But recently, we have switched it around a little so I'm a little bit more map control on some of the maps and that has helped me on those maps I think.
You made a couple of comments that suggest to me that you guys are still figuring everything out; would you consider yourselves to still be in a growing phase? You guys now have the pieces you want, but are you still trying to figure out how to get everything maximized?
Yeah, I don't think we use the excuse of we're a new team. But I do think we're a team that lacks identity. I don't think we have a clear vision of how we play on every single map. Of course, we have visions and we talk about how we want to play but I don't think a guy from the outside can go and say, "this is Astralis' identity and that's how they play". I think that's something we're still figuring out — mostly on T-sides. I think most CT-sides from us are pretty good in general, but then again, most teams are right now. But yeah, for sure, we're kind of lacking some comfort zones on some of the T-sides but it is something that we're working on a lot and yeah it should get better even though it's not like shown really clearly right now. But we feel like it's getting better.
Last question for you. When I interviewed you back in IEM Chicago 2019, I asked you, "You're 22, and you're nearing the prime of your career, what do you want from Counter-Strike?" And the meat of what you replied was "I live and breathe Counter-Strike, my only goal is to get achievements in this game. I want to get on stage, I want to play, and I want to win against the best teams. I want to lift trophies and I don't think I'm even close to reaching my potential". So I'm going to ask you, what do you want out of Counter-Strike right now?
I mean, nothing has changed for me. Some people say it's sad and some of my friends make jokes about it. But, I do sincerely play Counter-Strike, I sit at home and play Counter-Strike, then I wake up and play Counter-Strike, then practice, then I go to the gym and come back and play more Counter-Strike, it's just all I do. I don't see many friends or much of my family, I don't do a lot of that stuff. Not because I don't like it, but because I'm so focused on using this moment because I feel blessed since I'm living a great life and I have great opportunities. I think it's about making sure I maximize my potential while I can. Even before the Major, I did three hours of deathmatch for two weeks straight just like I did back in Epsilon. I did it because I knew that's a good routine, and I feel like I have time to do that now because I'm not IGLing, so I have more time. It's a boring answer but I just play on my computer all day and when I'm not playing on my computer, I'm thinking about Counter-Strike. And when I'm cooking food or washing my clothes, then it's also just Counter-Strike — I'll listen to a Counter-Strike podcast or whatever. So yeah, I just wanna make sure that I get that feeling of achievement because I haven't really had it yet. I think it's when we start winning big trophies and winning tournaments, when you stand on stage in front of the crowd and lift a trophy. That's the first time I get that feeling of, "okay, this is like all I've worked for," you know? Because you don't get that feeling from winning a couple of matches, you have to achieve something bigger. Those are my goals and it's the same as last time.
Complexity are currently in the lower bracket of Group A at IEM Dallas, with the Danish squad set to go head-to-head with G2 tonight at 07:00PM.