How does the team prioritize what tournaments to attend? Is a prize pool the only factor? What else influences the importance of a tournament? We perfecly know there are tournaments with a good reputation in esports, for example ESL. Also Eleague has a good standing, ECS, and so on. Of course, we look at the organization holding a tournament, also we look at the prize pool, and the possible experience from playing against the best teams. All those factors influence our tournament choice. How did your bootcamp before Eleague go? What did you improve and what didn’t? We’ve had a crazy schedule, there were three tournaments in a row. With this schedule, you’re gaining form as the tournament goes along. Before Eleague, we had about five days of preparation: we analyzed our mistakes at the previous tournament in Cologne, even though we won it, we made some mistakes there. We improved our weaknesses, also we realized that some teams like Liquid can surprise here, so we tried to prepare for them, so they don’t catch us off guard. What does CS:GO lack right now, and what the reason behind the game’s decline of popularity during the past months? Firstly, I think it lacks investments from the developers – Valve. The organizations we’ve mentioned earlier, hold their own tournaments, find sponsors themselves. They help the market grow, while the developers don’t do much compared to Dota, where they do a lot for the game, organize The International. Here they get involved only in Majors, moreover, they don’t even organize them themselves, they grant rights to hold a Major to other organizations. They try to invest less efforts in the CS:GO esports. Also some new games like PUBG appear that can compete with CS:GO in the long run. Even now some people are slowly switching to those games. And if Valve don’t react to it and don’t invest money, maybe we won’t see another rise of CS. Is it connected to a trade ban from Valve? How much do skins affect the player base? To be honest, it’s also a factor, I forgot to mention it. Maybe it was the main factor during the past couple of months, because they implemented the restriction, and a lot of websites have to adjust, as far as I know there are billions of dollars in that skin industry. People have businesses, they have to readjust or some even have to shut down their projects, so yeah, it’s also a factor. Now let’s talk about the matches. Why did you decide to pick Inferno instead of Overpass against Fnatic, which has been their weakest map for the last half a year? Because we are a team that wants to be the top 1 in the world, so at this tournament, we’re considering ourselves the favorites to win the title. And to win the tournament, we have to look further ahead as our main goal is not to defeat Fnatic no matter what. There are more important goals, we know we have to improve our weaknesses, we need to keep some of our tricks up the sleeve for now. So analyzing all of this, we chose that strategy. What went wrong on Inferno? Was it the weak plays at Banana? There were a lot small things. We’ve often struggled in opening matches, like the map against G2 in Cologne. We can’t get going instantly, we do our best to fix it, we understand we have to win our openings every once in a while. But so far, we are still acquiring experience. We have some tactical issues as well, they are present all over the map to a different extent. They change from match to match: in one match A site does worse, in another one B site. If some situations against Fnatic had gone in our favour, we could’ve won that game. Because the score wasn’t 16-7 for example, it was pretty close, we could’ve won, but we were a bit unlucky. That defeat helped us focus, and we won in the end. In your opinion, how did the addition of Snax change Mousesports’ structure? They acquired a very good player, but CS is a team game, roles decide a lot. Styko played his role, and he was pretty good at it. However, his overall performance dropped during the past six months, so when the guys started to lose they had a choice: to continue to work on roles as a team, or to make a change. They decided to make a change, I don’t always agree with it, but in the long run it can be beneficial. It wouldn’t be fair, if any top team starts to defeat everyone right away after making a change. But if the team works on their improvement, I think Snax is a good addition individually. He showed great performance in VP, he has a huge potential, I think they can succeed with Snax. What’s the difference between the time before he joined and now? Is it harder to play against them? I think it doesn’t matter who they have, what matters is that we’ve improved as a team, we were ready to face any Mousesports lineup. With the example of Mousesports, people ask to explain your and Misha’s logic behind the map pick for a certain match. What factors do you consider? It’s a controversial question, we won’t reveal our secrets behind the map choice. But there are stats, there are a lot of things, sometimes we just rely on raw stats. For instance, we have a current 15W-2L record on Mirage, which, in the long run, means that the team’s good on this map. This is one of the factors. Also, assessing what map you have a bigger chance of winning on: you play two maps equally well, but you feel that you have a slightly higher chance to win this particular map against this particular team. So this is another one. You can talk to your teammates and ask their opinion as well. Do you remember that 1v1 clutch against Xizt on de_train? Yes. I’ve got a question, why did you decide to peek him even though Richard was running out of time to get the bomb down. Well, I was kind of sleepy in that match. Sleepy? Yes, I couldn’t really concentrate and I thought we would’ve beaten them anyway. Look, over the past couple of months… There have been a lot of shuffles going on recently, what’s your take on that? Although, you’ve already said that you’re not a fan of this approach. Are roster changes sometimes inevitable or is it possible for any line-up to win titles, if everyone on the team puts in as much effort and desire as possible? Not for any team, but putting in effort and desire is very important. Because recently we were talking about talented players in the pro scene, in particular, CIS region, but some of them were unlucky, some didn’t pull through, and some, despite being talented, were reluctant to work and thus ruined their careers. I won’t name many of them, just a light example – WorldEdit. I think that 2-3 years ago… Well, who knows, maybe he will succeed at one point and prove himself to the world, I’ll be happy for him. But I think that a couple of years ago, he had reached a level where he was arguably one of the best AWPers in the CIS region and top 5 in the world. And where is he now? Not really doing well. Even some mediocre teams might not consider him a serious player. As far as I know, according to some people who played with him, he’d demonstrated some kind of passivity and unwillingness to work and put in effort. But guys, like any sport or job, if you want to achieve results in esports, you have to work hard. And I believe we’re currently one of the best teams in the world because we’ve been sacrificing our time and our personal lives throughout the year for the sake of the team, the game and results. The last question: what’s the atmosphere within the team like now? Did your triumph in Cologne make you complacent or motivated even more? It motivated us, and boosted our confidence. If people say that I’m like an old seasoned veteran who analyzes things and has a specific approach to every tournament, then it is apparent that the level of confidence is what makes most difference for the guys. Every victory boosts their confidence, they’re flourising and becoming more aggressive and tougher, getting rid of the thoughts they used to have when going up against big names. I’m really happy with their performance, they’re very talented guys, the main thing is to maintain their talent and not get complacent too early. We have big goals, we didn’t aim only for Cologne win, so I hope we’ll keep moving forward. We’re playing a semi-final soon. I want to express my gratitude to everyone who supports us. I know that there are true fans who stayed with us through hard times and kept supporting and believing in us. They saw that we were working hard towards our goals and remained loyal. And I think we didn’t let you down, and I hope we never will. We’re working hard and your support and energy keeps us going and helps us win tournaments. The semi-final match is going to be really difficult. Definitely not an easy one, because we’re going to face either Team Liquid or MIBR, who are playing today. We’re going to play against either the entire Brazil and America, or the NA lineup on their home soil, it’s going to be tough. But we’ll do our best to win this one and make it to the finals that will probably feature Astralis, and the whole is probably looking forward to this match-up – NAVI against Astralis in the grand final. Obviously, we’d like to meet them there and try to win the whole thing. So, overall, we’re doing fine, going forward, improving and reaching our goals. Thank you Danya for your time and for the interview, bye.