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dupreeh discusses Astralis' drop in form and handling changes in expectations

dupreeh says Astralis has adjusted to expectations after winning a Major
Dupreeh (Peter Rothmann) says Astralis will be fine with more practice. Photo by Adela Sznajder/DreamHack.

Slingshot’s Vince Nairn and Jarek “DeKay” Lewis caught up with Peter “dupreeh” Rothmann at ESL One New York to talk about Astralis’ dip in form and why it’s difficult to stay at the top.

Vince Nairn: I know you guys have higher goals at an event than going out in groups, but what did you take away the most from this week?

Peter “dupreeh” Rothmann: I think there’s a lot we can learn from, mainly putting more hours in individually, I think. That’s probably our main problem right now. Not that people don’t play enough, but maybe getting back in the comfort zone. I believe that’s maybe one of the things that’s most important for us. It’s not only about hitting your shots, but it’s also about how you communicate with your teammates, how you position yourself. There’s a lot of things you can improve individually that’s a little bit off for us right now. But it’s something you can’t really force. It’s something you have to work on when you practice. At least try to enforce it whenever you play.

VN: So much of your guys’ story to this point has been about the climb and getting to the top. What has been difficult about staying there?

PR: I don’t know. We had a really good run at the beginning of the year, and we made it to a lot of finals. Some we won. Some we lost. And I think a lot of it comes down to your mental state in terms of accepting mentally that other teams are becoming good. I think that’s something that goes back all the way to when NiP was dominating the game in the beginning. I think they had a really hard time accepting and understanding that other teams were starting to get really good at the game. I think that’s the same thing we have to do now. The majority of the team has been on the top of the CS:GO world for a long time, and there’s a bunch of newcomers now.

You just have to start being more humble and more respectful in terms of people actually putting in more and a lot of hours to become good at the game as well. So I think it’s a mental battle for yourself that you have to respect your opponent maybe a little bit more but not so much that you start fearing them. I don’t think we necessarily changed that much once we started winning, it’s just everyone has ups and downs in their careers. Now we have a little bit of a down period. We’re gonna go back (up). Everyone has it, so we’ll see what happens.

Jarek “DeKay” Lewis: What do you make of all the different teams that have come up to challenge you? It’s maybe not as uncertain as this time last year when seven teams won seven tournaments or whatever it was, but it’s kind of wide open.

PR: I think it’s more a couple individual players that started to play really well or started to perform on their teams. The new FaZe team is obviously a big question mark right now. They’ve been playing OK at the last LAN and they started playing pretty well here. They have the star power and the firepower to do really well. I just don’t know if it’s going to work out in the end team composition-wise. I think everything just comes down to you have to have the right mindset. You can have five players who are maybe not the best players in the world, but you still work it out as a team. I just think it comes down to how your team composition works out, and being good individually is important.

JL: When you guys played Liquid, you played into them kind of by picking Cache. Did that contribute at all to the loss? Or was it more about how you played?

PR: I think it’s mainly because we’re having issues on Overpass right now. Overpass has been a really strong map for us for a long, long time, and we’ve had some really upsetting losses on it, both in the Major but also to Liquid last time at ECS, I believe it was. I think it’s just we’re not comfortable on the map right now, picking it right now, because we know there are a lot of other good teams on it, and we don’t really feel it’s our safe pick right now. We’ve been playing a lot of Mirage and Inferno, which we’ve been really good in practice. And we are generally good teams on the maps, but it just hasn’t worked out.

JL: Forgive me if you’re not straight up entry right now, but you are someone who has been good at it in the past. A lot of people just talk about it like it’s a simple role, but what does it actually take to be good at that role?

PR: It’s more like my old role. It’s one I used to play back on TSM and stuff. Right now, I’ve kinda given up some of the space to Kjaerbye because he’s the one who does it with Gla1ve right now. So I’m more of playing the off situation. I’m the one who’s always — I’m not really a lurker either. I’m more in between. I do my own work on side of the maps.

But an entry fragger, I think it’s very important that you have good reflexes and a really good idea of how your opponent plays, and you have to be really quick at playing corners. You always have to decide — it’s also a gambler as an entry fragger sometimes. You have to go in and gamble and say “The guy’s probably gonna stay in this corner. I’m gonna only check this corner.” Sometimes he’s there. Sometimes he’s in the other corner and you get killed. That’s how it is as an entry fragger. It can be really random sometimes. But it is about being comfortable and always believing in yourself that you can do well against a guy, whoever you’re gonna go up against. You need to be real confident. You have to have good reflexes. You have to have a good idea how the angles work.

VN: Every part of this journey is difficult, obviously. Winning a tournament is difficult. Getting to the point where you’re making consistent playoff appearances is difficult. But for you guys, it’s almost like — from the outside at least — during the beginning of your climb there was less pressure. This is kind of the first time those expectations have been there for you to win. How have you guys handled the change in expectations?

PR: It’s always difficult, and its always different when you go into games. In the beginning, you’re always the underdog, and then all of the sudden you have everything to lose. If you’re the best team in the world and you go into a tournament, you have to win it. That’s what is expected of you. If you lose at any stage of the tournament, you’re the guy that didn’t win, and that’s bad for you. So that’s always a hard thing. And the other thing is when you start a new team, you always have that element of surprise. Nobody is really 100 percent capable of knowing how you play, and that’s what we’re (going against) right now. I believe that’s probably the strongest asset of skill you can have in CS:GO, and that’s the element of surprise. If you can always catch your opponent off guard or do what they do not expect, you will always win. That’s what we lack right now.

VN: It’s also funny how quickly things changed. We talked last year at IEM Oakland and you were very (relaxed), saying you were just putting everything together. You didn’t really have expectations. Then two months later you win the Major and everything changes. Is that difficult to deal with at first, such a quick change?

PR: I guess you live up to the job. When you win the Major and you win the (title of) best team in the world, it’s something you kind of go with the flow. You know what’s expected of you and you try to work it out. We have our mental coach help us with that stuff. I don’t think it’s been a big issue with that at all. I don’t think we’re thinking about (being the favorite or underdog) too much. At least I’m not.

JL: Would it mean a lot to you to qualify for the finals of Pro League and play in Denmark twice?

PR: Oh yeah, it means a lot. This season means more to me than any other season that has taken place in whatever country in the world, just because we want to play on Danish turf. That’s just basically how it is. Online CS is always random, and it’s not really motivating and it’s a bit boring, not as many viewers. But going to the finals in Denmark, that’s definitely what we want. We’ve never had a good event in Denmark.