Slingshot’s Jarek “DeKay” Lewis caught up with Astralis’ Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye during the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier to talk about reaching the finals and the team’s relationship with coach Danny “Zonic” Sørensen.
Jarek “DeKay” Lewis: I was just rewatching your series against Cloud9, and I was curious: What went through your mind on Round 25? You guys needed a hero play and you delivered just that when you pushed through the smoke, killing two guys and then surviving the round timer. Was it chaos? Or do you stay calm in those situations?
Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye: I think we manage stay calm, even in the crucial rounds. You can’t stop thinking about how important it was to win. We were 3-v-5 and we had to do something to win the round. I did something that I thought would surprise them, and I’m just really happy that it worked. I told the guys, “come on guys, this is our lifeline. We would have been broke but now we can do this.” Even though I had a bad game, it was really good to feel important for just that one round.
JL: You’ve recently played both Liquid and Cloud9, who are considered NA’s best. What would you say is the biggest difference between the two teams from your perspective in game?
MK: It’s hard to say because I feel like both teams are very good tactically, maybe Liquid a bit more. With Cloud9 you can prepare a game plan but they are good at just doing whatever they want when they are confident, like a pug style. We might not be playing our best game and they will just play a style you can’t prepare for and it makes it hard. That’s the biggest difference.
JL: How hard has it been to try and maintain your spot as a top team? It almost seems like maintaining that spot is harder than actually getting there.
MK: The maintaining part has been really difficult for us, even though we are one of the most consistent teams out there. We were prepared for it, though, because our sports psychologist said the hardest part would be staying on top. It definitely was. We could feel it very fast after becoming the best. Every team came into the game wanting to beat us 10 times as much compared to before. People were stealing our tactics all the time. After you play with the same players for a while, you don’t play like you did when you make a new lineup. We have been lacking the style of play from when we first started. Things are often very good during the “honeymoon” phase: players take initiative, flash for each other, play great mid-round. Lately we have only focused on doing set plays, so it’s something we need to start getting back to. It’s really necessary against some of the best teams in the world.
JL: How important is zonic to this team? Whenever I watch Astralis play, I can’t help but notice how much he seems to help you guys.
MK: I would call him extremely extremely important to this team. He is a part of the family. I don’t know if any other coach is similar to him. If for some reason he wasn’t allowed to be our coach anymore, I think we would quit playing (with the organization). He is a great coach. He is good at everything. He helps with tactics, he is the funny guy on the team that keeps our team spirit, and he even manages our flights. He is a really important and crucial guy for our team, no doubt.
JL: You guys automatically qualify for the next Major, but does it make it difficult to find out about it close to the actual event? Do you wish Valve announced it sooner?
MK: We have gotten used to adapting to these kind of things. It’s a problem that you can’t even schedule things three or four months ahead. I would like more structured scheduling with tournament organizers communicating better with each other along with the players union. Right now, unfortunately we are so busy that we often have to just focus on the next event. We can’t spend too much time thinking that far ahead.
JL: Would you have preferred Dust2 to have changed a bit more? Or are you happy that it’s essentially the same map, just re-skinned? I ask because I assume Valve will add it to the map pool eventually.
MK: I haven’t had much time to look at it personally, but I have heard a lot of good stuff about it from my teammates. I notice that some people are a bit too critical but we’ll have to see. It’s such a huge part of CS history, so it’s good to have it back. Just like any other team, we hope it replaces one of our weaker maps. My prediction is that they announce it will be in the ELEAGUE Major once they add it into the main game. The only question is which map it will replace.