Taking a step back from primary AWPing upon woxic's addition in late 2017, DeadFox's role in HellRaisers changed dramatically. After another addition in the young Jordanian star ISSAA, the team blossomed taking a win at Bet.net masters and had a strong second place finish at DreamHack Tours.
HellRaisers' great results were short-lived though, attending few notable tournaments in the coming months before the players break. Plagued by visa issues, DreamHack Stockholm was less than kind to the international mix with many being skeptical of their form coming into the FACEIT London Major. Battling through the New Legends stage with a 3-2 record, HellRaisers have put a thorn in such skepticism and we sat down with DeadFox to explore their success thus far alongside his expectations going forward in the tournament.
Coming into the Major few people would have predicted HellRaisers making the top eight, what was your preparation like coming into the event and did you expect to make it this far?
To be honest, I expected such, maybe ISSAA and woxic did not expect it so much but I felt like we could make it because we have good individual players and if we played our game, it would go well. We prepared well for the Major; we had Stockholm before and we went there to pretty much practice and play together.
What does Johnta add to HellRaisers as a coach?
Johnta brings structure to HellRaisers such as teamwork and he tends to focus more on our opponents. For example, say we are playing an official and ANGE1's plan is not working then Johnta is the guy who tells us how to adjust. He structures the team, saying do this setup and that setup whereas ANGE1 is more deciding whether woxic should pick here or pick here.
Had the coaching rule change never been implemented, would Johnta be calling for the team?
Yes I think so, I think Johnta would make a really good In Game Leader.
ISSAA has played an incredible event so far, what do you think lead to his individual successes in London?
He plays 24/7, I don't even know how he is playing so much, whenever you watch him he just sitting and killing bots or deathmatching or something. He has such big impact and his aim is insane.
As a team who are heavy underdogs do you think this a positive or negative for you?
We use the underdog situation in the sense that we should not be a team that's afraid to do something, but that our opponents should be afraid because they do not know what we are doing. Maybe nowadays they know a little, but before then opponents did not know what to do against us. Until recently we were a pretty aggressive team and although we are still aggressive, we are now more structured.
From the outside the perception is that HellRaisers is built around ISSAA and woxic, within the team do people think along these lines?
Sometimes it is my job to go in and get them [ISSAA and woxic] information or let them trade me so that they kill more or clutch later in the round. They are really good at shooting and sometimes I don't know what they are doing. Woxic with his high sensitivity is like a helicopter with an AWP.
For woxic, it depends on the map, for example, on Train he can peek where he likes. Sometimes woxic will call, 'I want to peek this or that spot,' but sometimes ANGE1 will tell him what to do or that he should not do something.
Our opponents cannot be prepared for ISSAA and woxic, sometimes they just go out and kill three and I think to myself, "okay we have won the round, thank you ISSAA and woxic". We support them to make these moves and mostly they do whatever they want and if they make mistakes then we talk about it after the match, saying you shouldn' t do this or do that.
Is there ever any tension when ANGE1 is criticising ISSAA or woxic after the games, perhaps because they are younger and better players statistically?
Sometimes we have issues like these, for example, if woxic does something wrong and then after the game, ANGE1 tells him that it was not the right move woxic may keep fighting and say that it was the right move. They have these sort of arguments quite a lot actually.
Earlier in the year HellRaisers had some great results such as second at DH Tours and winning the Bets.net masters but since you have struggled to get similar placings, why do you think this is?
We were a fairly new team from when ISSAA and woxic came in, so we had to change up some roles. For example, from then on I was not the permanent AWPer and I had to learn a lot of new things, so I think as a team we just needed more time playing together. Also, ISSAA and woxic came mainly from FPL so they did not have that much experience playing within a team.
In the quarterfinals you are playing Liquid who have been in impressive form during the tournament, what do you think of Liquid's play and from your preparation do you think they have weak points that can be exploited?
I think they have weak points. We watched their demos before our game against them [during the new legends stage] and spotted a lot of weak points but we did not abuse them properly. We tried to use them but we just didn't play our game, that is why I think we lost against them, not because they are so much better. I feel like we can win against them in a Bo3, we just have to abuse their weak points.
Can HellRaisers upset Team Liquid? Comment with your thoughts below!