Team Liquid were one of the few teams here not at Stockholm or ZOTAC, instead you were bootcamping in Europe instead. How have things been going and are you feeling confident?
I think we are at our best form ever because of the bootcamp and I think it was a good decision to not go to Stockholm. We were actually going to go to ZOTAC but we took off because we thought it would be a better use of time just to practice and get prepared for the Major. It's the biggest tournament compared to two smaller tournaments.
We'll have two EU Majors in a row after previously following a pattern with one in NA and one in EU as the next Major will be IEM Katowice 2019. Do you think it is better to have Majors alternate between regions?
Definitely. My favourite Majors are obviously the ones in the States just because it's my homeland and it's just a great feeling being at home and travel is not bad there. The good thing about European Majors is we get to bootcamp in EU which is way better than NA practice and we can just not be jetlagged, we get time to adjust to timezones. For this Major, we were in Amsterdam for two weeks so we have no jetlag or anything like that. That's the one really good thing about Majors in Europe.
As for timing, the Major is straight after the player break and some people are criticising that choice, while other Majors have been before breaks in the past, when do you think is the best time for the second Majors of the year?
That's a hard question. I don't like it being directly after the player break. Maybe a month afterwards, maybe October. That gives about a month and a half so I think that would be an ideal time. That way it gives teams the ability to bootcamp, it gives a clear schedule, teams can prepare according to the open circuit. There are so many tournaments back-to-back that you need to have a specific time to prepare for a big tournament like the Major.
You are coming into this stage as a very strong team and a few other NA teams have also been looking good. Even Ghost Gaming, who were at ZOTAC and Stockholm, surprised a lot of people. Do you think this is helping people take the NA scene seriously despite other issues?
It's hard to say because steel can't even attend Majors so that team is in a weird shape but they are doing pretty well internationally which is a good sign. They have less experienced players than us or Cloud9 but I think they are on an upward trajectory. Cloud9, I'm not sure where they're at right now, it's going to be a toss-up in my opinion.
I'm not sure how they're going to perform at this tournament. I'm not expecting them to do bad, I'm not expecting them to do good, so we will see in that case. NRG obviously didn't go to the Major as they got upset by eUnited, I think, at the Minor. It feels like it's inconsistent for each and every team. It's hard to tell but I'm hopeful.
You've had a really solid year with only Astralis being your big nemesis in grand finals. They're also in this qualifier so are you hoping to try get revenge early?
I would rather meet them in the playoffs instead of New Challengers. I think that way we could fully prepare for them in a best-of-three instead of a best-of-one because I think we have more of a chance of winning a best-of-three now because we have a stronger map pool and stuff. I'd rather meet them later than earlier.
Your first match is against OpTic and cajunb has said you're 'a really good team and are good individual players', what are you expecting going into your match against them?
We know they have been inconsistent since April, they haven't been at major tournaments so maybe they have been practicing a lot but they didn't have that good of a showing at Stockholm so we are just going to watch back their matches, see how their playstyle is with this lineup and basically create a gameplan off of it. I think we're all very confident going into it because we're all in peak form. We don't have anything to worry about, in my opinion.
Do you think there are any teams that are underrated at the moment in either the Challenger or Legends stage of the Major?
I think MIBR right now because they have had a decent amount of practice now. I would say they are the dark horse in a sense because we don't know how good they're going to be.
Team Liquid were in the finals of ECS Season 5 this year so experienced a UK crowd already. Do you enjoy the UK crowds and the British fans?
It's always fun playing in front of any kind of fan to be honest, no matter what nationality. If I remember correctly, [UK fans] cheered for us, I don't remember exactly, but I just remember not being cheered against so I'm assuming they were for us. It feels neutral so it's always great having fan support, I know they love us from signings and stuff like that.