The event is DreamHack Winter 2014 and Fnatic had come into the Major as considerable favourites. Group A's winners match would take place on Mirage and the Swedes are seeking their place in the playoffs. Shockingly, Fnatic would fall 14-16. Their victors would be HellRaisers with their fresh prospect in s1mple leading the way; little did we know of the future phenom before us.
Four years on and again s1mple is making waves on Counter-Strike's biggest stage. The Ukrainian is at the peak of his powers with only a single match standing between s1mple and the Major title he has long desired to cement his greatness. Through interviewing s1mple following his semifinal victory over MIBR we gained invaluable insight on the Ukrainian's thoughts before this career defining moment.
Thinking back to 2014 and 2015, you had a poor reputation for lashing out towards your teammates and being hot headed, what do you think about these issues when you look back now?
There were a lot of situations, really dumb situations where we just didn't understand each other as players and I thought everything was going to be perfect, but that was not going to happen as it would not in soccer, basketball or whatever. Everyone should be close to each other, they should understand every player inside and outside of the game.
In terms of your legacy as a player, how important is it to have a Major title to your name?
It is the most important thing for anyone because it is the main goal and the main tournament. Everyone is practicing more for this tournament, some teams even cancel other tournaments before this one and it is a great feeling for everyone that wins a Major.
As a team Na’Vi tends to buy very aggressively compared to teams such as Astralis and Liquid, what are your thoughts on this approach?
For example, we force bought when only one of the MIBR players survived [after a tactical pause at 3-2 on Overpass] when we knew that they have low economy. When we know that our opponents don't have an AWP it is easier to go together and clear some places.
It depends on what the coach [kane] says to us, when he is reading the money of the other team he knows when we need to do a force or when we need to double save to have double AWP's.
Is it Zeus or kane's choice to force or does everyone in the team lean towards buying aggressively?
Everyone in the team understands, half a year ago nobody understood how to do this but now everyone understands and when he [Zeus] sees a small detail he is always saying this in teamspeak and it helps us.
In many people's eyes you are considered the best player in the world, do you take on duels in the server thinking that you are the better player?
I'm just going into any fight when I think it is smarter than the other options, I understand the situation overall on the map and when I am doing the risky moves it depends where they are, what economy they have and what my team says. Maybe I need to play aggressive so that my teammates can hide and after they can go into the site and kill them. It always depends but for example, when we won three tournaments in a row all of us have confidence after victory in these tournaments, and you can feel it.
How important do you think it is to play aggressively and seek out opening picks when AWPing on the CT side?
It is important to play not only aggressive but smart as well, for example, when you peek balloons [on CT Overpass] with an AWP against a force buy you should understand you likely to die and you are going to let them take the AWP. It is also easier on the T side to play around just one AWP and that AWP can change everything. I just do the risky peeks when I need to: when my team tells me or I have a good spawn.
Coming into you semifinal versus MIBR many would have predicted that it would be a close game, yet, outside of a brief stint on Overpass the series was quite one-sided, what do you think went wrong for MIBR in this match?
I don't know but I think we just deserved it more, we have been together for a long time and we fixed a lot of mistakes: we fixed Dust2 and it was pretty hard for us to fix this map. We just were better prepared maybe not only in the game but also outside of the game, we felt really good going into this semifinal.
Do you think MIBR will improve given time?
Of course, they just need more time, the same happened with FalleN when he played in Brazil [2014 and earlier], nothing worked for him but after he created a really great team [Luminosity Gaming] with fnx and TACO and won everything.
In the final you will be playing the winner of Astralis and Liquid, which team would you rather face?
No, I don't have a preference. I just know that the better team between them is going to win, it is the same with us and the other teams. The better team and the team that deserves it more will get this trophy, so I don't really care and I am not thinking about this. I am just focused on my own game, focused on my team, focused on preparation before this game. You focus on everything before this game: you watch what you are eating before sleeping, you are watching how you sleep, you are doing everything to be prepared for the final.
Finally, going into the Major final what is running through your head?
I am really excited because going into the Major final it’s like: long time, no see. It is going to be really good with a lot of people in the crowd and winner will take everything. I will enjoy every moment of this especially with the biggest crowd, it is always nice to play in front of people that cheer for any team and not only for us. It going to be a great but tough match.
Astralis would prevail over Team Liquid in the other semifinal and now the stage is set for the greatest match of them all. Astralis vs Na'Vi: can s1mple claim a Major title?
Do you think s1mple will finally get his major? Comment below!