Returned home with a top-four finish at ESL One Birmingham, Gambit Esports’ captain Artsiom “fng” Barshack talked with the Russian outlet cybersport.ru about the tournament performance, discussed certain picks in the new meta and laid down his plans for EPICENTER and the road to The International 2019.
The interview was conducted and published in Russian and can be read fully here. Below we extract some of the most interesting answers from fng.
On Gambit’s practice before ESL One Birmingham, team’s expectations and the top 4 finish
“None of us trained. We had a rest period after the Major qualifiers and all we did was to talk about the new patch. We mixed some ideas from Adrenaline Cyber League 2019 matches with some that we saw during the ESL One. We set a minimum goal, to pass the group stage. We knew we can beat Keen and Alliance and that it should be harder with the rest of the teams. In the playoffs we had to play Liquid in the first round and it seemed like they came unprepared as well. I think they also took a small break because they qualified for the Major. Nonetheless, the series with them was hard. Our next opponent was VG and it seems like the Chinese simply played poorly.”
On who was the strongest opponent in the group stage
“Our strongest adversary was PSG.LGD because first, their players are very strong on individual skill level and second, because they have very well assembled drafts. It’s clear that everyone on the team understands what needs to be done, everyone understands exactly what each hero is picked for and what are the priorities with each draft.”
On who was prepared for the new patch
“None of the teams in this tournament were ready to play on the new patch. Everyone had strange matches, everyone could win one game and go lose the next one. There was no clear favourite. Everyone adapted to the tournament meta. Only Evil Geniuses came with a few ideas. For the most part, they came with old things, but tweaked for the new patch.”
On why he picked Lone Druid so much, despite not being a very successful hero in Birmingham
“We picked it because we like to play it. Daxak loves to play it. The rest of the team, I think they like as well because he can dominate a lane. Plus, just like in the previous patch, he can take a tower super-fast and open the map.”
On Immersion’s Earth Spirit performance and if FNG drafted the hero because Immersion is good on it or because the hero is good in the new meta.
“Both. Earth Spirit has the highest potential for roaming right now. If he has a normal laning stage, he gains some levels and a few items and then, when he shows up in team fights he delivers a lot of damage. In the VG series (where Immersion set a new kill record on Earth Spirit), they had very weak supports, Shadow Shaman and Disruptor. You can kill them first and after that, it’s almost impossible for them to team fight.”
On being eliminated by Team Secret
“We had a plan for Secret, but with teams like Secret, EG and LGD, having a plan doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work. In game one, the draft went differently than we thought. They decided to change it and the plan we had didn’t make sense anymore. We wanted to shut down Secret’s mid and bottom lanes, but they killed our courier twice. We did a mistake by going for Medusa and not killing her, therefore we didn’t take the tower. Instead, she took ours, although we had Lone Druid mid, our plan was ruined and it became hard to go for them. In the second game, we had Dark Seer active, finding solo kills, while the rest of the heroes were farming. We had everything under control on the first 15 minutes, but because we didn’t hit the timing with the Radiance purchase we were already taking unfavourable fights. We were wiped two or three times, although we were fighting as five and the game became impossible.”
On EPICENTER and TI9 qualification
“We want to prepare hard for EPICENTER. Everyone is home now, but we will go to boot camp in a few days and start our training. The main task is to get enough DPC points to qualify for TI. We have a good chance to show ourselves at the Major, and if everything works out, we will secure a spot at The International. If we play poorly at EPICENTER we will take it as lesson going into the TI qualifiers.”