Interview with Team Spirit coach Certus

Team Spirit CS:GO coach Nikolay "Certus" Poluyanov in an interview with the official website of the organization summed up the performance at ESL Pro League Season 12, where the Russian team entered the playoff stage and finished in 7-8 place. He also commented on the challenges of the professional scene in the CIS.

According to the "dragons" mentor, they managed to meet the minimum task on EPL S12, which was to achieve better results than last season of the league. At the same time, the team was able to show even better results if they hadn't lost the competitive pace because of a long pause before the playoffs, Certus is sure.

— What was the team’s objective going into ESL Pro League? This was not an RMR-tournament, but a very important competition. Which goals did you manage to achieve, and which ones remained unfulfilled?

— The objective was simple: we wanted to play this tournament better than the last ESL Pro League. After progressing to the playoffs, we managed that, but the further you progress the more you want, and in the playoffs we expected to go further than 7-8th. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.

— Two defeats in the playoffs. Was it an unfortunate draw or were there any other issues that played a part?

— The draw had nothing to do with it, the problem was that we had to play against BIG after a 10 day pause. We lost the momentum, while BIG did everything better than us during the match, and deservedly won. As for the match versus Astralis, we lacked experience. We lost several key rounds on each map, which had a very big impact on our economy and our choice of certain tactics in the following rounds. Astralis is a team that does not forgive small mistakes — this is why they have been at the top for so long. On the other hand, when it comes to tier-1 tournaments, we can beat everyone and lose to everyone. It all comes down to how the team is playing at a given moment. We have no psychological issues, and we do not feel any pressure from the name of our opponents.

—Who would you call the MVP of ESL Pro League on your team and why?

— I don’t like to single out anyone, but for the whole tournament I will note that Leonid ‘Chopper’ played a key role. He grows as IGL with every tournament, and in this particular tournament he managed the team very well. I’m sure he will surprise everyone in the future, he is still far from his ceiling.

— You have been a coach for a long time. What do you say to the team and how do you work with the players after tough losses? How can one turn a disappointing loss into motivation?

— There are no tough and not-so-tough losses. If you lost the game that means that you were worse than the opponent, and the only question is why. We are not beating ourselves up after defeats, we take a breather then analyze what went wrong, fix it and move on.

— Does the preparation for RMRs differ from other tournaments?

— As I said, there is no difference for us who to play against. Everything is done the same way: both preparation and attitude always follow the same pattern.

— How much has the balance of power in the CIS changed since the last RMR-tournament? There was Na’Vi and Spirit… What about now?

— Fans and analysts think that nothing really changes that much from month to month in the CIS — there is Na’VI and everyone else. I do not think so. Na’Vi are strong, but I’m not sure if everyone else is as far from them as they seem. All teams are about the same level. Nobody knows how someone will feel on a particular day. I think there will be many surprises. We will focus on a specific match individually and move on from game to game.

— How has Team Spirit’s game improved since the last RMR — WePlay! Clutch Island?

— Every day we become a little bit better, it’s just that everyone else does is working hard as well. Only time will tell whether we worked harder and better than the others.

— Can the CIS teams beat Na’Vi now? What are their main strengths and weaknesses?

— Na’Vi’s strongest and weakest point is its big dependence on the form of their players. That’s why their results are inconsistent. In addition, the online format helps the underdogs. CIS teams are not afraid of Na’Vi, they are even more motivated and eager to prove that they are just as good. The main thing is to stay calm and play your game.