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After his teams’ out of nowhere run at ESL One Cologne, Johannes “nex” Maget took some time to speak with our own Steven Cropley about his individual play, the event, Counter-Strike, the double AWP meta, and what’s next for BIG.

After many questioned whether or not the team deserved an invite to the event, BIG took down MiBR, G2 Esports, and FaZe Clan to secure a spot in the finals where they played close maps in a 3-1 loss to a strong looking Natus Vincere.

Steven: What was it like playing in front of that German crowd? People are on the fence about whether there is any sort of home crowd advantage. Where do you stand on it?

nex: It was for sure the most wonderful experience of my Counter-Strike career so far. Seeing how much support we got, even though we did not show our best face lately, means the world to every one of us from BIG.

For me personally, though, home crowd advantage is not really a thing because it will not affect the way I play Counter-Strike if they cheer for me or not. That being said, I totally understand that most other players will get hyped up when they see such an amazing crowd cheering for them and maybe even play above their limits.

 

Steven: In interviews in the past, you’ve talked about how you couldn’t perform as well on the stage games because of nerves. What changed here?

nex: Just to clarify, it is just a rumor that “I cannot perform as well on stage games because of nerves.” If you read this in one of my interviews than it was written by someone other than me.

The truth is that my performance as a player is very much influenced by my motivation and emotions. There were times when I participated in a major with 20 hours playtime in 2 weeks. My attitude towards the game was far from professional.

Nowadays I am trying to improve my mindset so that I can be a bigger help for my teammates and the people around me. They deserve nothing but the best.

 

Steven: Can you tell us about this new double AWP style that BIG pioneered in this tournament?

nex: The meta of CS:GO is heavily dominated by AWP players. Currently, it is essential to have at least two good AWP players in your lineup.

The only reason why teams are not able to integrate a double-AWP based playstyle is because either they lack good AWP players or they can’t pull it off economy-wise. Both of these points are closely linked.

Take for example device.  He is amazing at staying alive and saving his AWP, which is a huge advantage for the economy of Astralis. And just to clarify there exists a ton of AWP players with great mechanics (movement, aiming, great flicks for the movies) but their decision-making against top-tier competition is very lacking. Just based on decision-making alone tabsen is already far superior than most AWP players we have in the scene.

So this trend of a double-awp playstyle will only increase once players figure out how to abuse the awp more efficiently.

 

Steven: BIG gets a lot of attention for how utility is used within the team. Is this something you guys put a lot of time into? Is there any special practice routine specifically for this?

nex: I would consider us as one of the more creative teams in terms of utility usage. We spent a lot of time trying to find new grenades that can be effective against different playstyles.

If you play against the best players in the world it becomes more and more important to use your equipment efficiently and at the right time. So even if you have an off day individually you can always rely on using your grenades wisely to win games. I would not say that we have any special practice routine for that but before we play a map we always go over our grenades to make sure not to miss them in crucial games.

Some advice for less experienced players might be that it’s not all about aiming and kills. In fact, knowing how to use your equipment in certain situations sets you way above other players.

 

Steven: Clearly smooya performed well with the squad at this event, but overall how is he fitting into the team?

nex: Smooya is such a raw talent that will surely become a superstar one day. What he really needs to learn right now is how the meta works and how to use his equipment.  Obviously as a new player, he can not have the experience to know not to go heaven :). In terms of personality, I honestly love the kid and I am glad that he is in my team now.

 

Steven: What was it like playing in front of that German crowd? People are on the fence about whether there is any sort of home crowd advantage. Where do you stand on it?

nex: It was for sure the most wonderful experience of my Counter-Strike career so far. Seeing how much support we got, even though we did not show our best face lately, means the world to everyone of us from BIG.

For me personally though, home crowd advantage is not really a thing because it will not affect the way I play Counter-Strike if they cheer for me or not. That being said, I totally understand that most other players will get hyped up when they see such an amazing crowd cheering for them and maybe even play above their limits.

 

Steven: We like to ask this type of question just to get players’ opinion on the game in its current state. What are some things you would still like to see improved or changed in CS:GO?

nex: I mean Counter-Strike is one of the greatest games ever created and it brought so much joy and passion to the community over the many years. Counter-Strike can fascinate you in so many different aspects. It doesn’t even have to be competitive.

So when I see Valves passivity towards their game it really makes me sad. And I know that their involvement can be totally different which is apparent when you compare it to Dota2.

Basically what I genuinely want to see improved is Valves commitment towards Counter-Strike. We have all the necessary resources to make this game as big as it deserves to be. What we need is dedication on the part of Valve.

 

Steven: Now that you guys have shown you’ve got some real ability, what can we expect to see at the Major?

nex: What we in BIG need to do right now is not get complacent. The competition in CSGO is as tight as it can get. So if we stop working hard we can easily lose our flow of the game and our position in the world rankings.

Before Cologne we did not really have the most effective practise but still showed what we can do with communication and a positive attitude.  Now we will have time to work on our consistency and we will try to bring our teamplay to the next level. It’s tough to make a prediction when you don’t know who you will face at the major but I really have a good feeling that we can make it far if we keep on improving.

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