Following Astralis’ 2-0 victory over mousesports in the ELEAGUE Premier 2018 semifinals, our own Steven Cropley got to speak with the head coach of the Danish squad, Danny “zonic” Sørensen. zonic discusses his role in the organization, their Nuke playstyle, their potential opponents, and their in-game leader gla1ve.
Steven: Everyone knows you’re the hype man, you’re behind them on the stage massaging the shoulders, giving out fist bumps, and more. What else is it that you bring to this team in terms of tactics?
zonic: I do all the preparation in terms of our opponents which means that I make a report pretty much the day before and against mousesports, obviously because we had four days off, we were prepared on five maps. We were pretty sure they were going to remove overpass and we knew what we were going to remove so we were prepared on five maps. I prepared them and presented it to the guys and then me and gla1ve figure out a game plan together. What I really like about our team is that everyone contributes, so I show some of the key rounds of what our opponents do and then its everyone who can contribute with an idea or plan that we can execute. I think most of what the scene is watching is me behind but that’s pretty much just because I’m passionate and I want to be there 100% for the guys. If there’s anything that I can do for them, even just a small thing, I want to be there all the way with preparation and after the game as well.
Steven: Nuke, in particular, something I noticed and wrote an article about is how you guys work on keeping the teams off balance when you’re on the T-side. Throwing smokes outside but not using them, taking fast ramp control but then slowing down and moving to another area. Is this something that is always planned or more of a midround call?
zonic: For us, I think the key factor of being a good Nuke team is communication. So when we do these smokes or mini fakes you could say, its pretty much to force their rotation so that we will make them weak on one spot so we can execute on that. Its pretty much to force the guy on upper to go down vents, to force the guy on ramp to go down and then just wait because due to the preparation we’ve done we tend to know how they rotate and what we should do in order to force them into a different spot so we know where their weakness is. It is a bit of a mind game but there is a thought to it all.
Steven: Now in the post-game interview, dupreeh said that Liquid actually reminds him of you guys in terms of the playstyle, now you guys could be up against Liquid or you could be up against Na’Vi – those are pretty different playstyles as one has superstar power and one is very strategic. How do you prepare for once versus the other? Do you just prepare your game or do you worry about shutting down s1mple or keeping your tactics fresh for Liquid?
zonic: So against Liquid, for me, I hate it in a way because we’ve played them so many times lately. With our own stuff I’m usually like okay they must know we’re going to do this so sometimes we’re our own worst enemy. Against Na’Vi, it’s important in terms of s1mple and electronic that we make as few mistakes as possible so they don’t get to shine and they don’t get easy kills. You can be the best player in the world but if you get flashed out, or you’re running into a crossfire, or someone is trade fragging you, then there’s not much you can do. So for us, it’s really important for us that we don’t let those two guys get rolling. They are the two really getting Na’Vi going and they have a great leader in Zeus. It’s easier to anti-strat Liquid I’d say because in Na’Vi s1mple and electronic play with such freedom so in that game we have to focus more on ourselves and our mistakes.
Steven: Going to gla1ve, something the casters mentioned is how consistently he steps up in key rounds and makes a big play when you guys need it. Is that part of a plan or is that something in his mind where he decides to be in that spot and step up at that moment. What is it that makes him so consistent with those moments?
zonic: Lukas is such a phenomenal player and great leader as well. He reads the game really well and when we have been playing a lot of rounds and it’s really close, he just has this talent of reading the game and making sure every one is running in the right direction. Then on Mirage for example in the last round in the 2v2 with Magisk and him – I just knew after playing with and coaching him for two years I knew he was going to make the call that he was going to rotate to mid and that’s just what he does. He’s so underrated in my opinion and I think that by far he is the best in-game leader but he is also a really skilled player as well. I’m super proud and happy to have him on the team.
Astralis will be up against the winner of the ongoing Liquid and Na’Vi battle tomorrow in the finals of the ELEAGUE Premier 2018.