Alexey yXo Maletsky On PGL Major Stockholm 2021, CIS Teams And Criticism

Alisa Barladyan
22 Nov 2021

Commentator of WePlay Esports Alexey yXo Maletsky in an interview for spoke about PGL Major, CIS teams and criticism about him.

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Alexey yXo Maletsky

— The long-anticipated major in Stockholm has just recently finished. Could you summarize the entire championship for each CIS team?

– It was a very successful major for our region, and it's clear why. I expected Gambit to perform better, but it seems to me that the team didn't reach its potential because they faced an ultimatum form NAVI in the semifinals. Maybe if they had followed a different grid, they would have made it to the finals (but that's not for sure). Gambit's play in this tournament exposed some problems for the coaches and the team as a whole. They know what they have to work on as they're a smart and competent team.

As for, it showed a better result than they probably expected. The team reached top-8. They played an interesting and exciting match against Heroic, but the latter should have moved on for sure. The players were great, but sometimes it seemed that the team wasn't fully prepared.

As for NAVI, everything is clear. There is nothing to say. Both before and during the tournament everything was clear. It seems that except for the final map, the players did not give the fans any reason to doubt that they would become champions.

Regarding Team Spirit, a very weak game from them. From what I heard, the guys spent a lot of time preparing for the majors. They've got a stable lineup that's been playing well lately and performing well (not super cool, but the guys didn't fall out of the lineup for the majors much). My expectations for Spirit were higher. When I saw the first game against FaZe Clan, I was a little disappointed. Because, there were no exciting, smart moments. This is how I see it. Here I can act as a critic. I have a complaint. If I analyze the game, I can name some errors in half an hour. A wrong plan for the game in the tournament was chosen. Subsequently, during the group stage, Spirit showed that it is not ready for this major. Its playing form may have been optimal, but in terms of objectives and strategy, I think the team fell out.

As for Entropiq, there were concerns in terms of the result. Frankly speaking, I didn't think the team would go from Challengers Stage to Legends Stage, but they did it quite confidently. Great job. This is a team with no popular names, no experienced hooch level fighters, but the guys are talented and they are hard workers, and that's what is important. Well done, super respect. Major was a success, a celebration for our region. The previews for our teams' games were good, too. Everything is cool.

— You took a break from commenting. Was it just rest or were you developing in some way?

– I can't say that I took a break. In 2018, when my contract with RuHub studio expired, I went to discuss working conditions with other studios, tournament operators that were available at the time, including parallel communication with RuHub. No one suited me in the sphere of working conditions, so I decided to work as a freelancer and cooperate a bit with everyone, to be called for individual projects. It lasted exactly a month until I was contacted by WePlay Esports. I came in to discuss terms of employment. Everything was cool and I was fine with it, but WePlay Esports didn't have broadcast rights, while still having plans to create content, tournaments, and tournament series. I was commenting on products that were associated with the WePlay brand.

When I went to studios and discussed working conditions, I used to say the same thing, "Guys, I'll think about your offer, but I'm not happy with it yet. Here's my contact, you know how to find me. Will you call me to work at your events? You know, I'm leaving RuHub at the top of my fame, I'm a great commentator with a good background”. Everyone said yes, they would have a look, but no promises. While I was at WePlay Esports, no tournament operator, no studio called me for a job. I don't know the reason for that. I can conclude that it's not enough to be a great commentator. You have to be friends with someone else and pay someone else. What I want to say to the community is this: Remember, guys, that you can be a great commentator, but it's not enough to make the management of the studios and tournament operators invite you to cover the highest-level events. One day you're at the top of fame and a commentator for tier 1 tournaments, and tomorrow you're commentating on corporate tournaments.

I can't say that it was a pause. More like creative oblivion. As for development, we had a lot of acting classes. Thanks a lot to Angela, our instructor, for improving our professional skills. It was much needed. I will be grateful to WePlay Esports all the time. It was the best thing that could have happened to me in terms of professional development.

— The major finished with a huge win for Na'Vi, and over 700 thousand people watched the final on the WePlay broadcast. Tell us about your emotions, how did you feel then?

– First of all, our broadcast was watched by about 865 thousand fans, as I recall. It was a very challenging day. My social media and messengers were breaking up because there was a lot of noise around this broadcast. Nevertheless, I took a day of silence, tried not to communicate with anyone except my family. In the afternoon we took a walk, went to the movies. I tried to fill the day as much as possible with events that are not related to eSports. I always do this when there is a kind of burnout when there is a lot of gaming and work.

But all the time I was thinking that today there will be an important event and I will be one of the protagonists in the broadcast. The players and the content, of course, are a priority, but my job has to be so that the audience enjoys the coverage and the match is truly memorable. Throughout the tournament, I received a lot of feedback that people liked my performance. I'm even a little surprised that there were very few negative comments. There was exactly one death wish ;)

How have I prepared? Oh, I didn't. I came to the studio, changed my clothes and got ready. I realized that emotionally I was like adrenaline, strongly charged. I understood that I had to give emotions, but at that time my throat was pretty bad because of the strain it had been under for a few days. But I think we made it through the final. Many thanks to my colleagues, Sasha and Yura for that. They are at their best as always. Ideally, I would also like to comment with Igor. I think that in the future we'll have such an opportunity.

After the tournament, I could not sleep. I had a lot of adrenaline, my eyes were popping out on my forehead. I went to a bar in the neighbourhood, and the bartender said, "Oh, how could you be free so soon after the finals?" I realized that he had been watching the game too and was one of those 800 thousand-plus viewers of the broadcast. We had a conversation, and I realized that he followed cybersports too and knew everything. I had a cocktail, talked to him about life and walked home, leaving my car under the bar.

It was a legendary event that will remain in my memory for a long time, maybe forever. I had only commentated on the major finals once before, in 2016, at RuHub Studios. And now, being at WePlay Esports, I can say that we've been going for it for a long time. Now we have BLAST, previously we had the majors. It's a big win, but it's just an intermediate stage. As for myself, I can say that I understand that this was not the last word in my career. I want to do more work, do more comments so that more people will enjoy my work.

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Alexey yXo Maletsky

— Do you think Na'Vi will be able to hold on to its dominance and take the second major trophy?

– It's a question of motivation. The team is at its top right now, but there is no information on how it will live and hold its strength until the next major. Someone said, maybe Andrei, that they would like the NAVI era to begin, as the Astralis era did in its time. They can do that. After Markelov's lineup, it's the strongest lineup of the team right now.

— What is the chance that Major 2022 will be in a CIS country, and are WePlay going to cast it?

– Honestly, I don't know. I hope that the major will be given to our region. If they gave it to WePlay Esports, in particular, it would be well deserved. As for the casting, I don't know the plans for media rights, but hopefully in 2022 WePlay Esports, if it doesn't hold the majors, will buy the broadcast rights.

— Are you satisfied with the organization of the PGL Major Stockholm 2021?

– In general, yes. Here again, the point is that the emotion of the game overcame some technical lapses. Any tournament in all disciplines is always accompanied by technical flaws. It's not critical, there's nothing wrong with it. The organizers always fix the issues as they go along. It was obvious that the guys get feedback and react to it. Overall, I give it a B-minus. B is because the major is primarily a holiday for the entire community. But in terms of organization, technical aspects, and stage, everything could have been done better.

— What changes do you want to see in the teams "post-major" substitutions?

– It depends on what the teams want to achieve. I'm tired of this Santa Barbara. When I see changes in some teams, my hair unwillingly begins to stand. I wish my eyes wouldn't look at it... I would like to see a couple of new organizations that have come to CS and are willing to work with teams, form squads or gather youngsters from academies. We can talk separately about transfers and teams, but this needs a lot of time and analysis. The main thing is the development of the discipline, more high-quality tournaments and beautiful games.

— What will happen to FaZe next?

– It looks as if the team has more ambition than results. The lineup is pretty good, but karrigan needs to be changed. FaZe Clan has always been under my close watch. In this tournament, I even cheered for them a little, but mostly out of some kind of pity. What will happen to them? I don't know. Most likely, replacement of players. The team has already had a series of actions that I do not understand, so it's hard for me to make any predictions here.

— You are sometimes criticized for pushing for certain teams. What do you feel about this criticism? You can refer to the community here.

– This is not a criticism, but a subjective opinion. Those who have been following my work for a long time know that I have never openly supported any team. Unless, if a team from the CIS is playing against a European or American region, I might support our guys: "well done, good boy. But if the opposing team has a great moment, I will always cheer for it and pay attention to it. If a player has done a wild card, no matter what team he's on, I'll always say it's a wild card and try to explain it to the viewer so they understand what I'm saying. I don't support it. Often I see comments in chat that viewers notice. The way I support one team on one map, and on another map, I support another one. This is because I want to see not two maps, but three maps. I want to see more dynamics, action, combat. The more of this I have, the better show I will make during the broadcast.

I can tell the community: watch CS and enjoy the game! Do not bet on some team and then do not write in personal messages to commentators that it's the commentator's fault. That a commentator cheered for the wrong team. I do what I think is right. I don't tell you how to work. It's not a support. I'm just doing my job, creating the emotion and nerve of the game.

— Share some funny stories that happened at the WePlay studio during the PGL Major cast period.

– Generally, analysts sit in the lounge area in between their work and watch the game. There was a funny coincidence: every time I came and saw them there, they were eating something. Then they would order more food and keep eating. So it went on all the time. Even DonStepan said it was a cool job, the only disadvantage was a couple of "gained" pounds.

We also had a great media day, when we filmed the Defuse Challenge. In general, to work at WePlay Esports events, I think other talents would agree with me, it's a real pleasure. You get satisfied, dressed, and painted on all sides. Anything you want is brought to you at the snap of your fingers. I just know what it's like to work at other studios, so I can say that WePlay Esports is the best place to work from the perspective of development and conditions for a talent.

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