Professional CS:GO player Svyatoslav svyat Dovbakh spoke exclusively for Cybersport.Metaratings.ru about Hard Legion, the new organization, and the captain's role in the team.
— At the beginning of 2021, you left Hard Legion and began to appear less in the media space. Can you tell us briefly about the rest of your career?
–Even a few months before I left Hard Legion, my career was in the "search for young talent" mode. When you test fifty people in a few months and, as a result, have poor results, you don't have the strength or the desire to appear in the media space.
Eventually, in cooperation with starix, we gathered a combat lineup that we have been playing for the last six months. We had both good results during this time, which gave hope for a bright future. The results that you don't want to remember and feel hurt.
Nevertheless, we are now steadily keeping within the top 40, top 60 HLTV and slowly but surely growing as a team and individual players. In the beginning, I expected a more rapid development, but we have what we have. As practice shows, many teams (besides tier-1) are currently better in several aspects than we are in the CIS. Therefore, our task now is to compete with such teams as forZe, K23, 1WIN, Unique, Nemiga, Team Spirit, and others. Then be better than they are.
— Can you tell us the reason why you had a decline after you joined Hard Legion?
– Obviously, the primary problem was substitutions. We either had to make two good, effective substitutions or not make any at all. But all that was mixed with the friendly relationship between us (and, consequently, the difficulties in making such a decision). The fact that the organization did not give funds for transfers was a problem. So we had to choose from what we had and who was a free agent. As practice showed, the change didn't give us a boost, and eventually, it worked to our disadvantage because the team's results didn't improve, and the stagnation started. During such periods, you always start to look for problems even if they do not exist, especially when you search for such things in each other.
Someone's motivation starts to drop (for example, me and several other people) because you try for a long time. Still, nothing works for reasons that are not particularly dependent on you. You get discouraged and start not working or playing up to your expectations.
In the end, zoneR left first due to bad relations with the management and the bugging scandal, and then Krad, who hooch managed to poach amidst all the negativity in our team. This was essentially the point of no return for our squad.
— Were there any organizations that wanted to sign a contract with your AVE lineup? Or you didn't have such offers?
– Yes, we've had a few offers over the years. One was very cool, but the potential new organization refused due to some internal contradictions. We refused a couple of organizations because of negotiations with another cool option, which we eventually agreed to. It will be a new organization, and I hope to make an announcement soon.
— Could you compare two of your coaches: zoneR and starix?
– ZoneR in our lineup was more of a friend who would always help and support the positive atmosphere and spur us so that we wouldn't relax. Aleksandr and I understood each other very well in the captain-coach pair, which is very important. Of course, Aleksandr performed all the other coaching duties too. He was especially good at analytical work while preparing for opponents.
Starix is more of an authority figure who has his point of view on the game and what the team should look like. We always listen to him, and his outside perspective often allows us to see problems (and their solutions) that we don't pay attention to. There is a good understanding and trust between us, too. Moreover, he takes full responsibility for interacting with the organization, thereby freeing me from that responsibility. Before, the majority of this work had to be done by me.
— Who is your best, and who is your worst teammate?
– I've had good teammates and bad teammates in every team. From the results point of view, these are the DreamEaters guys. We had a very friendly team, and everyone did their best. In general, of all my teams, the most skillful were Krad and Forester. The most hard-working and disciplined is AKIMOV. The most cheerful are rAge and krecker. The one who achieved the coolest results is interz. The worst teammates were those who made us spend a lot of time on their development, but they did not try at all.
— Have you thought about moving to VALORANT?
– Not really. I wouldn't say I like this game visually, and starting over at the age of 27 didn't seem reasonable. I'd rather play CS:GO for a few more years and then take a well-deserved rest.
— Now, many people are asking to fix the AWP: reduce the number of rounds and increase the price. Do you agree that it is necessary to make such changes?
– Reducing the number of rounds in an AWP magazine seems like a logical and balanced solution, but increasing the price is controversial.
— What are your goals and plans for 2022?
– First of all, in 2022, I would like to be in the top 30 and stay on that level, and then we'll see.
— Can you tell us about the captain role?
– The role of captain is, in a way, a churlish one. You spend a lot of time on your responsibilities, sacrificing individual practice or rest. You get distracted from your micro to let players know what to do in the round. You get frustrated if you get killed at that moment. You lose focus on your aim because you're running around and gibbering the whole game, wondering how to win your opponent after all, as nothing works. You have to do it especially hard if your players are not independent and skillful enough. Eventually, you get very frustrated if all that does not bring results, and you hang out somewhere far beyond the top 30. But that's just my personal experience, of course. Surely some captains find it easier to combine their duties with their game.
I became a captain because I once played in a team that had no one to take over for me, so I took it out of despair. Sometimes I even regret that it happened. But in general, I manage that more or less. Starix helps me in that, too, with advice, of course.
— You managed to play for pro100 and even took 3rd place at Minor with them. Can you tell us about that period?
– Let's put it the following way. It was a valuable experience. After all, it was my first minor, my first top 3, my first foreign LAN, and two matches to reach the majors. That period ended with a very discouraging kick, which I think was undeserved. I once listened to a segment on Ayivan and def's podcast about that situation, and I got the impression that they didn't fully understand why they did it. But there's no point in getting upset because I ended up joining my DreamEaters guys, and we qualified for the majors.
— You often play in tier-2/3 tournaments, and now there are more and more cases where teams accuse each other of using "radar". Have you ever noticed this among your opponents?
– Of course, I noticed that more than once. But who cares if there is no evidence, other than indirect evidence, such as zero latency on GOTV. Once, the organization of one of our tournaments accidentally dropped a connection to GOTV and not to the server and then immediately deleted it, thinking that I did not notice that. It wasn't meant for our team, and we lost that match.
It started to create a kind of psychological effect that makes you think the enemy has "radar" just because he got lucky a few times in timings, but it's just timing.
— You say it's better to play CS and then take a well-deserved rest. What do you plan to do after that?
– There are some thoughts of opening my own small business or going into programming. I can do that thanks to education and a suitable mindset. But I wouldn't say I like to plan my life too much. I'd rather live in the moment.