You need to come and prove it on the server that you’re the better team today: GIANTS pipsoN speaks on Playoffs first loss
In the opening series of the VCT EMEA Playoffs, Giants went up against FUT Esports in a rematch of their regular season game. Only this time, things failed to go according to plan and FUT pull off an incredibly dominant series to sent Giants into the lower bracket (2-0). After the loss, Strafe Esports had the opportunity to speak with Giants' Head Coach, Daniil "pipsoN" Meshcheryakov. In this exclusive one-to-one interview, we spoke about his thoughts heading into and during the FUT series, expectations and thoughts on Playoffs as a whole and the mentality of the Giants roster.
Sorry for your loss in that series, that was a bit unfortunate. First off, what were your thoughts on what went wrong/went well in this series against FUT?
I think the game is a bit different due to being Playoffs, and I think there was a lot more pressure and we couldn’t handle it. And we didn’t play our game, we played super lost. Only when we had nothing to lose, 3-9 on Ascent, which was the second map already, this is the time we started to play our game. In the end when we are already having the lead, we’re making silly mistakes, so it’s super super normal. Like it happens and I think there will be upsets in Playoffs due to…it’s a bit different from regular season in the sense that there are much higher stakes.
Even if the people say that they don’t have any pressure, in reality, somewhere in the back of your mind, you still have it. And that’s, even that changes your game individually. Sometimes you’re trying to be more passive, you are indecisive, if we need to commit, if we don’t need to commit, and the stuff like that, you are losing timings because of that. A lot of stuff like this.
I see. As a follow-up, I had a double-layered question. You guys normally ban Haven on first ban rotation or sometimes on second rotation, but the last time you faced against FUT you banned it on first rotation. This time you allowed them to pick up Haven. Was there a difference in allowing them to get Haven this time compared to last time? Because the previous series, you had Icebox, but now its gone from rotation. So now was there a difference, that you felt you could play Haven?
Hmm, well, we all felt confident on Haven. We just didn’t want to show it before Playoffs, because even in the Karmine Corp game, I think we banned it because it didn’t really matter to us. But according to our scrim results, Haven is one of our best maps in winrate. So, we were okay to play it. But it didn’t go well.
I have another follow-up to that question as well. According to stats, Lotus is one of your highest winrate map. Was there a reason for leaving it as the decider?
The thing is [FUT] are also pretty decent on Lotus, and we were confident on our Ascent. Our Ascent is, was a 100% winrate before this game during this season. I think we played it 3 times if I’m not mistaken, and we beat Liquid on it, KOI, and Karmine Corp. And we felt really confident on Ascent. We are still confident on it and that we can play on it really really good. We showed that we can come back on it and stuff like that. Today it was not enough but basically it was, our Lotus is good but their Lotus is also good, so that’s why it was a decider map.
Your Harbor-Viper comp, you’ve run it before, but not on Haven. We’ve only seen it once before, on Pearl, back when you guys played against Heretics. Was there a reason you guys pulled it out now? Did scrim results go well for it? Because it is not a composition you often see teams run on Haven.
Yes, our scrim results were really really good on Haven with this composition and that’s why we played it. And we feel it fixes one of our biggest problems, which we had before on Haven on Defense. That’s why I think our scrim results were really really good. But today we didn’t show that this composition can even work. Even though it can work, and we saw it in other regions. Because LOUD plays this composition on Haven, Furia plays this composition on Haven, and stuff like that. But we made it look like this composition does not work, even though, it works.
Today qw1 was obviously finding a lot of success against you guys, and it felt like he disrespected a lot of angles when he pushed against you guys. Like he would push through smokes, go for the peeks after the Sova drone, how difficult was it, playing around such a playstyle?
Not really, he does it every time. He did it before when we had the previous series. But usually our team is really really good at shutting down Jett players, and I think during the whole season, there was only “cNed” who played well against us. And all the other Jett players, almost never pop off against us. And it was same in the first FUT game. But today we played it super poorly and of course they played it good, so its super deserved for them. It’s not about disrespect, I think he just played like he usually plays, and everything was clicking for him and not for us.
Moving on to more general questions, I also wanted to ask how has the mood on the team been? You’ve been playing extraordinarily well for the last couple of weeks especially. Despite the loss today, you guys managed to qualify for Playoffs and you’re a couple of wins away from making your first [as a squad] international tournament.
It felt of course nice. We have a really good relationship between each other, even outside of the game. According to our scrims as well, we were not surprised we made Playoffs, because our scrims were going really really good. So, I think it was deserved. This loss does not change the fact that we can still go to Masters. We just need to win the last game. It’s basically, you win you go, you don’t win you don’t go. So, pretty much nothing changed, just need to make sure that we go through the stuff that happened today and not make it the next time we play.
I see. I am curious though, based on your previous results against FUT, what did you think of your matchup, when you got the seeding for Playoffs and you had FUT as your first game. What were your thoughts on the matchup (before this game obviously)?
We know they are a good team. We scrimmed them after our game in the regular season, we started to scrim against them a bit. We played them like maybe 5-6 scrims, we always knew they were a decent team, so there were no real expectations like ‘Oh, we need to win, they are not good enough. Or we are good or something like that.’ It’s just a regular game where you’re against a strong opponent. I think here in Playoffs, every team is strong. Of course there are some teams who are just better than others, like for example Fnatic. It just feels like they are better than the others. Out of that example though, I think all the teams can beat each other.
Even when you look at NA’VI, who finished 8-2. They had super close games us, which was like overtime, overtime and then the third map, and then 13-11, 13-11 to Vitality. It’s not that confident as for example Fnatic games, and it could go completely other ways around. So that’s why I think you have to respect every team and every players. I don’t think there’s a single team right now, that has the expectations that they will come and it will be an easy win for them.
Coming off your loss now, you’ll be facing either NA’VI, Liquid or Vitality next. What are your thoughts on these matchups?
Oof, all of these series will be a rough series. I mean, against Liquid, it was a super rough game. And I think it was 13-11, 11-13, and 13-11 in the end. And against Vitality, it was also a 3 map and it was really really rough game. So, I don’t think there is going to be any easy series. Although, our preferable opponent to play, my personal preference, I think I would like to play more Vitality. This is due to I think Liquid has the amount of players who can sometimes like pop off a lot. And they can sometimes win some maps just by someone popping off.
We saw it during the season that one map “Sayf” is dropping like 30 kills. The next map, its “nAts” dropping 30 kills. Then the third map is like “Jamppi” dropping 30 kills and stuff like that. While on Vitality, usually the star player is “Twisten”. So, I don’t know. I would personally prefer to play against Vitality but in the end, it doesn’t matter because if you want to qualify, you have to beat anyone.
Final question, how deep do you guys think you can make it? Do you think you can qualify for Masters and Champions?
Yeah, I think so. I think we proved it during the season that we got the third seed, we can get top four. We’re super close to Liquid, so yes of course we’re confident that we can make it there. But sometimes confidence is not all you need, sometimes confidence is not enough to make it. You need to come and prove it on the server that you’re the better team today.
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Credits: Colin Young-Wolff // Riot Games
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