In this exclusive interview featuring Spinx from Team Vitality, we discuss recent roster changes, Vitality’s strategies, their momentum from recent wins, and their potential to win the Intel Grand Slam.
Grady: You guys have recently had a roster change with dupreeh being swapped out for flameZ. How’s that been going with the team?
Spinx: When dupreeh got benched, we were at a low point, and now we are back at it – so I think it’s going good. We just won the last tournament, so definitely stuff is going pretty well. I think we still have more to show, we can still be better than we are right now and I’m just waiting for some time off to be able to practice like a team should practice and show the best level we can get.
You guys are coming off a couple of wins, obviously the major and Gamers8 as well. Do those sort of wins give you momentum rolling into the next tournament?
Yes and no. When you go deep in the tournament, you go to the semis or final or winning the tournament, it means you have less time in home and when you have less time in home, you have less time to practice. So it’s harder I think. Of course when you win a tournament, when you lift the trophy, you want to have it again.
For me, when I’m really close, for example in Washington (BLAST Premier: Spring Final 2023) when we lost the final to Heroic, when you are packing your gear back to the backpack and then you see Heroic lifting the trophy and you know you were one game away from it – it’s hard feeling that way. The team is really motivated, we really want to show, really wanna keep winning, and just be the best.
You guys have that number one ranked spot at the moment. Do you think it’s harder to fight your way there and to claim that number one spot or is it harder to keep it once you have it?
I think it’s harder to keep it, because when you’re number one all the other teams are learning off you. Some teams think “Which team is good on this map?” and since you are number one everyone is like “Hey, Vitality is good for this map, let’s watch them”. That’s why you see us just keep evolving and evolving. I think it’s harder to stay on the mountain than to climb it. Also as I said before, winning the tournament also means we have less time to practice.
Vitality has yet to claim an Intel Grand Slam, you’ve got one win towards it, ESL Pro League potentially a second win. Is that something that you guys look at at all or is it still too far away?
We actually talked about it, but nothing in particular because it is still far away. We won some tournaments, but there was only one that helps you for the Grand Slam, so we are far away. You have G2, ENCE, all of us in the same space right now with one win, so it’s still still far away for us. I wish I could win it, I think all the best teams in the world won it, so if you want to be one of the best, we have to do it as well.
Looking back at the major, you guys had the grand final match against GamerLegion, it is possible for a rematch to happen in your group stage. Is that something that you wanna see, you want to have that match up again or is it something you might want to dodge?
I don’t think we really care about it because we face the same teams many, many times. Both GamerLegion and we have changed team a little bit. So no, nothing special for us, if we face them it’s normal team, normal game.
Taking a look at the other teams in your group, a good mix of top teams and some teams that are trying to break up through. Are there any there that you think have got a really good shot of making it to the playoffs other than yourselves?
After us, the favorites to make it, in my opinion is Astralis – they’ve shown a good form, good CS. When I saw them in Cologne in the player lounge, it looks like they have big chemistry and having fun, and for me when the team has good chemistry then it’s a good team who will perform. It’s difficult with the other teams as they haven’t shown, deep into the tournaments, how they are. FURIA can be really good, but it’s also hard to know because it’s been some time since I saw them playing, so it’s hard to know the level.
With ESL Pro League, there is this format with the triple bracket where you get a few shots to make it through to the playoffs. Do you like this format as giving people some more opportunities to fight their way through the bracket?
For me it depends, sometimes you have a really good group or good match up so it’s interesting, but sometimes you’re like baaaah… I don’t like to say any bad things, but maybe not the best teams. Then the viewership can be a bit less and it’s less interesting for the viewers, but if a lower team pops off then it’s interesting. So mixed emotions about it.
For me, as a player, I think it’s fine, we as a maximum would be here for one more day only. Only thing for me is this tournament is so long, it’s like one month for a tournament and I wish it could be maybe a bit less, maybe push it in to three weeks, but that’s only my opinion.