EXCLUSIVE: Vitality’s coach zonic on his emotions, Tier 2 teams, Monte and CS2

Олексій Харченко

Players Editor-In-Chief Alex Kharchenko spoke with zonic just after Vitality’s win at BLAST.TV Paris Major 2023. 

Can you please describe your emotions right now? 

I feel really happy. 

And stressed?

Yes, a little bit stressed as well. I’m just happy that my wife and kids are here that I will spend some time with them. It’s been a long process. We started it last year but when it was announced that major will be in Paris, we started the planning. We started in January this year. We didn’t focus on Katowice or BLAST Spring, EPL or anything else. The only goal was Paris and I just super happy and proud. Everyone involved - stuff, players made this happen. 

What can you say about GamerLegion, especially iM and Keoz? 

im and Keoz gave us hard time on Nuke. 

It was close..

Yes, it was definetely close. I said many times now that Counter Strike is heading towards a generation shift. For a long time we have seen more and more teams. I remember back when I was in Astralic we saw maybe one team qualified to the major and then loose in front of the stage. Now there are players coming up, played on academy teams, playing a lot of tournaments, grinding. They have coaches from the beginning of their career, they have sports psychologists and whenever they go on stage they don’t care. In Astralis we were happy to see some young teams go to the playoffs. Because you knew that if you met them in playoffs you probably smash them because they will crumble. 

GamerLegion did extremely well. I also want to give credits to Into The Breach and Apeks, Monte as well. They all played incredible tournament and of course, at some point, wanted it a lot today. I think GamerLegion are satisfied in some sense. They didn’t expect this. If you are going at another team that really want to win it’s difficult to win if you are happy with what you already done. 

Do you agree that there’s a close gap with Tier 1 and Tier 2 teams right now? 

Yes, I think it’s been for a while. Luckily my team is part of BLAST partnership and ESL and we are guaranteed to play big tournaments. Some of the young and upcoming teams have to play all the time. You can’t keep it consistent. 

We talked a lot about our players about it, about Tier 1 and Tier 2 and how to respect them but also not be afraid of them. I think a lot top teams would struggle to play all these online tournaments and qualify. You have to go through open qualifies and you can’t loose a single game because otherwise you out. I think a lot of teams will have hard times winning this. 

Are you ready for CS2 and have you tried to practice it? 

I think I played 10 minutes on Dust 2 with the Valve deathmatch system. No, my goal was a Paris Major but I also said as soon it will be released I will have my boys practice it 24/7. 

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