Image via Ubisoft
Last time Team Empire traveled to Sweden the Russians were on their way back home after just three days of the tournament. Now, things have changed drastically as the Russian cyborgs made a statement by defeating the Soniqs and the current SI champions Ninjas in Pyjamas in a dominant fashion.
While these results are the expected ones from a roster with the quality of Empire’s, there’s a special context this time. Dmitry “Always” Mitrahovich and the team’s IGL Artur “ShepparD” Ipatov tested positive for COVID-19 just before the beginning of the Six Invitational.
“ShepparD and Always are not feeling well enough and ShepparD is the IGL, so in some moments of the game it’s hard for him to call some strats for us,” admitted Danila “dan” Dontsov.
Until both players test negative, Empire will have just three players on stage. However, that wouldn’t stop the Russians from defeating the current North American champions, Soniqs.
Team Empire had a rough start to the tournament though, with a 4-7 loss on Clubhouse and a sloppy beginning to map two. On round 10of the second map, Oregon, the Russians were 3-6 behind.
Series point for an American team on Oregon against Team Empire. What could go wrong? It was some kind of deja-vu for NA as Empire would react in time to force overtime, win the map, and defeat the Soniqs on Consulate after five successful attacks.
“Our first and second games are always tough because we try to change our play-style and game-style from online. We can’t do it so fast because we need to adapt and change our play-style to play more aggressively. On LAN you can focus more on your aim than on strats, that’s the way I think about how we tried to change our game-style versus Soniqs. [When we were] Losing on Oregon 6-3 and understanding we could play more aggressive, that’s what changed to win the game,” explained Danil “JoyStiCK” Gabov.
Basically, Team Empire is implying that the Soniqs were the Russian’s LAN warmup. Clubhouse fell to the hands of the North American roster, but the Russian’s adaptation and lecture of the LAN style came at the right time.
Team Empire passed their second test with flying colors. Against NiP, they smashed their opposition with 7-2 and 7-4 victories on Coastline and Kafe respectively. ““(Against NiP) we just clapped more because the game wasn’t at 10 o’clock,” laughed dan.
“We knew NiP is a very strong team, we just tried to not be scared of them and focus on our game, just try to communicate more and play more LAN style, more aggressive, find early kills and then play slow. It just worked,” said dan on a more serious note. Team Empire is trying to get a handle on its map pool issue by doing the only thing team’s can do: training. “After coming back from Sweden we understood that we had problems with our map pool, we practiced every map and understood that we had to play every game to adapt to any team,” admitted Danil “JoyStiCK” Gabov.
The issue seems far from solved, but the truth is that the team is doing well considering this is a BO3 format – more maps played, more to show. So far the team has played Coastline (2), Kafe, Club, and Oregon, with them surely saving the best for last.
“We are ready to face all the threats,” said dan. “We were just trying to work on our LAN play-style. If we work on it in time and we understand what to do, like fighting, peaking everything, sometimes slowly, communicate well… I think we are ready to face any region,” he concluded.
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