A look at the finalist: Akatsuki
As of the 18th of November, Dmondo are known as Akatsuki (inspired by a group of ninjas from Naruto)
BESL Pro Season 4 grand final is set to take place on the 23rd of November at the Saku Suurhall arena in Tallinn, Estonia with the match being hosted as part of HyperTown Tallinn 2019. Additional information about the festival and tickets can be found by visiting hypertown.pro.
The culmination of the €9,000 CS:GO competition is going to feature the two best teams from the online stage. These teams are going to finish playing out the single-elimination playoff bracket that started online with the grand final being played out as an epic best-of-five game
The winner of the grand final is not only going to be crowned as the best team in the Baltic states, taking home the beautiful BESL Pro champions trophy, but will also receive the lion's share of the prize pool in the form of €3,000!
As we’re still waiting for the event itself to come along, let’s take a closer look at the teams that made it to the grand final this time around!
Akatsuki’s journey in Season 4 of BESL Pro has been a rollercoaster ride to say the least! After being defeated in their opening game by Estonians of Domino Gaming, Akatsuki got handed a free-win against their grand final opponents SACRAMENTO as the Latvian squad did not show up in time for their league game.
In week three of the competitions, Akatsuki just barely squeezed out a victory against their countrymen of MAKONGA, while week four saw them drop down to 2-2 win-loss record pool as they were manhandled by another Lithuanian squad - Timechasers.
At the beginning of week five, it was do or die time for Akatsuki as this time around there was no room for error and suffering another defeat would eliminate them from the competition. But, Akatsuki came out strong, managing to secure themselves a spot in the playoffs on the back of a 2-0 victory against Lithuanians of FiGURE05.
In the ¼ final game series, Akatsuki was once again matched up against Timechasers - a team that they previously lost to back in week four. But, this time around, the tables had turned as Akatsuki were the ones coming out on top in the Lithuanian duel and securing themselves a spot in the semi-finals.
And finally, in the most important game series of the season (the semi-final), Akatsuki guys had to go toe-to-toe with the two-time BESL Pro champions 1337HUANIA who were labeled as the favorites in the series by the majority of our pundits. However, Akatsuki ended up being the ones who booked themselves a trip to Tallinn on the back of their player kAliNkA going into pure beast mode and dropping 34 and 48 frags in the two maps that they played!
First of all - congratulations on qualifying to your first ever BESL Pro LAN finals! It sounds a bit weird saying your first while also knowing that you have been on plenty of other big stages before. Tell me - how does it feel to come back from all the experiences that you’ve had in the world wide scene to Baltic states and compete in a regional league? Additionally, at the start of the season, did you ever expect to make it all the way to the grand final?
Thank you! It feels a bit weird and definitely nostalgic for me to play in Baltic region events again, and I didn’t really expect to come back to our region as I thought I was already over it, but, considering the circumstances and the spare time I got, I thought to myself, why not give it a shot! After playing the online season I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I see that the level of both the organizers and players/teams have grown. But, on the other - it still saddens me that a mix-team can go all the way to the finals in a league like this. As for our expectations - I was aware that it is a possibility that we can make it to the finals if we play our best, so it didn’t come as a surprise to me.
As I previously mentioned, you guys qualified for the fourth season of BESL Pro via one of the qualifiers, but back then you guys had a completely different roster compared to the one you played the season with. Soon after qualifying for the league, you guys made two roster changes swapping out players such as jL- and Daddy for Magician and Regg1e. Could you tell us a bit more about why these roster changes happened before even playing a single game in the season?
In our mix-team, I merely acted as a player this whole season, because I had next to zero knowledge about the Lithuanian scene, so all the decisions in regards to the roster were made by lukjjE since he was the one who brought all of us together to play. Also, I already know how to manage a team, communicate with organizers, etc, so I thought that it would be good to give those duties to someone else thus giving them a chance to get that experience as well. When it comes to jL- - I think he broke or twister his shoulder so he was literally not capable of playing the game. As for Daddy - I think that right from the get-go he was supposed to be just a stand-in for us in the qualifiers, but I might be wrong.
Moving on to the swiss group stage. After four weeks of play you guys were sitting in the 2-2 win-loss record team pool and it was at that point that you decided to once again opt for a change in the team’s roster. This time you waved your goodbyes to Regg1e and Boo while replacing them with kAliNkA and maty. Could you tell us a bit more about why these roster changes happened? Did you guys have internal issues within the team or did you just want to make a change as you were not satisfied with the results that you have had thus far in the league?
I would say that it was a combination of both. The poor results that we had led us to have internal issues that resulted in us wanting to once again make a change. We brought in kAliNkA as he was always ready to help us, but at the beginning, we thought that we can just make it without him. But, as you can see now, we did end up asking for his help later on. As for maty - he was another player that had a poor showing with his original team this season and wanted to continue playing and helping us out.
Before jumping into your ¼ final game series, you guys actually made another roster change that saw you replacing Magician with leakeN. As a result, when you had to once again play against Timechasers - a team that you previously lost against in week four - you guys took the W with a clean 2-0 in the series indicating that the new roster was clearly working. Now, if you had to compare this new roster to the ones you had before, what would you say was the biggest difference? Is it just more fire-power and experience or do you also feel a boost in the team’s chemistry?
I would say it’s actually all of them combined. Both maty and leakeN are bringing in the extra fire-power as they are really hungry to win Baltic events and they are always trying their best to perform well. While on the other hand, we have me, kAliNkA and lukjjE - three guys who have played together for quite some time now and while we’re not that hungry anymore, we do bring in the experience of how to win not only games but events as a whole. Putting it all together results in some decent chemistry that we were able to roll with.
After a somewhat dominant showing against Timechasers, you progressed further in the playoffs bracket to the semi-finals where you had to meet your mates 1337HUANIA for a spot in the LAN finals. How did you guys feel about this match-up? Did beating Timechasers with the new roster made you believers that you could do the same thing to your old pals from 1337HUANIA? Or did you expect a close 3-map series?
Honestly, I was expecting this game to be a close call since both us and them are mix-teams which meant that it’s truly anyone’s game. But, kAliNkA went ham! He was so much on point that game and 1337HUANIA had huge problems shutting down AWPer like that. If you have a good AWPer on your team and the enemy team is just a mix that has little to no strategic depth in terms of executes that could force that said AWPer to play more defensively - you’re going to have a hard time.
Moving on to the grand final in Tallinn where you’re going to meet the Latvians of SACRAMENTO. On paper, you guys should’ve met each other back in week two of the competition, but back then SACRAMENTO guys just didn’t show up in time. Now, with the game being on LAN - a setting where they will surely be present - how would you say you view your chances against them in the best-of-five grand final? Would you say that you are the favorites in this match-up?
I can’t really say that we’re the favorites here, because, as far as I know, they are also a mix and in a clash of two mix-teams anything can happen. Additionally, I can’t really compare their players to ours, because, once again, I have been absent from the Baltic scene for such a long time and I don’t really know what to expect from anyone anymore. I would say that we do have an advantage when it comes to experience, though, so that might be the turning factor.
As previously mentioned, both you and your teammates have plenty of experience playing on a big stage LAN events like these before. On the other hand, your opponents, SACRAMENTO, are far less experienced and some of them have never been to an event like this before where you have to play on a big stage in front of a live audience. Do you think that this is going to play a big role in how well they perform in the server?
As I said previously, it might play to our advantage, but who knows. Being experienced is good, but it’s also really important in what mental state you go into the game. Talking from my experience as a player - I have won against players and teams that are more experienced just based on the fact that I truly believed in my team and our capabilities. So if you do go into a match-up that is not favoring you feeling super confident, that might just be enough in some cases.
Thanks for your time Kvik! I wish the best of luck to you and your team in Tallinn! Do you have any final words or shoutouts you want to give?
Not really. All I can say is that we’re going to try our very best to make the finals of BESL Pro enjoyable and to bring the trophy back to Lithuania!
Stay tuned as even though the online portion of the season has come to an end, our news section is still going to be filled with interesting content leading up to the most important game of the season - the grand final! From interviews with the teams to the grand final preview article letting you guys know what to expect from the match happening at the HyperTown Tallinn 2019.
BESL Pro Season 4 is a seven-week competition between the sixteen best Baltic state CS:GO teams for their share of the €9,000 prize pool and the right to call themselves the best in Baltic states.
The two best teams from the online part of the competition are going to meet each other in an epic best-of-five grand final on the 23rd of November in Saku Suurhall at HyperTown Tallinn 2019. Visit hypertown.pro for more info about the festival and tickets.
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News by: Bruno ‘Gekons’ Gailītis