Dastan "dastan" Akbaev, the coach of AVANGAR, speaks on the professional scene in Kazakhstan, the performance at IEM Katowice Major 2019 and the recent balance changes.
KrizzeN recently became inactive due to health issues and was replaced with SANJI. Did it have a strong impact? How much time did it take you to bring the team back to optimal condition?
Of course, Aidyn’s departure showed. We had to do a lot of rewiring. SANJI and KrizzeN are different players with distinctive playstyles and, frankly speaking, we are still trying to pin what has changed, because the team is fresh from a vacation. We’ll find it out in the nearest month.
Now that the dust has settled, how do you evaluate your performance at IEM Katowice Major?
To my opinion, we did great and picked up next level experience in Katowice. The results correspond with our present condition. I am pleased with the players.
Tell us about CS:GO in Kazakhstan. How popular is the game there?
CS:GO is a popular game in Kazakhstan, has always been and will always be. We have a deep pool of Counter-Strike players who were beginning since the early titles. I think everyone knows about CS here — men, women, old and young. The game is popular not only among those who play, but also among those who watch it.
Did the situation with internet in Kazakhstan improve? Where do you hold bootcamps before big tournaments?
Kazakhstan has a decent internet connection; the real problem is proximity. This topic was discussed many times and the reality is that it takes time for the signal to bounce between us and Germany. If the teams practised not only on German, but also on, let’s say, Moscow servers, things would be better in our country. Again, the Internet in Kazakhstan is great, but we are situated neither here nor there. We don’t do bootcamps strictly speaking, we live in Kiev and have been practising here for two years.
It’s been some time since Valve introduced the eco changes. What do you think about the revamp?
Changes are always for the good. Can’t say it transformed the game drastically. Its core is the same.
Have you played on Vertigo?
Since we were on vacation, we didn’t have enough time to test Vertigo properly. Yet, we are looking for an opportunity to play on it. A new map is always exciting!
What CIS-specific esports problems do you experience.
Esports in our region is developing. It would be nice to have more sponsors and more events. I think the lack of them correlates with the economic growth in our counties. When people become wealthier, esports will feel it.
What are your expectations from Forge of Masters? Will the region benefit from the new format?
Yes, we need more tournaments with this format.
What are we expecting? We want to show our A-game. The LAN-finals are a great motivation for the guys to do their best. Unfortunately, we missed WePlay! Lock And Load, but the production looked great.
Can you point out promising players from Kazakhstan we should look out for?
I’m sure you will hear about new players soon. Follow the announcement and you’ll see young and hot Kazakhstan players breaking into the scene. I don’t want to name anyone specific for now.
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