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Astralis' dupreeh: 'It’s funny when people think it doesn’t make a difference having a sports psychologist'

by Dennis Gonzales Feb 10 2017
Thumbnail image courtesy of StarLadder

Peter "dupreeh" Rothmann is the entry-fragger for Astralis and an important figure in Danish Counter-Strike. He and Astralis kicked off the year by winning the ELEAGUE Major 2017, their first ever Major victory and they will go into DreamHack Masters Las Vegas in high spirits.

Ahead of his games in Vegas, dupreeh took the time to answer questions from theScore esports, talking about how they achieved their new-found mental fortitude and their impact on the CS:GO scene.

You guys opened 2017 in the best way possible and won your first ever Major in Atlanta, but now you’ve since had time to process the victory. Looking back, how significant was the win to you? What have you done to celebrate the win?

It’s been a fantastic journey and it meant the world to us — it’s every CS player's dream to win a Major and I am happy that I can call myself a Major champion. It’s been a long and tough road, but I’m happy we succeeded.

We’ve done a lot of PR work in Denmark, promoting ourselves but also esports in the big picture, and it’s been really fantastic. People are starting to open their eyes and realize that esports is a thing.

We were celebrated in the capital hall of Copenhagen, where the mayor gave us a speech and had a very special treatment in the form of pancakes, something a lot of danish sports champions has received, so it was fun to try that.

During the Major, Astralis were in situations that would have broken a weaker team. The most iconic was Xyp9x’s failed clutch that allowed Na`Vi to tie the quarterfinals.

How do you think the “old Astralis” would have reacted in that scenario? How was this mental fortitude gained, considering Astralis’ reputation as an “emotional team”?

We’ve learned a lot about how to strengthen ourselves mentally and I am sure “the old Astralis” would’ve crumbled under the pressure. We would not have made it through the quarter-final against Na`Vi if it wasn’t for our intense mental preparations as a team, but also as individuals.

We didn’t “care too much” about Xyp9x's fail. It’s what happens. We still had one more shot, and we knew we could beat them on Dust II. Instead of being stupid and irrational about what happened in his clutch, we just forgot about it, moved on, and didn’t talk about it at all. It wasn’t important for the game going onwards, that’s what made the difference.

We have a huge advantage above a lot of teams mentally now, and it’s funny when people think it doesn’t make a difference having a sports psychologist and they feel they don’t need one. Well, sure, go ahead and believe that, but look where it took us. We’ve learned so much about professionalism and how to function as a team in such a short time. I’m confident that a lot of teams will pick up this method.

While you and Astralis have made history yourselves, Danish CS:GO as a whole has also made history at the Major. After the groups, it was observed that for the first time there were more Danish players in the Top 8 of a Major than there were Swedish players. Is this a sign of change in CS:GO? Is 2017 the year of the Danes?

I don’t know, it’s of course very interesting and very nice to see Danish CS progress and that we’re somewhat "better" than the Swedes right now, but honestly I just care about my own team.

Not that I don’t want my friends from either North, Heroic or FaZe to do well, but it’s not what I am putting my focus and effort into. Either team is just as much my enemies in-game as any other pro team, but sure as hell they are my better friends when we’re out-game, of course.

That’s what I love about CS, enemies in-game, friends out-game, and especially with the Danish scene. There’s a lot of rivalry, but only in-game. It’s beautiful.

I want Danish CS to have as much success as possible. I am proud of what every one of the Danish players has achieved and accomplished the last couple of months and I hope it’ll continue for a long period.

Even outside of your Major victory, Astralis have been making waves in terms of esports business. It’s not every day that a player-owned organization has partnerships with non-endemic brands such as Audi and Microsoft, how proud are you as a business owner? Will more teams follow your footsteps?

I am extremely proud of what we’ve achieved and what we’ve built. I love to be a part of it, and we’ve already seen plenty of player-owned organizations, so I’m sure it’ll continue like this into the future. I can’t go into details for the future, but I’m sure it’ll be interesting, especially with the guys from RFRSH behind us as well.

I’m sure that our partnership with Audi has opened the eyes for a lot of non-endemic sponsors, and I am looking so much forward to the future. I don’t know what it contains, but I am sure we’ll see big sponsors, like Audi, within esports shortly and I am proud to have been a big part of the beginning.

RELATED: Agency representing Astralis, Heroic aims to invest €30 million in esports over next 3 years

Many teams have pursued partnerships with traditional sports teams, in Football and the NBA. Is this a path that you see Astralis pursuing?

No, we want to walk our own way and create our own destiny. Every time I read about a sports team, like FCK or something similar, going into esports, I get happy, even though I am not the one benefiting from it directly.

It’s just great for esports that we have these brands coming into the game and I’m happy for whoever signs with them. Maybe one day we’ll be as big as some of them, who knows.

Looking ahead to DreamHack Masters Las Vegas, and indeed for the near future, Astralis will likely have a target on its back. How will you guys deal with this? You guys are effectively the best team in the world, how will you guys stave off complacency?

I think we’ve learned a lot the last couple of months and being the best team in the world is a title we want to keep. We know it requires even harder work than we’ve already done, because we are the team to beat as of right now. Everyone will be prepared and hungry to knock us off the throne, but I am confident that we’ll continue our great work for a long period.

I’m not saying we’ll stay as the best forever, because that’s almost impossible since the scene is so competitive and that there are so many good rosters. But making Top 4 at least every tournament, is what we’re aiming to do.

We’ve had a few days off after the Major and we still have to get back into our work ethics. We’ve also had to deal with a few of us being ill, so practice has had a smaller priority than before. We wanted to get fresh and fit before leaving for Las Vegas, but we’re kicking in a lot of hours in the last four days before we go to Las Vegas. We’ll see where that gets us.

I’m still confident in a Top 4 placing, but the win is what we’re always aiming at.

DHM Vegas will be the first event to use the latest map pool, so Infer-new instead of Dust II. What are your thoughts on this?

It’s tough to say honestly. I’m very confident we can get strong on the new version of Inferno, but it requires more time than we have been given. It’s always fun to try out new maps, but replacing Dust II was sorta sad for a lot of people's map pools, but that’s how the game works.

One day Cobblestone might be removed, and we’ll be the one rewarded. Time will tell, but I’m looking forward to play the new map.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah. You can follow him on Twitter.

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