Raptors EC felt confident going into that game versus Verdant, and they came away the victors winning 2-0, securing their place in the Grand Final later today. A big part of their success comes down to Slaven “Awayken” Lyubenov the team’s AWPer who dropped a 1.44 HLTV rating across the two maps.
However, the main storyline across that game was Marco “MMS” Salomone battling off against his old teammates. They had most notably played at the Blast.TV Paris Major RMRs together under Viperio, and has also made it to an ESL Premiership Finals. After the game UKCSGO talks to MMS about his reads on the game, how it felt to play against his old teammates, and his thoughts on the grand finals coming up.
Massive congratulations on your win versus Verdant. What are your general thoughts on the game there?
On ancient we had a really nice read on them and how they play and just came in with confidence. They probably felt like they were the heavy favourites in this game but personally, I thought we were the favourites, we clearly showed that. it got a bit dicey on the end there at Nuke, but that was more because of our mistakes rather than them playing well. It was more our mistakes that lost us rounds, not them playing a good game. The better team showed up today.
Focusing on better reads, that would be something you would be right there in the server identifying, or was there preplanning that helped this?
Well, I will be honest, with preparation we are not a prep-heavy team. We had an idea of what we wanted to do, certain things that would work, and some that wouldn’t work. The pauses in the game with technical issues, we knew what they were trying to do and I was calling what I felt in that game. I had a read on the game myself, individually I played well and I was just trying to read and some rounds worked really well. After the tech pause, I was calling to go three A on Ancient, who calls to go three A on Ancient. But they came to A. It’s just reads like that which win us the game, these reads are something I fill during the game.
You are a very vocal person inside the server, How does that dynamic teamwork in the team?
So in the team, I have taken more of an aggressive role on the T side which on Viperio I wasn’t aggressive. It is my preferred role and I get to call a lot of stuff around myself. At the end of the day, Zodi always has the call, it is down to him, but he lets other people chip in mid-round. If I have a play mid-round he always goes with me, I think we have a really nice balance. Even though we have only been teaming up for three months, it all feels so natural. Playing with ReegaN I have that natural chemistry.
Looking at the elephant in the room, you have just played versus your old teammates. How does that affect you going into the game and what is your thought process like after?
I was fired up going into that game. Out of any team here I wanted to play them, I don’t care about Endpoint, I don’t care about Ex-Coalesce, I cared about playing them. It is about proving ourselves as a team. We are playing really well in online tournaments and outside the UK and it is nice that it has come together in this UK tournament. Regardless, full respect for them, they my ex-teammates and I love every single one of them.
Looking at the finals, you are either playing Endpoint or Ex-Coalesce, is there a team you would prefer to play?
It is about who arrives on the day, that could be us that could be them. If I wanted to play a team it would have to be Endpoint. When I played ESL Premiership finals with Viperio they narrowly beat us and I want to rectify that.