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Published: February 2, 2023

Written by: Isabella Aslam


  • The player spent the inter-season resting from CS:GO
  • He explained there was much downfall after C9 lost at the Rio Major in November
  • Ax1Le said he now feels a lot more confident in his CS:GO and communication skills

Cloud9’s rifler Sergey “?Ax1Le?” Rykhtorov was recently interviewed on his opinion of current and upcoming CS:GO events, for which he said his team is prepared. 

Ax1Le Talks About the Past and Current Season

It’s good practice for organizations and individual players to take stock before the beginning of a competitive season in order to regroup and prepare for the upcoming challenges. It’s also useful for fans to hear what the professionals have to say, and in a recent interview with Escorenews, Cloud9 rifler Sergey “?Ax1Le?” Rykhtorov shared his thoughts on last season, as well as how he thinks the team will perform in 2023. 

The interview started with a few general questions, asking how the player spent the off-season. He responded by saying he took the opportunity to rest well and see his family. Ax1Le also said he didn’t touch much CS:GO and used the time to improve his English. He explained that now there is a bigger need for that as he now has to do more tournaments, more interviews, and communicate with new foreign friends.

Soon the conversation steered in a more professional direction with the interviewer asking Ax1Le how he’s changed during the last two years. “Probably I am more confident now, and I look at the game a little differently,” the player responded. “One should improve every day, I have always tried to devote a lot of time to CS:GO, and now I devote even more time to it: I watch demos, try to find new features, etc.” When asked about the communication issues the player had before, he responded that this problem has almost been solved.

Going on a more recent note, Ax1Le was asked about his thought on the biggest event Cloud9 has participated in recently – the Rio Major. Back in November, MOUZ defeated Cloud9 under the booing of the crowd. The interviewer asked if the crowd has any effect on Ax1Le’s performance. “Personally, I do not have stage fright and it does not affect me. But for others it’s a little bit harder not to pay much attention to it,” the player explained.”

“By the way, it is much easier to react to the fans when the crowd is in front of you, and not in a circle, as it was in Rio. So, the fans really pressure you: you can hear everything from everywhere, especially without booths,” Ax1Le said. 

This defeat came as a shock to Cloud9, with the organization deciding to bench Timofey “interz” Yakushin after the Rio Major. “After losing the major, there was a little depression: I understood that most likely someone would be replaced. Timofey is a very good person, I still keep in touch with him, we have a lot of local memes. It was sad to say goodbye to him,” Ax1Le said. He also explained he thinks internz, who is currently playing for FACEIT, will soon be back at tier 1 CS:GO. 

Ax1Le also talked a bit about the changing playstyle that has been observed in Cloud9. “Now we are trying to focus on team interactions, working on calls, and looking for different ways to play the rounds,” the player said. “We are also working on communication, thanks to which we coordinate better during the round, which ensures profitable trades at the moment.”

Concluding the interview on a more comedic note, the player was asked about his hedgehog toy Alyam. Ax1Le is noted for often bringing his lucky stuffed toy with him to events, and when the player was asked what the hedgehog’s win rate is, he responded he is not sure, but he brought C9 luck at IEM Dallas last year. “He was at IEM Dallas, but not at the Major. Perhaps this is an autosuggestion, but I play better with it!”

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