An Interview With Aztral: Getting Ready for Season 9
Wed 5th Feb 2020 - 9:30pm
As we approach the ninth season of Rocket League World Championships (RLCS), it's about time to check in on the team. I talk to Maëllo "Aztral" Ernst to ask what the team has been up to during the off-season, and how he expects the team to perform in upcoming tournaments.
With RLCS8 over now, how often do you and the team get together to work on things and to maintain that team chemistry?
Aztral: So obviously whenever everyone is at home and ready to play. We do one hour of analysing replays with the coach (Virge) and two hours of scrims per day. Normally Monday is our off-day, but now the season is really close we do every day, all week. So about three hours per day.
So do you feel like you always have something specific to work on after RLCS or do you just feel like you need to play together more in general?
Aztral: Playing together in general is really important to keep the chemistry together. I think after this RLCS, we just had to work on the stress and all these things because we can make some little mistakes.
The result of the team at the last RLCS was very impressive though. Would you say the mentality of the team right now is at an all-time high?
Aztral: This season, like you said, was really impressive and we're hyped, ready to compete again and win the next season.
If the results were different for these big tournaments and the team placed quite low, do you think this would impact how often you and the team play together in the off-season?
Aztral: I'm not sure because outside of our regular scrims, we don't really play together because of, for example, school and things like that. Our scrims would stay the same, so I don't think that the mentality would really be a problem.
When the team do play together, such as in scrims, is there a lot of positive criticism? Are you all open to suggestions for improvement?
Aztral: Oh yeah, of course. We always do that because nobody is perfect, so you need to say what the problem is. What you're doing good, what you need to keep doing, what you need to stop doing and all that. We do that with the coach. It's not even always with the coach, actually. We sometimes say to each other, "Hey, I saw this on the scrim, can you just come in Discord and I'll show you what you need to do." We always do that stuff.
Speaking of the coach, Virge, how big of a part does he play in your improvement in the off-season?
Aztral: Yeah, Virge is a very big positive improvement. He helps us a lot. He's probably one of the only coaches in Rocket League to be there at every scrim, always working with us. To be fair, it's starting to get annoying because he wants to work too much *laughs*. But yeah Virge is really, really good and I think without him, we would not be top four.
That's great! So how confident are you in the team right now? Are you ready to get straight into high level competing or are there a few things to iron out first?
Aztral: We're pretty confident. I feel like there were a few little problems that we had in, like, the first week of RLCS last season, so we just need to figure that out. That's really the only thing right now, only little things, but I'm really confident in the team right now.
Do you personally prefer longer off-seasons or shorter ones and why?
Aztral: I definitely prefer shorter, because when there's longer ones and you don't make a roster change like us, it's really poor because you have nobody to scrim because they're all doing try-outs and some teams don't even have a third, so it's really long and you don't know what to do. There is no need to do replays like two months before RLCS, so you just kind of play ranked and it's kind of boring. But now with the shorter one, we just finished the season and we need to work for the next season. There are no days where I'm like 'Rocket League is boring me, I've got nothing to do,' so I really prefer the shorter ones.
Not a lot of what happens in the off-season is shown from a fan's perspective. If you could briefly describe what you and the team have been up to recently, what would you say?
Aztral: So like I said earlier, we've been scrimming together but we aren't a team that can play a lot in ranked because, first of all, we don't really enjoy it. And of course we have our own lives too, so we just come for scrims. We've really enjoyed scrimming together and I think the fans see that we do really like each other.
How do you think the team chemistry is between you three players? How do you merge so well?
Aztral: I'm not just saying this because it is my team but, out of all the teams right now, I think we are the ones that are playing together the most. That's what Virge told us to do, so we play together and know each other a lot, and I think we merge together a lot because we trust each other.
Great to hear. Finally, do you have any shoutouts to give at all?
Aztral: Yeah, so to my family for supporting me. Shoutout to all my friends, all my fans. And shoutout to my school who finally accepts me as a professional player so I have no problem with school anymore *laughs*. They watch me play, so that's great.
I'd like to thank Aztral for joining me for the interview. You can find his socials below!