Lotan “Spinx” Giladi joined Team Vitality a little bit over two months ago, but he already helped the team to claim the ESL Pro League Season 16 title and become the number one CS:GO team in HLTV’s world rankings.
This week, just before the start of BLAST Premier: Fall European Showdown 2022, Fragster had the opportunity to talk with the 22-years old Israeli rifler and ask him a series of questions about himself, his team, and their expectations from upcoming tournaments.
Here’s what we’ve learned.
Journey to pro
Fragster: When did you start playing CS:GO? At what age?
Spinx: Around the age of 12. So now I have like 10 years of experience.
How long did it take you to reach the top rank in CS:GO?
I think I reached Global Elite around the year 2015.
How many hours per week were you playing at that time?
Sometimes I was playing a lot, other times almost not at all. I had around six months when I played very little. But I also had months when I was playing too much. I don’t remember exactly how much because I also had to go to school, but whenever I had time, it would be spent on CS:GO.
Was your family ok with you chasing your dream to be a professional CS:GO player? Were they supportive?
No. But they did not try to stop me either. I remember that I told my parents after I set my mind that I wanted to become a professional CS:GO player. It was around 2016-2017. I told them that it’s a real job and that the top players are earning good salaries. They didn’t let me know back then but they were laughing about it. They didn’t want me to play all day. But they allowed me to continue.
So they didn’t kick you out of the house?
No, no, no!
What classes did you like in school?
I liked sports. And I also liked psychology. I think it’s pretty interesting.
Who were your CS:GO role models when you were an aspiring professional player?
There are many of them. But when I was a kid, I was watching a lot of f0rest frag movies taken from his CS 1.6 matches. For me, as a kid, he was the best player in the world.
Four years ago, did you envision yourself competing for a team like Vitality in the near future?
No. Never. I knew it was my goal, I wanted to achieve it, and I was watching Vitality players 24/7. And now I’m sitting next to them. But at the time I didn’t believe it.
A new adventure begins… We are delighted to welcome @SpinxCSGO to the Vitality CS:GO team 🔥
Welcome to the hive, we look forward to seeing you and your new teammates in action on the server during the BLAST.#VforVictory pic.twitter.com/pzBWip637x
— Team Vitality (@TeamVitality) August 15, 2022
How do you cope with being away from home? How do you feel about living your dream in Europe, so far away from the rest of your Israeli family?
There is good and bad stuff about it. For example, I have a friend who is getting married now. But at the same time, I will be playing at IEM Rio Major. And of course, I want to be at the wedding but I need to be at the Major. If you want to have a CS:GO career you will definitely miss some events in your life. But at the same time, there are great benefits. We are traveling around the world, having a good time and many special experiences. Nothing is perfect in life.
Is European food better than falafel?
It depends on the country. In some places, the food is better than in others. But overall, I prefer the falafel back home.
Spinx’s CS:GO favs
What’s your training routine these days? How much do you invest in your practice?
It depends on the time. After the RMR, I went back home and took some time off. But now we need to prepare for the Major. On a standard week, I’d say around 30-40 hours. Sometimes a bit more, other times a bit less. It depends on the tournaments and so on.
What’s your favorite pistol in the game?
That’s an easy question: Deagle.
.@SpinxCSGO clearly doesn't want to play overpass#BLASTPremier pic.twitter.com/msKmrssSVZ
— SHOWDOWN DAY 2 💥 (@BLASTPremier) June 15, 2022
AK-47 or M4A4?
This one is tricky. When I’m playing on the T-side, I prefer the M4A4. But when I’m on the CT-side, I prefer the AK.
M4A4 or M4A1-S?
I’m using the M4A1-S. But I miss the M4A4.
Aren’t you afraid that you’ll run out of bullets when so many Terrorists are assaulting the bomb site?
Most of the time, it’s easier to get the kills with the M4A1. The gun has many qualities compared to the M4A4. For instance, when you shoot they don’t hear you, so it’s harder for them to trade. But at the same time, the M4A4 has more bullets and a better rate of fire. I like it when teammates drop me the M4A4. But when I purchase a rifle myself, I tend to go with the M4A1-S.
If you could nerf one thing in CS:GO, what would it be?
The AWP. But I would do it in a smart way. I would keep it the way it is right now except for the magazine. Instead of 10 bullets, I would only give it 5. Because that way, if you want to kill the entire enemy team, you are not allowed to miss a single bullet.
If you win one tournament, it doesn’t make you no.1
Until you joined Vitality, you’ve had the David versus Goliath experience many times because you were always part of the weaker side. But now your team IS Goliath. As of yesterday, Vitality is the number 1 team in CS:GO according to HLTV. How does it feel to enter a tournament and be expected to crush everyone?
We don’t think about it that much. Yes, we were ranked as the number 1 team on HLTV, but I don’t think we feel like we’re the number 1. If you win one tournament, it doesn’t make you top 1. We are one of the best but not the number 1. There are also other teams in this upcoming tournament that are pretty good, such as Heroic. It definitely won’t be easy to win, but if we play each game at 100% capacity, then we have a good chance.
VITALITY IS YOUR EPL S16 CHAMPION 🏆
A legendary journey, a lot of stress, an incredible final but above all emotions…
Thank so much for this incredible victory guys, you are the best ❤️ pic.twitter.com/XACmxLIJ5o
— Team Vitality (@TeamVitality) October 2, 2022
Who do you think will be your toughest opponent at BLAST Premier?
Probably Heroic. Because they beat us in the RMR tiebreaker.
After you won the Grand Final of ESL Pro League, your team gave you the opportunity to lift the trophy. This was your first big career win. Do you think Vitality is ready to win a CS:GO Major?
I think that the players are ready. We have dupreeh and Magisk, who won a lot of Majors and they are still hungry. And especially the French players. ApEX has put in a lot of hard work to get it, for a long time. And I think that everyone in the world will agree that ZywOo deserves to win the Major. If we just keep working hard, we have a shot.
Your team will start the Major in the Challengers Stage. Leaving aside the risk of getting eliminated, do you regard having to play more matches at a tournament as a good thing, because you get more practice ahead of the big matches, or as a bad thing, because your future opponents get more opportunities to analyze your play style?
It depends on the tournament. For the IEM Rio Major, I think it’s an advantage. The Challengers will have a bit of an edge compared to the Legends because we play best-of-one matches on a stage. So it will be very important that we are well-prepared from the start. A Challenger team that qualifies for the Legends Stage has an advantage because they are already used to the stage and the arena. They are fired up and ready to go.
Excluding your own team, who do you see as the top 3 favorites to win the Major? Assuming that everything goes well for Vitality, who do you think will be the other 3 semifinalists?
FaZe Clan, Natus Vincere, and either Cloud9 or Team Liquid. It will be 50/50 between these final two.
1-2 against @heroicgg and we will play the challenger stage in the major.
We have no more energy in the tank and that’s how it is when you play 2weeks of officials in a row
Super happy with what we achieved let’s take some time off and comeback stronger ❤️
— Spinx (@SpinxCSGO) October 9, 2022
Vitality team dynamics
I want to ask you a few questions about the dynamic within your team. Steve Jobs once said that he would trade all of his technology for an afternoon with Socrates. In a way, you have the Socrates of CS:GO on your team. Do you ever debate with ZywOo about the game and how it should be played?
I think it’s pretty hard to copy ZywOo. It’s just the way it is. Because he feels the game differently than a normal CS:GO player. Sometimes, in clutch situations, he gives you advice regarding what you can do. And when you get such advice from ZywOo, you are happy, right? And in regards to his philosophy about CS:GO, I think he just likes the game. It’s very simple.
In the Grand Final of ESL Pro League Season 15, you sat next to ZywOo. Did it have any impact on you?
I don’t really think about it when I’m in the game. But sometimes when he’s playing and I’m watching him in action, he seems like he’s from another world.
You have players of three nationalities on the team. Are there any moments when the Danish players or the French players communicate in their own language?
In clutch situations sometimes.
Is there a significant difference in play style or philosophy between the French players and the Danish players?
Maybe in the beginning, right after the Danish players joined the team. But not after I joined. I don’t think there is any difference at this point. We all understand each other much better.
I arrived in Malta yesterday! As the guys have been busy playing ProLeague and RMR for the last few weeks I decided to take the whole @TeamVitality out of the hotel for a mental reset in the city of Valletta!
Here is a picture of two superstars and friends @zywoo @SpinxCSGO 💛🐝 pic.twitter.com/GwSTk6A3iH
— Lars Robl (@LarsRobl) October 7, 2022
What do you think is zonic’s biggest contribution to your team’s success? Is he more of a tactical coach or more of a mental coach?
I think both. He always brings good ideas and he also knows how to lift you up and say the right things.
Does he try to mostly coordinate you as a team or is he the one who comes up with the tactics and strategies you’re going to use in a match?
I think we all take part in that as a team. It’s not just one person’s job.
When you prepare for a tournament as a team, do you treat every opponent the same way or do you prepare for some opponents harder than for the rest?
We try to prepare for each opponent with the same intensity and to play against them the same way we would play against FaZe Clan. But sometimes it’s difficult.
Alright. Spinx, thank you for the interview, and good luck at your next few tournaments! I hope that you and ZywOo win the Major!
Header: Team Vitality