In the run-up to the Mad Catz CS:GO invitational in Vienna this weekend, we interviewed Natus Vincere member Arseny "ceh9" Trynozhenko.
The Ukrainian giants switched to CS:GO only in November, more than two months after most professional 1.6 and CS:Source teams, and paid the price for that in the last SLTV StarSeries season, in which they secured just three victories from 11 matches.
This season, though, things are looking up for Na´Vi as they sit at the top of the table after winning their first three matches, and the team's fans are now hopeful that the time has come for the Ukrainian players to show their true colours.
This interview with Trynozhenko touches on Na´Vi's preparation for Mad Catz, the secret behind the team's turnaround in form and the way the players coped with the disappointing results, among other topics.
It has been a long time since your last LAN event, and this will be your very first LAN tournament in CS:GO. Is there a special feeling to this?
Well, we do have some special feelings about our first LAN in this new game. But I cannot say that we are scared of something or of someone. We just hope to show the old Na´Vi game style and to impress people. But if we cannot do that on this LAN, we will be looking forward to the next one.
How have you prepared for Mad Catz? Have you bootcamped or only practiced online?
We have really been playing a lot. First of all, it was online practice. Then, as it happened in 1.6, we bootcamped at Na´Vi's office. Nothing special, a lot of CS:GO and team talks.
You had a rough start to life in CS:GO, losing almost every match you played in SLTV last season. What happened? Did you need some more time to get used to the game?
Yes, all we needed was time. CS:GO is a different game. If we compare 1.6 with GO, they only have only similar maps, nothing else. So first of all, the main problems for us were our aim and our ingame movement. When we practiced those things, the matches became closer for us. And nowadays I cannot say that we are playing badly, but there are a lot of things that we still need to practice more.
How hard was it to stay motivated with results like those? Did you ever think about roster changes?
Well we are not young boys, and everyone understood that if we had been champions in CS 1.6, we could do the same in new game. As I said before, the only thing we needed was time. Maybe someone thought about roster changes, but only weak teams change rosters, whereas strong boys try to improve. And the main motivation for us is our work, our life, which is Counter-Strike. If in Europe you can work as some school teacher and this job will give you enough money to provide for your family, to put food on the table, etc, in Ukraine you have to be a businessman to be able to do that. So CS is a good job for us right now, and we love it.
You seem to be catching up now, though, and you have won your first three matches in SLTV. Do you feel ready for a tournament like this?
Yeah, we have started to play a lot better, but we have a long path and I cannot say that we are ready for some big tournaments, but we are ready to try. Only God knows what results we can achieve.
Some of the team’s players were very critical of CS:GO at first. Has your (the team’s) opinion about this game changed?
Yeah, it has kind of changed, but my personal opinion remains the same. CS 1.6 is a legendary game and the community need CS 1.6 v.2. CS:GO is not a continuation of 1.6, it is a new game.
What are your expectations for Mad Catz? Who do you consider to be the strongest three teams going into the event?
We are going there to show our skills and to watch how other tems play on LAN, nothing else. It will be our first LAN in this new game and in the 13 years of my gaming career I have learned that the first LAN events can go terribly.
NiP were the dominant team in the first five months of CS:GO. Do you think that the winter break has given other teams the time to catch up ?
Yes, for sure. NiP are a very good team who consist of great players,but everyone else is practicing hard, too, so as I have said before, give these teams some more time and they will beat NiP, for sure.
Last week, the ESL announced that it planned to pay all outstanding prize money to the teams before the end of the month. Have you been contacted by them regarding this matter?
Our boss, ZeroGravity, is in contact with the ESL all the time.
You said in your video blog that NiP did not want to practice against your team. Is that correct? What is the reason for that?
Because they know our capacity and they have teams to practice against. Nowadays, we cannot show them something interesting, but they can, so there is no reason for them to practice against us. I was joking about GeT_RiGHT, he remembers 2010 and the first Extreme Masters finals for Na´Vi. Back then, we were practicing a lot against fnatic, who were leading the 1.6 scene in the world. And we all remember the results of 2010.
After Vienna, what other events do you plan on attending?
We have a lot of plans for this year. But I think we will attend Copenhagen Games and TechLABS in Moscow.
Thank you for this interview. Is there anything that you would like to add?
As always, I want to thank our sponsors, SteelSeries, AlienWare, ANTEC and Kingston for their support, and our fans, who have supported us for around three years.