GuardiaN: "Our goal is to win the title"
In our next pre-interview Natus Vincere's star AWPer, Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács, shares his thoughts on ESL One Katowice, current status of maps and weapons, recent increase of online matches and more.
Na`Vi were amongst the eight teams who claimed a ESL One Katowice spot in December by finishing in the top four of DreamHack Winter 2014 before falling to the current EnVyUs roster, back then still representing LDLC.
At the upcoming major, they have been given a test in domestic competition from the up and comers in FlipSid3, fnatic as the clear tournament favourite and the surprise of the main qualifier, Vox Eminor.
GuardiaN comments on ESL One Katowice and more
Take a look below to find out what Na`Vi's Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács had to say on a number of general topics surrounding ESL One Katowice, as well as additional ones, such as Sergey "starix" Ischuk's comments on the team's future at the beginning of 2015.
In case you missed our previous pre-interviews leading up to ESL One Katowice, check the table below:
How confident do you feel with your preparation going into ESL One Katowice? Are you having a bootcamp or only practicing online? Is there something you focused on in particular?
We are bootcamping already for a week and we feel very confident with the way of our preparation for ESL One Katowice 2015. Everything feels good at this moment, so hopefully we will show a much stronger game than we did in the past few months. We have prepared more maps than we had at DH Winter, so everything feels more comfortable.
What do you think about your group? Can you go through each team and tell us how you think you match-up against them? Which two teams should be advancing to playoffs out of fnatic, Vox Eminor, FlipSid3 and yourselves?
First game will be the hardest one as it always is for us at major events. We always struggled in the first group games and it was hard to come back sometimes to secure the spot in the playoffs. First game will be against FlipSid3, which is a very strong team at the moment, which can go head to head with any top team. Their captain will be prepared very well against us and that's something we should fear, but at the same time we will show no respect and will be playing the game as if it was the finals.
What is the minimum placing your team will be satisfied with in Katowice? Do you feel any pressure to succeed, will you be extremely frustrated if you fail to reach your minimum goal?
First we have to think about securing a playoff spot and then about placing in the tournament. But we won't be satisfied with top eight, our goal is to win the championship. We don't feel any presure even if we fail pretty hard, we have the support of the organisation and that makes us play on our highest level at LAN events.
GuardiaN believes in Titan's ability to reach top four
The professional scene has probably never been as competitive as it is now going into this major, but who do you think will end up in the top four? And who do you see as the most likely surprise, whether to win it all or get out of the groups ahead of some big favorites?
I think the top four will be Virtus.pro, NiP, fnatic and Titan. We might see some surprising results, like an early loss of some top teams in quarter-finals.
Is there a player or two in your team who you will hope to make the biggest impact in order for the team to achieve its goal?
I believe in my teammates that they will show their strongest game in every aspect of the game and I will do whatever they ask me to do to help them reach our common goal, the championship title.
starix mentioned in a VLOG at the beginning of 2015 that his future relies on how Na`Vi will fare in Katowice. Can you elaborate on that? Is it possible we will see a player change in case of a failure next week?
I did not watch the VLOG, but yes, we had a discussion and we will see what's gonna happen. I don't see any change possibility at the moment, we have improved since our last LAN event. Even starix is stepping up his game and showing some great plays, so I believe it will remain until the major event.
There has been an increasingly high number of online leagues and cups lately. How did participating in them affect your team, do you think it helped in preparation or damaged you somehow? And how does it affect the scene in general in your opinion?
We are missing some online events, it's pretty hard to keep playing in every single online event, so we will keep missing some events. The presure to play so many hours and officials every day is not a good thing in my opinion. It feels like it's damaging our preparation for LAN events, because you barely have any time to discuss and practise something new, when you have 3-5 officials per day.
What does your team think about the changes to Overpass and Cobblestone? Are the changes for the better or worse? Have you practiced them?
The changes are very good from our point of view. The maps are more balanced and we have played them few times, so yes, feels good to play these maps after changes.
starix is stepping up his game, according to GuardiaN
Do you like the current state of the pistols, Tec-9 and CZ-75 in particular? Would you make any changes to them or are they all finally balanced enough for competitive play?
I don't like it. It's becoming too powerful and sometimes you lose or win the round thanks to some lucky shot from these pistols. They should update the pistols and lower the damage of them a bit.
Reportedly the sticker money from the previous major, DHW, was split according to how many of each team's stickers were sold. Which way would you prefer it this time, an even split between all legends/challengers or distribution per selling amount? Or perhaps you would like to see a part of it added to prizemoney?
I think this is not a question for me. I don't really care how much money I get from people's money, my goal is to win the tournament, so it's up to the organisers or Valve to decide how they should split the money.
What is your stance on the current tournament system in the majors? Ever since DreamHack Winter 2013, the system has remained the same with a BO1 group stage, as well as a playoff spot securing a place in the next major. Would you change it in some way or keep it the same going forward?
I would probably add BO3 group stages, but it depends a lot on time and some events cannot afford so many long games because of viewership. BO1s are sometimes very random at LAN events and a dark horse can beat a favorite and presure them so much, while in BO3s the weaker team would has to do much more work to pressure the stronger team and beat them. Securing a slot for the next major after getting into playoffs is fair I think, and I hope it will stay as it is.
Since the start of 2015 the prize money in most tournaments started rising fast. Although no single tournament "outweighs" the majors yet, do you think that time will come? ESL One Katowice will be a huge event nevertheless - do you expect the viewership record will be broken? How many do you estimate will watch the grand final this time?
Of course it will come... If Valve use the same tournament tickets as in DotA 2 then we will have much bigger tournaments and the scene will be even bigger, we will get more people to watch the games and the 500,000 from DH will be easily broken. But I think it will be broken even at Katowice next week and not even in the finals in my opinion. Let's see.
Look out for nearly every attending team's pre-interview similar to this one, before the major in Katowice starts to unfold on Thursday morning.
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