NBK: "Probably THE trap group for us"
EnVyUs are coming into ESL One Katowice as slight favourites right behind fnatic, and are looking to become the first team to repeat a major victory, let alone back-to-back, after winning DreamHack Winter 2014 in early December.
The team has been thrown a curveball right in the group stage, as they will have to play a domestic match-up in the initial round with Titan. Apart from them, their group consists of PENTA and LGB.
NBK and company are the reigning champions
We talked to Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt for nV's pre-interview, which mostly revolves around ESL One Katowice and topics surrounding the event kicking off tomorrow.
In case you missed some of our previous interviews, check the table below and click through the others to see how confident teams are going into ESL One Katowice:
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?
Hello! Our preparation for the upcoming event is probably the same as for the last one. We have been bootcamping for 10 days in order to focus on some points of our game and change some of our basics. We mainly tried to improve our global level of play, and working on developing as a real unit again. Regarding the LAN, we like our chances of making a deep run again, but every team tried to change their basics. It will be very tough to go through all the teams, but I like our chances!
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 PENTA, LGB, Titan and yourselves?
This group is probably THE trap group for us. The first game against Titan is always tricky. Playing domestic teams always creates some special hype, but also special gameplays, often leading to a 50/50 match-up. Hopefully this time it will be ours! Regarding PENTA and LGB, both teams showed really good things lately and are at the top of their countries. They're hard-working teams, and can easily create upsets during BO1 games. No team can be underestimated during a major event.
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?
We need to continue our top four placing streak! The satisfaction will truly come with a first place finish obviously. We don't have a special pressure on our shoulders. We're not entering the competition as favorites and we know that other teams want to take us down. If we lose, at any stage, it means that we need to work harder to reach the top level again!
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?
The top four in no order or me would be: fnatic, Virtus.pro, EnVyUs and either NiP or Titan. It basically depends on how Titan enters the day. They are able of bringing excellent games, but also being shaky against lower teams. The teams that could surprise would be Na`Vi, PENTA (again :D) and CLG. Respectively for their submarine mode, their hard work and talent and their surprising explosion.
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?
We somehow have clear roles in the team, and we all have to fulfill it in order to claim being the best team in the world. But I know that shox is going to try the hardest to shine the best, and I know that I won't be disappointed. Me? I will keep practising my social media game...
NBK is putting some of his chips on shox
No team has managed to defend a major title yet. Why do you think that was the case the last three times and what can you do to break that curse? Will you focus on your mental preparation or change your overall strategy so teams can't read you?
When you win a major, you become THE team to beat and the other teams will give their best to do that. fnatic enter the tournament as clear favorites and that might be our best shot in order to defend our title. We're approaching the game and the event the same way as the last major. I just expect my team to play as good as possible, and if it's not enough, at least we gave it all.
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?
Having lots of online leagues is beneficial for the scene, when problems aren't around. DDoS has clearly been a problem, and it hurts CS:GO deeply. Regarding my team, we're not the best during online practice and we lose a lot of efficiency. When you have to play official games, you want to show good things, and play with way more attention, so I guess it's a good thing for us :).
What does your team think about the changes to Overpass and Cobblestone? Are the changes for the better or worse? Have you practiced them?
I was pretty nasty when the maps were incorporated in the map pool, and that was stupid on my end. I love playing Overpass. The possibilities on this map are really big, and it has given a lot of good shows to tournaments and to the CS community. Regarding Cobble, the map is quite fun to play, but I would like to try out other maps instead of it. Few teams are actually practising it, and it looks more that it is by obligation than enjoyment. However, the job made by the Valve developers to change the maps and to continuously work on changes is good! :)
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 will go like everyone else and say that the Tec-9 is too good of a pistol for now. For such a low price, you have access to a tiny M4, while running fast and oneshotting at close range. The CZ nerf worked well, and few people are using it now, although it is good in lots of situations. I don't think there is a problem with this pistol anymore. Concerning pistols in general (-Tec-9), I think the balance is great.
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?
To be honest... I don't really have an idea on how the sticker money should be split. I think it is a good idea to let people chose which team they really want to support, and it makes it "fair". On the other hand, teams that are coming from places far away, with less recognition, are earning less than the established super-brands. Both systems have their up and downsides. The Valve tournaments are already somehow crowd-funded with the eSports cases. However, there are way less eSports cases than normal ones, and there is no real transparency. I would love to see a system like in DotA. Creating specific game products for the biggest Valve events, and stating clearly how the money is split to fund the tournament people want to support. I think that the stickers should be for the teams though, and not starting to mix things up.
EnVyUs have their eyes on the gold medals
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 think this format is brutal. Two losses in BO1 games and you're out. No matter where you come from, and how you lost. For such big events, you shouldn't be narrowed down to playing only teams that luck drew you, or because you got bad luck in map picks. I love the system that the International is using, however it requires a massive support from the organizations, to organize a week-long tournament, where each team would face each other at least once. I do think it is possible though, and I think many people would love following such tournaments! :)
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?
To be honest, we're playing for a lot of money already. Nobody will hate it though, if the tournaments decide to put more at stake! :D The great thing about CS is that it is mainly community-driven, and the community grows bigger and bigger. I think we are all looking up to that 1,000,000 consecutive viewers watching, but I don't see it happening at Katowice yet. The event looks promising again though, and there is no doubt that we will reach high levels again. Let's say 700,000 consecutive viewers if the final shows a great game! :)
This was the last pre-interview for ESL One Katowice, tomorrow the action kicks off with EnVyUs versus Titan and PENTA up against LGB in group B at 13:00!
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