We sat down with Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg in one of our final pre-interviews heading into ESL One Katowice to discuss his thoughts on NiP's preparation for the event, among other things.
For ESL One Katowice, NiP have been drawn into a group with Keyd Stars, CLG and HellRaisers. Although the group is rife with upset potential, NiP are widely favoured to advance as first seed.
ESL One Katowice 2015 will be NiP's first offline event with Finn Aleksi "allu" Jalli after he was drafted from 3DMAX to replace Mikail "Maikelele" Bill. This change also marks the first time in CS:GO that NiP have a non-Swedish player on their active lineup.
NiP are insanely consistent in making major finals; can they do it again?
In our interview below, Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg talks about how the team prepared for Katowice, his thoughts on the team's newfound synergy, and other topics.
If you would like to browse any of our previous series of interviews, you can find them in the table below here:
|Dan "apEX" Madesclaire: "[LGB] might surprise us all!"|
|Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo: "We want to reach top eight"|
|Finn "karrigan" Andersen: "We are a team to fear"|
|Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas: "Minimum placing is top two"|
|Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács: "Our goal is to win the title"|
|PENTA: "Aware of [Titan's] strengths"|
|Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson: "We have something planned"|
|Vox Eminor: "Dark horse will be us or FlipSid3"|
|Joona "natu" Leppänen: "[stonde] will bring chaos"|
|Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy: "We don't feel any pressure"|
|Morten "zEVES" Vollan: "C9 can surprise in playoffs"|
| James "hazed" Cobb: "We don't have a ceiling"
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?
I feel that we are in a very good state when it comes to preparing for Katowice. We had one bootcamp with allu when he first joined for 3-4 days, and now once again we are bootcamping for 6 days before the event, to fine tune the last stuff. We have focused a lot to communicate well as a team and actually find the team spirit again, which is something I believed we lacked the past few months and I feel we are where we want to be again so I'm stoked going in to Katowice.
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 NiP, Keyd Stars, CLG and HellRaisers?
Our group would on paper be considered one of the easier groups at Katowice, but I feel like it is also a very scary one. KeyD is a team we can't get much information on so it will be hard to predict their playstyle, which could cause an upset. CLG showed some upset potential at MLG, but they are a team we've looked into just to be prepared. And of course we have HellRaisers left which is always such a hard team to play against (even though we did win quite comfortably over them at DHW); they did beat us online proving great strength so as always we´ll prepare as well as we can and make sure we proceed. My prediction is NiP and CLG will advance.
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?
Anything less than final would be disappointing, we've fought hard every single major even when people didn't believe we could and we will continue to do so! We as a team don't feel any pressure going into Katowice, in our heads we are still number one we will just go in with guns blazing and make it to the final. Of course it would be frustrating if you would end up going out in groups or even in the quarterfinal but sometimes games might not go your way and that's CS for you, but we just gotta make sure to minimize our mistakes as much as possible.
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 it will be us, fnatic, Virtus.pro and LGB.
The Ninjas will find anything short of a grand final run disappointing
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?
Looking at how our practicing has been going it feels nice knowing that we do not rely on one guy to do the job, we work as a team, get the frags as a team and we win as a team. That's something I've been missing in the past months so it feels great. Everyone knows their job and everyone will pour their hearts out to make sure they succeed at it.
How has allu adapted to your team’s playstyle and how did the team adapt to his? Will we see a significant change in NiP’s strategy and general playstyle?
I am very surprised how well he came into the team and how he had the same mindset when it came to playing the game, he came in with great ideas and we managed to work a lot of stuff out quite quickly after he joined, sure we've done a few great changes to our game which people will get to see over at Katowice.
How is the communication working out? Is allu making progress in Swedish? How much does he still need to talk in English?
The communication is going okay, he hasn't learned to speak Swedish fluently, of course, and sometimes we call stuff in English and so will he, in general all the talking comes naturally for everyone so it's not something we worry or think about too much. We have a nice flow when we play and it's all that matters to us.
With the addition of allu NiP became an international team for the first time. Do you think this could be the future of the scene, international teams where language barriers are overcome with practice, or will most teams continue to seek and develop local talent?
I do actually hope it becomes more international, there's a lot of talented players in different countries, and they might not be able to find a team in their home country so I believe the next step is to look more globally, a lot of players speak very good english so it shouldn't be a problem. And also looking at DotA2 it seems to be working, and they need to communicate quite fast as well when teamfights breaks out.
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?
I feel it's both good and bad in some ways. Good side is that you get to practice your stuff during important games rather then just do the strats on practice all the time, people tend to play differently on practice and official games. The bad side is that it can also become too much tournaments to keep track of and it might make people lose interest in watching the games, at the moment I think we´re fine but if more tournaments pop up and more online leagues it will just be official games every day with the same teams and it might make people less interested.
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 like the changes they did, it opens up more possibilities for T's which has been lacking on those maps. And looking at how the “meta” is right now it feels that T side is a lot stronger than lets say four months ago which should make the maps more interesting. We've practiced both maps quite a lot just to be as prepared as we can be.
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 think the CZ-75 is in the right spot at the moment and they should leave that one alone! Regarding the Tec-9, I think a few tweaks might be neccessary.
allu's communication has reportedly improved within the team
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?
The one thing I don't like is the BO1 groupstage I would much rather see either straight to playoffs with BO3 WB and LB, or do it as DotA2 The International where every single team is in one big groupstage to make it more interesting for people to watch.
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 to be broken? How many people do you estimate will watch the grand final this time?
I think we're reaching the point when other tournaments will start to pick up, which some already have! And it's so much hype / viewers going on with CS which should encourage some tournaments to go bigger. At the rate CS is growing, I think we for sure will see another viewer record being broken, my guess is 700k, with enough hype and 2 entertaining teams (VP vs. NiP rematch anyone?) or any other team with some history behind them.
The remaining interviews will be forthcoming today and of course tomorrow we will go live with immediate coverage at ESL One Katowice 2015.
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