EliGE: "Want to break the NA streak"
Our second pre-interview prior to MLG Columbus 2016 is with Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski, who answered questions about his team's preparation, goals and more.
Liquid will be attending MLG Columbus 2016 with a stand in due to Kenneth "koosta" Suen not being eligible to play with the team due to rules, and Eric "adreN" Hoag will step in again after having qualified with Liquid.
Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski's team was placed in a group with domestic competitors Splyce, as well as FaZe and current number one fnatic. Read below to see what the player had to say on all things MLG Columbus:
How will you prepare for MLG Columbus? Will there be a boot camp prior to the major or will you only practise online? Is there anything you focused on specifically?
We will by playing with adreN for the weekend prior to MLG Columbus to prepare for the major. While adreN is playing with us, koosta will work with James and our analyst, Kieran, to prepare for FaZe as our first matchup. The timeline didn't work out for us to do a bootcamp before the major, so we will continue our practice routine we have been doing online. We haven't focused on anything too specific. Our main focus is to strengthen our map pool in time for the major.
Recently teams have stopped bootcamping prior to big events or only do it for short periods of time, mostly for less than a week, why do you think that is? Is it as important nowadays as it used to be? What are the pros and cons for your team?
It could be a mentality thing whereas before people needed a bootcamp to get into the competitive atmosphere coming up for the tournament. For newer teams, I think it is still good and I believe we would benefit from it because of all of our recent changes. It makes almost every hour of the day about CS:GO and I feel as if it is easier to make our practice more time-efficient. The only real negatives are burning people out or maybe it could be a waste depending on the team.
koosta has been helping the team with preparations for the major behind the scenes
There are many tournaments going on nowadays, usually at least two significant ones per month, does that make it hard for teams to be able to adapt and improve their gameplay significantly? Could it be part of the reason why CS:GO has become more based on individual plays rather than tactics?
I think it depends on the spacing of the tournaments. If the tournaments are one weekend after the other, then you won’t be able to make too many changes to your play. In regards to the current meta, I don’t think it has any impact. If teams wanted to have a strategy heavy playstyle, they would have it. Time is the only factor in this situation, which every top team has plenty of to make their strategies.
Do you feel comfortable with the group that has been assigned to you? Can you go through each of the match-ups (FaZe, fnatic, Splyce) and tell us how you should fare in them?
Aside from fnatic, we feel comfortable going into our group. FaZe and Splyce are very beatable for us and we technically only need to beat them to advance out of the group if the worst comes to the worst. We feel confident against them and there is always the possibility for an upset against fnatic. We will not be playing with the starting five we have selected currently, but with adreN I still think we can come out of this group by beating FaZe and upsetting fnatic or making it in the loser’s final.Current format practically ignores all competitions taking place in between the majors, which is five months' worth of events in this case. Could there be a better system of seeding other than based on the last major and the qualifier?
I don't really think so unless you wanted to start over from scratch with a series of qualifiers, a league, or other league rankings. The current format has been fine and there have been no problems in the past. I think teams should be rewarded with higher seeds if they did good in the previous major and the better team will usually win regardless unless it is the group stage with BO1s.
What expectations and goals have you set for yourselves at this event? What placing would you be satisfied with and what would be unacceptable?
Our expectation is for us to advance out of the groups in the second seed, and I would say the goal would be for us to make it to the semi-finals. Obviously we want to break the losing streak we have for not getting out of groups at the major, so another loss at this major is unacceptable, no matter our lineup. Making it to the semi-finals would be really great and anything further than that would be the dream. If we can make it that far while breaking the streak, then that would be the best possible outcome.
EliGE expects Liquid to break the North American streak and pass the groups
With how different teams have stepped up lately (LG and Na`Vi especially) and others are stagnating or even dropping off, who do you have as favourites to make the top four? And, on the other hand, is there an underdog who could surpass fans' expectations?
From all the matches I have seen recently, I expect to see fnatic, Luminosity, Na’Vi and Astralis in the top four. I think all four of these teams have had pretty consistent results recently and if any of them got knocked out early then that would be an upset in my eyes. However, G2 has been playing really well recently and I was debating on whether or not I should put them in there instead of Astralis, but I think Astralis has a better chance. I would not be surprised to see them make a good run though.
Can anyone stop this seemingly unbeatable fnatic lineup (barring group stage losses), which has won the last six tournaments they attended? If so, who? How do you see your own chances against what has become one of the greatest teams of all-time should you meet them?
Na`Vi and Luminosity have the best chances of beating fnatic in the bracket stage for sure. Their teamwork and chemistry has proved to be top tier these past few months and LG has already shown the fight they can put up against fnatic. With our roster situation and our inconsistency in general, I don't think we can beat them if it was in a best of three. There is a possibility that we can give them an upset in the group stage, but they're too dominant for our current state.
There will be four American teams in attendance (Splyce, CLG, Liquid and Cloud9), more than ever, is this the time to shine for North America? Which of them have the biggest chance to advance to playoffs and possibly upset one of the big names?
I think all of us have a good chance to make it out of the groups this major. Cloud9 has stepped it up a lot recently and CLG has shown they can fight as well at the GameShow LAN. CLG probably has the best chance considering they play a shaky EnVyUs that just made a roster change. I believe we can win in our group as well vs FaZe and Splyce.
Valve implemented the new timers shortly after the previous major - now that we have seen almost three months of competition with them, how do you think they affect each of the sides and the overall balance? Do you believe Valve achieved what they wanted to with the change?
I think everyone adapted to it already and CT teams are holding on their nades a little bit longer because of the round times. T side has also been noticeably a little slower as well. I don't know exactly what valve wanted with this change but if they wanted the rounds to slow down, then they achieved it
At the qualifier you ended up switching leaders around on-the-fly, what will the hierarchy be like at the major?
I wouldn't say we changed leaders on the fly at all. nitr0 was the ingame leader for the whole qualifier and only mid round decisions and suggestions were given to him after the initial call. For this major, we will have Hiko in game leading instead.
You are using the main lineup including koosta in officials, how have distributed priorities before the major? At which point have you started practising with adreN? Will he play everything, including officials, or are you going to be swapping the two players?
We will be using adreN the week before the major and koosta will be helping us prepare for our group stage matches. Thankfully, this week includes no official matches in any other league, so we will dedicate all of our time for practice with him.
It's been quite some time since you added s1mple, how has he developed throughout the past few months, be it in terms of his role in Liquid, communication, or anything else?
In terms of roles, he has went from an awper, when adreN was on the team, to an aggressive lurker when koosta joined. His English has improved a bit so his communication has gotten better as well.