NiKo: Changed my playstyle a lot
mousesports outclassed Immortals on Cache to secure their third win of the tournament and a spot at the upcoming Major. To talk about their form, his place in the team and dealing with bad starts, we talked to Nikola "NiKo" Kovač.
You came to the qualifier in not too good form and didn't show a lot in the first match against HellRaisers, losing 16-6. What was the problem in that match?
As you said, we arrived in pretty bad from but we were still expecting to make it through the qualifier. We just think that we are a team that has to qualify for the Major, so that was our mentality going into it.
The match against HellRaisers didn't go as planned, but when we look at everything that we've done in the match, all of the errors, that match could've gone our way. We had entries in 4-5 rounds but then just gave them a kill back. We didn't play Train even close to how we played against TyLoo, but we could say that that match was kind of a wake-up call, so it was good in a way. Getting Spirit in the second match was good as well, so we could break the ice with a win and find our form.
When I was talking to STYKO he mentioned that you were too readable and that your lurking style can be stopped if you just shut down the executes. Do you think there is something to it?
Yeah, I read his comments and regarding that match I can agree with him, we were very predictable because we played more on individual skill than on team play like we played against TyLoo. That's why we never had a 5v5, it was always a 4v4, 3v4 etc., so we couldn't do our full executes that we prepared.
You already mentioned the next two matches - versus Spirit and TyLoo - they were pretty one sided. In an interview before the tournament loWel mentioned you are a very emotional team, was that the biggest difference between the matches? In the opening match, you weren't on point, while the next two were very good?
Yes, as he said, we are a very emotional team because we don't have someone in the team that would, no matter what is happening on the map, lift the star players and always remain positive. That is something we missed in the first match, while in the other matches we had a good start, and that means a lot to us. When we have a good start to a match we know that we can win against any team. On the other hand, when we have a bad start or when we get 3:0 or 4:0 and then just stop it can be hard because of our mentality.
Is that something you are trying to resolve as an IGL? You are relatively young and still new to the position, but how is that part of team leadership working out for you?
I changed my playstyle a lot from before, before I used to go alone a lot, looked for entries on the other side of the map… Now I stopped doing that so I can help out my teammates more so we can work together more. Usually, when I die there is no one on the team that will call something so we could win the round if it's 4v5. Most of the times, someone does something on their own and in general we don't win rounds where we are in a disadvantage.
Adding to that, since loWel joined the team, a lot of people have noted that your individual impact dropped, what do you think changed the most for you in that period?
As I said, I don't do things as I used to, I feel that sometimes there is no need to do that, to go and try to kill everyone alone because now loWel is in the team and he is a very skilled player. Now we work together, I try not to go individual that much and I just try to call and communicate better than I used to.
NiKo is looking to do pick up his individual form before the Major
The last match you played against Immortals wasn't as one sided on paper as it was in the server in the end. What do you think was the main thing that allowed you to have that great start?
We entered the match with a lot of positivity because no one in the team thought that we could lose the match. Everyone was pumped up and we think that we also outplayed Immortals in the veto because they expected that we wouldn't ban Train so they had to ban Overpass. Cache and Mirage were left over, two strong maps for us, though they are strong for them as well. But we knew that if we find our level that we should win against them because we think that we are a more experienced team on those maps.
The qualifier is over, looking forward to the Major, what are your plans for the upcoming period?
The holidays are coming so we will have a pause for about 15 days. After that, we will play the qualifiers for Las Vegas, do a boot camp and then go directly to the Major. We need to fix some things, see what works what doesn't and of course it's important that everyone gets some rest. Me first, because I haven't been in my good form for about two months so this will be good for me to find it again.
Any last words, shoutouts?
Thanks to all the fans who were supporting us and believed in us despite our form, we couldn't do it without you.
Professeur writes for HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter.