GuardiaN: fnatic are our kryptonite
Natus Vincere went 2-0 after the first two days of StarSeries Season 3 by defeating fnatic and UYA. To hear more about the impact of their new coach Andi, playing fnatic and the state of their team, we talked to Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács.
The CIS side got two solid victories in their first two matches in Ukraine, defeating UYA on Inferno and fnatic on Overpass. Their AWPer Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács seems to be rising in form in recent times, but the scary part is yet to come, as Natus Vincere has been strong in the groups in recent times, but struggled in playoffs.
GuardiaN took over the out-of-game leadership in Na`Vi
In the match you played yesterday against UYA, the Chinese team, they got a good number of rounds in the end, people were impressed by their individual skill—how did you feel in that match, how did it go?
The Chinese teams are always something unknown, you don't know what to expect. Skill wise they are pretty strong. The shooting and aiming, I would say, is on the top tier level. What is wrong with them is I think the team game, the tactics, they don't understand how to work on T side and it's a huge issue for them. On CT, they don't know how to read the game, when to be passive, when to be aggressive… I guess in some time, if they get an ex-pro player that understands the game as a coach that could work with them. At the moment I don't think they are even close to the top level, but of course, we have to respect them for the skill.
You've been drawn against fnatic today, always tough opposition, a bit on the rise now. What were your thoughts on the match when you just got drawn, did you prepare anything, watch demos?
I would say that fnatic are some kind of a kryptonite for us, like for Superman, you know? We never win against them. We won like 10 maps while they won 50 or something against us. It's some kind of a mental game, psychology, that we have to break. This game doesn't show that we are stronger than them, we won probably because our map was much better than theirs. It will show on the long term. I hope that we will break the mentality problem, we will work on that. But yeah, fnatic is a very strong team and it's tough to play against them. I don't know why, but it's very hard.
You had a strong CT side, but after you switched to T it seemed a bit harder for you, that they could maybe get back in the match. You've been strong on CT for some time now, while you struggled on the Terrorist side. Has anything changed for you in that regard?
Our T sides our strong, but if you win highly on CT side, like 12-3, and you lose the pistol or the second round like us, it gives your opponents the chance to come back, it gives them the economy to catch up to us. Our T side is good, we have a lot of rounds that we didn't use, we oly used our default rounds that we wanted to.
Do you want to say that since you had a good CT side that you didn't want to utilize everything you have prepared on T side, either versus fnatic or in other matches?
Yeah, of course, you don't want to use your best rounds because you have a big enough margin to win the game. We were strong enough mentally to finish the game and win with the rounds that we are confident in. We have a lot of rounds prepared, we worked on our T side on the bootcamp. We changed a lot, we have new rounds, we are changing everything and time will show how it will work.
You changed your coach, bringing in Andi. Does that change anything in the leadership of the team, seized's calling? Considering starix was known to be strict, was there anything that he maybe didn't allow and maybe someone else on the team wanted before?
I think we found the perfect balance, I took over the captainship outside the game, so they don't need to worry about other stuff, except CS. Andi took the in-game stuff, he is working with every single player, they are changing, talking… He tries to teach us when to be aggressive and passive, he is working with seized on the in-game leading…
I think there was some progress, but it needs more time. I think we had very effective practice games with Andi. I think we have a perfect balance, managers working with the psychology, Andi with the in-game leading, and I'm trying to make the team become a team of professionals outside of the game, and not only in the game.
Regarding Andi, he is not that known, he doesn't have the pedigree that someone like starix for example had. How did he earn the confidence for you to support him, to take over the coaching role?
I'd say to be a coach it doesn't mean you have to be an ex-professional or something like that. We can look at football, José Mourinho, he was nobody, as far as I know he didn't play football, he was a teacher or something like that, and he won the Champions League twice I think. So I don't think you have to be a professional to understand CS. Of course, Andi was a professional, he played 1.6 and he was captain of his team. He has good ideas and knows how the meta-game works as well, how to throw smokes, what should work against which team…
I think his thinking is very good, but he needs to work on his confidence, so he is confident about everything he is working with. But it's on a very good way, I would say.
You are 2-0 now, looking forward, is there anything you aim for now, any goals that changed from before you entered the tournament?
In the pre-tournament interview, I said that I want to face the best teams in the world. That means that I want to face Astralis, I want to face North, Virtus.pro, SK. I want to face all the best in the world to find out if we are strong enough at the moment or we need to work much, much more than we did. Of course, the goal should be to win the tournament, but we started from zero at the last bootcamp, where we had to restart after a hard day. So our goal is not to win the tournament but to face the best teams, see what we need to work on, and maybe next tournament we will have the goal to win the tournament.
Professeur writes for HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter.