Nifty: "nexa is getting better day by day"
After Renegades survive day three at the Main Qualifier by eliminating OpTic, we talked to the team's in-game leader, Noah "Nifty" Francis.
Renegades started the Main Qualifier with two losses in a row, as they conceded Train to FlipSid3 in overtime despite a 12-4 lead and fell short to TYLOO on Cache in the second round. Earlier today, Noah "Nifty" Francis and company eliminated OpTic with a 16-10 win on Mirage to live to fight another day.
In our next interview from Bucharest, we quizzed the in-game leader about his relatively new role on the team, Nemanja "nexa" Isaković's progress, and naturally Renegades matches so far at the qualifier:
Let's begin with the period after you won the Asia Minor, what have you worked on since then?
During our bootcamp, we spent a lot of time practising our communication and our CT sides, making sure that we're working together in all aspects. And T side just running through our strategies, running them over and over to make sure that everyone hits all their nades, everyone is going to the right spots, timings are correct, things like that.
You had a tough start into the qualifier, losing to FlipSid3 in overtime after leading 12-4, what did you struggle with in that second half and in overtime?
We talked about it today a little bit after our game against OpTic, it was a lot of little things, where we're not working together, those are the things that really kill us, because everyone has the ability to get frags, that's not an issue on our team whatsoever. So, especially when we fall in our leads, it's because we're not playing together, maybe someone's overstepping, or we're not fulfilling our whole strat together. And that's usually how we end up losing those leads.
Facing TyLoo afterwards, it's a match-up that you know so well, having played six maps against each other at the Minor, is it tough playing this kind of match-ups?
I guess it could be, just because we've played them on six maps. I would say so, kind of, but we didn't feel any different, we still felt confident, we can handle these guys, we did it twice at the Minor. But again, yesterday was just like the first day, we had these small things that were bothering us, and I don't think we were putting enough emotion into the match, getting enough of hype to really get into the game. That's what really changed it. At the Minor, we were really into the games and that's why we ended up winning them.
Was it just the little things that you managed to fix during the OpTic match on Mirage that you played today?
Yeah, our communication, we were really loud, after every round that we won there was some sort of shouting, and we were just playing really, really well together. I know that the analysts were counting a lot on our retakes and the way that we were doing them, that we weren't coming from CT, I suppose, but it really depends on the setup that you're running and stuff like that. We were set up in a way that we could retake from just one side. As long as we do that together, it's still absolutely possible, it's not like it's a huge issue that we don't come from a certain spot.
Ahead of the Asia Minor, you changed leadership, you took over the in-game leader role after nexa, what do you think were the challenges of taking on that new role?
Well, it wasn't as new of a role as most people may have thought, just because about a season ago, I had called an entire Pro League season for Selfless, and back then I didn't have as good players as I do on Renegades. We would be running really good tactics or get the bomb down, but we just wouldn't be able to do anything with it, because we just didn't have the firepower or the experience to close out those rounds.
And now I do, which makes it a little bit easier, but we're still figuring out our roles and how we really want to play together, and that's why we're really hoping to make it to the Major - there will be slight changes, but it will be for the better afterwards.
Is it at all challenging to both AWP and in-game lead at the same time for you?
It can be, but I do it in a way where I'm still able to position myself and position my teammates so that I'll still be able to get the frags. As long as I'm holding an angle, I can talk and form the round, unless I get a spawn for something, then I'll usually I'll either call a strat and go with it, or I'll call a default and go for the picks so that it makes it easier on me. I would actually say it's not anything that's super difficult, not even against some of the top teams when we played against them.
What about nexa, how has he progressed since you got together on Renegades, seeing as you got him when he was a completely inexperienced player?
He's getting better, he actually played really well in our match against OpTic today. Sometimes, without even going and reviewing the demo, your teammates might not know exactly where you got your kills or the moves that you made that really made a difference in the round, and he was actually playing really, really well on the B bombsite on Mirage.
He always struggled a little bit with that bombsite, especially in practice, just those weird things that inexperienced players go through. But he actually performed really well today and I think he's improving his communication, he's always been kinda iffy just because English is not his first language, but he's not terrible at it, he even has a decent vocabulary, I would say. Yeah, he's getting better, he's getting better day by day.
Is the pressure off him now that he doesn't have to in-game lead?
Yeah, that's one of the reasons why I actually started in-game leading, because it seemed like it was a lot for him, being so inexperienced individually and not at his high point yet, where he could perform consistently and still be able to command a team. So I just felt like it was necessary just to make it so much easier for him, because he needs to learn more first.
You still have to win two matches in a row to qualify for the Major, is it going to be focusing on the small things you mentioned, keeping the communication up, that will get you through it?
We just want to make sure that we just play together, we will focus on those small things, because we know that the fragging is not going to be an issue, we know that people fulfilling their roles in the strats and stuff like that is not going to be an issue, again, it's just those little teamwork situations, those split-second decisions, those are the things that really hurt us. We are going to focus on those - as long as we take care of those problems, then we will qualify for the Major.