s1mple: "I'm not comfortable with my individual skill [at the moment]"
Natus Vincere secured a spot in the quarter final of DreamHack Masters Malmö earlier today by defeating Renegades 2-0. To hear about his switch to primary AWPing and Zeus' leadership, we talked to Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev.
The Ukrainian team walked over Virtus.pro in their opening match, setting themselves up for a strong group stage in Sweden. Denis "seized" Kostin and co. faltered against Astralis yesterday, but managed to get through to the playoffs by taking down Renegades on Cobblestone and Train.
HLTV.org sat down with Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev to talk about the role changes, their opposition in Malmö and the feeling of moving on to the playoffs.
I'll start with getting some of your general feelings now with Zeus coming in and leading. How has the feeling been for your personally, what changed?
It's great for us because we have a real in-game leader, so we changed our play style a lot. I started playing with the AWP, we have new roles, for us, it was really hard to prepare for these three tournaments in a row, it's going to be DreamHack, then ELEAGUE then New York. And we had only two weeks to prepare six maps. So it's pretty hard for us, but everyone likes it. Everyone likes Zeus and Kane and the team.
You opened up with a match against Virtus.pro. It ended up being pretty straightforward, 16-4, tell me a bit about that match, did you expect it to go so smoothly for you? What went so well?
We knew how they were going to play but we didn't expect that they were going to play really safe in the beginning of the game. Then they continued to do this and we had just got banana and mid control every time. I don't know, it's after the break, maybe Virtus.pro didn't feel comfortable on this map, but they did everything same like they did against Immortals at PGL Krakow in the semi-final. So we just read their game.
After that, you faced Astralis, a pretty tough opponent. They ended up winning the game, you struggled as a team to get into the match. What do you think went wrong there, both maps?
First of all, Astralis is one of the best teams so we knew that they were going to play great because they start practicing like three weeks ago I guess. And they have been playing together for one year, they already won a Major. We knew it was going to be a really really hard game. On Overpass we started great on the T side, then we lost like 2-3—I don't know if I can say it—lucky rounds. Because it was 4-on-3 and they read us really well, for example, when we went on A there were already three people A, one guy behind from connector, and the next round was 4-on-3 and we went B, and kjaerbye pushed underground from behind, he gave information.
On Mirage, it was a good start again and then something went wrong, they started faking us, using a lot of strats and they were just better in that game.
Moving to today, you played Renegades obviously. Tell me a bit about the first map in particular, you had a great start and then, in the end, it started being a little bit shaky? What was the issue there on Cobblestone?
So we started like 13-2 on the CT side and after we lost the pistol and started force buying, doing some things... We didn't have a good strat or plan, maybe because we knew that we were going to win already after the first half score. I can just say that if we started T, we would've probably played much better because it's harded. I don't know what happened really, they just played really great.
I mean, we watched their demos on Cobblestone against Liquid and Immortals, from ESL pro League and ELEAGUE qualifiers, they played really good on Cobble, on the T side. We just knew how we were going to play as CT, but after that, something just happened with us.
So how important was that 1v5 that got you to the match point? How was the feeling then?
When I killed the first four guys, my heart was shaking, I don't know, I was so nervous. I knew that I was going to go A and he is going to stay in connector and still hold B. Maybe I had good timing because maybe he could've been watching towards the wood. When I crossed the wood I saw him so I just planted the bomb, went under heaven and I knew he was going to come out of connector. Maybe, maybe it was an important round for our team, I hope so because nothing worked.
They took B platform control, there was one round when we knew they were going to do B platform control, and usually they left drop so we can go down drop and just split A. But they had four B, two B plat and two drop, that we didn't expect because they didn't do this against Immortals or Liquid.
You ended up winning the game, moving on to the playoffs, can you give me some of your feelings, emotions going into the playoffs for the first time with this roster and after the break?
First of all, I'm happy that I'm going to DreamHack Malmö Arena. It's the first time because last time I played for Liquid and we lost to TyLoo. And the guys that now play with me lost the final against NiP, so maybe we have a chance to face them as well.
I just need... I mean I'm not comfortable with my individual skill, people see that I won a 1 on 5 but I didn't play that good with the AWP, maybe because I changed resolution yesterday. (laughs). We just need to change, play better individually and better with team play and everything is going to work.
Before we finish, can you comment about you switching up to the AWP? How have been feeling? Since you added andi as a coach you AWPed a lot less than before and now you are getting back in the full-time AWPing. How are you coping with that?
I'm still practicing all the rifles, every time, but I didn't expect that it was going to be harder, you know, to play with the AWP. Because now you need to use new angles, you need to know how FalleN, kennyS, device, play on these positions... So it's going to be easier for me. And yeah, it's really hard... I don't want to miss shots, but for example, today I played what was not a good game for me. But thank you to my team that carried me.