nitr0: "What separates me from our past IGLs is the ability to micromanage everyone"
We sat down with another semi-finalist of ESL One New York, Nick "nitr0" Cannella, to discuss the change in leadership in Liquid and their wins versus Virtus.pro as well as Astralis.
Starting with the change in leadership, from what I gathered it was your decision to take over, what was your point of view on this and why did you make that decision?
Going into the player break, we were obviously having some problems within the team, and once we decided on our roster for the future, then I really thought that we needed to change something, because we weren't having the results that we wanted.
So I decided to just start in-game leading, I've done it in the past and it was kind of successful. In the past, we didn't have as much firepower on the team, and whenever I'm in-game leading, it's hard for me to frag, obviously it still happens today, but now we have better fraggers on the team, we don't need my firepower.
What have you taken from your previous experiences as a leader and what did you bring over?
I think what separates me from past in-game leaders on this team is the ability to micromanage everyone, which affects my gameplay, which is why I struggle whenever I in-game lead. But I think that's what the team needed, especially during mid rounds, it helps the groove of the team in the mid and late rounds.
Touching on Mykonos, obviously a very good showing from you guys, making it to the finals and beating SK on the way, did that bring a lot of confidence your way?
Oh yeah, it definitely brought a lot of confidence, beating the number one team in the world was definitely a confidence booster, that's a given. Making the final of the tournament, we haven't made the final since ESL One Cologne 2016, so it definitely feels good to be back.
Was it a big disappointment to eventually fall to mousesports in the final?
We didn't have expectations of winning the tournament going into it, but it was definitely a disappointment, we definitely thought we could win, especially after beating SK in a BO3, but they were the better team that day, so grats to them.
Going over to this tournament and your first match against Astralis, there was a point where it looked like you were going to close it out, what happened in that game?
I think it was a tactical error, what happened in the game was, we had a decent CT side, we won the pistol and they eco'd us and then it was 1-7, and then we paused, we started double AWPing, we came back and got an 8-7 half, that was good. Then the T side started, I think we lost pistol, eventually we started getting a few rounds together, then we just started losing the anti-ecos, I think we lost two or so, and that's what really started their consecutive rounds and they just closed it out on us.
I went back and checked how long it's been since VP's current five lost to a North American team, and it was at ESWC 2014, so they clearly have some sort of knowledge of what to do against NA teams, or their style fits. You played them recently in Greece, what made the difference this time, is there anything you found out about VP?
I remember at IEM San José, we beat them, but they didn't have Snax, they had MICHU... I think we definitely have been improving a lot on our Mirage, we lost in Greece to VP, a detrimental loss, and we fixed our mistakes. Right now, we're just building upon the foundation of Mirage and it's really working out right now, we beat VP and Astralis...
It's a work in progress, but VP is definitely a NA team beater or whatever, they play with no respect and that's what catches people off-guard in NA, but we knew from playing them in Greece, we just knew what to expect this time, and we just played our game and won.
Touching on the rematch with Astralis, we should talk about Mirage, what did you guys fix for the second time?
We sat down with our psychologist, Jared, and we talked about our mistakes, and actually, our attitude has been super good lately, and on Cache, we've played Cache in the past but we've been vetoing it, but we decided to play it because our Nuke was weak. Our communication was on point and that's the only reason we got that many rounds, so that was the key today to winning, our communication.
You mentioned the psychologist and I've heard him being mentioned before, what does he bring to the table, can you explain what his role is?
He brings I guess you could say the best out of people, he reads people, we talk to him in one-on-one sessions and what not, talk to him as a team after we lose. He acts as a leader, kind of, he brings out the best in people, and he has a little theory that he calls the A game and C game, and C game is your fundamentals and what you do innately and inherently, and whenever we beat these top teams, we're in our A game. That's his job, is to bring out our A game consistently, so we can be a consistent top team.
Tomorrow you'll go up against SK again, they're obviously going to make adjustments from the previous series, how do you think you'll be able to deal with that in the semi-finals?
We're just going to do the same as we did in Greece, we're just going to try to be the better team that day. We obviously know they're super skilled and we play them all the time online, so we're just going have to prepare and talk to each other, and talk about what we're going to do as a team.