nitr0: "We already surpassed our goal making top 16"
At the end of the last day at the ELEAGUE Major Main Qualifier, we got a hold of Nick "nitr0" Cannella, whose Liquid became the ninth team advancing to the Major, replacing 100 Thieves.
After two losses in a row on in the fourth and fifth round, to Vega Squadron and Natus Vincere, Liquid were one of the three teams part of the "last-chance qualifier", deciding the ninth team advancing to the Major as a replacement for 100 Thieves.
Having met the strongest opponents (based on the number of wins their opponents garnered), Liquid were placed a round ahead and thus only played one match in the deciding round and ended up defeating AVANGAR following a thrilling battle on Mirage that went to overtime.
After the grueling match, we got a hold of Nick "nitr0" Cannella to talk about the Kazakh matchup and Liquid's experience at the Main Qualifier with Wilton "zews" Prado. The American player also shared his feelings going into the Major and their first matchup, BIG, in our last interview from the qualifier:
It has been a rough day for you from start to finish, let's start with the AVANGAR match at the end of the day and especially some of the last rounds which seemed to be in your control but ended up going the other way. Can you tell me about what the end of regulation was like from your point of view, and closing out the match in overtime?
I think it was a matter of adapting and, honestly, that whole entire half came down to clutch rounds, it felt like. I just think the lack of experience with zews in terms of team chemistry and stuff like that really affects the team overall, comms, stuff like that, all that matters and you have to take all of it into account. That 14-15 round, I was asking for a flash for about like 10 seconds, I didn't get any response and I went 'alright, I've got to make a play', I pushed spawn by myself and that actually won us the round. That was just intuitive, I guess.
Did you then feel that it would get easier in overtime, as it ended up being, more or less?
The whole CT side I didn't have an AWP, one of our strongest suits is double AWPing, and I think since our money was so bad, we got broke a couple of times, it really affected us. I knew once we got to OT that it was going to be simpler, because we had full money control and stuff like that, we knew what they were going to do. I know they felt the pressure for sure, we were feeling the pressure as well, but obviously we have more experience than them. They're a really good team, a really good team.
Did they surprise you in any way?
They surprised us a lot. One round on T side we went to A and there was like five guys there, it sure is gimmicky but it's smart at the same time, because maybe they had some info play across the map, which is smart. One of those guys, Buster, that guy is insane, he's really good, he has really good timings, really good aim, he has very good intuition, you could tell playing against him. I think he's a tier two, tier one player already and I don't even know who he is.
How were you even feeling coming into the deciding matches, where you wouldn't have even been had it not been for 100 Thieves pulling out, how was the entire day for you morale-wise?
This whole tournament in general was just more chilled, I guess, because we were playing with our coach. We didn't really prepare as hard as we would have if we had steel here. We were hoping for the easier teams in the draw, unfortunately we got Na`Vi, they're a very good team, even though they've been slacking a little bit at this tournament, they played really well in that match. Ultimately, shoutout to the 100 Thieves for helping us out (laughs), but it's unfortunate for them. I'm just happy we made it.
Given your results here and the fact that you are playing with zews, how are you feeling about your chances in the main part?
I just saw that our first matchup is BIG, I think that's one of the weaker opponents, no offence to them, obviously, they're lower on the spectrum. I think we're going to match up well against them, I think we play well against more methodical teams, so that's a good matchup for us, I think we'll be able to take the W.
A realistic goal... Honestly, I don't have any goals, any expectations. We already surpassed our goal just making top 16, that's already an accomplishment in itself. Obviously, we're going to treat the tournament as any other, but ultimately we achieved our "goal", I guess. It'll relieve a little bit of pressure knowing that we already achieved our goal.
For this Major, Valve have included the Main Qualifier into the entire format. As someone who has been at Main Qualifiers previously, has this tournament felt any differently compared to your previous experiences?
Ultimately, I don't see a difference, the only difference I see is that they have stickers, the other teams that aren't Legends and Challengers. It doesn't feel any different for me, honestly, it's just a title to me.
Over the course of the last four days, we conducted interviews with nearly all the teams that took part in the Main Qualifier. Here's a list of all of them, in case you missed any: