s1mple: "More team play. More strategy. More everything."
Natus Vincere became the third team to make the playoffs today after beating fnatic in a three map nailbiter. We caught up with Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev after the match to hear his thoughts.
Natus Vincere had a great start yesterday, when they beat Renegades, 16-4. Today, they kept their good run by making it to the playoffs on top of Group C after beating fnatic. The Russian-Ukrainian side now sits on the playoff bracket waiting for a lower seeded team to face off with in the quarterfinals.
In the interview, Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev went over the map selection against fnatic, his team's good run on Inferno, Denis "electronic" Sharipov's role in the team, and how he has personally been able to find such good form since the beginning of the year.
Coming into the event, did you guys run a bootcamp?
Yeah, we went to our new house in the center of Kiev, so we had a ten-day preparation. It was nice. People feel better in the center of the city so they can go out to get some air and food and come back ready to play. We had a really hard bootcamp. We practiced a lot, both individually and on strategy. That's why we beat fnatic, I guess, because we spent a lot of time on this game and everyone understands that if you want to beat teams like fnatic, SK, or FaZe, you have to play more and more.
So let's move on to fnatic. You both won your openers in pretty one-sided matches, which was somewhat expected. When you found out you were going to play them, did you prepare anything particular?
Our coach [kane] prepared a lot before this game. We didn't expect them to pick Cobblestone, we thought they'd pick Mirage, and they knew we were going to pick Inferno. We just talked before the game about how they play the maps, how Cobblestone is one of their good maps and they have more experience on it. We told ourselves that even if we lose Cbble we can take it in the third map, because we practiced on our map pool a lot.
Let's jump into Inferno, it's your best map, and you have the best record out of any team right now. It has been traditionally a map that Zeus really likes, is he a driving force behind the good results on it?
This map is comfortable for every player because of individual performances. We all know how to rotate, and how to help each other, especially on the T side. We don't even need to throw some executions. We can just smoke arch and go together somewhere. I mean, I think we just feel good in this map. We feel better on it than any other map.
Cobblestone on the other hand, you weren't so sure about, and maybe not expecting to play it. Did you see yourselves having a chance going into it or were you really ready for a third map?
Well, we thought it could be Cobble, but we really expected them to pick Mirage. We practiced it a lot the last few days [Cobblestone], and we knew we had a good chance on it. Of course, we knew they have more experience, and they played it more on LAN, playing it in Katowice and WESG, but we just wanted to win the map against them even if it's one of their strongest maps. I think we still had a good chance to do it.
How about Overpass? That's a map you guys are more comfortable on, but so are fnatic, as it showed in the close decider.
We lost a 5vs3 at the end, I remember that, and we had some forcebuys in which they always did B executions. We were close to winning an eco, 4vs2, but we didn't have armors. It was a pretty hard map. electronic and Edward did pretty well, electronic won a great round when he killed two on banana and JW didn't have time to plant, and Edward was really good on B with flamie.
Talking about electronic. He had a really good tournament at WESG and some people noticed that when he is playing with Na`Vi he isn't unleashed the same way. Do you think there's some truth to that?
It's not true, because when you play on a mix, like when you play FPL, it's like playing with Russia or Ukraine or whatever. You just play better individually, you can do whatever you want. There is no plan or anything, and it's not true that electronic can't show up on the big stage with Na`Vi. He doesn't have much experience, but...
Well, I mean maybe something more related to his role in the team?
Oh, maybe, yeah, but after our last tournament... after StarSeries, we gave him more good roles, and I told our coach that he should play the way he did in FlipSid3 and in Russia, where he had more freedom. I think he practiced a lot and he is playing much better now.
And while we're talking about form, you've been playing at a really high level this whole year. You've been playing really good CS individually, what do you think gave you that confidence?
First of all, my team. We have a good set-up that gives me freedom everywhere, and of course I practice my positions with AWP and rifles. It's a pretty hard role, to be honest, because you need to understand when you need to buy AWP and when you need to play with AK. I don't know, just a lot of practice with all guns, a lot of team practices, a good sleep schedule, I don't know... all players should understand that if they want to play better they need to spend more time with the game. It shouldn't feel like a job, it should be a dream to become champions and the best in the world.
So you find it hard to know when to buy AWP or rifles, what are the crucial moments in which you have to decide?
For example: if you play on Overpass, kane taught me a lot to not buy AWPs when they don't have AWP and when they have a low economy. I mean, we could easily lose a round like that, even to CZ's. Then they'll take the AWP, they have a good economy, and we're broke because I bought this weapon for $5,000.
Lastly, you're through the groups in first place. Is the goal to win it all?
I don't really like to say it is to win the whole thing, because last year when I said it...
You jinxed it?
Yeah, so just step by step. We're going to see who our next opponent is, and we're going to prepare. Win or lose, it doesn't matter, you're still practising, even if you're losing. There is nobody who never loses. Even Mayweather, who has the 50-0 record, I'm pretty sure in practices, and before the streak, he lost a lot, and he practiced a lot to become better. It's another experience for us. We just want to become better as a team. More team play. More strategy. More everything.