NAF: "If we're ever going to take down Astralis, now is the time"
Liquid are the first team to clinch a spot in the grand final at ECS London after beating NRG. We caught up with their top player at the event, Keith "NAF" Markovic, to talk about their form going into the big match.
NAF has been a major factor of Liquid's succes at ECS with a 1.33 rating thus far, managing a solid 47 kills over two maps in the semi final. We sat down with the 20-year-old Canadian rifler after the match:
First of all, congratulations on that win and your spot in the final. This was a rematch against NRG after they eliminated your at StarSeries. What's it like?
It feels great. I hang out with those guys a lot, I've known daps, FugLy and ImAPet for a very long time, so it obviously feels very good to get revenge over them.
nitr0 told me yesterday that you underestimated them in Kiev. Do you agree with that?
Yeah, for sure. We beat them in the group stage and were thinking: 'yeah, these guys are just the online team, so we shouldn't have any troubles'. But unfortunately, in the next matchup against them, they got Train and Nuke. Those were two of our weakest maps for sure, so the had a good veto there. But yeah, we underestimated them going into the playoffs, at least I personally really underestimated them.
So, one of those two maps, Nuke, we saw you dominate on just now against them, especially in the second half where you only lost one round. What's changed?
We just wanted to come up with different strategies to better ourselves on it, we abused going down secret to lower a lot more. Last time, we tried to go upper, where they tended to stack, so that was our mistake in Kiev, but now we usually abuse secret and use more fakes. Nuke is a really heavy rotational map where you need to have smart rotates, so faking them out more really improved our game on Nuke.
It seems you know have that map pretty well integrated into your pool now. But do you think having one more map down is gonna be enough for the final, where you'll be meeting either Astralis or FaZe, who obviously both have very deep pools?
I guess it's a bo3, so it would definitely help, but I know Astralis have a very strong Nuke as well, so I'm not entirely sure. All I know if it's just going to be a really huge uphill battle for us if we play them. We'd have to win all the clutches, all the pistols. If it's FaZe in the final, I think we can beat them as they're playing with a stand in.
In our interview with nitr0 yesterday, we talked about a lack of an 'it-factor', for lack of a better word, on your team. He translated that into playing freely, hitting everything, being on your A game individually. Against NRG, you were obviously fragging a lot, EliGE too, and TACO had some beautiful flanks. Do you think you have it figured now?
Yeah, those are definitely good signs. Especially myself, I'm hitting a lot of headshots, where I haven't before, so that's good. Everyone was hitting their shots and the vibes in the team were really good, so honestly, I think right now we're at our best. So if we're ever going to take down Astralis, now is the time.