nitr0: "I want to focus on getting our map pool back"
In Brazil, Liquid were unable to seal the deal and take the trophy as FaZe knocked nitr0 & co. out during the semi-finals of the tournament in a three-map series. Before that, Liquid also lost to the other finalists, mousesports, in their group's winners' match, but took two BO3s against BIG to make it to the playoffs.
nitr0 shared his thoughts on what Liquid needs to finally reach the top and lift a tournament trophy, how his team is going to try and freshen up their map pool before Cologne, and what has made his side a top contender in the past months.
Looking back at the recent history of the team, you've been going deep in a lot of tournaments, with semi-finals, second places... what do you think you need to finally lift the trophy?
We were actually prepared for Dallas, but we faced a really hard Astralis. In StarSeries we underestimated NRG and lost, and by the time ECS came around, I feel like we were starting to get a little stale. We had a strong finish but ultimately lost the event. It feels like we're stale because of the back-to-back tournaments. Obviously, we chose to come here, so it's not an excuse, but it's very hard to create new things while on the road because you're pretty much either traveling, preparing for your next opponent, or going over your own demos. Hopefully, during this twelve-day break between Brazil and Cologne, we can fix some problems. I think going forward we're going to be better because we'll actually have time to create new stuff and be innovative again.
What is it you're going to do to prepare for Cologne? Will you bootcamp or go home and play online?
We actually have a few visa problems, so we're going to take like a four-day break before we get going again, but mainly what I want to do, or focus on, is getting our map pool back, because as you play so many back-to-back tournaments its hard to keep certain maps strong. I think the only map we were able to keep strong during this whole tournament circuit was Inferno. We were super shaky on Mirage, whereas before we were really good on it. We definitely lost confidence. By the time we got to this tournament, we didn't even know our own map pool. We just need to talk more and figure out what is going on in certain maps.
In regards to your leading, are you an IGL that sets everything up solid at the beginning of the round, or do you like to play a bit more dynamic and rely more on mid-round calling?
The way I call really depends on the map. On maps such as Inferno, Cache, or Train, I like to have a hard default, a really strong foundation, because you can't really go with set strats on those maps. The dynamic of those maps is different. You need to take map control, basically. If you're on Inferno, for example, and they have Banana, they're going to play with three already in A, so if you do an A execute then you're going to be going into four CTs, right? So you want to have a strong foundation and certain protocols such as if they take Banana, you want to have certain flashes you want to throw and certain people going certain places, so it really depends on the maps. Some are good for set strats, but I like to call a bit differently on certain maps.
Talking about Inferno, the first thing that pops into my mind was the mousesports match, where it was kind of expected that you'd have a good Inferno. What happened in that series?
It's actually, in my opinion, harder to play... I mean, not harder, but you don't know what you're going to go into when you play against a team with a stand-in. FaZe and mousesports both came in with stand-ins so you don't really know what kind of style they're going to have, necessarily. We kind of relied on our own game, but they were all hitting their shots that day, especially chrisJ. He was on fire. It's no excuse, I think we should have won the game because we're a five-man team and they're four and a stand-in who hasn't played in a long time. I mean, n0thing played insane, so credit to him, but I don't know. I think we were just off our game that day and we weren't hitting our shots like we usually are.
There's a lot of firepower in the team, you're all very talented players. When you split roles, is everybody happy, are a lot of concessions made? How do you get everybody happy?
I don't know. Our roles are kind of weird at the moment because, obviously, I'm AWPing, which I had never done in the past until this iteration of our lineup. I don't know, TACO is a bit more of a lurker on the team than NAF was. In my eyes, I feel like TACO and I should entry, but it's a weird dynamic right now. As I said, our map pool is a bit weird, and we're trying to figure things out. TACO is doing good with lurking, but I think he's going to be at his best when he's entrying, proper support. I don't know, the lineup is weird (laughs). We're going to have to figure that out.
What do you think has been the key to this core's rise, becoming as good as it has and getting into that Top 5. What did it take you and what did you go through?
I feel like we were creating our team chemistry when we had steel on the team, and I guess the hardest thing to overcome with these lineups is innovating. steel knew English, but he didn't know the callouts, how we call, or how I wanted to call, because he was only in Brazilian teams before. When we added NAF he brought a lot of firepower and intuition. I think what it boils down to right now is having a lot of firepower. I think we're kind of lacking on the tactical side because we're stale from so many tournaments, and obviously, the AWP-factor is kind of weak right now, but I'm working on that.