NiKo: "With stand-ins I try to push myself more because I feel I have to give more to the team"

Nikola "NiKo" Kovač took the MVP medal in Belo Horizonte after a five map final against mousesports in which the Bosnian player ended with a 1.40 rating and +45KDD.

NiKo ended the event with his highest Big Event rating of 2018, 1.39, to claim the award of best player of the tournament. He excelled in several categories, including KPR, which he topped with 0.88, and ADR, with 90.4.

NiKo earned his first MVP of 2018 in Belo Horizonte

In the winning interview, NiKo talks about the final, his form since the Major, and his team's biggest dream at the moment, the Intel Grand Slam, among other topics.

Really great display by you in the final, and all tournament long. Were you comfortable coming into ESL One Belo Horizonte? Did you feel your best self was going to come out?

Yeah, I've been feeling pretty confident since after the Major. I've been playing pretty well since then, so I knew that coming to the event I was going to deliver, and it was just about how much. I knew that I would play well, though, because as I said, I've been in shape for a while and I know what to expect from myself. I'm glad I could keep it up.

You have been playing well for a while, indeed, but it's your first MVP medal of the year. Coming in #2 last year in the world ranking, are you shooting for #1 now? Is this a step towards that?

Yeah, definitely. I've been waiting for this, as you said, the last time I got a medal was at ESL One New York. It doesn't really matter because we won some events and my teammates who played better than me got it, but I want to keep these performances up and I believe I could attack and claim the first spot in this year's ranking.

Has having cromen on the team affected your personal play at all?

Not really, I play the same as I did with Olof, but now with stand-ins I try to push myself more because I feel like I have to give more to the team, bring more if we want to keep the same level as a team. I think that's pretty much it, because whoever comes as a stand-in just takes over olofmeister's roles, so it didn't change much in our game. I just feel like I have to deliver more if I want my team to stay at the top.

It has been kind of a strange final in which two teams had a stand-in. It was a hectic back-and-forth final going all the way to five maps, with a crazy Dust2 as a decider. How do you feel it got to this point?

Even coming with a stand-in we expected to win. Nothing else was acceptable. We knew we had to win this event. We were a bit surprised that mousesports made it all the way to the final, but they were playing really well. chrisJ had an amazing event, so there's no surprise that they could go that far with three of their star players playing really well, and especially STYKO played amazing in the final, which is why it was so tough.

The first half on Dust2 was very close, what was the feeling going into the second? You've let tournaments slip away before...

I think the CT side was really hard for us because we were down like 2-6 or something and we knew that we had to step it up or we were going to throw another trophy away. I would say that on every map we started a bit slow, trying to figure out how they were playing with their stand-in, which is why we were starting slow on every map, I would say, except Mirage. We just adapted as CT, and that's when we started to get it rolling. Once we started rolling, we knew we were in the driver's seat. Winning the pistol also helped keep it rolling.

Finally, you're the first team to hit the three tournament wins in the Grand Slam. How focused are you on Cologne?

We're going to give everything we have to win either ESL One Cologne or DreamHack Masters Stockholm. That's our biggest goal and biggest dream, that's why we're fighting so much with stand-ins and everything, and just playing as much as possible just to keep a good level and compete for the Grand Slam, which is what we're doing and I'm really happy we managed to actually do it. We just want to win the Grand Slam, that's our biggest goal right now.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.17
Maps played:
1094
KPR:
0.81
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
#1
rain | 
Hong Kong lonely123 
1st
2018-06-18 05:09
Gl for future also niko.
2018-06-18 05:10
#26
 | 
Philippines Z3R0meister 
woah
2018-06-18 05:47
No1
2018-06-18 05:09
why did i get the #4 wtf i have been here for a while
2018-06-18 05:10
LUL
2018-06-18 05:11
this internet sucks man
2018-06-18 05:16
GJ
2018-06-18 05:10
#11
 | 
United States Toxsick11 
Not 1st.
2018-06-18 05:10
Stii close one. You nailed it with 11 in your name , ez pz
2018-06-18 09:24
They want the grand slam and not the major lol
2018-06-18 05:14
Major win 500K. Grand Slam is 1 Mil. Of course you want to Grand Slam.
2018-06-18 06:13
It's not always about the money nibba
2018-06-18 06:14
Right. Let host Major with 0 dollar prize. Let see who will show up. Let play CSGO for free!
2018-06-18 06:15
Winning the major makes you a legend nibba, which faze clan have been wanting for a long time.
2018-06-18 06:18
Prestige comes with a prize. Enough said.
2018-06-18 06:22
#38
 | 
Singapore Wadufuk 
Yes Winning a major make u a legend,but what did cloud 9 and gambit achieve after winning major,no shit shelock
2018-06-18 06:48
what i know about a major is u have a special coin xD
2018-06-18 07:08
#66
 | 
Singapore Wadufuk 
XD
2018-06-18 10:53
#37
 | 
Singapore Wadufuk 
The prize of intel grand slam is 1million dollar,and it way btr than winning a major lol
2018-06-18 06:45
#75
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Denmark MeToxi 
They dont need the pricemoney since they have huge salaries.
2018-06-19 10:15
#16
 | 
India Haryanvi 
S1mple no. 1 ..sorry niko
2018-06-18 05:15
#48
 | 
Bosnia and Herzegovina Suk_Mike_Hok 
There was absolutely 0 reason to bring s1mple up and yet you did...
2018-06-18 07:26
It was - read the article.
2018-06-18 07:58
#69
 | 
Bosnia and Herzegovina Suk_Mike_Hok 
Yeah i know... Poor guy is alowed to bealive , with half a year to go if s1mple dips in preformanse and NiKo continuoues like this he will be #1 for sure.
2018-06-18 16:37
s1mple just got another MVP. I'm afraid that Niko's chance for getting the award/title called "Best player in the world" just narrowed a bit. But Niko is really good, can't deny that.
2018-06-18 16:51
#76
 | 
Bosnia and Herzegovina Suk_Mike_Hok 
But honestly he had no competition in that tournament , the only stand out game he had was third map against NiP with 30+ kills and around 2 rating , still it is going to be a hard fight between them , if faze wins the grand slam NiKo might be closer to being #1 than you would think.
2018-06-19 10:44
Yes, you're right.
2018-06-19 13:05
#58
 | 
India Haryanvi 
Read article
2018-06-18 09:16
#70
 | 
Bosnia and Herzegovina Suk_Mike_Hok 
#69
2018-06-18 16:38
I wonder who will get the money for the grand slam? Will olof have to share with xizt and cromen now? They've each won as many grand slam events as he has now. Or maybe it is part of the stand in agreement that they get their share of the prize money for the event they played in but forfeit the grand slam money.
2018-06-18 05:22
#20
 | 
India Haryanvi 
How much organisation gets ?
2018-06-18 05:32
The winning team gets $1,000,000. Obviously the org gets some of that and the players gets the rest. I just wonder if olof will get a full share or if xizt and cromen will take some.
2018-06-18 05:33
Well, they can just so simple sharing: 1 mil divide to 4 events = 250K each and then divide to each member. Who won that event will get the share. So olof will get money for ESL One NY, Xizt for Sydney, Cromen for Belo and whoever for next event. If you account for FaZe Clan share as well (AKA organization share), they will get their share beforehand so (1 mil - org share) / 4.
2018-06-18 05:41
#28
NiKo | 
India Sishir 
All the money is directly given to the players
2018-06-18 06:00
Every team has different rules for prize money. You gotta think about management. And all the people behind the scene. It's not like 100k split between 5 people lol.
2018-06-18 06:02
im not sure FaZe take a share of prize money, at least they don't in CoD
2018-06-18 08:55
They 100% take a share. Just not sure how much is devided among faze overall
2018-06-18 09:05
#62
 | 
Indonesia youdelusional 
it doesn't make sense if they don't. who pays for staff' salary, all accommodation and stuff for players? players get salaries and they are sent to events and the prize all goes to them too? i do understand they have sponsors but i think it will be only fair if the org gets a share as well.
2018-06-18 09:40
that's why a lot of players never leave because its amazing org to play for, and if they do take a cut of winnings(they might in CS, because the prize pools are bigger) it will be very small
2018-06-18 10:00
INTEL GRNAND SLAM THEN MAJOR!!! #FAZEUP
2018-06-18 05:35
#27
 | 
Germany GoBIG0rGoHome 
" and I believe I could attack and claim the first spot in this year's ranking." Does s1mple play Golf or Chess?
2018-06-18 05:59
hmmmmmmmmm
2018-06-18 07:09
#50
 | 
Bosnia and Herzegovina Suk_Mike_Hok 
He says he believes that he can , not that he will or is 100% sure he can be #1 , you are so butthurt , and tell me , if he continuoues to play like this and FaZe start winning finals , why wouldn't he able to be #1 , we still have half a year to go.
2018-06-18 07:29
Yesss pray for NiKo
2018-06-18 08:29
#29
NiKo | 
India Sishir 
NiKo God top 1 ezzz
2018-06-18 06:00
FACT ONLY won because Astralis wasnt there.
2018-06-18 06:59
2018-06-18 07:05
19 - 16 coming on top every single tour.. momentum astralis
2018-06-18 07:10
"momentum astralis" Not for me.
2018-06-18 07:20
The laughs xD.
2018-06-18 07:59
#61
 | 
Switzerland BottomFragger 
hltv.org/matches/2322782/astralis-vs-faz.. This is what will happen though. The thing is, Astralis at their worst can get beaten with a 6 round difference if the stars align for FaZe. If Astralis plays at their peak, FaZe will need to get checked out by a doctor afterwards.
2018-06-18 09:25
Why are you such a Astralis dick-sucker?Why you didn't post the last match where Astralis barely got one of the maps 16-14 not to even mantion that Faze is playing with stand-in all the time.
2018-06-19 00:48
#78
 | 
Switzerland BottomFragger 
which are you referring to? and I'm sucking Astralis' dick because they play a whole different level of CS compared to all other teams
2018-06-20 23:56
"Beating the team 16-14" "Whole new level" Pick one:
2018-06-21 12:31
#80
 | 
Switzerland BottomFragger 
Yeah because one map is proof about how they're doing overall hltv.org/ranking/teams/2018/june/18 >200 points difference, case closed
2018-06-24 19:39
In my opinion I think croman is the real mvp. He came from a tier 2 team to a top tier 1 team. And played amazingly. Not easy doing that.
2018-06-18 07:14
Yeah! He really showed up when they needed him! Great player, hope to see him in London and Germany
2018-06-18 07:59
Always nice to see talented people from t2-t3 teams getting noticed like this I hope twist gets a good team as well, maybe back to Fnatic, I feel bad for him
2018-06-18 10:01
Yea ikr
2018-06-18 10:01
#54
draken | 
Sweden rawrxdd 
Have to beat astralis first lul
2018-06-18 08:29
#74
 | 
Singapore Wyattbenko 
They did... with a STAND IN
2018-06-19 06:58
#67
 | 
Europe trey_ 
GODNIKO <3
2018-06-18 12:20
#68
 | 
Ukraine extezy10 
Niko top-4 max on 2k18. sorry muslim niko :(
2018-06-18 13:49
You are really stuipid,he is not muslim and the s1mple and device are the only ones that could be above him.
2018-06-19 00:49
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