steel: "I was kind of shocked [that Na`Vi decided to play Dust2]"

In our first interview from DreamHack Masters Stockholm, we sat down with Joshua "steel" Nissan, whose Ghost took down Natus Vincere in their opening match.

Ghost pulled off the first upset in Sweden, defeating Natus Vincere after overtime on Dust2 in the first round of matches at DreamHack Masters Stockholm.

steel walked us through Ghost's thoughts on the veto against Na`Vi

After the match, we got a hold of the team's in-game leader, steel, to quiz him about Ghost's decision to add Kevin "kRYSTAL" Amend as a stand-in and their first tournament together at ZOTAC Cup Masters last week, as well as about the match against Natus Vincere in Stockholm and their opponents' surprising decision to play Dust2 instead of Inferno.

Tell me about what led you to the addition of kRYSTAL as a stand-in and how that has been working out so far.

We originally replaced Pollo after trying to have things work with him, but things weren't working out in the end, so as we were looking for replacements, we were thinking about what type of role we're looking for from a player and how we're going to incorporate them into the team on top of what we already have.

One of the things that I was thinking I needed help with was that Subroza and Wardell are less experienced players - these tournaments here are their first big actual events against top teams, so they don't have a lot of repetitions against tier one teams. The difference between a tier one team versus a tier two team is that your mid-game decision making is vastly different, so especially with the fundamentals with communicating, knowing when you're supposed to push and get info versus when you should sit down and just do nothing.

I thought I needed help with that, so when we were trialing different players around the North American region, I remembered that kRYSTAL had been recently benched from Imperial, so I messaged him on Twitter and asked him whether it would be a possibility. He said that he was interested and, as an experiment, he might want to do it. Obviously, long-term, there are different implications in regards to moving, relocating, visas, etc., so we saw if we could work it out between Ghost and Imperial and get him on at least as a trial for these events and continue on and play it by ear, essentially. He had a lot of ideas and a lot of experience, so I was hoping that he could bring that to the team and help alleviate some of that responsibility from me.

So is it down to mid-round calls where he brings his input?

I think it's less about mid-round calls. The biggest impact would probably be that we split each other up on the CT side, so if I'm playing at one position on Inferno, I can't really coordinate things happening on the other side.

Doing it like that would probably be the biggest thing just because it helps stimulate conversations and setups and playing dynamically, which is something that I think, of all the things that an in-game leader can do in a game, that would be the hardest thing because you're trying to coordinate things with no information. Or you're at the mercy of whatever information is trickling down from whatever people say. That would be the biggest impact.

steel reckons kRYSTAL's biggest impact lies in helping direct the less experienced players, Subroza and Wardell

You managed to beat OpTic at your first tournament with kRYSTAL, the ZOTAC Cup Masters, before losing to Kinguin in the semi-finals, how would you evaluate that tournament and your debut with kRYSTAL?

I think we played really well, especially against OpTic, and I think the biggest part of it was that we were all playing really well, we were all energetic, we were in a good mood, high spirits, and I think that really kept us going the entire game.

Even if my call was suboptimal, I think we were able to win in certain situations just because we were able to play with the fundamentals in mind. Against OpTic, we played a couple of our better maps and I think maybe they underestimated us, in part, because when we played them it almost felt easy.

Speaking of underestimating, how do you feel about Na`Vi letting your first match here in Stockholm go to Dust2, a map that doesn't look good for either team?

I was kind of shocked. We were doing the vetoes and it came down to Train, Inferno, and Dust2, and it was my decision, so what I was thinking was that they've played Dust2 with their full lineup in five official games and they've lost every single time. Every single time it was picked against them, if memory serves correctly, so why would a number two team in the world gamble on playing Dust2 when one of their most played maps is Inferno, so I was kind of taken aback that they did decide to play Dust2 as opposed to Inferno.

After that, we just sat down and said 'why would they do that, that's kind of dumb, I'm not even worried about them, they don't have a strong Dust2, it's going to come down to just playing fundamentally sound and keeping our spirits up and hitting shots.' It's Dust2, it's a map that has been in the game for two decades, everyone knows how to play it. It's kind of silly that they would let that go in and take that gamble, a number two team in the world versus some randoms from NA (smirks) and you're just letting it go to Dust2.

So tell me about the match itself, how did you manage to win it in the end?

I think one of Na`Vi's big downfalls of their playstyle is that they're very susceptible to multiple AWPs. Just the way that they play and kind of use s1mple, electronic, and flamie as a crutch and they build their plays around those players. s1mple will always be in a position to trade off of Zeus or Edward, for example, and then flamie is the same way, so just using them as a crutch isn't a good long-term gameplay solution, it's more of a band-aid.

So when they have that and then they have other things that are also Achilles' heels or weaknesses, let's just get multiple AWPs and pick them. They take a lot of gambly reads, so I was trying to incorporate a few fakes and try to do the same thing against them, so we were heavily grouped in a lot of our rounds, but there was no real linear thinking towards my calls, it was almost random. Let's just do one guy long A, two guys cat, one guy mid, one guy B, just a random thing like that. And then after we made plays we just repositioned and did something else equally as random.

It sounds like you didn't have that much to fall back on on Dust2.

When it comes down to it, Dust2 is a map where, if you know how to play the game, you can do anything and it'll work. You could literally play four A at the start of the round and if the enemy doesn't rush B, you can make the round work, now you have full cat and long control. Or you could stack four guys towards B and do like a B tunnel crunch. You can literally do anything, you can walk upper B as a CT with an AWP and two rifles and clear it out, and you can still win the round if you have an AWP on A site and a rifle on cat or something. Literally, you can do anything and it'll probably work.

You have to win one more match to go through to playoffs, with NRG and NiP also in your group, how do you feel about your chances now that you've passed the first test here?

Our work is still cut out for us. Obviously, we haven't progressed from the group stage yet, so it's quite possible that we would face off against Na`Vi again. We still have to play the winner of NRG and NiP, so to get ahead of ourselves would be the last thing we want to do.

We just want to stay focused and understand that yes, we played really well, but there this equal task for the rest of the week. And if we start getting ahead of ourselves and start letting down our guard, or letting down our focus, or straying from what did actually work here and what worked against OpTic last week, then that's the only way we're going to have problems if we stray from this goal and vision.

Germany Kevin 'kRYSTAL' Amend
Kevin 'kRYSTAL' Amend
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
Canada Joshua 'steel' Nissan
Joshua 'steel' Nissan
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
me too
2018-08-29 14:54
god steel
2018-08-29 14:56
ropz | 
United Kingdom Roarhaven 
Steel was the biggest loss from IBP, everyone hyping about brax when they got unbanned and now he’s languishing in MDL while steel is going to international tournaments. What a comeback.
2018-08-29 15:27
+1 best ibp player
2018-08-29 15:28
Indonesia wendymarsanto 
2018-08-29 18:09
Peru vaniIIa 
Yea as much as it stinks they’re all banned, it’s nice Steel is still going around the world competing. There’s so many events besides a major that it really doesn’t matter too much.
2018-08-29 18:12
Yea. Competing at the major would be nice just cuz it’s a major. But there are a lot of tournaments “equally prestigious” that aren’t majors.
2018-08-30 06:58
Europe HLTV70IQforum 
Don't be, clearly they take this lan as experimental considering the major is coming up
2018-08-29 14:57
They aren't going to the major after losses to coL rogue and swole patrol
2018-08-29 15:36
Steel cant play majors anyway!
2018-08-29 15:45
But JamezIRL is the best player of all time1!1!!!!!!1
2018-08-30 05:21
Everybody shocked xd
2018-08-29 15:01
2018-08-29 16:09
Bulgaria Minatø 
2018-08-29 14:55
Norway tobroe 
2018-08-29 14:55
They try new things
2018-08-29 14:55
2018-08-29 14:56
stavn | 
China fershits 
2018-08-29 14:56
s1 | 
Armenia gr1nch 
who the fook is that guy?
2018-08-29 14:56
Jim from American Pie
2018-08-29 16:36
Russia alebedkov 
2018-08-29 14:56
k1to | 
CIS mice1337 
Navi throwers
2018-08-29 14:56
S1mple valve banned check hltv
2018-08-30 05:21
Spain Lucien 
2018-08-29 14:56
Spain Lucien 
GOD steel tho
2018-08-29 14:57
let me translate from canadian for all you who don't speak it "lol na'vi picked their 2nd worst map ez"
2018-08-29 14:57
you forgot to add "sorry"
2018-08-29 16:37
2018-08-29 16:38
Sweden Iekr0 
Nt fakelegend27
2018-08-29 19:22
hello son
2018-08-29 19:23
Germany Dayjay 
Why interview steel? Dont give this criminal a platform.
2018-08-29 14:58
United States DervGuy 
2018-08-29 15:38
United Kingdom Tr0pecs 
if this isn't bait, you are mentally ill.
2018-08-29 15:55
Germany Dayjay 
no bait
2018-08-29 15:56
Then you ARE mentally ill?
2018-08-29 17:55
Germany Dayjay 
No, I am fine. My Waifu says so too.
2018-08-29 18:45
United States desoward 
fucking yikes
2018-08-29 22:10
Australia t0rrent 
2018-08-30 02:44
This is so old, like hitler.
2018-08-30 01:57
random Na players hes right, its like losing to a mix NA team
2018-08-29 14:58
Peru vaniIIa 
No, it IS losing to a mix NA team
2018-08-29 18:14
Ukraine wallentine 
de_dust2 6 - NaVi 0
2018-08-29 14:59
Moldova OptimusBlyad 
steel <3 XD
2018-08-29 14:59
Na'Vi is just experimenting. They know their D2 sucks, everybody knows.
2018-08-29 15:00
A bunch of people are saying that NaVi are just experimenting and that this loss is justified. Is there an article or proof that NaVi don't care about this tournament or is it just word of mouth by fans so NaVi losing to ghost doesn't sting as much?
2018-08-29 15:27
Well Ghost is not the best team in the world so that's why they tried and failed as always.
2018-08-29 15:29
Before the game, famous Youtuber Ceh9 asked s1mple on instagram if this tourney is priority, S1mple said "not clear yet". So that's as best an answer as you can get.
2018-08-29 16:14
sha bi to experiment something on the first game of t1 LAN
2018-08-29 16:20
World STEEN_ 
s1mple said that this tournament is training for them. What do you expected steel?
2018-08-29 15:01
Brunei S4jko 
unexptected gratz steel :D
2018-08-29 15:01
Germany Youdontknowme 
2018-08-29 15:05
Brazil Charizaldo 
Na'Vi using FalleN strategies "Let's play our worse map against underdogs" And then they had same results
2018-08-29 15:06
god fallen
2018-08-29 15:24
lol so ez against nip
2018-08-29 15:09
Croatia Jack Russell 
Navi got cocky and got punished. gg
2018-08-29 15:10
Sweden 444SEN 
Great interview.
2018-08-29 15:12
They should've picked cache
2018-08-29 15:12
Greece rusty1 
Nice interview steel
2018-08-29 15:13
Czech Republic _s0 
i was also shocked when i watched ibuypower vs netcodeguides
2018-08-29 15:17
I wanted to knife
2018-08-30 05:22
2018-08-29 15:19
2018-08-29 15:21
helou my darlinq how r u ? p.s 19 < 20
2018-08-29 15:25
old guy =DDDD
2018-08-29 15:26
agreed u're so old so fat so so so
2018-08-29 15:27
2018-08-29 15:31
2018-08-29 17:37
old faggots
2018-08-29 15:23
IN THE WATER I SAW U DROWN As through your shattered eyes It all came together And your heart cries Weeping through the weather Another way to change your mind I'm weaker than they say To leave this all behind The only way to stay Don't you know I'm the end of what we'll be And right below us The last thing you'll see In the water I saw you drown Down the water Saw you drown In the water I saw you drown Down the water Saw you drown As through my shattered sight You're no longer here And my heart cries Sleeping through the light Another way to change my mind Never is the day To leave this all behind The only way to stay Don't you know I'm the end of what we'll be And right below us The last thing you'll see In the water I saw you drown Down the water Saw you drown In the water I saw you drown Down the water Saw you drown In the water I saw you drown Down the water Saw you drown In the water I saw you drown Down the water
2018-08-29 15:27
Me too, Dust 2 is like their worst map other than Cache
2018-08-29 15:35
gj steel but you are still banned
2018-08-29 15:54
United States jay_320 
Other then Skadoodle who obviously didn't get banned I'm beginning to think as well that Steel was probably the biggest lost from the IBP thing. Swag is playing really well in T2 NA. But it's T2 NA and he hasn't been able to break past that.
2018-08-29 16:19
well swag always dropped high ratings at cs summit on c9. hes still clearly capable of playing t1 cs if hes on the right team.
2018-08-29 21:09
2018-08-29 16:20
Na'Vi is just experimenting. They know their D2 sucks, everybody knows
2018-08-29 18:08
steel | 
United States Bubbies 
2018-08-29 19:29
Poland Kleigen 
2018-08-29 22:28
2018-08-30 01:56
2018-08-30 05:22
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