daps: "Drawing FaZe and Liquid in our group was rough"
NRG drew a rough hand going into New York, kicking off the event against the world's #3 team, Liquid. After losing the opener, NRG then faced off against FaZe, in what could have been the end of the line for daps's side. The North American squad managed to best the European side, however, and will go on to face the loser of G2 and Liquid for a spot in the playoffs.
During this interview, daps chatted about the state of NRG, who had failed to make the Major and haven't competed since DreamHack Masters Stockholm, and the issues of being unable to practice due to having the best teams in the world at the Major for several weeks.
daps also talks about wanting to avoid Liquid in the elimination match, the cons of not having been able to play much before ESL One New York, and the importance of a good result after coming in last place in Stockholm.
It's been a while since you guys have been at a bigger event like this. How has the preparation been knowing you had a bit of time? Did you do anything special? Any bootcamping?
I'd say our team is in a hard place because we've sort of played every map other than Dust2, kind of, so all we can do is add it to our map pool. As for the other maps, we run all of our strats and we've added most things you can add to maps other than little gimmicks. Sometimes we steal little boosts and stuff...
We're just trying to find a way to become consistent. We know our peak level is really high, but we can also be really bad, like you saw at the Minor and at some other events where we played badly. We're trying to answer the question of "How do you become a top team like Astralis?"
And how do you think you can answer it?
I think a lot of it has to do with preparation, and also just people playing a lot. I feel like individual performances falter a lot when people don't play as much. You saw it in Stockholm, especially. Na`Vi looked weak, and we were weak as well, there were a lot of rough rounds and so on. It's just a mixture of everything, it's not really a one-answer-question.
Regarding the Liquid match, did you like the draw? Were you looking forward to it? Or were you a bit afraid because they have a good record against you guys?
We weren't happy with the draw, Liquid is one of the harder teams to play against. Usually, NA teams play better against other NA teams, but I feel like our team plays better against European teams, for some reason. I don't know why. We play timider against Liquid, who have one of the best trios of riflers in the whole game, because if we make any sort of mistake against them we lose. I think just drawing FaZe and Liquid in our group was rough, especially hearing about the roster movements in the other group and stuff like that, so yeah... To answer your question: No, we weren't happy drawing Liquid first.
You still managed to play a decent game of Counter-Strike, it wasn't a whitewash or anything like that, and after you played FaZe, who were one of the favorites before we saw what happened to them. Did you have time to prepare the match against them?
Our prep before this LAN was literally all for Liquid. As you saw, we played Dust2, which is a map we don't usually play, because we were expecting them to pick it. We played decent other than getting eco'd three times... For FaZe we had a day of prep, after the Liquid match. We did as much as we could, but it definitely wasn't much, we watched like a map or two...
So what was the game plan going into it?
We noticed a few tendencies of theirs, but it was hard to compare their styles because some of the demos were of karrigan calling, others of NiKo calling, right now we don't even know who's calling or what state they're in... Preparing was a little harder for them because there were a lot of unknowns, so we just focused more on our own game and trying to play well for ourselves.
Do you think coming in relaxed while Liquid and FaZe came straight from the Major was advantageous? Or perhaps the opposite?
I don't really think it's an advantage because the last event we played was Stockholm. We played NiP, to whom we lost the BO1, and then we played the second best team in the world, Na`Vi, in the elimination match...
You took a map off of them, at least, if I remember correctly...
Yeah, we won Inferno, but we thought the same thing was going to happen here in New York, where we play the third best team in the world and then the fifth best team in the world in an elimination match, so we were kind of thinking, "that really sucks." Even that good run we had at StarLadder, we lost the two first matches. It takes us a little bit to get into a tournament...
To answer your question, though, I don't think it's an advantage. I think us not playing a match for a month has hurt us because we don't even know where we're at right now. We came last place in Stockholm, right? So are we a last place kind of team? Then we see compLexity doing well at the Major and we wonder, "could we have done that?" So all these questions start swirling in your head, you get Liquid first, and then you potentially go out last again? I think it's a bit of a negative for us because we're trying to judge where we're at. Are we improving, still? Are we stagnating? So yeah, I think it's a negative.
The Major was actually fairly long, so was it hard for you to practice having most teams traveling to Europe and so on?
Yeah, that's another negative concerning our preparation for this event. There are only like four teams we could scrim. I'm not going to say they're bad teams, because they're not bad teams, but they're not at the level of Liquid or Astralis or Na`Vi or FaZe, so when we scrim we always win. All of the time. We win both pistols, first gun rounds, and we win, like, 22-8, right?
At this event, you could see this against Liquid, we're not used to losing T pistol on Mirage, so our T-side becomes a lot harder for me to call risky stuff on, which I usually would if we had the economy. In that sense, scrimming the teams we have been scrimming against has hurt us a lot because we think a lot of things work when they actually don't. Now, we have to come to LAN and sort of try to pick out what actually works, so it's like we're practicing while playing matches. It's tough.
Moving into the elimination match, Liquid vs. G2. Would you rather revenge against Liquid or would you prefer to play G2?
We would prefer to play G2. I don't care about revenge against Liquid, I would rather just not play them. G2 definitely look really good, a lot better than when we played that BO1 against them at ECS after they had just put together the lineup, but I think it's safe to say Liquid is the better team of the two. I'd say we'd rather play G2, but it's going to be a hard match either way.
You've been playing the AWP a bit, is it something you've been practicing?
We started doing that in Shanghai, I AWPed a lot on Train against Gambit, there, so it's something we've been doing for a while. The reasoning is that Brehze, Nahte, and FugLy are not necessarily better AWPers than me, they may be the same level or just a little bit better, so the logic is that I'm the worst rifler but I can get at least one kill with the AWP. AWPing is not that hard as long as you know how to position yourself, so the logic is the worst rifler AWPs and then you get to keep the rifles in the good riflers' hands.
You were talking about doubts you were having as a team that arose from not playing in a while and from watching other teams and so on, how important is it to get a good result, here, taking that into consideration?
It's very important, I even said it before this event, I said that we really need a good result in New York because if we come last in Stockholm and then come last here, even though we're playing top opposition, it still hurts us as a team. Even though we're going out at events playing the best teams, we're still coming out in last place, and that means we shouldn't be making playoffs if we can't beat playoff caliber teams. So yeah, we definitely need to make playoffs here.
How big of a confidence boost was the FaZe victory, then?
It was a very big confidence boost because, as I said before, we haven't won a match in a long time. The last match we won was, with our starting five, in Shanghai against TYLOO. It was the last time our current five played a match and won.
So the goal is playoffs...
Yeah, because we still have a lot of events ahead of us. We have StarSeries a week after this, then we have Chicago, and if we make ECS and Pro League... So yeah, I think playoffs is our main goal. At least to just get back up and running.