NRG struggled in their first match in Kiev after losing several critical rounds with weapon advantage, although the North American side were able to bring it back in extra innings, 19-17, to take the 1-0 record after their opener at the Cybersport Arena.
Despite having won, a serious CeRq talks about his team's need to fix anti-eco and afterplant situations, the feeling in the team after making playoffs in New York, and how he doesn't see his side as a top 10 team until they can fix the mistakes they're making.
Let's dive a bit into the game, it got scrappy at the end with some forcebuys by Vega to get back into the match, and you won one at the end, too. Tell me a bit about how it got into that back-and-forth dynamic.
Personally, I think we should have closed that map a lot earlier, but we messed up a lot of post-plants. We've been struggling with post-plants recently, just overpeeking and so on, so we have to fix that if we want to make the playoffs. We lost against a forcebuy and that messed us up a little bit, they got momentum from that and made it to 15. Thankfully, we were able to get to 15 as well with that 2vs4 at the end.
You're talking about making the playoffs, which is a topic we touched upon with daps during ESL One New York, how important it was for you to make the playoffs to feel like the team is still progressing. How have you felt after you made the playoffs there?
Honestly, I think it has been going bad because before we didn't lose that many anti-ecos or anti-forcebuys, but now we're losing like 70% of them. We need to fix it. We don't know how, but we need to fix it in the upcoming days.
Do you think things are not going as well as they could or should, then?
They're going good, we're just struggling with anti-ecos out of nowhere. We used to be really good and barely ever lost them, but recently, the past two events, we've been losing games because of it. Against mousesports we could have won at least one map if we didn't get ecoed, and now it happened again and it almost cost us. Online we got ecoed four times in one match. I don't know what's happening, but we have to fix it.
Is this something you've already talked about and tried to find a solution for?
Yeah, we're working on it...
Did you expect Vega to put up the fight they did or did you think you would have a bit of an easier game?
No, I don't underestimate them because I played against them when I was still in Europe and I'm really close to all of them, so I knew it wouldn't be the easiest match. I'm not surprised that it was close, to be honest.
One of the things I heard from daps is that you didn't quite know if the team was progressing and comparing to other teams around your level. How do you feel now in that regard? Where do you see yourself?
I can't really tell. We don't feel like we're bad, I guess? We don't feel like we're way bad, but I don't feel like we're a top 10 team if we lose the kind of rounds we're losing. If we can clean them up, I can say we're top 10, but right now I don't feel like it. We used to be better in those situations and now we just struggle, I don't know what happened.
But NY was a pretty decent result, making playoffs. That didn't give you some confidence?
Oh, it gave us a confidence boost for sure. After Stockholm, where we went out in last place, NY definitely gave us a confidence boost.
Why so negative, then?
I'm just never positive. I don't know, I just don't want there to be mistakes.
In New York it was about making playoffs and proving you can play at that level against the teams there. What's your outlook on this tournament, where the competitions maybe isn't as strong?
Our goal is to make the final, same as last season, and that's pretty much it. Maybe even win it and not choke during the final. We're just playing match by match, we don't want to put extra pressure on ourselves, we don't need it.
You had a few days at home, did you have time to work on anything?
After New York we just had three days, one day we played three maps, the next we had four online matches, and the third I had to leave, so we didn't practice or fix anything, just added a couple things and that's about it.
Struggling on the anti-ecos, is that something you can work on while you're here or are you just going to have to power through it his event?
We'll work on it right now, for sure. It's not that hard to fix, I just don't know what's going on because in practice it doesn't really happen, but when it comes to match time we just play a little more scared, I guess, so we lose them. Hopefully it was just a bad day because after New York it didn't really happen. So yeah, hopefully it was just a bad day.
Do you think losing these rounds has an effect on the team mentality?
No, the atmosphere stays the same. Everyone is just trying to win and we don't get tilted or anything from it, which is good. If we can fix the anti-ecos and afterplants we're ready to go.