The last match of the quarter-finals saw NRG maintain their clean 5-0 map record as they swept North 2-0, adding on to their clean group stage run. Today, NRG will face Vega Squadron for a spot in the grand final of the $300,000 event.
In the interview, ImAPet runs us through the match against North, what he expects against Vega Squadron, and some of the improvements and changes the North American side has been making during their time in Kiev.
You went 3-0 in the group stage, then you had a close match with North but it was 2-0 in the end, for a grand total of 5-0 in maps. How do you see the team? Solid?
I think we're good, although having the late matches didn't benefit us at all because we're super jet-lagged still. We used to go to bed at the time we played the North match, so that was pretty bad for us. At the same time, we also drank a lot of energy drinks which screwed us up because people's hands were shakey, those are two wrong things we were doing. If we just avoid that, and I think our game time tomorrow will be a bit better and there will be less delays, we'll be a bit more prepared and stronger.
You played North in the group stage, on Inferno. You didn't have to go there today, as it was the decider, but did you feel they prepared for you on the maps you played?
I think they anti-stratted us a lot, we could tell that they were not playing their game. They heavily prepared for us. They were nading a few spots, and we thought on Train they would go more to the inner bombsite but they were hitting outside way more. On Overpass they triple naded us one round... I mean, we kind of expected it because we saw them do it on their demo, but every move they made seemed very calculated and overprepared. Maybe that hurt them because they weren't playing their game, and maybe if they would have played their game there would have at least been a third map.
How about you, did you prepare and try to play some mind games?
We watched like three demos per map and we came up with a few nade spots. We didn't want to anti-strat really hard, but we did have a general idea. We played our own game, our own style, so not really heavily anti-stratting.
Tell me a bit about what you think about Vega Squadron. Do you think that's a good match-up for you guys?
I don't remember their veto right now, but we have the later match tomorrow so we'll have time to prepare, although they play kind of random which makes it hard to prepare for them. I think I saw on Reddit or somewhere, somebody asking, "Do you really think NRG will be ready for Vega? They're always doing something random..."
Once you play Vega you can figure them out, but we don't scrim them or have that many matches with them, so we don't have them figured out fully. At the same time, they don't have us figured out, and we're also kind of random in a sense. I think the Vega match should be another close one, similar to the group stage. I'm not expecting a blowout.
Stylistically, you said you're both a bit random, do you think it's going to be a match that becomes a bit of a brawl, going down to a lot aim duels and so on?
Yeah, I'm expecting a lot of 1vs3s, 2vs4s, 2vs5s on both sides. We're making a few minor team mistakes and some mistakes in our communication, which has been happening to us a bit more than usual lately, maybe Vega could capitalize on that. On the other hand, I think they have the same problem so it's going to be a straight-up brawl.
I interviewed CeRq the other day and he was frustrated with the way you were playing after-plant situations and anti-ecos. Have you had time to work on that while you've been here?
Yeah, we had like two days off, or a day and a half, so we scrimmed a bunch of good teams and talked about how we want to approach that. We didn't get to practice a crazy amount but at least we tried some things. One major change we made, which I talked to daps privately about it, is trying to have him speak more when he's dead. Kind of like what I read somewhere that STYKO did for mousesports.
daps has a lot of ideas all of the time because he's our IGL, so he has to still be a part of the game while he's dead. I think he knows a bit better than the rest of the players, and I'm not talking sh*t, no offense, but I feel like if he can control the game more mid-round, even when he's dead. I think we have a better chance of winning the round when that happens. That's something we changed after the last few group stage matches.
What do you think the key factors for tomorrow's match are going to be?
We need to play a bit random, a bit scrimmy, and I think we need to make sure our communication is on point because as I said, they're a bit random, so we have to have full awareness and not get caught off guard by jR bhop AWPing or something crazy like that. We just need to remain focused and not get caught off guard.
BIG are out, North are out. Are you favorites?
I don't like to say we're favorites because that adds pressure, so I'm just going to say ENCE are favorites and keep the pressure off of us. So, everyone who's reading this, analysts, keep saying ENCE is the favorite because I don't want to be.