NRG kicked off the day with a loss to North, as the Danes had an ace up their sleeve letting Cache, a map they had never played before, slip through the veto. daps and his team were able to rein it back in, however, winning their second match of the day, this time a best-of-three, against MVP PK.
We touched upon several topics with daps, from today's matches against North and MVP PK, to the team's consistency issues, coming to Chicago straight from cs_summit 3, the benefits of teams with large infrastructure behind them, and even the qualities of the AUG and Krieg as viable weapons in the current meta.
Let's start with the match against North. I talked to cadiaN earlier and he mentioned how you were caught off-guard with the veto going to Cache. Were you?
Yeah, we were, they don't play the map at all. It's one of our least played maps, as well, so it was kind of hard. We prepared for summit, and with this coming up instantly after, it made it pretty hard. We came here right after the final, and yeah, we were caught off-guard, but I still think we should have won if it were a normal day in which we were playing well. We were up 7-1 on the T-side, but then lost a lot of rounds, like, we lost one round with three guys in forklift instead of going into site when we had cleared it... there were just a lot of bad plays by us. It caught us off-guard but we shouldn't have lost.
It's funny you mention losing after coming from summit, where you just won, and then Na`Vi, who came from BLAST, where they won, also lost their opener. Do you think there's something, perhaps mental or physiological, about winning a tournament and going directly to another one?
I think it's definitely burnout. I don't believe in carrying momentum from a win into another LAN. I think if you're a team that hasn't been to a LAN in a while you have an advantage because you probably have stuff you prepared for it that aren't using online, so I think it hurts you if you jump from one LAN to another. On top of that, before summit, we played 30 online games and didn't have any time to scrim even if we wanted to, so it has been pretty rough, although we're obviously happy we won summit.
We spoke at the beginning of the season, at ESL One New York, after a rough loss in Stockholm—albeit after losses to two good teams—, and you weren't quite sure where you stood...
And we were coming right out of the break.
Exactly, and you were trying to find your place. You have a couple of tournaments under your belt now, including the aforementioned victory at cs_summit 3, how are you feeling? Have you found your place?
I think we know what level we're at, but the level we're at isn't the level we need to be at to win events like this. I think we always have a chance of beating anybody, even a top 5 team. Obviously, we have a lower chance of beating a top 5 team because they're better, but I think where we're ranked right now is accurate. The problem with us is that we're so inconsistent in terms of comms and day-to-day stuff. One day we could all be talking a lot and having great ideas flowing, and other days it could be one guy talking and no one else. It doesn't happen that much, we're usually better...
Why is this? What causes it?
There are tonnes of factors that add to it. It could be being tired, being burnt out, not waking up at a proper time, not eating the right thing before a match, not having enough energy... all that stuff adds up.
Is there a way to fix it?
I don't know if those are actually the reasons we lose...
I don't mean why you lose, just why you may not be as consistent as you could be...
Honestly, I don't have an answer, I don't know what it is. Sometimes people are in a more talkative mood and sometimes they're not, it's just how it is. I do think one thing we could benefit from is a team of people that can help with consistency. Astralis have a full team of people, sports psychologists, trainers, and so on, and if you hire an expert in a certain field they're going to help you no matter what. There will be people resistant to the idea of someone telling them how to think and act and eat and all of that kind of stuff, but I think if our team had that, all of those little things would add up to helping with consistency. I think it's something that has helped Astralis a lot. I personally think if they didn't have that whole team of people behind them, they wouldn't be as consistent as they are.
It makes sense, a lot of people think that. They've created a whole structure that allows them to not have to worry about the small things.
Exactly, I'm an in-game leader, and I'm fairly young myself. I wouldn't even consider myself an adult, really. I still feel pretty young. While I try to be mature, I'm not the most mature person, and a lot of the people on my team aren't mature at times. Even our coach, he's younger than I am, and none of us have any sports psychology background, so when we're going into a match our main focus is just CS. We don't have that thing real sports teams have, regarding having a culture and stuff. We've tried to do it a little bit, and I think it's something necessary to be consistent. I don't know how much it helps, and there's definitely a lot of in-game stuff we mess up, I'm not saying having that would make us #1, but to get top 5 and become a consistent team that could win this type of LANs I do think you need some sort of outside expert. Even if just a weekly thing or something like that.
Liquid are also a team with a big infrastructure, and the players praise it constantly.
Yeah, EliGE talked about their sports psychologist, I forget the specifics of it, but they have someone who, like, wrote some books and so on, and that helps tremendously. I'm pretty sure every team that has had someone like that has said it has helped them, so...
You mentioned you have mistakes you have to fix, and with you being the IGL, I'm curious to know how easy or hard is it to manage all of the players' expectations in-game. For instance, getting the positions they want, the roles they want... you have a few talented players that probably want to be the guy with the good stats and so on, so how do you go about it?
The structure of our team is pretty much me trying to support everyone as much as I can. If someone has a Famas and I have an M4, I'll give them the M4, on T-side I try to run in as much as I can... other than that it's not as set as it may seem because I don't believe in set roles. I think everybody should be able to do everything on T-side. If we're defaulting and the lurker dies someone should be able to pick up that role if we need it. As for CT side, we've had the same spots for a long time. Some maps are worse than others. Our biggest problem I'd say is communication and remembering things.
On maps we're very drilled on we remember things. For example, even though we lost to MVP PK, we're not a bad Dust2 team. We just forgot some smokes on Short, we got AWPed a lot on our default... since we don't play Dust2 that much we just forget some angles we can die at and so on. If we scrimmed Dust2 and had time to scrim before this LAN instead of playing 30 online games, then we would have probably been able to beat them fairly easily. Even on Cache, against North. It's a map we play a lot in matches, but we're not really scrimming it as much as other maps. I do think it's hard to have a seven map pool, though, and we may just have to permaban something soon.
I also have a question for you, specifically. Striker noticed you were playing the AUG a lot, but not the Krieg as much. How do you feel about both of these weapons now that they're affordable?
The AUG is better than the M4A4 if you get used to it because it has multiple uses. It's probably a little bit easier long range if you're used to the spray and it's one-shot close range, which is handy in several positions. The reason I don't use the Krieg as much, while I do think it's very good, is because I'm generally entrying on most strats and I find it easier to run up into a site and scale with an AK than with a Krieg. I feel like the Krieg is better for someone who is jiggling and going for a pick. You can entry with the Krieg, obviously, but I don't feel comfortable with it. The AUG, though, I can use it every round on CT side and I'm fine with it because I've been playing it alot.
To close it off, what did you think of MVP PK? Were they what you thought they'd be?
They're definitely better than the last time we played them. They picked up that minixeta guy, and he's their best player. I think he top fragged every map, and he had a 1vs5 on Train. I think they definitely know how to play CS better than a lot of teams do, but I think they lack firepower. I feel like they're a team that would need another minixeta to get to the next level. Obviously, it's off of one BO3, and I think we just lost Dust2 because we don't have enough reps on it and we gave them free AWP kills that if we played the map more we wouldn't give up.
I do think they have potential, though, but the Korean scene is probably very limited. The Asian scene doesn't have that many players they can pick and choose from, and I'm sure they want to stay speaking Korean and not become an English-speaking team.
I'm not sure they could become an English-speaking team even if they wanted to, so...
Yeah. I think they're pretty good, though, they definitely know CS. They know how to play.
Well, that's all from me unless you have something on your mind, or something bothering you or whatever...
Nah, nothing's bothering me, I just want to win a LAN like this one.