NAF: "It feels good that we beat Astralis, that we can do this now"

We sat down with Keith "⁠NAF⁠" Markovic for the second time in two days after handing him his HLTV MVP by betway trophy for his performance at his team's first event this year, iBUYPOWER Masters 2019.

Liquid lifted the trophy in Los Angeles, the first one of the year, after beating their arch-nemesis, Astralis, in a best-of-three grand final at the Avalon in downtown Hollywood. Following the final, NAF was handed his fourth MVP medal of his career.

To NAF, winning the MVP medal means he's doing his job in the team

In the interview, NAF goes over beating Astralis in the final, some of the issues with the tournament and how that affected the results, the title match itself, and winning another MVP medal and what that means to him.

First question. How does it feel to finally beat Astralis in a final?

So, yeah! This is our first time beating Astralis in any best-of-three, I think [laughs]. There will obviously be people in the community that will say that this tournament wasn't top, and there were so many delays, but I think in the end both teams played their hardest and luckily we came out on top, so I'm very happy!

Would you say the final was at least legit, compared to some of the rest of the mess, or was it still kind of rough?

It was pretty legit, we even got soundproof headsets. I'm not sure, but I heard Astralis got those or something, so shoutouts to them, that obviously helped a little bit so we could hear better.

Wait, what was the question?

The tournament having its ups and downs, the final...

Oh, yeah, I remember! It had its ups and downs and there were a lot of delays and stuff like that, we were running late all the way to the final with both teams fairly fatigued. I think neither of us played our A game, so I have to give them that, they weren't at 100%, even we weren't at ours. Maybe they made some mistakes they normally wouldn't make, so...

Yeah, overall it kind of takes away a bit from our win, the community will see it like that, and even I see it a bit like that if I'm completely honest, but it feels good that we beat Astralis, that we can do this now, and it's the first time playing with Stewie, too. Even though the tournament had a lot of issues and all of that, winning was a huge part inside our minds and for our heads.

Walk me a bit through the match, you started on Inferno...

I think it was 4-16... It was a blowout.

What happened?

I think on Inferno we still have a hard time to how Astralis rotate and how they work. Like sometimes device is AWPing lane, sometimes he's in B alone, we still have a hard time and they pick up on it and they aggress and exploit our open holes. Like device will just walk lane, pick someone off, then we don't know what to do...

Honestly, it's just a map we're stuck on against Astralis. We're pretty good against any other team, but just the way they play it, they play it really well. Props to them, they played amazing, but yeah, it's just very hard for us specifically against Astralis.

But then came Dust2. What I'm curious there is with your CT side. Astralis going on the offensive on Dust2 could have been deadly, but you managed to keep them at bay. Tell it to me from your perspective.

Once we got on the CT side on Dust2, even myself in the back of my mind, I was thinking "oh, it's going to be like New York" because you can't do much on the CT side, it's kind of just like Cobble, where aggressing is very hard. You'll most likely die if you go for aggression, so you really just need to hit your shots, make sure you're playing well, and you have the proper rotations and make the proper gambles. For example, we started doing something we didn't really do in the past, where we started 4 A instead of 3-2 so we could fight long. We did that against fnatic as well, so yeah, we're kind of switching it up a little bit. The practice and all of the tough losses are really coming out and our Dust2 can really become something great.

Finally Overpass came, which you didn't win easily, but in the end it was a fairly solid 16-11... before you got into it, were you feeling good?

No, not at all, Overpass is a great map for Astralis. We were down 8-0 on the T side, but I think a great thing that we overcame, which we had issues with in the past, is that if we would have been down 8-0 before we would have thought that it's impossible and we can't do it, at least in our minds, but now we just kept trying and didn't give up. We thought we could figure stuff out and they started to make mistakes, I heard my teammates saying that they were whiffing some shots and messing up rounds which kind of gave us an entrance back into the game.

We started stringing some rounds together and then they got some back, but we were able to bring it up to 6-9. Going into the CT pistol, that was a huge pistol that we needed and we won it, so we kind of had the momentum going there. We lost a round to a forcebuy B execute, but honestly, on the gun rounds, we were feeling really confident. We were stopping a lot of their plays, and we were just calm. We just wanted to win. Even though, coming back to the whole thing about the tournament's issues, no matter what we just wanted to win. We just wanted to beat Astralis. It's something we've never done, we needed to make it happen, and tonight was the night.

Do you think there's a bit of a Stewie effect or an adreN effect?

I like the way Stewie plays the game, he talked a lot about how MIBR plays and he gave us his ideas, but we were like, "hey, we also have solid ideas on how to play our style." And it's completely different, they play slow and methodical while we're fast-paced and fighting as much as we can, so it was nice to bring someone from a different world to our team, and I like Stewie a lot as a teammate...

We talked yesterday, and you said this was a LAN to get to know each other and so on... Has that happened, have you learned a bit more about each Stewie and adreN?

Honestly, not so much. Of course we learned a bunch about them, but there's plenty more I can find out about them and how they are as humans both inside and outside of the game, so there's still a lot of time, but it was fun to pick up Stewie and adreN and get a win, it gives you this very confident feeling. It kind of starts the pace for us regarding how we go into the future and how our mindset is, so we're happy. We're very excited and the Major is just around the corner, and we're going to win that too! [laughs]

To close it off, you got a personal award, you're the MVP of the event... You got one of these before, but how does it feel to get it today?

You know, when I get an MVP it's nice because I feel like I did my job. Honestly, out of all of the players, I play the most "star" role. Like, I bait pretty hard... I play very slow, I let my teammates make the play, and I literally just watch to see if they get flanked and stuff like that. I lurk a lot in some maps and I'm on my own... So yeah, being MVP is nice because it tells me "hey, you're doing a good job, so keep it going."

Canada Keith 'NAF' Markovic
Keith 'NAF' Markovic
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
China Tomaten
2019-01-21 10:56
23 replies
Poland Unluko
2019-01-21 10:57
how u already typed
2019-01-21 10:58
2 replies
He’s Chinese. He prob has like 20 bots rotating refreshes and programmed to respond with stupid stuff like this
2019-01-23 01:58
1 reply
2019-01-23 09:07
Taco was the problem
2019-01-21 10:58
3 replies
Ha ha. Taco was surely the problem :D
2019-01-21 12:56
2 replies
Relax NAF - Astralis just had an off day
2019-01-21 22:17
1 reply
I agree. TBH, Astralis dominated the 1st map. I thought they'll decimate Liquid. But then something was not right. BTW, I was just trolling TACO ;)
2019-01-22 18:28
Argentina n4ziS1mple
taco was the problem
2019-01-21 11:04
1 reply
Indonesia Astranesia
stewie is the mindset
2019-01-21 12:33
"I bait pretty hard."
2019-01-21 11:28
3 replies
:D He needs these frags
2019-01-21 11:49
At least he admits it, unlike baitzera
2019-01-21 12:15
1 reply
2019-01-21 17:39
LOL Astralis was just faking and take what matters instead
2019-01-21 12:22
6 replies
Denmark JEBO
+1 true They diden't even give a 100% of them selfs. Saving for the real tournements.
2019-01-21 15:20
im crying lmfao stop trying to save ur ego, astralis wont throw away a tournament especially the first one in 2019
2019-01-21 16:43
4 replies
Brazil yalamix
2019-01-21 19:53
Garbaquid fan triggered xdddd
2019-01-21 21:58
Norway _koshin
There is no ego bro, these Astralis kids are in fucking denial, they know that 2019 Astralis will get bummed by the other teams #fullhomo
2019-01-22 18:28
1 reply
plus fcking 1 dude
2019-01-23 16:32
TaZ | 
China GOD742
2019-01-21 13:01
Lets see at the Major 💪🏻💪🏻
2019-01-21 14:11
Austria TheClemi
2019-01-21 10:57
1 reply
2019-01-21 15:04
Sri Lanka kvezee
2019-01-21 10:57
2019-01-21 10:57
6 replies
++ s1mple=God
2019-01-21 10:59
NAF leading in 2019 top 1 race :P
2019-01-21 12:20
1 reply
Sorry, but anyway s1mple god :(
2019-01-21 12:24
Indonesia Astranesia
devve >> s2mple
2019-01-21 12:38
2 replies
Singapore FallBlade
2019-01-21 12:48
S1mple tournaments 2k19 – 0 | mvp – 0 Botvice tournaments 2k19 – 1 | mvp – 0 So why? Btw top 2018 s1, hltv good
2019-01-21 12:48
Argentina n4ziS1mple
2019-01-21 10:58
5 replies
TACO: not sure if i am the problem or stewie2k just got the lucky
2019-01-21 11:54
4 replies
Indonesia Astranesia
lmao n1
2019-01-21 12:39
Stewie2k looks stange in that Liquid shirt, better C9
2019-01-21 13:30
1 reply
stewie looked really strange in SK shirt especially but i think the Liquid one is much better on him
2019-01-21 15:00
+1 axaxaxaxa
2019-01-21 13:33
Finland lasarus
2019-01-21 10:59
7 replies
Indonesia Astranesia
2019-01-21 12:39
6 replies
Yes they are. Smoke bitches
2019-01-21 14:14
4 replies
Asia kkkkkingj
fucking brazil shits
2019-01-21 17:15
Must be hard to cry like that.
2019-01-21 17:15
2 replies
Must be hard to don't have skill enough to give a good fight and have to use other things lmao. 1v1 Even Cloud9 win over Astralis
2019-01-21 17:42
1 reply
Maybe go back to cod bro
2019-01-22 01:45
Finland lasarus
2019-01-21 16:58
Time for NAF and twistzz to leave and join some other team in 3 months
2019-01-21 11:01
First question. How does it feel to finally beat Astralis in a final?
2019-01-21 11:03
Who the fuck cares about IBP Masters lol. Most shitty tournament in whole year. Go Liquid i hope you can repeat this win on major xD
2019-01-21 11:05
2 replies
First tournament btw.. Not saying it's not true though
2019-01-21 13:34
1 reply
its the best and worst tier 1 tournament of the year so far
2019-01-21 15:01
Slovakia ypsylonnn
2019-01-21 11:07
2019-01-21 11:24
1 reply
Cloud9's win could maybe be understood as a fluke but how fan Liquid's be a fluke? They got second plsce in so many tournaments and at the very end of the year would thrash literally every team until they met Astralis in the final.
2019-01-21 15:39
Don't let it get to your head though. Work hard still.
2019-01-21 11:29
Remember folks, North with MSL did the same before the last major.
2019-01-21 11:29
6 replies
:/ Reply needs to have actual content
2019-01-21 11:39
Yeah but that was a fluke
2019-01-21 12:22
I don't remember North with msl being on top 5 all year. Or North with msl getting to finals of half the tournaments all year. Just shut up and stop being such a fanboy. Liquid worked hard for this win. They beat all other teams on this and every other tournament time and time again, and proved they deserve to be on top. The only team they consistently lost to was Astralis, and now they have beaten them too. They totally deserve this win, and they deserve the credit. This was no fluke.
2019-01-21 12:28
3 replies
Myanmar Lemo2K
2019-01-21 15:11
Dude jk chill. Liquid is looking really good.
2019-01-21 15:52
Brazil yalamix
2019-01-21 19:56
People say Device is a system player yet NAF fears him! llololol should have been top 1!!!!!!
2019-01-21 11:35
2 replies
Sweden Zaser5
I think he fears p1mple more tbh
2019-01-21 11:44
1 reply
LeX | 
Russia mddn After beating them 2-0 at the Pro League Finals, you did the same here and stopped their grand final appearance streak. Do you maybe think that your squad is their kryptonite? I want to say we are their kryptonite because even myself - I feel like there is something about playing against Na`Vi, we know how to play against them. To me, I don't see s1mple as the star-studded player. He was just in the middle of the pack, not making any insane plays in this best-of-three, just like he had not in the best-of-three at EPL. I don't remember him doing that much, although he still had good stats and everything. He didn't make any sick plays or anything like that. We were preventing him from making those sick plays, or getting any clutch rounds, or playing in the positions he likes to play in. So, yeah, we are just that confident against them.
2019-01-21 12:37
NAF best NA player ever gj keith
2019-01-21 11:42
I'm not mean to say that NAF looks like a completely retard, but he just played so amazing every match, sry for those toxic words :)
2019-01-21 11:51
2019-01-21 11:57
Pakistan ostraka
''Wait, what was the question?'' LUL
2019-01-21 12:26
Lel... I guess they have not so much luck in katowice
2019-01-21 12:29
liquid is #1.
2019-01-21 12:43
Nice NAF!
2019-01-21 13:24
Congrats. Tbh i dont care who beats Astralis, just do it. GGWP & once again, congrats.
2019-01-21 13:29
3 replies
2019-01-21 16:43
Brazil yalamix
2019-01-21 19:57
United States K1NGKY
2019-01-22 02:24
TACO vendor was the problem
2019-01-21 13:36
Brazil morFeux
stewie is a great player.
2019-01-21 13:44
I bait pretty hard, lmao.
2019-01-21 13:54
2019-01-21 13:57
"..and they exploit our open holes" That's an...ehh...interesting way of putting it NAF.
2019-01-21 14:30
Tell the truth Naf. U guys won because shitty taco is gone.
2019-01-21 14:37
Liquid was the first to slaughter the robots (finally)
2019-01-21 15:24
Boi check again the head to head lead, 36-10 for Astralis
2019-01-21 15:37
8-1 Astralis
2019-01-21 16:58
They will be back
2019-01-21 18:16
Argentina Fa7e07
god NAF Pog
2019-01-21 18:40
I find it funny that Astralis fans are crying after last year. Let Liquid have there year and all will be fine.
2019-01-21 20:58
2 replies
its fine whit me that Liquid win, we have 2 wait to se if that can be more,,,ASTRALIS is still the best team in the world, whit 5 players is world rank 20, i dont think that Liquid can stand the top playes,,,
2019-01-22 01:40
1 reply
They breezed threw Navi and MIBR at ESL Pro League, 16-11 and 16-12 astralis on maps where its really hard to beat astralis on. But who cares about who is on the top 20 csgo is a team game. And also learn how to spell.
2019-01-22 16:02
Cs summit 2 ²
2019-01-22 14:35
"they aggress and exploit our open holes." The end
2019-01-22 17:49
Honest interview no bs from NAF! Respect
2019-01-23 01:57
Estonia RopzTop1
Astralis saving strats, this happened with North
2019-01-24 05:32
United States saRoo
holy fuck, you astralis fan really know how to dickride device. Regardless of how shitty of a tournament you people think it is. A win is a win
2019-01-24 21:41
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