cadiaN: "This means a lot to us as a team and to me personally"
Following a 2-0 victory against Natus Vincere in the grand final of the ICE Challenge, we interviewed North's in-game Leader, Casper "cadiaN" Møller, discussing the series and the team's goals before the StarLadder Season 7 finals.
North secured their first tournament victory since the previous roster's success at DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018 after coming out on top at ICE Challenge, a campaign that comes as much-needed confidence boost following disappointing results in January.
Upon conclusion of the series, we sat down with cadiaN, North's in-game leader, to analyse the series and to discuss the significance of the victory from a personal perspective, mithR's contribution to the team over the course of the event and what the team has planned for the interim between now and their next event, the StarSeries Season 7 finals.
Let's talk about the map veto process - were you caught off-guard by the opponents' Dust 2 pick?
Our new coach, Torbjørn, expected them to pick Dust2, I was a bit more hesitant. Looking at our past history, it probably made the most sense for them to go with that pick - that's what they had beat us on during Pro League online last time. We had beaten them on Train, and our Mirage has been looking pretty good as of late. I think somehow it was an obvious choice for them. We had a little bit of preparation on what they would do, and yeah, I could understand that pick, but also it was not something that made us uncomfortable at all.
Na'Vi left Nuke open for you to pick. Considering the result they had sustained against Heroic on the map in the opening round of the tournament, what were your thoughts on this decision? You must have felt comfortable going into it.
For sure. I guess that's the issue with Na'Vi's map pool - they don't play Cache at all, and they play Nuke quite poorly, as we can see. They are super strong on the other maps, but they're lacklustre on those two, which means that any team that can play both of those maps will have a strong advantage playing Na'Vi. This was also the case today - they decided to go for the Cache ban, so we had to pick Nuke, obviously.
Now let's break down the individual maps - what do you feel went particularly well for you on Dust 2?
We started a little bit shaky on the CT side. We won the pistol, but we had some issues converting rounds late, and we've been having some issues on the CT side, where we've been giving a bit too much space to the Terrorists, so they can do all their executes and so on. This happened a few times throughout this match, but I guess when we got onto the T side we were super comfortable in what we were doing. valde had some insane rounds, which really helped, but the whole team synergy was very good. We were good at feeling out where the opponents would be and where there would be gaps in their defence, and that's why we were so convincing on the T side.
Nuke - I believe you managed a 9-6 CT half on your pick. Were you content with this scoreline come half time, or were you aiming for more, considering its natural bias?
I think our Nuke CT has been strong of late. If you look at all our results, we always manage to average like 10-11-12 CT rounds, so nine was maybe a little bit lacklustre, we would have wanted more, but we also got reset very hard in the beginning. We lost the pistol, won some random USP round and then we got reset again after.
I guess at the end of the day it seemed like in the latter part of the half we managed to figure out what Na'Vi were doing quite well, our communication was on point. Kjaerbye was very good at managing all the rotations from outside, he is super good at calling people around and where they should go, so big credit to him for managing to keep our CT side composed. He's key as to why our CT side is so good on Nuke.
Looking at the T side - towards the end it seemed to be going back and forth, suggesting that Na'Vi could have pulled it back. Talk to me about the dynamic of the latter half.
The T side started out quite well with a pistol round win. We managed to throw in a good fake there, and it worked super well. I think if you look at a lot of the T rounds, what I think you should keep in mind is how often we managed to figure out the rotation of Na'Vi, or manipulate their rotation to then turn around and go in a different direction. This is something I think our team is super good at on basically every map.
Right now, though, we are still trying to figure out our style and, obviously, it's not really any surprise that there are a lot of gaps in our playstyle as well, which is why we are not consistent at the moment. We need to try and reevaluate everything and start from scratch when we get back home. Try and keep the things that have been working really well, but we also need to throw out a lot of random sh*t and get a better feel of how we want to play as a team and how to utilise each other in the best possible way.
A specific round I wanted you to break down from the series, which actually plays into the team's ability to manipulate opponents, as you pointed out, was round 26 on Nuke. You managed to sell a fake B hit, re-rotating to A and producing a key round that, in my opinion, really sealed the deal on the series. Talk to me about the communication during that round - how did it all go down?
Kjaerbye, kjaerbye, kjaerbye. Basically, we have different ways of opening up our T rounds, and one of the key things is that a lot of people like to just give up Ramp as soon as there is a presence. So I think we go out Ramp, get a trade onto flamie after throwing a bit of a Yard fake. Markus (kjaerbye) was in a position where he could hear all the rotations, calling for us to go back in as we just threw out a small fake on the B bomb site and turned around.
That round, again, was due to him communicating as well as he does, highlighting what was open and what wasn't. It's something where when our style is working, the current style is we try to park people in different positions, where they can hear the rotation or they can make a move dependant on other people creating chaos on the map. In my eyes, that was a beautiful round of CS, due to reading the opponents so well.
Now that we've broken down the series, let's talk about more general topics. The in-game leader role comes with a sense of responsibility, frequently expressed in taking flack when results aren't up to par. As such, January must not have been the kindest of months to you - could you express the significance of this victory to you, personally, with this in mind?
In one way it means little, and in another it means a lot. It's kind of hard to explain how much this win means because in a way it's a show tournament for teams who are sponsored by GG.Bet, and in another way it's just like any other tournament - you can see in the faces of Na'Vi, Heroic, AVANGAR - everyone is trying. No one would be satisfied with losing here.
In one way it's a super convincing fashion to come here and beat all three opponents at the tournament and just gain some momentum for the upcoming month, which is going to be rough, seeing as we're not going to be playing at the Major. It means a lot to us as a team, and also to me personally - it's going to give me even more motivation to get back home and grind even more. I think the series against Na'Vi here, the grand final, was a bit of a better showing from my side, compared to some of the other ones, but I'm just hungry to go home and try and find my form again, and make sure that I can have a dominant impact in all of our games.
Let's talk about mithR. He hasn't been part of the roster for all that long, but could you try to quantify how he was able to assist the team over the course of the past three days at the ICE Challenge?
I think one of the good things, he's a super-likeable guy, but most of all, he has a certain amount of respect for us, players, because we have a lot of big names on the team, and it's the biggest team that Torbjørn has coached. I guess, in a way, what he reminded us of is how good we actually are, what kind of players are actually in this team - it's high-calibre players, which is also why people have such high expectations for us.
Torbjørn just tries to remind us that we are really insane at the game and he's really good at highlighting things that work, instead of always focusing on what's not working. He's good at saying: "Guys you're super good at communicating, the turning around, back-and-forth, calculating rotations, figuring out where the opponents are, etc", kind of creating some confidence, which we've been lacking. We talked about it for a long while - the main thing right now is confidence. We need confidence in us as players and as a team, and in our system. If we get that, I'm sure that we'll be a threat to everyone in the top scene.
In conclusion - your next event is StarLadder Season 7 finals. What does the North camp have planned for the upcoming month?
First of all, we'll be figuring out our system, translating that into different maps, making sure that we know our map pool from A to Z. Right now we play all maps, basically, but some of them are better than others, and we're not always sure how they're going to pan out. We need to be more consistent - we'll definitely be having a lot of bootcamp days in the stadium of FC Copenhagen, Parken. We're going to be putting in a lot of individuals hours in as well. Yeah, hopefully we can develop a good system that everyone feels comfortable in and see how it goes.