adreN: "Right now I'm just very focused on the strategic side"
Liquid have grabbed their first win in the New Legends Stage after beating AVANGAR in the opening round and we used the opportunity to speak to Eric "adreN" Hoag about his role, the AWPing situation in the team, and more.
The first day has gone well for Liquid so far as they have won their opening match, although their encounter with AVANGAR was perhaps closer than expected, as they had to turn around a 9-12 disadvantage on the CT side of Overpass against the Kazakhstani side.
After the match, we caught up with their coach, adreN, who was brought on at the end of last year alongside Jake "Stewie2K" Yip, to find out what the new lineup has been up to since their win at iBUYPOWER Masters, ask him about his new role, and about their first match at IEM Katowice.
First things first, talk me through what Liquid have been up to since your win at iBUYPOWER Masters, what have you been focusing on?
First thing at iBUYPOWER was just integrating Stew, there was a decent amount of changes in terms of who's AWPing where, who's lurking now, because the Stewie-TACO role isn't like a perfect swap. That was just mainly our focus all throughout the bootcamp up to iBUYPOWER, focusing on Stew and then just refreshing Stew on all the strategies they have and me learning the strategies, as well, and helping them. It was a lot of focusing on ourselves, honestly, I personally did a lot of prep against Astralis before the bootcamp, but it really wasn't our focus during the bootcamp, it was just for my knowledge and to understand what's our weakness versus them, why are we losing. But everything at the bootcamp was just focusing on us.
But since then, has that been the same for the last month?
Yeah, I haven't really done too much against the teams because they were just so many teams, it would honestly be a waste of my time to research all these teams right now. So, we're just taking it match by match and we'll just do research like that. Everything else is just focus on the team.
Can you tell me more about your role and what you bring to the table? What areas are you focusing on?
Right now, I'm just very focused on the strategic side. We did have a mental coach come in for a little bit and help the team. Right now, the attitude within the team is really good, though, so we're really just focused on strategy, which is great because if there are no team issues or anything, you can actually just focus on the game. What I'm doing is basically collecting notes of all of our strategies, all of our pistols, our gameplan, things that we can do on both sides. While I watch scrims, I just point out their weaknesses, write down the good things I like and basically just wherever we can improve, where we're weak, I just try to bring it up the next day and talk about it.
You touched on figuring out who's AWPing, but based on iBUYPOWER it just looks like everyone can pick it up, is there any sort of hierarchy in who can play it, when and where?
Not really. Right now it's really map dependent, Nick likes AWPing on some maps and on some maps he's like 'if you want to AWP, you can do it.' There's a little bit of structure in it, who can grab it and what you can do with it, but right now it's very map dependent, site dependent, even on certain sites of maps, NAF might AWP and then Stewie might AWP and they're at the same bombsite. So we've had to have a little bit of structure there because we can't have both of them AWPing. And then if they swap to A, then it messes up setups and those tiny little mistakes that happen when you swap players like that, that's going to cause us to lose, so that was one of my worries that we weren't going to have enough structure in the AWP department. It's still a work in progress because there are small gaps when someone who doesn't usually AWP is AWPing. But I think it's actually really good because it gives us a lot of freedom and creativity to the players and things that they can do to win.
You had a lot more struggles against AVANGAR than we would have expected, what were your takeaways from this first match?
I think we just gave too much respect. Our T side was extremely slow, we just weren't taking control of certain things, there were a couple of different ideas from different players in what we should do. I think we just need a clear, concise 'guys, we're doing this in this round, it's going to work like this', have more of a set plan because everyone was bouncing around little things and by the time we figured out what we were doing, there were 20 seconds on the clock. We were respecting them a little bit too much. Once we got economy control on CT side it was a little bit easier, but even on the CT side we gave a little bit too much respect to their playstyle specifically. I think playing passively against that team isn't that great.
You mentioned not preparing for everyone here, but you did have about a day beforehand, was their playstyle something you looked into?
Yeah, we definitely did prep, we did prep on a couple of maps for them. Overpass was the map it was going to be on, so we got the map we wanted. I don't think we got to do exactly what I wanted to do in terms of prep because it was a little bit different here than at iBUYPOWER in terms of what I can do as a coach, I got my phone taken away, so I think I have to find a different way to prep the team. After I figure out the map, I want to talk about all these things that I've seen them do, their tendencies and stuff and I can't just have my phone and go through it all, so either I need to write it down or just talk about a couple of maps before we even go to the veto stage. But we did do a lot of prep, they're a good team.