NiKo: "YNk is staying 100% and AdreN is also staying for some more time"
We spoke to Nikola "NiKo" Kovač on the second day of playoffs at IEM Katowice, discussing FaZe's elimination to Natus Vincere in the quarter-finals and the future of Janko "YNk" Paunović and Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev with the team.
We sat down with NiKo on the second day of playoffs to get his thoughts on FaZe's struggles in their last match of the Major and find out what the future of the team's two newest additions, YNk and AdreN, is.
Let's first reflect on the Na`Vi match and the fashion that you lost in on Inferno, where they pulled off a comeback on the T side - what went wrong for you there?
When we went to CT, the pistol meant a lot for us since we lost it to flamie making another ace, which was remarkable for him. For us, we had a 10-5 half, we lost the pistol round and the first gunround, that's already 10-9. We won two rounds, but they basically just won the crucial rounds on our CT half and that's why they won the match, we always made some small mistakes when it mattered the most and that's why we failed to complete the map in the second half. The biggest issue why that happened is because we just played too safe, I would say, we just thought we were going to win by playing default, we didn't really try to adapt too much to them and that's what we messed up, that's why we lost Inferno.
On Mirage, they just kept rolling, especially after the eco we lost when s1mple went up A alone and killed rain, that eco just completely took our momentum away. They played great, we could never find ourselves on Mirage, so we just played badly on the second map.
We heard rumblings of FaZe looking great in practice, why do you think you weren't able to translate that at the Major?
Yeah, we got really surprised by the way we played at this event, we expected us to play way, way better. We felt really confident, we had never felt this confident in the lineup that we have right now. Going into this Major, we really thought that we can win this whole thing, especially after the group stage and that first half against Na`Vi, we thought 'okay, we found our game, we clicked, that's it, they can't stop us anymore, we are playing amazing CS.' And then somehow we just went bad... It has happened a few times to us, for example in Chicago to Liquid, we played really well, we wrecked them on the first map and then we just lost 16-2, 16-3 in the next two maps. I don't know if we just get too relaxed after we start winning or whatever, but we seem to struggle once we get a really big lead and we can't keep up what we were doing while it was working. That was our biggest issue and as you said, we had been practicing really well, we had had good results, and I don't know why it couldn't just transition at the Major itself. I'm not a magician, I cannot say why that happened (laughs).
We knew from the start that AdreN might not become a permanent player and in one of your interviews on stream you also said that YNk is on some sort of a trial period - can you clarify that and say what the future of the two looks like with FaZe?
Yeah, Janko will be staying 100% for now. He was kind of on a trial from his side, as well, and from our side, we didn't know if we were going to click together and how we were going to work. But after this event, Janko is going to be staying 100% and AdreN is also going to be staying for some more time. We don't know how the future exactly looks like, but we're going to be keeping AdreN for now, for upcoming events.
You have some time to reflect on this result - was there anything in particular that you have discussed that you need to keep an extra eye on in your playstyle for the next few weeks?
When we go back home, we are just going to try to practice the same way that we did for the Major because it really felt great, it felt super productive, everyone was feeling good in the team, so we're going to try to keep that up. Obviously, I'm just going to keep improving as the in-game leader. This was a really good experience for me, I think I changed a lot, between the way I called now and how I called before when I first took the role. The only thing we will keep focusing on is to try to expand our map pool even more, now we played all seven maps - which wasn't maybe the best idea, but we felt really good on all seven maps, and we felt we won many matches just because of the veto, we did it really well. Especially against Na`Vi, I think we did an amazing job in vetoing, against Cloud9 as well, and that's just because we played all seven maps. We're going to keep up with that, try to keep every map as good as the others and just work on our teamplay, try to be more consistent. We showed many highs and lows at this event, so we just have to find a more consistent way to stay at the top of our game.