NiKo: "If someone would have told me yesterday that we were going to win this event I would have never, ever believed them"
We stopped Nikola "NiKo" Kovač to chat after he was named HLTV x betway MVP at BLAST Pro Series Miami.
NiKo was named MVP of BLAST Pro Series Miami after his team won the grand final of the event against Liquid at the Watsco Center. NiKo had a stellar event topping 11 different categories, such as rating, damage per rounds, kills per round, and KAST.
In a quick chat in the mixed zone after the confetti had settled, NiKo talked about turning it around with four victories on day two after a loss and a tie on day one, he touched on some of the keys of Dust2 against Liquid and how the map is one of the team's go-tos, how BLAST Pro Series events have been rough for the team in the past, and how to keep the momentum moving forward.
Yesterday to today, you started with a loss and a tie and brought it back to win the tournament. What happened?
If someone would have told me yesterday that we were going to win this event I would have never, ever believed them, I could never imagine it. The way we played against Liquid was terrible, against MIBR we could have won and should have, but unfortunately, we didn't. We showed a good result against them, but today was just a completely different FaZe and I'm glad that we showed up and that we can still play some goddamned good CS.
What changed, what was it that switched?
I don't know what changed, the atmosphere in the team was really good. We actually played like a team, we played like fucking champions, we just never gave up... we finally just started playing normal CS, good CS, playing together, not making many mistakes, and everyone was stepping up individually, as well. Everything was going our way today and I hope we can keep it up for the next couple of events [pauses] or for more events! [laughs]
You played a couple of good Dust2s today, you beat Astralis and Liquid on it...
I think our Dust2 is the go-to map right now. Most of the time it's our first pick, we picked it two or three times at StarSeries and we won most of them with the exception of the one against North, which we played terribly, but we really feel confident on it and we know that we can take on anyone on that map.
I don't know why Liquid didn't go for Overpass because it's still a good map for them and it's a bit shaky for us, so... I was surprised when they picked Dust2 and that's why we were very confident when they did it. Our Dust2 is just strong, we know how the rotation works, we know how the money, and that's what makes us good.
You had a really good start on it against Liquid, but they were able to bring it a bit close in the end. Why couldn't you close it sooner?
In the first half rain won most of the rounds by himself, he was 20-0 after nine rounds, which was pretty impressive, and that's why we got a pretty good lead. We may have been able to get that lead without him going crazy, I don't know, but on the T side we lost two clutches on A which led them to come back a bit in the half.
After that, we finally found a way to adapt to them and win the rounds, we'd been going A most of the rounds, like 90% if not 100% of the time, and then, in the end, we just faked going Long and ended up going up Short because they had focused on it a lot. They were leaving Long and fighting us on Short, so we faked a Long rush and took Short and that's how we were able to split them and close out the rounds. Earlier in the half, it was just losing some clutches, which they played well, and that's how they managed to get some rounds.
BLAST Pro Series events have been a bit rough for you guys in the past. You only won a couple of maps here or there. Is it a format that you need a good day on to win?
We always play bad at BLAST events, as I said, I never imagined we were going to play this well today, after yesterday. I'm happy that we did it and I hope we can keep this form up for their events, as well as other events. I don't think the format benefits us too much, but we're going to try and adapt and do our best to get better results than we did in the past.
I saw RobbaN was here, he was around, what was he doing? Did he help at all? Did he chat with you guys yesterday?
It's always nice to have him around, he's a really funny guy and he always brings a good atmosphere to the team. Having him around is always helping to have a good mood, I would say. That's what he brought for this event.
For the next events, what is it you need to keep this momentum going?
I just believe we need to keep the atmosphere on the team and to play like champions. There were many times when we just gave up, started fighting after we lost some stupid rounds, and people stopped believing that we could win and stuff like that, which today was completely different. I just hope we can keep that up for the next events and that we can keep improving from now on.