tarik: "I think it will just be a matter of time before we get into the top 5 ranking"
NRG topped group B of IEM Sydney without dropping a map, taking down ViCi, FaZe, and MIBR in the process. The North Americans have therefore secured a place in the semi-finals of the tournament, on the opposite side of the bracket to Liquid.
We didn't talk in a while, so how is it being back into competitive CS? You had a small break and you are now back in the saddle with NRG, how has that been?
I'm happy to be back, I did take a small break where I was just weighing my options and it did unfortunately lead to me missing the Major, but I am happy that I took the time off to sort of reset and think about what I want to do next. So far I'm happy with the decision I made, coming to NRG.
How is it working in terms of your role in the team? It is a different constellation of players than in MIBR or Cloud9, so how do you fit in here?
I think that coming into this team they have given me the freedom to do what I want, which is making plays, but I also have to be smart about when I do it. So far, I have been happy about plugging into their system. I think there are still things that I want to bring into the team, that we can improve on, but we have made a lot of progress since I've joined and things have been going well, so I'm happy.
You used to call in Cloud9, coming into NRG and playing under daps, how is that dynamic working? Are you helping out with the calls?
I'm trying to do my best to give input and feedback as to how I think we should be playing. They have been taking in a lot of it and we've changed a lot of stuff since I joined, I feel. I think they are very open to hearing my thoughts and that is really important for me because I do feel I have a good idea of what works and I also have a lot of experience playing with different teams. I think I know different playstyles and I feel like I'm trying to bring the good from those teams to this team to make us the best.
How do you rate what NRG managed to do so far here at IEM Sydney?
Making the semi-finals is definitely a big achievement for us since we did only recently have me join. We also had a good run at StarSeries where we made it to the semi-finals and eventually lost to fnatic in a close game. But I still want more and I think that we are hungry for the trophy and I want to make sure that we don't stop here, that we keep pushing.
Looking at the team, it is perhaps not super-star packed, but you have a lot of very good players. What do you look at being your win condition? What do you need for the team to push to that next level?
I think that we have a lot of firepower, there is a lot of skill on our team, but we don't necessarily need everyone to show up. I think that, as long as three out of five are showing up and we are making good calls and we are playing together, we have a good chance of winning every game. I think that with our lineup, if we do have everyone showing up in a match, that we are a very scary team, so the goal is to put everyone in their comfort zone, make sure everyone can play their own game, but also play together at the same time.
Currently you are ranked 11th in the HLTV team ranking, but that is obviously based on past performances and there haven't been a lot of LANs you played at. When you play, where do you see yourself fit in the rankings?
We've only been to two events with this lineup but I definitely see us as top 5 team right now. Obviously, we've only had practice against American teams but I can tell, just by how we are playing in practice and how things are progressing, that we can definitely take on the top teams. I think it will just be a matter of time before we get into the top 5 ranking.