NBK-: "We came back with a good, positive attitude for this tournament"
After Vitality's victory over Complexity, we spoke with Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt, discussing the team's showing in Dallas, the reasons behind a two-man calling setup and the long-term prospects of the current system.
Vitality kicked off their ECS Season 7 campaign with a convincing victory against the brand new Complexity roster, securing a match-up against North in Group B's winners' bracket, which they would end up losing 2-1.
Before the clash against the Danish side, we interviewed NBK- to discuss the team's recent run at DreamHack Masters Dallas, their recent ascent in the rankings, the current in-game leading setup, and more.
In December 2018 the roster was consolidated with the addition of ALEX. In terms of initial projections, did the team expect to ascend the ranks as swiftly as you have?
No, definitely not, in the sense that it's very hard to climb the rankings. The big part is that we managed to be good when it mattered - secure results, get the right invites and perform at tournaments where there are big teams.
When ALEX came in we just continued the grind and tried to fight day after day, and then see where we end up. We ended up fourth, and we benefited from teams trading players, for example Na`Vi and the inactivity of some others. It's above our expectations, for sure.
The team flew in straight from Dallas - talk to me about the performance in Texas. Are you happy with your performances there?
I think, in regards to all the teams that were in attendance, and the overall tournament, it was an average/ok performance from us. We're aiming for better, for sure, but we still beat teams that were lower than us in the ranking.
I am disappointed with the match against FURIA, because we lost in a pretty bad fashion, which was the main point. If we had lost against them with a 14-16, 14-16 score, it would be a completely different matter, but we didn't play good Counter-Strike, and that's the thing we have to fix and be able to play good Counter-Strike day after day and never stop that. It's not insanely disappointing, but it could have been much better.
In terms of fixing things, your schedule has been very hectic in that you went from cs_summit to Dallas to ECS. In an environment where you simply don't have enough time, how do you go about adjusting for consecutive events?
You can't really fix a lot of in-game stuff, because you don't have a lot of time to practice. When you're on the road for three weeks, you need some time to relax and take a day or two off for team activities. In terms of game plans, we're just trying to switch some things, adapt some rounds and make sure that we know all of our tactics.
There is no magic - teams that have been longer together will have more automatism in a game and will be able to do the same things over and over again, something that we don't have. We just need to get on a server, the five of us, and practice tactics, remind ourselves what our strats are, and then practice individually. Those are the main things.
There is also a more mental side to it, where there were some bad things within the team or players who were feeling a certain way, which turned into a big team talk where we clashed a little bit. We came back with a good, positive attitude for this tournament. You have those two sides where you have to practice individually a lot and be clear mentally with all of your teammates.
I spoke to ALEX in Dallas, where among various topics, we clarified the in-game leading situation. Could you explain why the team decided that it would be optimal for him to assume the T side calling role over yourself?
There are several parts to it - first off there is individual comfort for him. For the team as a whole, I think, he needs some responsibility in the team in order to perform at his best and to feel like he has some control over parts of the game. He is fitting the T side pretty well, and he likes to do it, so it's a good thing.
I'm also much more comfortable with CT halves, so those things complement each other well. The only condition, in the end, is going to be whether it works with the team and whether we trust one another. As long as we have that, which started to fail a little bit in Dallas, we have no problem with that system.
I brought that up after the Major because, to me, long-term it's going to be more optimal for all the teams to have one person focusing 100% on the T halves and another 100% on the CT halves, instead of having one guy who has to take care of both sides. If one guy is feeling down, the other can pick it up, etc. To me, that's much more long-term, and it's a good thing that it's working short term as well. That's the idea behind it, it was an experiment at first, but it turned out pretty well, so we're keeping that for now.
Lastly, to clarify - there's no long-term plan to pivot the in-game leading towards a single individual, you want to continue developing the system that you currently have?
Yeah, we want to create a new system that fits our team, maybe it won't fit others. But I think for us it's the optimal way to make things happen.