NAF: "[The EPL Finals and ESL One Cologne] are going to determine who the real #1 is and who the top teams are"

We interviewed Keith "NAF" Markovic on day two of the ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals after Liquid saw TYLOO off in a two map series.

NAF's Liquid had a hiccup on their first map of the ESL Pro League Season 9 FInals, falling 13-16 to North on Dust2. They started their lower-bracket run on day two with a victory over TYLOO in two maps, and will now go on to face HellRaisers for a spot in the LB final.

NAF believes there's no real #1 right now

We chatted with NAF about their first match against North, getting knocked down to the lower bracket, where he ranks the world's top teams, what it would mean to play the aforementioned Astralis in Montpellier, and whether Liquid can keep their momentum going to back-to-back tournaments.

You played North on Dust2 and lost 13-16, a close match, but you were favored to win. What happened?

We had played North previously, at DreamHack Masters, so we kind of knew what to expect, but going into that game it was clear that they did a little bit more homework and prep. We saw that they were giving up Long a lot, and I'm usually a passive Long player on T side, so they started playing three Short and doing a bunch of aggressive stuff on other parts of the map, so they did their research and played great. With valde as their captain, it's something I haven't really seen before from their previous leaders, and I think he's doing an amazing job so props to him and the team and their coach.

What is it you've seen that has changed?

The way they play, their style is a little bit different. I'm not entirely sure, but it seems like when we played them it was a bit different compared to every other North. Not sure about specifics, but it just feels different playing them.

The TYLOO match was pretty straightforward, did you expect to be so dominant, particularly on their pick, Mirage?

Losing to North was a wake-up call for us, and TYLOO is a team that can definitely upset teams that aren't playing their A-game and can catch them off-guard, so we knew that we needed to wake up and go into it firing on all cylinders and making sure we're not making any mistakes or yelling at each other [laughs]. So yeah, I just knew, I had never lost to TYLOO, so I was just like "Never lost to them, never losing to them, let's just 2-0 them, let's smash them, let's go!"

You're now going through the hard route, the lower bracket. Only one team has lifted the trophy after losing the first best-of-one with this format...

I guess we'll be the second! [laughs]

Is that what you think?

I mean, yeah... All right, I'm going to be completely honest. Right now I truly do not believe there's a #1 team in the world. Any team can beat any team, and obviously we're one of the better teams, but there honestly is no such thing as a #1 team in the world right now. Every team can beat anyone, so we just need to keep on going and treat every game like it's not going to be an easy one. Every game is going to be hard no matter who we play, we just have to battle through.

That being said, a few of the top teams are missing here, so it's a bit about Astralis and Liquid. If you meet them here, will it define something?

Of course, a lot of people were thinking that, so I'm honestly hoping we play them and that we can put on a good game for the fans and prove who the better team is right now. I'd be looking forward to it if we cross paths with Astralis and I think it'd be an amazing game, for sure.

If you beat them here in a best-of-three, would that make you #1? If you can finally get that big BO3 win against them in an important match.

Yeah, it'd lean more towards us being the real #1, but like I said, with any other team... like ENCE, I think ENCE could be #1 easily, even FaZe a little bit, although they have more things to work on. It's up in the air right now, this tournament is huge, especially with Cologne right around the corner... these two tournaments are going to determine who the real #1 is and who the top teams are.

You've been putting up good results and getting those tournament wins, do you think you can keep it up? Is it something you can keep doing or do you feel some fatigue?

Individually, I think going LAN to LAN is the best in terms of practice, you learn a lot more there than just playing scrims, so I have no issues going to back-to-back LANs. Some people may think that we need to take a break, some others may think that we have to go guns blazing to all the LANs, but we're a young team, we're motivated all of the time, constantly playing Counter-Strike even when we're not scrimming, so I don't see any issues with us going to back-to-back LANs.

Canada Keith 'NAF' Markovic
Keith 'NAF' Markovic
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
1143
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.16
#1
oof | 
Luxembourg HLTVPolice 
Top 1 will be navi with boombla s1mple electronic carrying
2019-06-19 21:07
#9
 | 
Sweden Unluko 
Lets go Liquid
2019-06-19 21:10
#19
smooya | 
Austria shaakeh 
But North isn't attending Cologne
2019-06-19 21:10
cuz lan dodgers
2019-06-19 21:58
LAN DODGERS wont attend Cologne too.
2019-06-20 08:06
#81
 | 
Japan Tendo_ame 
ez for G2
2019-06-20 00:07
#11
Twistzz | 
Canada Dash_ 
wdym NAF and liquid got this
2019-06-19 21:06
#61
 | 
Finland autism@exe 
cause ENCE
2019-06-19 22:27
Name checks out
2019-06-20 21:46
Dreams that never gonna come true
2019-06-19 21:09
#28
oof | 
Luxembourg HLTVPolice 
still Fnatic.NiP 2013-15>today's shit
2019-06-19 21:11
Ofc
2019-06-19 21:32
#24
 | 
Ukraine s1v9mple 
It's not impossible, if s1mple, electronic and flamie can play at the level they did at Cologne last year and boombla isn't a complete deadweight like edward. then it might be possible. Though that is a VERY conditional "then".
2019-06-19 21:10
a very conditional 'then' is this a regional saying? I have heard 'a very big if', or very strong question but i've never heard someone say the accompanying but unspoken a very weak then or low chance of outcome . No point here, the phrase caught my attention
2019-06-19 21:46
#58
 | 
Ukraine s1v9mple 
I just invented it myself
2019-06-19 22:25
I liked it
2019-06-19 22:26
Not everything has to be a saying. He literally just said "then it might be possible", and then said the "then" in that phrase is conditional. Easy as.
2019-06-20 13:10
#25
 | 
United States G0LDEAR 
Ez for liquid
2019-06-19 21:10
they're gonna fluke like they did at esl one new york 2016 when they -zeus +s1mple and then fuck up big time
2019-06-19 21:10
#46
 | 
Turkey Samsun85 
Who?
2019-06-19 21:41
Boombla too heavy to carry tbh
2019-06-19 21:53
Hahahahahahahaha so true
2019-06-19 23:49
I hope but no
2019-06-19 23:49
Who is boombla i only know boombl4 (boomych)
2019-06-20 05:38
Some people, including FalleN the "twofaced" himself calls boombl4 as boombla
2019-06-20 10:40
#101
Brollan | 
Sweden 10i2 
I call him bumblefour, is dis ok?
2019-06-20 11:10
If fallen says it like that it doesnt mean its right
2019-06-20 11:28
I didn't say that it's right if fallen calls like that. He might know correct pronunciation for boombl4 and might be calling him as boombla on purpose. I just answered your question about who or what is boombla
2019-06-20 12:03
Did you actually think that i didnt know that boombla = boombl4
2019-06-20 12:37
No
2019-06-20 12:39
#2
jks | 
Netherlands edgeEEE 
NAF is good
2019-06-19 21:05
He's Nasty AF
2019-06-19 21:09
Nasty ass naf
2019-06-20 13:20
#3
 | 
Spain elskio 
Astralis you mean
2019-06-19 21:06
He’s right
2019-06-19 21:06
Owned by valde
2019-06-19 21:07
#8
 | 
Canada LARRATT 
fer budget rain
2019-06-19 21:06
Rain budget fer.
2019-06-19 21:08
#44
 | 
Canada LARRATT 
coldzera budget NiKo
2019-06-19 21:34
You forgot Fallen budget Guardian
2019-06-19 22:06
brazil budget dumpster
2019-06-19 22:30
+1 to the winner!
2019-06-19 22:32
dumster budget dump
2019-06-19 23:54
#6
 | 
Greenland kinley377 
true
2019-06-19 21:06
> top1 team > Loses to North
2019-06-19 21:06
Bo1 fluke
2019-06-19 21:06
Dont let this distract u from the fact that m16r never won a t1 event, got 0-16 at major and 0-10 at blast pro
2019-06-19 21:08
+1
2019-06-19 21:11
you right
2019-06-19 21:18
0-15 they went 0-5 twice, 0-5 in the 1v1 and if you want to go even further, they had one more blast where they went 1-5, which results in 1-20
2019-06-19 21:35
Forsaken scene
2019-06-19 21:49
Getting rekt scene
2019-06-19 22:14
forsaken > entire br scene
2019-06-19 23:55
2 major xoxo
2019-06-22 05:26
Unfortunately true
2019-06-19 21:57
Astralis lost north 2 bo3 in the same tournament when they had an era
2019-06-19 22:35
North ending eras 🤯
2019-06-20 09:08
#12
 | 
Turkey Zeria_ 
Mouz you mean
2019-06-19 21:07
No. Just No
2019-06-19 22:08
#13
 | 
Canada ZHF 
He still knows there's alot of work to do to become the true #1 team, respect
2019-06-19 21:07
+1 especially Cologne. Its so stacked
2019-06-19 21:08
#21
 | 
World breezy0 
why it is not a major.. more quality than most majors
2019-06-19 21:09
Yeah sadly ((
2019-06-19 21:11
#70
 | 
Myanmar xdcc 
if cologne was a major teams would be worse. only mvp pk will probably be a pushover
2019-06-19 23:03
#71
 | 
World breezy0 
yeah that's the joke actually, cologne always is more competitive than the actual "major" tournaments
2019-06-19 23:04
#18
 | 
United States jay_320 
Well this is the obvious statement of the day.
2019-06-19 21:09
Less delusional than Liquid fans, good for him
2019-06-19 21:09
#23
 | 
United Kingdom EKersh 
"I guess we'll be the second" more like I guess we'll be second
2019-06-19 21:09
''I think ENCE could be #1 easily'' he knows what he's talking about
2019-06-19 21:10
+1 canadians are smart
2019-06-19 21:18
#39
 | 
World breezy0 
+1
2019-06-19 21:20
#41
jhd | 
Finland JHdash77 
+1
2019-06-19 21:24
The hype is very much real!
2019-06-19 21:11
mentioning FaZe as a potential #1 team, nice joke NAF, you got me there for a second.
2019-06-19 21:13
Probably since Liquid loses to them alot
2019-06-20 00:40
#33
 | 
France flip1g 
it will be funny, if they'll lose tomorrow
2019-06-19 21:14
#34
 | 
Sweden Trkmag 
Gained respect for NAF, speaking the truth here and being realistic unlike a lot of Liquid fans
2019-06-19 21:15
#40
 | 
United States ScanDull 
Confident but grounded. That's basically NAF in a nutshell. There is a lot on the line both here and at Cologne (now that Liquid are confirmed for Cologne but I mean...their best opposition at GG.Bet Invitational was G2, so I didn't really doubt they were gonna make it)
2019-06-19 21:23
you won't win MAJOR in this century
2019-06-19 21:18
#50
JaCkz | 
Singapore ZyZy 
You want to make a bet?
2019-06-19 21:55
I never done betting
2019-06-19 22:30
No they're not...
2019-06-19 21:27
#53
 | 
Turkey Thunderball 
yeah its astralis
2019-06-19 22:04
#57
zonic | 
Denmark meganice 
Love that guy. If i were anything but danish i would be a NAF/Liquid fanboy. He is so down to earth, honest and not a douche :)
2019-06-19 22:15
#66
HUNDEN | 
United States DervGuy 
Exactly, part of the reason why I love Liquid.
2019-06-19 22:47
#68
zonic | 
Denmark meganice 
I understand. Many pros and hltv users could learn a thing or two from him and im not talking about aiming :)
2019-06-19 22:49
#72
HUNDEN | 
United States DervGuy 
True, 100% echo that statement.
2019-06-19 23:12
#60
 | 
Philippines etalynx08 
Deep inside he knew that Astralis are still the no. 1
2019-06-19 22:26
#67
 | 
Turkey DebbSoray 
It's Astralis
2019-06-19 22:48
we all already know whos top 1 and whos arent
2019-06-19 22:58
#74
 | 
Canada Michaelides 
That's the thing, no one knows who the TRUE #1 team is rn. That's why he said these next 2 tourneys may decide who it really is.
2019-06-19 23:39
not a fan of them but only astralis can be top 1 surely rn
2019-06-20 00:45
#73
 | 
Canada Michaelides 
NAF has been very humble lately.
2019-06-19 23:38
ez for astralis now thx for another trophy
2019-06-19 23:55
#80
 | 
United States DiabIo 
SeriousSloth
2019-06-20 00:07
#113
 | 
Pakistan LoOuU2 
SeriousSloth
2019-06-20 13:29
Liquid has perfect team. But if the team falls apart and start loosing i think Nitro is first guy that they are gonna get rid of
2019-06-20 00:16
unfortunately, I dont think he deserves to be kicked but he would be, hes a true team player, always doing and taking the roles that the team needs.
2019-06-20 01:07
I know but i feel that is going to happen
2019-06-20 15:31
nitr0 ? really ? he is fucking awper + IGL and play shit roles and he is still better than trash stewie nitr0 its such an underrated player
2019-06-20 02:23
Agree. Stewie is by far the worst player on Liquid. Even when he baits and hunt eco frags he is shit tbh. He doesnt fit in Liquid. More of a ego "navi-type" player.
2019-06-20 12:32
Don’t worry mibr era is close
2019-06-20 00:21
closed* ... before it even started. xD
2019-06-20 06:35
xd
2019-06-20 13:41
#88
 | 
Spain BlaNcoW 
New NaVi ez Top 1
2019-06-20 01:10
now i know why liquid always lose to Astralis in 2018,cuz naf keep telling himself "i never win against them,i never win against them"
2019-06-20 06:10
#96
s1 | 
Armenia gr1nch 
Lmao
2019-06-20 08:18
Astralis is the only real top team atm despite they're not in the best shape right now.
2019-06-20 06:34
#94
 | 
Norway flipflop 
thinking if HR wins against Liquid :p
2019-06-20 06:53
#98
 | 
United Kingdom _xC4ctus 
then its cologne for liquid to take then isnt it?
2019-06-20 10:31
#100
 | 
Belgium liquidfanboi 
SeriousSloth
2019-06-20 10:50
#103
 | 
New Zealand rowdog 
no ence, furia, vitality or navi so no it really wont
2019-06-20 11:38
#104
 | 
Brazil Karlogaria 
Shout out to NAF, really humble guy with no media (which is excellent) and great player.
2019-06-20 11:57
#105
 | 
Germany Shackrag 
what do they mean top teams are missing? except navi every team that belonged to the top 3 within the last year is there. They just had to overcome their struggles wich allowed other teams to go over their potential.
2019-06-20 11:58
#115
 | 
Sweden nabudareel 
Vitality, Ence, Navi?
2019-06-20 13:46
Considering that even Liquid players agree that they are not real number one yet, it means that HLTV ranking system really needs some adjustments
2019-06-20 12:18
lol
2019-06-20 20:10
nearly lost to Hellraiser #1
2019-06-21 01:33
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