nexa: "I think this Minor is where we actually show what we are capable of"
CR4ZY topped their group at the Europe Minor, defeating Sprout and NoChance to make it to the playoffs and secure a day off in Berlin. This comes after some underwhelming results, such as being eliminated early at DreamHack Summer, falling to Spirit in the MDL playoffs, and being edged out by G2 in the ESL One New York qualifier.
At the end of the first day of the Minor, we sat down with nexa to hear about how the team has been dealing with the results, how the 22-year-old has been approaching in-game leading, and more.
You've had this lineup going on for about eight months now, you managed to get into the top 20, you are quite consistent in being there, but in terms of big results, achievements, that is lacking at the moment. Did you feel any pressure to perform here at the Minor?
No, not really. We've been so close to getting to some tier 1 events but we always, you could literally say it, we choke it out at the end. Yeah, it has been rough for us, but we've always known we actually have the potential to be one of the top teams, that we can beat a lot of the tier 1 teams if we just get the chance to do it. I think this Minor is where we actually show what we are capable of.
Touching on the recent qualifiers, you had ESL One New York and MDL, where you were undefeated in the regular season, went to the playoffs and lost in the first round. You said it was just a choke, was there anything else that stopped you in that progress?
Well, before the MDL playoffs we had a 15-day bootcamp and then from the bootcamp we went directly do DreamHack Summer, and then as soon as we went back home from DreamHack Summer, the very next day we had to play a BO3 against Spirit. Everyone was super-tired, exhausted, we had no energy on TeamSpeak... that was just it. And then against G2, it was just a classic choke, I don't know what else to say. We had that game, 2-0, in the bag, we were playing so much better than them and then we just choked it, somehow, I don't know.
Were there any frustrations in the team after stuff like that?
Yeah, there were, but I would say we were used to it by now, we just got used to losing games like this. We just know that it is just one round that ruins everything for us. So if we can just stay focused, levelheaded throughout the whole game, we can stop these things from happening.
You as an IGL - how is that process going on right now?
I think it is going really well, people are listening to me and it is much better now that we have one voice that everyone needs to listen to and follow. I think the playstyle I like to implement on our T-side is making our individuals shine more, you know. I give more space to people to make individual plays instead of just playing structured, doing strats and executes and stuff. Yeah, but on all of the maps except Nuke I'm the in-game leader, that is where huNter is leading because you can't really do a lot of individual stuff on Nuke, and huNter and emi seem like a really good combo if you want to do strats and executes and be a perfectly structured team. So I just let them do their job there and they are doing it pretty well.
You are someone that did in-game leading in the past, then stopped, then picked it up again, then again stopped. Is it now something you are accepting as a thing you will be doing in the future or is it still something that is happening because it fits the team?
I will always do whatever the team needs me to do because we didn't have anyone else who can be the in-game leader, so it just fell on my shoulders. I don't mind in-game leading and I think even if I in-game lead I can still perform decently, especially on the CT sides. It doesn't really affect my gameplay that much, but of course, I would prefer to have an actual in-game leader and be able to frag out as I did before.
How did the preparation for the Minor go?
We had a bootcamp at the Kinguin facility, it was six days, and we were just going over all of our stuff, we made new pistols that we are going to do here, we made new strats, corrected some things on our CT side, setups and everything and, we are as ready as we can be for this Minor.
You started here against Sprout, which is a team you were 6-0 in maps against, now making it 7-0 even though it was more of a back-and-forth game. Tell me a bit about that, what was the back-and-forth about?
I don't know, whenever I play against Sprout I never get the feeling that I'm going to lose the game, even if they are up. I think, overall, since my Imperial days, I have like a 20-0 score against Sprout and I don't know why, I just feel like I can't lose to them, you know? Whatever happens, I'm just calm and level headed, I know that they are going to make a mistake somewhere and give us the round. That is just the type of a team they are. That is exactly what happened, it was back-and-forth, back-and-forth, and we won a round on 12-10, or 13-13, I can't remember, but we won a round with four pistol and one AK where huNter just went towards B, got three headshots and that was basically it, that was the round we needed to get us over the line.
After that you beat NoChance, you are in the playoffs, do you think this is it now? Last time at the Minor you ended up losing to ENCE and Vitality which ended up being top 5 teams now. Is this the Minor that you go through?
I would say it was expected from us to go to the playoffs, this was the easy part, you could say that we kind of lucked out on the group we got, it is a much easier group than the other one is. The real challenge starts now, in the playoffs. You still need to win two BO3s to go through and you will play fairly decent teams, you can arguably say better teams than us, that is where the real challenge is. But I'm not worried or nervous about the games at all because if we just play like we did today we can beat any of the teams here.
Lastly, another thing regarding you as the in-game leader, how do you work with EspiranTo? He obviously has a lot of raw talent, his last couple of games haven't been that great, but online he has been pretty good. So how do you work with him and what do you expect from him as a player?
I think he has the potential to be one of the best players in the game, his raw talent is something I've never seen before, I can only compare it with ZywOo. If someone just gives him the space he needs to make plays and get headshots, he will do it every time his team needs him to do it. That is where I come in, I've played with him for about two years now, I know all of his tendencies, plays, moves he likes to do and I just give him the freedom to do it. Maybe today he hasn't had the best day, but we actually haven't played any of the maps he thrives on. Tomorrow it will probably be different and I rely on him to make space on the other side of the map for us because that is what he really excels at.