EliGE: "After the break is done, I think it'll be more competitive"
One of the final pieces of our coverage of IEM Chicago is an interview with the tournament's MVP, Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski.
EliGE led Liquid to their sixth big-event triumph in a row, bringing home another trophy off a dominant grand final victory against ENCE, which saw the North American side win the first two maps, Overpass and Nuke, 16-2 and 16-3, before closing out the series with a narrow Inferno.
After the final, we got a hold of the Most Valuable Player to discuss the one-sided affair and Liquid's recent form, as well as who could challenge the best team in the world at the Major, which will follow the off-season break.
adreN was talking about how Nuke was going to be the hardest map, yet it was a blowout, why do you think it ended up being so one-sided?
I'm not really too sure, exactly, I felt like they weren't playing too confidently or too much of their game. It may have been something with the first map, but I feel like they weren't playing it like they normally play against us.
What about Inferno, do you feel like towards the end you were getting complacent or was it down to ENCE stepping up their game and finding a way through that made it so close, after all?
I think that just in general our CT sides are a little bit tougher right now. I think that T side on Inferno really good for us. I think Inferno is actually turning into a more T-sided map because there aren't really many options for the CTs, it's really hard to take banana control, and there aren't really many aggressive options that you can do to get the momentum in your favor as opposed to other maps like Overpass. I think that it's more that the map is hard on the CT side and there were a few unlucky things that were happening, some timing things, and that definitely didn't help either.
Obviously, you've had such a dominant couple of months, do you think anyone can challenge you at the Major, especially after you beat Vitality and ENCE in such a way?
I thought Vitality was going to be really, really tough this event, but I think that they're just a little bit burnt out just like us. It's good for us because we're playing all these events in a row and we're playing well at them, so it helps steamroll the momentum a little bit, but if you're not having super-good events all in a row, then it's a lot easier to get burnt out. And with Vitality playing so many maps, they played more maps than any other pro team, it's really easy to get burnt out and it's not easy to add new things, either, so I think after the break is done and teams get a little chillax time and they can go over new strats and steal things, I think that it'll be more competitive.
A lot of people have been saying that you have the most skilled lineup we've ever seen. is that all there is to the domination you've shown in the last few months?
We've been a really skilled team since last year when we had TACO. You could have made the same argument. I think people make the same argument for any top team, when fnatic was the best, they were the most skilled team, when Astralis was the best, they were the most skilled team, when SK was the best... I think that it's more just about how we carry ourselves on the server, the confidence that we have and what we do, and making sure that there's always some type of teamplay happening. I'd equate it similarly to Astralis and how they started their last year. They weren't super dominant like destroying everyone 16-0 when they started playing really well, they just were doing things together and they were doing proper teamwork, and I think that's what we're doing. When other teams start to falter with that, they have to go over the fundamentals again and we've been really focusing on the fundamentals ever since Stewie came on to the team and it has had a really good effect on us.
This is your third MVP despite you being one of the first people to pick up the scoped guns, why do you think you've been able to keep up that same form, if not better, despite the AUG nerf?
Obviously, the weapons help a lot, you're able to take some duels that you normally can't, but I think that it's just given me a lot of confidence. Just in my overall game, I've had a lot of confidence in my overall game, with the fights that I'm taking, the teamplay that we're doing, I have a lot more plays than I used to, so I think it's just been an overall confidence-boost that I've had recently. When you do things with confidence, no matter what you're going to do, as long as you do it and it involves your team, then you're going to be playing really well.