NBK on Syman loss: "We played like pussies"
In the first round of the first stage, the Frenchmen were on the receiving end of one of two big upsets caused by the CIS Minor teams, as Syman handed the big favorites a tough loss on Dust2 in the opening match.
Vitality managed to recover with a convincing performance against INTZ in the second round, converting a dominant 15-0 defensive half on Mirage into their first victory at the Major, so we took the opportunity to talk to NBK-.
The 25-year-old commented on the opening upset and explored the team's struggles in early matches in general, and we also asked him about their conspicuous wardrobe change between the matches, as Vitality switched from their new white jerseys to their signature black.
You left the last season with a long run of events, not being able to freshen up your stratbook and practice. Are you happy with the preparation you got in over the break?
We've changed and adapted some things in our game, like on Mirage swapped positions with apEX, small adjustments like this. And that's all I think we needed in our game in order to really achieve what we want to do in-game. The quality of our practice hasn't been the best because of ourselves mostly. We played good opponents, decent opposition, but I don't know, we just weren't 100% focused in our practice. But we have to make the best out of it and try to just show up at the Major and be good during the games, that's all.
Well, speaking of showing up at the Major, the first match didn't go your way at all against Syman. What was that down to?
I think something I touched on in the interview before on the stage that we had to dominate that game in the sense that we had to take over and really put Syman into our own gameplan. But what happened was the opposite completely, they started running around everywhere and just taking advantage of all the gaps we had, and we had no adaptation whatsoever in that game. We at some point just stopped reflecting and played more slow. People will say it's about the map or anything, but really it was just about the way we played, we didn't dominate the game, we played very passively, we played like pussies in the game, pretty much. We were just giving them all the space they wanted and they just capitalized on it. At this time, you can't give one team, no matter what team it is, any room to do that because that's what's going to happen, they're just going to take over the game.
Did you feel like you did your due diligence when it comes to preparation for a team like that? Were you able to look into them and see what they did?
Yeah, we knew what they were going to do, but again, we just didn't adapt the way we should have probably. And that's just something ALEX came in with a gameplan and followed it, which is what we do every single time, so there is no looking back on that. We just have to do better next time. And that's pretty much it, we went through the same preparation, same everything, and it just turned out wrong. That happens, and that's the good thing that you have three lives, and then you can bounce back and be good again. That's the only thing, one misstep is okay, but you can't have three.
Against INTZ it looked very, very different, complete domination of the first half...
I think it was partly revenge, our ego was stung a little bit because we didn't want to lose the first game, especially when you're the first seed against the 16th. And it hurts a little for sure, you don't want that to happen one more time. And that's helped us getting into the game and starting strong. And then they just played in our gameplan from the beginning to the end and we had the game in control no matter what they were doing. We managed to turn things around and put them in our positions. We didn't let them breathe whilst with Syman it was the complete opposite, they had all the room in the world. That's our wakeup call, the classic, I want to say, because it happens every first game in the tournament for us. (laughs)
Let's touch on that, as well. For quite a long time this French teams plus first games, especially morning games, rumor has been going around, do you put any stock into that, is it true with Vitality?
I mean, results want to say it's true (laughs). I can't really argue against that, we struggle in the first games every single time. We tried to adapt, we tried to change some things, but we still didn't find that magic thing... That's something we have to learn, you can't just give away the first games (laughs), especially if it's a GSL format, you can't just give away the first game, it's too much risk. It's something we tried to think about, not too much because we want to focus on another side as well, but no... I don't have the answer. If I had the answer, we wouldn't be struggling in the first games, so we're still trying to figure out what the reason is.
If you had to put a percentage on how much the change of jerseys between matches from white to black had to do with the difference, what would it be?
It's all about the jersey... no, I don't know. It's just that being dressed in black is more for business and now we came more prepared, more 100% into the game. We're going to have the white jerseys for media days, maybe a parade if needed, but when we play it's black jerseys and that's it. (laughs)