NAF: "I think the break knocked us down a lot"
The No.1 team in the world coming into the tournament in Berlin opened up the Major with a win over CR4ZY but struggled after that, losing to NRG and AVANGAR in best-of-one matches to face the prospect of elimination.
In our interview with NAF, the 21-year-old player explained Liquid's drop-off, the matches they have lost at the tournament so far, and what needs to happen for them to regain their level and have a good result at the Major.
You just beat North so you are still in the tournament, but why is Liquid even in this situation, playing for survival at the Major?
As you can clearly see, I think the break knocked us down a lot. In terms of skill, our skill is obviously gone compared to where it was before and then even our teamplay and our fundamentals are just not there at all as well. So right now it is going pretty bad, but before the North game we talked a lot of things that we need to fix, so going into the North game we just prepared, made sure we are not messing up, doing all that stupid stuff, we just cleaned it up. I think we expected to beat North, for sure, but we just got to be really rock-solid if we even want to make it to the bracket stage.
Why do you think it happened? You had a bootcamp, some people played during the break, what caused the issue you are now struggling with?
I obviously don't know what it is, it is a mix of teams getting a break, getting to reform themselves, come up with new strategies, and there is also just us falling off, I don't think it has anything with us being lazy. We worked hard on our bootcamp, even during the break we were practicing, I was playing FPLs with Stewie2K, staying up late and doing all of that. I saw Twistzz DMing all the time. Of course, I know that the other guys were doing the same. I don't know, it honestly doesn't really make sense to me right now why we are struggling so bad, to be honest. We just got to figure out why.
What do you make of the comment that ImAPet made regarding the game against your team, that playing against you in practice a lot kind of killed that idea of you being the super-best team?
I think I can understand that because I remember when Astralis were number one and we were number two, I'm not entirely sure why but we never scrimmed them. But I feel like maybe it was that Astralis never wanted to play us, we were close to them, we were number two, they did not want to show any tactics or even basic defaults. I think it was not smart of us [laughs] to scrim some NA teams during the bootcamp, but I don't know. To the original question, I can understand that, for sure.
So you lost to NRG, the local NA rival. Do you think they would be able to repeat that?
Yeah, I think they are an insane team, their lineup almost reminds me of our OpTic lineup, of course, they already have tarik and stanislaw, but even the roles, Brehze somewhat reminds me of RUSH, Ethan somewhat reminds me of myself, and they have CeRq, who is their mixwell, I guess you can say. So when I see that team it always reminds me of the young OpTic team. They have a lot of correct roles, they all get along very well so I think NRG can be a top team for sure, top 5, top 3.
You mentioned you are not at the level you want to be, people have been saying that this isn't the Liquid that is going to win the Major. What do you think you need to do to become that team?
Right now it is just knowing what we need to do. Even now, I feel like we make mistakes, there are gaps, even in the North game, they were flanking us when we were on the T-side, constantly. I just didn't understand why it was happening [laughs].
I don't know, we just need to play more. The more we played, especially before the break, back-to-back-to-back with LANs, constantly, that just helped us so much. I think we just need to get into our groove, we just need time, but unfortunately, we are at the Major and there is no time, the time is now and we need to strike. We really need to give it our all if we want to win, or else I honestly don't see us winning if we don't improve.
You won the Intel Grand Slam in season two. People have been comparing that with the Major, with some saying that winning the Grand Slam is the bigger feat. Do you feel that any part of the struggles right now are tied to maybe the Major not having that much prestige, not being that important to you?
No, not at all. Except for Stewie2K, we obviously haven't won a Major. The Grand Slam was a bigger thing than winning the Major in my opinion, so people have obviously talked about the pressure to win the Major. If you want to win a Grand Slam... well we had to win three best-of-fives and a best-of-three at four different tournaments, so I see the Grand Slam as being more prestigious than a Major, but then again the Major is a separate thing that you would love to win, I would love to win it and I'm trying my best out here. So we just have to keep giving it our all if we want to take it home and obviously we are not treating this like it doesn't matter, "oooh, we already won tournaments in the past, who cares". We are trying our best and as I said before, we just need time, but obviously there is no time left, the time is right now.