s1mple: "We understand that we need more time"
Natus Vincere had an inspiring debut with their new lineup at DreamHack Masters Malmö, finishing 3-4th, but failed to follow that up at the event that followed, StarSeries i-League Season 8, where they ended 13-16th.
We spoke to the team's main star, s1mple, and heard about the process Natus Vincere is going through, adapting to a new system and new roles, as well as s1mple's thoughts on potentially losing the #1 player in the world status.
After Malmö, I think a lot of people had higher expectations from Natus Vincere going into StarSeries, so what went wrong in Turkey?
Uh... I don't know, we had high expectations as well. We made a goal as a team, and it was only one goal, for ESL Pro League Finals, but now because of this bad result, we understand that we need to work much more before our main goal [can be achieved]. At StarSeries, we just made the same mistakes and it felt like other teams were more prepared than us. We still need time because on paper it is a good team, but it is a new team, and like any other new team we need time to prepare. We didn't change only one player, we changed our whole game with a new structure and with everything new.
Something that happened during the tournament was the admin leak that came out and some internal things were put out in the public. What is your take on what was said and how did that affect the team?
This leak was something I wouldn't expect anyone to do in esports (laughs), it feels really weird. I don't think this referee deserves to be instantly fired, but still, it is really weird.
Yeah, there were some problems that I didn't control myself because I didn't know why we were losing to such teams like Heroic or for example G2 because we just beat them in London. I saw the comment that B1ad3 told Boombl4 to become in-game leader again, it was just on Nuke because he felt like Boombl4 wasn't seeing the whole team. B1ad3 told him to get back to being the in-game leader, instead of thinking about his own game and planning what the team was going to do around some of his movements on the other side of the map.
B1ad3 is obviously someone that has a lot of his ideas and he wants to implement them in the team. Has it been difficult taking how he wants you to play and then implement that? Have there been issues putting together that style in the server?
It is not that hard to do, but it is hard to discuss it before doing it. You need to spend an hour or two hours for just 20% of one map. And we understand that we need more time because other teams have already gone through it and they already have their new game. Like Liquid, or Astralis, or Evil Geniuses. It is hard work, I would say, and there is a long road to get this.
There have been a bunch of slow rounds with this Na`Vi team, running out of time on the T-side, is it a flashback to the old FlipSid3 days? Is it frustrating to play with three seconds left on the clock and not having time to plant the bomb?
No, I think it is really different, it didn't happen in practice at all. Some rounds were slow, but sometimes B1ad3 also told us to play faster, to get map control every time... it is some kind of meme being late going onto the site, but it is not like in FlipSid3, it is still like in Na`Vi, but sometimes when players don't know what to do, that happens at the end.
GuardiaN is back in Na`Vi and he obviously switched from an English-speaking team back to a Russian-speaking one. Is that something that is a struggle for him right now, to communicate in Russian and have all of that going on?
I think he needs to fix his communication a bit now, because he forgot Russian information on maps, sometimes it is hard for him, sometimes when there is some fast action he cannot say everything, the same would happen to me if I would play in some English-speaking team, it is very hard. So yeah, he needs more time to understand how to use his AWP better in this team. I mean he can do what he wants, but he needs to find how to do it properly, how he has shown he can do it.
You are back to playing the rifle, has it been weird finding yourself in this situation again? In the round, you can now maybe go aggressive in situations you previously couldn't and finding the balance can be kind of difficult. How has that aspect been for you?
I think it is a bit harder for me on the T side on some maps because even when I played with Liquid, I played as the second AWP on CT and the primary AWP. I just understand that I need to learn my new positions and playing with the rifle is not like playing the AWP. There needs to be more discipline. But still, I don't know why I stopped taking the second AWP on CT, I need to do it more again so we can use the double AWP more. But all of our players can play the double AWP on specific maps as well. I'm just trying to find my role as well, always asking B1ad3 what went wrong in a specific situation, how to play it better. For example, I have a hard position on CT Nuke so I'm still learning how to play there with all this rotation around the map.
Obviously you need more time, but how deep are you in the development of the team to getting to 100%, or maybe it is better to say to an optimal level for you guys?
I think we will see everything at ESL Pro League Finals. I think we will feel at least at more percent as a team because we will spend more time as a squad. And of course, this tournament is good to just prepare our maps better, like Nuke which we lost twice in our last games I think. We are going to prepare our game and see what happens. We spent a lot of time but we have to understand that we need to wait a bit to get the prize we want. After we put in all the work I think we will get it. And now it will be more satisfying when you understand what kind of work you did with your team.
You are always trying to improve yourself and be the best that you can. The race for the #1 player of 2019 is definitely not decided yet, but ZywOo has been putting up some good numbers, and with Na`Vi's struggles, even though you personally played well, you didn't make that many deep runs. How do you feel about all of that, do you feel like you can still be clearly considered the #1 player again, in this year?
I would say that I feel a bit sad because I see all these results and a lot of these tournaments that my team didn't attend before, and we understand that because of that, you can easily lose the spot because your team is not playing. You lose experience at LAN games and other teams are becoming better because of this. I would say that some tournaments are still left, but I'm not going to be really mad if any other pro player becomes top 1, I understand that we didn't have results. I would aim for next year because for me the goal is to win with the team like Astralis did a year ago and, as I said, it would be much better to win with the team, it would be a new feeling I didn't have before.
But I'll try my best, I don't know, I'm doing the same, I'm practicing the same as I always did. Maybe sometimes it is not working, maybe sometimes some players have better days, or some teams have better days because they had better practice, but I'm just going to keep working on my game, keep working with the team, and we will try to show our best game.