coldzera: "It was really hard being on the bench; I became a little bit depressed because I wanted to compete"
In a talk with Marcelo "coldzera" David at the BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen 2019 media day, we heard about the time he spent on the bench of MIBR, the initial results with FaZe, and the difference between EU and NA Counter-Strike.
The tag-team duo of coldzera and Nikola "NiKo" Kovač didn't produce great results at their initial LAN event, ESL One New York, but have been showing signs of improvement, at least on an individual basis, since then in EPL and ECS. With a month of practice under their belt, they will now be looking to impress at BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen 2019.
In our interview with coldzera, the Brazilian star admitted that being outside of competition wasn't easy for him, but he used the time off to reset mentally. He added that leading up to this tournament, FaZe were practicing 12 hours a day, and thinks that the way they will play at this event will produce results.
You joined FaZe Clan, moving away from the Brazilian core, tell me about finally getting the deal done, getting into the team, and the first emotions after making that switch?
It was really hard being on the bench, I competed all my life in CS, so when you get benched and you wait for a few months it's kinda hard. After we got the deal done, it was really good for me, I was starting to get really bad mentally before that, I became a little bit depressed because I wanted to compete and all this stuff was happening. It was relaxing a little bit as well, in Serbia with them [YNk and NiKo] already. It was good, I reset my mind a little bit as well. After the things got done I got really happy, I wanted to play with NiKo since a long time ago. Playing with him right now is good, some stuff is still new for me, but it is really good playing here.
Tell me about the ESL One New York event, you only finalized the deal shortly before the tournament and it ended up not going so well, especially individually for you and NiKo, so that was a surprise. How did that sit with you, personally?
Personally, it was hard because we closed the deal two days before so we didn't have too much time to practice. I think I put too much pressure on my shoulders as well, I wanted to show a good level of CS on the first day but I was not competing for 3 months. People can say "yeah, it's gonna be the same thing", but it's different, believe me, it's really different when you don't compete for 3 months. I was in shape individually, but at the same time, I put too much pressure on my shoulders because I wanted to show so much. In the end, it was just the first tournament, that's fine, we just had two days of practice, of course, we couldn't expect a win. We played bad, we had a bad result, we had bad individual performances as well, but that's fine, sometimes that happens, and we will figure it out for the next tournaments.
Not being an active player — obviously, you played FPL and stuff like that —, but was it difficult to play competitively after the meta changes that happened? Was that a part of the issues you had?
Yeah, of course, everyone is playing really fast. I was watching a lot of demos as well, not just playing FPL, but it's kinda different when you come to a tournament without competing for 3 months, it is different, the way you play online is not the same as when you play on LAN. I was really pressured about that and people showed a good team play level [against us]. We played EG and they are pretty good as a team, it was hard to play the first game against EG with our team which was together for 2 days. Since then, I stopped putting pressure on myself and I started to play better. At ESL Pro League we played really good as a team, we just lost to mousesports and we saw the mistakes after that match and we saw we lost to ourselves, but in terms of performance, it was really good.
What is the experience being in the European circuit now, coming in from NA considering FPL, online matches that you played in ECS... How does that compare to NA?
I think the difference is that in NA you have a lot of teams to play as well, FPL has a good level, but not as good, but talking about teams, you have Liquid, EG, Cloud9, the new Complexity team, and FURIA - they are the 5 teams you can have good practice with, but at the same time, you play against them in tournaments. I think you don't have a lot of good teams you can practice against without showing your strats. That's the most heartbreaking part of NA. You don't have too many good teams to practice against, and if you show them good strats, they can record the demos, everyone has a coach, an analyst, they are bringing them to the server... If you start to show everything you have, it can be really painful when you face them in the match.
The crucial part is that in Europe you have a lot of teams to play, if you want to play against tier 2, tier 3 or tier 1 teams, they all play really well. They have good mechanics, good skills, and everyone knows how to play CS. In Europe, you have a lot of teams you can practice against and you can show them everything and you are never going to face them. That's the difference between Europe and NA right now, and the skill level here is really insane.
We touched on it at the beginning, you finally playing with NiKo. The first tournament didn't go so well, and then at some other events, he still didn't play to his standard level, still. So there was some criticism about the NiKo and coldzera hype not being worth it. How has playing with NiKo been from your perspective?
Of course, there is gonna be some hype because of me and him playing together, we were among the best players in the world for a long time. But it's really different, people can not expect us to be beating everyone after being a team for 2 days. It doesn't work like that right now. In the past it could have worked, but nowadays everyone plays so good, everyone knows how to study the game and prepare really well, and everyone has a skill level on point for every tournament. It is not the same anymore.
I think we are doing a good job right now with the team, we changed all the roles, they brought broky and myself, we changed olofmeister to be the AWPer, NiKo to in-game leader, and I think only rain was kept the same - it's different for everyone, a new game for everyone, everyone is learning how to play together and right now we put in a lot of effort for this tournament, we practiced 12 hours every day, we put in hard work. If we lose some match, we are still fine, we are still fixing our mistakes and trying to figure out how to play more as a team and stop doing more individual plays. We have some new plays, some new stuff as well, we know how to play as a team, we know how to use ourselves as individuals, play fast, play slow, we are focusing on having a lot of strats and lot of ways to play against some teams.
Right now, with NiKo being the in-game leader, he is pretty good. People say "he is bad", but he is pretty good, he understands the game pretty well, and YNk is helping him a lot on that part, to structure the team and he's doing a good job. Everyone has a lot of confidence in NiKo's calls and I think, from my perspective, it's pretty good. For the meta right now, the way we will play at this tournament is going to be really good.
Just before this event, you played ECS qualifier and you lost to Virtus.pro and earlier you lost to BIG in one of the qualifiers. Did those results impact the confidence of the team negatively?
No, not sure about that, I don't think so. We lost to Virtus.pro but at the same time we are playing so much CS, we were kinda tired, we woke up every day at 10 AM, but it's not an excuse, we played a little bit bad against them. But it is the same thing, we are trying to fix our mistakes, we are a new team, we are playing together for a month. We watched the match against Virtus.pro and we found a lot of mistakes on Inferno we could fix for this tournament. We didn't play too many official matches yet, that's why I'm saying it's always different when you practice and when you play officials. That's why we will try to play more officials to figure out our mistakes because sometimes we do mistakes we can not see during practice - when you play officials you can see them and you can fix them.
The loss against Virtus.pro was good, especially because it was Inferno, as we are going to play a lot of Infernos here. We saw our mistakes and we already had some talks about these mistakes in the game. The important thing right now is that we improve step by step as a team and as a unit as well. That way we understand each other better in the game and outside the game, and build confidence around ourselves.