stanislaw: "ECS lit a spark in us; we showed we're not playing as badly as we thought"
Evil Geniuses find themselves one victory away from the semi-finals in Odense, having bested fnatic in a lop-sided Mirage affair and 100 Thieves in a two-map series. These performances ensured a quarter-final placement for the North American side, who will face a fired-up Natus Vincere for the top spot in Group A.
Right after the victory over the Australians, we spoke with stanislaw, who shared his thoughts on the team's atmosphere after securing top four at ECS, the ability to combat confidence knocks and the performances so far in Odense. The Canadian in-game leader also gave some preliminary thoughts on the matchup against Na`Vi, scheduled for Thursday at 15:35.
A common theme for teams traveling from the ECS Season 8 finals in Arlington has been the scheduling difficulties. How was it for you?
The travel from Arlington was tough, we had to leave the day of the final. It wasn't as tough for us as it was for Liquid and Astralis, because they actually played in the final, but still, traveling from an event on a Sunday night, and having to play on the following day, I don't think that's fair. I think all teams should have days to rest up and prepare for the tournament itself. Hopefully, that's fixed for next year. But yeah, it has been a headache for all pro teams lately.
In an interview conducted at ECS, tarik shared that recent results at Chinese events had impacted the team's confidence as well as made you second guess yourselves in the server. It's a difficult issue because there's no objective way to deal with it, but as a unit how do you address something like this?
Confidence is a tough issue to tackle because as you constantly lose matches, it's natural to lose confidence even though you might not necessarily be playing as badly as you may think. When we go back and watch the game back during our review sessions, we see that we're actually not playing that bad, people are maybe just not hitting their shots or it comes down to simpler things. In terms of how to fix that, I think there's no real answer, it's just about hopefully getting a break eventually in the new year, where we can get a nice bootcamp and start fresh, because right now there's obviously no time to practice between events, and it's just about fixing your issues on the fly. That's all you can really do.
From the perspective of an in-game leader, it's vital for you to keep morale up in the team, especially at times when confidence is low. How do you do that?
Yeah, I think that's one of the hallmarks of great leaders, which I don't think I am yet, but I'm trying my best to learn everything I can from watching others. Lately, even though we've been struggling, I've been trying to keep the mood as positive as I can, and I have the help of five other guys and even our support system.
My teammates help me and make it very easy to keep things positive because we all get along very well, we all love to laugh, joke and not take things too seriously. I think them being that way is a huge help, and for me, I just try my best to keep things positive and make sure that we're still working hard and fix things as we go. It's a lot of hard work, obviously, but I think we're getting a lot closer as time goes on, and we're only going to keep getting better.
Coming to Odense off of a top four in Arlington must have had some positive effect on the general atmosphere of the team. Would you say this is the case?
Placing top four at ECS was just ok. I think that we were disappointed with our performance against Astralis in the semi-final. We beat them on Nuke, but then got blown out in the other two maps, which we weren't happy with because we feel we match up well against them and we should be able to beat them if we're playing our best. During that tournament we weren't, so I think with the downward trajectory that we've been on following the Chinese events and also after placing last in Malmö, I think that ECS lit a spark in us, because we showed that even though we're struggling and there's no time to practice, we can still go to three maps with Astralis and maybe we're not playing as badly as we thought.
Coming here, we're hopefully just going to ride the momentum. Luckily we started off well, we're still obviously very tired and jetlagged and there's no time to practice - it's sad I have to keep repeating this - but now we have a day off, hopefully we'll get some rest, chill out, use the day to practice a little bit and then just go into the match against Na`Vi feeling good.
Talking about your performance in Odense, you got off to a swimming start in your opening match against fnatic, demolishing them 16-3. The record between the two teams had been tight, but lately, you've been outshining them - how did it feel to have such a lop-sided performance against fnatic?
That opening match was great, I think that we were all just hitting shots and playing very well. Our chemistry felt on point, and there's not really much else to say when you analyse a 16-3, it's just everything is working for one team and nothing is working for the other, so I think that it was as simple as our chemistry being on point and us hitting shots.
The series you played out against 100 Thieves saw Mirage not only left in but picked by your opponents. Were you surprised at all with the veto considering the earlier result against fnatic?
We weren't surprised - we usually do our homework and we knew that our map pool matches up better against them because they love Mirage and we figured that they would pick that or Inferno because that's what they've been doing for the past few years. It's their choice, but we're comfortable on every other map so we were cool with them picking Mirage.
Nuke saw a solid T side from you, but on the CT side, especially towards the end, it was apparent that you struggled a bit, and had it not been for pivotal rounds like the pistol buy you won, a third map would have been on the cards. Any initial thoughts on what didn't go so well on the defence?
I don't think the CT side was as bad as it looked. We actually lost so many rounds that we shouldn't have, we were in prime position to win them. I think people made a few individual mistakes, myself included. Overall I'm happy with our performance on the CT side.
The upper bracket final will see you face Na`Vi, who showed a convincing performance in both the opening match against TYLOO and the series against MIBR. What are the preliminary thoughts on that match-up?
We just found out that we will be playing Na`Vi, so we're going to use our day off tomorrow [Wednesday] to do our homework and prepare as much as we can. Na`Vi is a great team, they have a lot of firepower. With them losing Zeus and transitioning to a new in-game leader, it's going to be hard to prepare for them because they are going to be showing some new stuff. I just think if we're going to play like we've been playing, then we should be able to beat them.