Snappi on Na`Vi rematch: "We have to show up individually if we want to compete"
Heroic booked a spot in the EPICENTER 2019 single-elimination bracket after seeing off EHOME in a one-sided elimination series. The Danes will now go all out for revenge when they take on Natus Vincere, who won the opening group match between the two sides in convincing fashion.
After this team survived elimination in Moscow, we caught up with Snappi, with whom we briefly discussed the first two series played out at EPICENTER, later going into more general topics such as his return to in-game leading, the team's playbook, and the decision-making process behind the signing of Casper "cadiaN" Møller.
Let's talk about the series against Na`Vi - you suffered one of your statistically worst losses on Nuke against them, and the map is considered one of your strongest. What did you feel went wrong on the map?
As I remember we lost to a force buy early on, so we fell behind. They got good money control, and we eventually managed to get five T rounds, but we didn't get a single CT rounds afterward. I think, in general, yesterday we just didn't show up. I feel like that was the worst performance the team has shown yet. Every tournament, apart from DreamHack Winter, which was really bad, we put a good fight: StarLadder, we went out against EG, but we showed up, we beat Na`Vi; at the ESL Pro League Finals I definitely think we threw against fnatic, who ended up in the final. The match against Na`Vi yesterday was the first where we really got our asses beaten. We looked through the VOD straight away and there were a lot of mistakes, but it was also just people making bad individual decisions and just not hitting shots. It was a combination of a lot of things, and I hope we don't see such a performance from us again at this event.
It's difficult breaking down victories, especially ones that are lop-sided. Nevertheless, do you have any comments about the series against EHOME?
We didn't underestimate them at all because we knew that the series was our tournament life, and we felt we were huge favourites. We prepared for them - we obviously played our own game - but we also made sure to know which angles they held and what executes they might end up doing, and I think that's why we had such a convincing victory.
You're now going into a rematch against Na`Vi. How will you approach round two differently?
I think it's much easier going into a rematch having lost the first match than if you had won it. Obviously, they will have the psychological advantage, but we have the chance to look at the VOD, find the mistakes we made and try to fix them, making sure that they don't happen again. They probably have a pretty broad playbook but some of the stuff is going to be run again, and now we'll know how to deal with it better. I think it's an advantage for us, but obviously, Na`Vi is a great team, and I think they have great individual players, so we have to show up individually as well if we want to compete.
Stepping away from EPICENTER, since DreamHack Atlanta the team has been struggling for LAN results. There was qualification for ESL Pro League, and recently you made it to the European closed qualifier for Katowice 2020, but generally, there have been difficulties. Why do you think the team struggles for consistency?
I think attending DreamHack Winter was probably a mistake because the team has been playing a lot, and I mean a lot. If we weren't at LAN events, we were playing online qualifiers or online matches all the time, so we haven't had a break or time to breathe at all, which is fine, but I think we should have probably fully focused on ESL Pro League. I'm not saying that we would have won if we had done that, but I feel like the team really needs a break, and after this event there's going to be the Christmas break. It will obviously not be a long one, because we qualified for the Katowice closed qualifier, so we have to start early January, but I think the team really needs a full week off. We've been going at it since September for six to seven days a week. I think the team is just mentally tired.
Before cadiaN joined the roster, blameF was part of the squad, and at the time you took a step away from the in-game leader role. When you re-assumed the leadership after cadiaN's addition, did you feel like you had a fresh perspective on the role?
Not really, to be honest, but I think it was a good thing that I got to play with blameF, because they had a lot of strats. Normally, when I got into a team I would use most of my own stuff and some of the better strats of the other team, but I got to learn the strats that they had and I would hand-pick the ones that I thought were best and kept them, while adding my own in. Then, with cadiaN coming in, he was an in-game leader in the past and also added some stuff. We have a pretty broad playbook to go by as a result, and I think it's why we did so great at the start, we had a lot of different ideas.
As you said, we've been on a downswing at LAN events lately, we have had some pretty bad results. I feel ESL Pro League wasn't that bad, and if you actually look at the match we played against fnatic you would realise that we didn't play that bad. Apart from that, DreamHack Winter and the crushing defeat in the first match against Na`Vi here were not too good.
You touched on cadiaN bringing in variety to the playbook. Does he ever actively throw ideas in during matches, or do you reserve the role of the sole caller?
Yeah, he throws in ideas. I think the main difference is that I'm more structured than him, and he's more of a loose caller, so it's always good to have him in 3v3 situations, because I think that's where he is the best. He has more of an explosive style, whereas I guess I have more of a slower, execute-heavy approach. I think we complement each other, and es3tag also led for a short time, so we have a lot of voices and a lot of different ideas. One of the main things that we still need to polish is finding the best balance between ideas. It's a huge advantage to have so many ideas, but it also takes time to blend all the ideas together in the best possible way.
Concluding the interview, I wanted to pick your brain on how you decided to pick up cadiaN back in October. You effectively had to go through a complete restructuring of roles within the team to accommodate his arrival. Why was it that you landed on him specifically with this in mind?
I think cadiaN was the best option available. At first, we wanted a rifler, because that wouldn't change the roles, but cadiaN was just a far better option than anyone else, so we went for him and decided that we had to switch up the roles. es3tag, b0rup, cadiaN and I all had to go into new roles, in a way. I hadn't been leading for six to seven months so I had to go back to that, and that also meant that I had to change roles on the T side because I was on the lurk, which is fine because I had done it for a long time. es3tag had to go back to a rifler role, which was obviously also fine because he used to do that as well.
I think the biggest difference was for cadiaN and b0rup, because cadiaN is no longer calling, and b0rup had to play the lurk, while he used to be on map control. Patrick (es3tag) and I had a lot of experience already in the roles we are in now, but I think cadiaN and b0rup had to change the most. cadiaN had been an AWPer his entire career, so that was not new to him, but not having to call is something new to him, and I actually think his performance has elevated, I think he's playing better now. I think everyone can see that he performs much better right now.