s1mple: "I'm feeling great because I can't remember the last time we won a BO1 against Astralis, let alone a BO3"
Natus Vincere landed a spectacular comeback victory against Astralis in the lower bracket of group B at BLAST Premier Spring, sending the tournament favourites into the Showdown event. After conceding a map that has long been a Natus Vincere staple, Train, the Russian squad bested Astralis on Nuke, later landing a 16-14 comeback on Inferno, a map heavily favoured towards Astralis.
In a brief post-match interview, we had s1mple comment on his emotions after the monumental victory and its significance to the team. The Ukrainian AWPer also broke down individual maps, and some of the issues and fortunes they experienced along the way.
You just took down Astralis in a best-of-three comeback series. What are your immediate emotions?
I'm feeling great because I can't even remember the last time we won a best-of-one against them, let alone a best-of-three. It means so much for our new roster, it's a very important victory. We knew it would be hard, and we knew we could lose to any opponent because we didn't have enough days of practice. We used it all as an experience.
The victory against Astralis will show us a bunch of our mistakes, much like the other games, and secondly, I think it will give us confidence as a team, and everyone will once more feel their strength. Before this match, we lacked confidence individually; we struggled to out-aim them not because we're bad at shooting, but because the teamplay needed work. We need to find our game and hone it; we need to find a playstyle that is strong and continue working at it, knowing that while there will be mistakes, we remain confident we can fix them.
You struggled on your map pick, Train. What were some of the difficulties experienced on it?
I was disappointed that we had a poor first map, though I think Astralis prepared really well for us on it. We had a 6-7 win streak on it, and it's one of the few maps Astralis could study. We thought they would ban either Train or Mirage. If they banned Train, then we would've gone for Dust2. I just think that we were unfortunate. The start was seemingly alright, 3-0, but then we started losing rounds in clutch situations. I think they gained confidence off the back of this and had a strong first half. Afterward, right from the second pistol round, we lost rounds despite advantages.
Inferno was an incredibly close grind, where you managed to comeback 16-14 and take the series. It's one of Astralis' stronger maps, and they were favoured to take it. How did keep your heads in the game?
We had a gameplan, and the beginning wasn't very good, but we told ourselves that every single round is important and that we just need to focus on the current round, not the previous or upcoming one. I think everyone on the team felt their game on the CT side. The team play I mentioned earlier, you could also feel it in the game against Vitality after around 1-6, we started playing just like we did now. We felt the game and the rotations, we communicated well. I think that really impacted the comeback.
Then, of course, there were the highlight plays from all the players: an incredible triple from electronic while in he was in a molotov, how the guys held B, how we retook A in a 5v5 off the back of communication. We won rounds that other teams would've unlikely been able to convert against Astralis. I am extremely happy it worked out this way, that even if we're not on our A game, we're still able to beat any team.
Next is a match against either Vitality or Complexity. Talk about the match-ups and whether you feel preference toward any specific opponent.
I'd say that Complexity is a dark horse, but we're indifferent as to who we play. I think that if Complexity beat Vitality then they're stronger, and that shows that they had extremely good preparation for the event.
For us, the main objective is to make it to the next stage without going through the Showdown. We don't want to waste that time and instead would like to use it for preparation. We tried to find our game at ICE Challenge, and at this event we just want to make it through to the finals and forget any other stages, focusing on our preparation before the BLAST Spring Premier Finals, Katowice and the Major.