nexa plays down revenge talk: "It was just another game"
His spell with the Australian team in 2017, back when they still played under Renegades, lasted just four months, but he insists that he treated the match like any other game.
"It was nothing special, really, it was just another game," he told HLTV.org in the mixed zone after the match. "It feels good to beat [100 Thieves coach] kassad because of the Serbian rivalry, but other than that it's just another game.
"[Trash-talking before the match?] Yeah, it was some friendly banter, but we love each other.
"I played exactly as I do in practice. I had confidence in myself, in my team and in everything we had worked on, how we had prepared for this event and reshaped the team. I just feel comfortable in my role right now. You could say I'm finally settled in."
It has been almost five months since he and Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač joined G2 from CR4ZY, and the Serbian in-game leader says that there has been a lot of fine-tuning since then to make sure that all the players are comfortable in their roles and to overcome some communication issues.
"When I joined the team, JaCkz didn't speak much English and, in theory, we were going to be the anchors," nexa explains. "AmaNEk isn't really vocal, he's used to playing in French teams and was the IGL for G2 while shox was in the team, so he talks a lot, but just when he has full freedom to speak and do what he's thinking.
"He took a step back now that I'm leading and he's is focusing on his fragging, so since he doesn't communicate a lot and JaCkz doesn't speak much English I was put into roles that required rotations and a lot of communication to give proper information and tell people how to reposition. I went from being an anchor to playing rotation spots on every map, which was something new for me.
"I also had to switch with AmaNEk on the T side. He's the lurker now, which was the role I played in Imperial and Valiance, so that was also an adjustment for me, but now I'm like the third-entry, the trade-fragger, and I'm starting to feel pretty comfortable."
nexa believes that nerves have played a part in some of the teams' shaky performances at BLAST Premier - which is for many the first LAN of the year. G2 themselves made a blunder in the third round of Vertigo when they failed to plant the bomb after taking control of the B Site, and the team took some time to find their stride after a rough start to the map.
"I could feel that everyone was a bit tense, we hadn't played on LAN in a few months, but that goes for 100 Thieves as well," nexa says. "We could sense it in their game and how they were playing, they were a bit stiff, they weren't playing together and trading effectively. It's the first LAN of the year and you saw it from Astralis and Liquid, everyone is a bit rusty, that's why I think the maps were super close.
"I definitely knew what that issue was [in that Vertigo round]. It wasn't about the calling, we were just giving them too much respect and being too careful. I called a slow default in the first gun round and then to take mid control, but we ended up taking mid with like 30 seconds left when in practice we do it with one minute, so we were being super safe and scared to take space, to take map control. I don't know why.
"We took a pause and [coach] maLeK and I talked to everyone and said that there was nothing to be afraid of, we needed to play our game, focus on what we had practiced, and do it as we did in practice. We focused on that and once everyone felt comfortable they knew exactly what to do.
"Kenny was getting entries on A, and once he gets in the zone he's unstoppable, so we were getting entries left and right. I also had a good game, I think, I was getting a lot of entries. Once the gears started shifting and we started the engine we kept snowballing and brought it to the end."
G2 will face OG this Saturday at 20:30 in the upper bracket final for a spot at the BLAST Premier Spring Finals, which will be held in Moscow in June. The losing side will drop down to the lower bracket to face the team coming out of the elimination match between 100 Thieves and Evil Geniuses, scheduled for 16:30 .