adreN: "I think we'll see the bigger teams do better here"
Although more successful than other favorites such as Astralis, Vitality, and Evil Geniuses, Liquid still looked shaky in their 2020 debut at BLAST Premier, with a red-hot FaZe dealing them two heavy blows during Group A in London at the beginning of February.
We asked the coach about the difficulties of the European matchup and about what Liquid has done to prepare better for IEM Katowice, where they have won their first match against Virtus.pro despite a slow start on Vertigo. adreN also explained what happened to the team's plans to introduce Train into their map pool in the interview below:
Let's go back to something you said last year or at least hinted at, which is that you were going to pick up Train. So far, we've seen Liquid continue to permaban it, so what's going on with that? Did you change your mind?
It's definitely still in the playbook. We've dabbled around with it a little bit, started to practice it. I'm not saying anything else, but it's being worked on.
Although BLAST went well enough for you, as you made it to the finals, FaZe had your number there in two very convincing series. Why couldn't you put up a better fight?
They were just more prepared at that event. They were coming off a bootcamp and it seemed like they had a lot of stuff down, new CT side setups, new T side strats, so I just felt like they were way more refreshed, energized, and looking to come out strong in the year. For us, we decided not to bootcamp in Europe, we just practiced online for two weeks, which is not the best of practice, especially when we didn't realize that every good North American team was in Europe at the time, so our practice was limited. That's on us, though, we decided not to bootcamp and I think it was fine because it was just a group stage, we don't want to get too burned out by playing too much. We definitely bootcamped in Europe before this event and I think we'll have a lot better showing than at BLAST.
The favorites such as Astralis and EG struggled at the start of 2020, while others like Na`Vi and FaZe impressed, how does that reflect on the competition here?
I think there are just a lot of hungry teams out there right now. The skill gap is so small now that every team can beat each other. The more these teams are practicing each other and the more review every team is having... Matches are close, it's just hard to get big, convincing wins nowadays just because everyone knows everything in CS nowadays. Everything has been figured out, so it's whoever is doing the fewest mistakes, which sometimes is hard to prevent. The bigger events will always weed out teams that fail under pressure and maybe don't have their strategies set in place enough, so I think we'll see the bigger teams do better here for sure.
What do you make of your start against Virtus.pro, getting off to a slow start on Vertigo?
I think we started off really slow on both maps. We were tight within the communication, everything was just a little tight, we weren't loose enough, we weren't reading them and countering them. We didn't get into Vertigo, I didn't feel like we were feeling the game until it was like 15-13. At that point, I felt like we started kicking in, people started taking initiative in how we should approach the round, ending different spots, using different parts of the map... I think we were very flat for a bit of our T side and not taking fights to them, and I think it was the same thing at the start of our Mirage, it just seemed like our direction wasn't there and I think we were just getting warmed up.
We've had the updated maps played a bit now and you just played Mirage, how do you see the map after the changes? Does it play differently?
I don't think anything has changed yet, I think for Mirage the balcony change is just a nice quality of life update. I think the bench hasn't really been exploited too much, it was like one team that was using it a lot, but at least you can hear someone jump into window. Honestly, the map itself isn't really being played differently, though. It could change clutch situations, 2v2s, 3v3s, where a guy could get into your window randomly, which wasn't possible without a boost.
Dust2, not too many people have been using the skyboxes too much. Maybe people have been saving stuff. We didn't really get to see any innovation, at BLAST it was the old version, I'm assuming we'll see some innovation here.