NAF: "We want to pull off some big victories so that when we look back we can say we achieved something this year"

The Liquid star talks about the situation in North America, travelling to Europe for the first time during the online era, and the team's hopes going into BLAST Showdown.

HLTV.org caught up with Keith "⁠NAF⁠" Markovic, who is currently at the Alienware Training Facility in Utrecht with the rest of Liquid, to chat about the team's return to Europe after a bumpy few months in the slumping North American scene.

The Canadian rifler, who believes Liquid are now an underdog when compared to the European teams they are facing following their upset loss at the hands of Triumph in IEM Beijing-Haidian, also talked about the trip to Europe as a catalyst for the team's motivation and their hopes of getting some big wins under their belt before the end of the year.

NAF says the smaller teams in North America are "abusing the internet" in the online era

NAF says it is hard to measure Liquid's current state by their performances against the more puggy North American squads, and hopes that his side will be able to get in the groove quickly in their BLAST Showdown opener against MAD Lions to build much-needed momentum.

You just came over to Europe for the first time in the online era. What it is like to be back?

It has been a while since we were here, the last time was in Katowice, which was at the start of the year. It has been so long that we're just excited to be back and play against some European teams, since it's where most of the best competition is and I think we're a lot more motivated to play over here. We got here on Tuesday and we're just waiting to start playing some matches.

You haven't had much time to bootcamp. Has any particular preparation gone into this tournament?

No, we just got here, so preparation so far has been mostly reviewing demos and playing individually by ourselves. We weren't able to practice on our first day here, we're just dealing with a few things first, but then we'll hopefully be able to play and prepare. We only have a short amount of time, so we're going to have to wing it, try our best and make sure we bring our A-game because of the lack of preparation we've had so far.

North America is in a bit of a slump with players switching games, organizations dropping teams and so on. How has that affected you?

It's kind of hard to achieve or accomplish something new right now in North America. There's just a lack of teams and the playstyle feels very puggy at the moment, it's like playing a bunch of FPL games. We're on a team, but it still feels like playing an FPL game, so it creates bad habits, bad tendencies, and stuff like that. I think the way we play will work a lot better against European teams than it does against North American teams, I'm a lot more optimistic against European teams because in NA there's just a lot of running around, wide peeking and people trying to abuse the internet, pretty much.

Do you think your recent upset loss against Triumph in the IEM Beijing-Haidian semi-finals is a result of that?

Teams are switching players, organizations are dropping teams, so it's like, a lot of these teams have nothing to lose right now and it shows in the way they play, rushing around and doing a bunch of nonsense. In my opinion, it's not really productive to play against that. I wouldn't want to change my style to perform better against these teams because then I'll have to play against more prestigious teams after that and it won't work against them.

You've been playing pretty well, individually, even if it has been against some lesser teams at times. How are you feeling? Has Grim's arrival affected you at all?

I can't really judge myself right now. Once we're done with this European tour, then I can look back and see how I've done. I just need to wait and see how it goes, because although in NA you play against a lot of good individuals, aim stars, it's not really something you can go off of because in Europe you also have people with really good aim, but there's also the strategic side to it, people playing mind games and so on.

Bringing Grim on has been a really big building phase for us, so we're trying to work well together as a team to find his comfort zone, what he needs to know, the things he needs to learn and all of that, so we're doing our best to make sure we're prepared so that he's ready for this European trip.

How has the team evolved over the past few months in that regard and can you even set any expectations as to how you'll do against the teams you'll be playing here?

Everything in North America right now is very up and down, so you don't really know. The way our results have been going just doesn't really make sense to me. But yeah, coming to Europe we'll just try to find the best way we can play and see if we can come out on top, really. It's just very hard to know right now.

What's your schedule like? You have the BLAST Showdown and you're staying here through DreamHack Masters Winter. Have you talked about your plans for your time here?

I'm not entirely sure, right now we have a couple of tournaments we have to play and we also know that we need to practice. We know that we may be a bit behind, so we'll need to put in a lot of hours of just playing and practicing. We're here to win, but we're also here to learn as much as we can as well.

Do you think you can also use this time to try and regain some of the motivation you may have lost playing in North America?

Yeah, when we are the underdog or we feel like we have something to prove that's when we get motivated and when we play our best, that's when you see the best Liquid. I think that's the way it has been in the past, we were always the team that came from behind trying to strike forward, strike upwards, to beat these teams that felt like they should be the ones beating us. We feel like that and we'll try our best now coming from that Triumph loss back home.

So you feel like an underdog now?

I would say we're not the Liquid that we were before, so we're going to have to find ourselves again. We definitely feel like the underdogs against a lot of the teams here. If you look at Liquid it should be a team that's winning in North America, or at least making it to the finals, but half of the time we don't even make it there, so now it's time to work hard and overcome our issues.

How do you feel specifically about your opening BLAST Showdown match against MAD Lions? It's a team you haven't played before and they've also had issues of their own. Do you see yourselves as underdogs against them?

MAD Lions is a good team, they have some good players. I think refrezh is pretty good, and acoR is a rising star in the European scene. They did well in some of the Flashpoint matches that I watched them play lately and I think they have some good wild card players. They're definitely a team that shouldn't be underestimated and I feel like we're the underdog in just about any match-up against a European team right now.

Are you preparing against MAD Lions in any particular way or are you more focused on yourselves? What do you think about the tournament being single-elimination?

We'll do a little bit of both, which is what we usually do against every team. We'll study them a bit, but I do think that right now it's just more about us, we need to focus on ourselves and make sure we're playing at 100 per cent because we haven't been anywhere near close to that and we're going to need to play at 100 per cent when we're facing teams here in Europe.

Single-elimination is going to be hard, we're a team that starts off slowly sometimes, so we're going to need to have a strong start because you can't afford to start slow in a single-elimination tournament. We can't just give up a map, a new Liquid kind of needs to come out here in Europe and turn some heads.

You said you won't prepare any different than you usually do for this match. Can you run me through what that's like now that you have Hepa as an analyst and moses coaching?

Hepa helps us with scouting out individual plays, special types of plays across the map on both sides, stuff like that. He helps with some of that small but important stuff. Then we have the classic thing where Stewie2k and moses will get together to try and figure out our opponents, what they do, and what we have to do as a team. Even myself, individually, I like to skim through and look at what players that I'm working against will do. Like if I'm in Mirage playing default, I'll look at what the A-site and connector players do and just figure out what positions they like and typical stuff like that.

How confident are you in your progression through the BLAST Showdown bracket?

It all depends on how we start off, I think if we come out swinging against MAD Lions we'll be able to progress comfortably through the tournament, building up some confidence. If we get through MAD Lions we'll play MIBR and I think that's a good match-up for us to play, then the toughest one would be FURIA or Virtus.pro.

We struggled against Virtus.pro when they were AVANGAR, they have an interesting style. It's hard to define, it's just the way they play. Jame seems like this passive AWPer but he'll always get some important kills and he'll do the classic save the AWP thing and then be very important in the following round. Then they have qikert and buster, they can literally rely on anyone to put up big numbers. It's hard to grasp exactly what it is, but they have an interesting style. And then we also struggle against FURIA's playstyle, although it looks like they've dropped down a little bit, like they're struggling, so maybe we could come out on top if we were to meet them in the final.

There's a month of play left before the end of the year, just a couple of events are left as the season starts to wind down. Have you had any discussions about this last stretch?

We haven't really been able to achieve anything great throughout the entire year. We just won ESL Pro League Season 11, which was only in North America, so even that was just a small achievement for us. It has been a long year of just playing Counter-Strike in North America, especially considering the drought going on in the region, so it has been very tough. We're just very motivated to be in Europe and we really just want to win and pull off some big victories so when we look back we can say we achieved something this year.

Do you wish you had arrived in Europe earlier?

Of course, I wish we could've gotten some extra time before going into our matches, but with obligations with other leagues we sadly had to arrive here almost last second, so right now we'll just have to make due with the time that we have and do our typical individual warm up as best as we can and make sure moses and Stewie can find time to prepare with the limited amount of time we have. Going into our match against MAD Lions we need to make sure we're individually on point and I think our teamwork and chemistry will start to flow throughout the game.

Canada Keith 'NAF' Markovic
Keith 'NAF' Markovic
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
1351
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.16
very cool
2020-11-26 12:01
10 replies
0/8 Without an igl or awper and playing 4v6 vs stevie I aren't think that
2020-11-26 12:14
7 replies
It wouldn't be the first time a team was great without a main AWPer. You could still make it work. A good IGL is very important though.
2020-11-26 13:48
6 replies
#77
 | 
Finland AleksiBOT
Go go nasty ass naf
2020-11-26 15:05
i dont understand why everyone is panicking about liquid not having a main awp. if anything thats probably better, that way the awp and its role is more flexible on the team.
2020-11-26 15:22
4 replies
they achieved a lot with their 3 rotation AWP in 2019, it's the IGL part that I worry about
2020-11-26 16:26
Just say one team that had success without a main awper. Look at the top 10, zywoo, s0mple, device, kennys, syrson, mantuu, hen1, broky, poizon, nawwk
2020-11-26 18:12
Its because the awp is the gun with the most impact in the game, I dont think EG would be even close to as good as they are of Cerq wasnt an insane AWPer, I do agree that having a more flexible AWP role is good but I still think you need a main AWPer, I still think Liquid should have signed 1junior instead of Grim
2020-11-26 21:18
ur dust2 victory over Triumph was pretty big NAF !!!
2020-11-26 15:07
1 reply
stop awping and they will win something
2020-11-26 15:23
#3
 | 
Germany I_car
They'll lose
2020-11-26 12:01
35 replies
#7
 | 
Israel KamazTier21
+1
2020-11-26 12:03
+1
2020-11-26 12:03
+1
2020-11-26 12:05
#16
ZywOo | 
India aR__
+1
2020-11-26 12:08
+1
2020-11-26 12:09
+1
2020-11-26 12:14
#23
 | 
Australia zelt_cs
+1
2020-11-26 12:14
+1
2020-11-26 12:16
+1
2020-11-26 12:18
+1
2020-11-26 12:41
#38
 | 
Finland byrbyl
+1
2020-11-26 12:46
#41
 | 
Europe WhatOta
+1
2020-11-26 12:55
#43
 | 
Czech Republic JameS_19
Actually I think they will not. I think they can win tournament, or they will just fuck up. I don’t know why, but I have feeling, that they will win duck everyone and win tournament, or they will absolutely fucked. We will see. Because they are skilled, last year they were so overpowered, not many teams can beat them last year, and from last year they have same players (only Nitro left). And EliGE is performing so good, I feel that maybe we will we big surprise...
2020-11-26 13:00
3 replies
#44
 | 
Latvia kArnyje
Stfu just type +1 nerd
2020-11-26 13:03
idts, i'm a liquid fan and I have liquid as a very clear and very big underdog, unless liquid show up on fire, they have little to no chance
2020-11-26 16:27
1 reply
#107
 | 
United States ekwi
yep at this point I'd be really pleasantly surprised if they make finals even
2020-11-26 16:28
+1
2020-11-26 13:07
#48
 | 
Brazil BRAZlL
plus one
2020-11-26 13:13
+1
2020-11-26 13:23
i arent think that
2020-11-26 13:44
#64
 | 
Europe SBC|SG_TS
+1
2020-11-26 14:14
#76
 | 
Denmark KING_VITO
+1
2020-11-26 14:58
+1
2020-11-26 15:07
#84
 | 
United States l_car
-1
2020-11-26 15:19
#89
 | 
Bulgaria alekscho89
i dont think , bruh .Stop being so toxic and say something like " Now we will see if liquid , can really win"
2020-11-26 15:49
2 replies
Loosing to Mads Lions.
2020-11-26 17:47
#118
 | 
Russia M1shV4T
Loosing to Mad Lions
2020-11-26 18:22
-1
2020-11-26 16:10
+1
2020-11-26 17:02
+1
2020-11-26 17:45
+1
2020-11-26 18:22
#130
 | 
Chile cristiaan
-1
2020-11-27 21:06
Bro you forgot to switch accounts
2020-11-28 07:05
1 reply
#134
 | 
Germany I_car
No
2020-11-28 09:53
+100
2020-12-01 22:07
cool
2020-11-26 12:01
lulquid
2020-11-26 12:02
2 replies
That’s me
2020-11-26 16:11
1 reply
Hi!
2020-11-26 18:34
Beautiful words but Liquid will 0-2 Mad Lions anyway.
2020-11-26 12:02
1 reply
NAF actually giving a cohesive and great interview but i doubt the match would be great for them
2020-11-26 12:37
#9
RpK | 
Turkey MrAycan
lulquid kicked nitr0 then became t2 team xD
2020-11-26 12:04
7 replies
fr
2020-11-26 12:09
#31
 | 
United Kingdom Terry18
+1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001
2020-11-26 12:22
He retired from the team but okaaaaaayyyyyyyy. Also they were playing T2 level the last few months with him hints why he quit
2020-11-26 15:19
4 replies
#97
 | 
Canada Droidd
he got benched then retired
2020-11-26 16:16
3 replies
hltv.org/news/30024/liquid-in-talks-with.. No he stepped down then he retired after talking with the team. They talked about Grim replacing him cause his performances were bad lately and when they were in talks he stepped down from the team. He wasnt benched.
2020-11-26 16:27
2 replies
liquid kicked nitr0 this is the truth bro ofc they didnt said " we kicked nitr0 "
2020-11-26 19:57
1 reply
hltv.org/news/30039/official-nitr0-depar.. Nitr0 says he stepped down to retired, Liquid says he stepped down, all the players said it too and he said goodbye on Twitter before Grim even joined with this heartfelt message on IG saying he stepped down instagram.com/p/CDmuDsphXKQ/?igshid=ei4a.. Guess you know best though not everyone involved lmao
2020-11-26 20:35
Lulquid
2020-11-26 12:04
Renegades would smash these clowns on LAN.
2020-11-26 12:06
9 replies
+1 dexter, INS and sico would outplay them easily
2020-11-26 13:04
1 reply
+1 just INS and Dexter would smash
2020-11-26 13:48
The funny thing is that they already have LUL
2020-11-26 13:53
6 replies
I mean THE BOYSSSS, not those 100T jokers.
2020-11-26 14:43
5 replies
4 replies
that was with Dick men((
2020-11-26 14:47
3 replies
Yeah but he was a BOT and they still won.
2020-11-26 14:48
2 replies
and they still would)) #RNGWIN #YTB
2020-11-26 14:48
1 reply
2019 teams like renegades there goal was to play against liquid only
2020-11-26 15:58
#13
 | 
Japan tatsumi
lulquid will 32-0 mald kittens bookmark this
2020-11-26 12:07
7 replies
+1
2020-11-26 12:18
they will lose and they will say that they are still jetlagged even tho they are already in europe for more than a week.
2020-11-26 14:44
5 replies
Actually they didn’t get to Europe till the 24th-25th
2020-11-26 16:11
4 replies
their problem for not being organized. Furia came to EU week before they played their first map in EU at Blast.
2020-11-26 16:18
3 replies
They were in another tournament...?
2020-11-26 16:19
2 replies
wich they ended on 20th. Could have arrived on 21st and had 4 days of practice...
2020-11-26 16:24
1 reply
Are you dumb? Liquid expected to reach the finals which were on the 22nd, meaning their flights would have to be scheduled after the 22nd.
2020-11-26 19:27
#14
 | 
Pakistan LoOuU2
you better wished him Happy Birthday first before conducting the interview, LucasAM
2020-11-26 12:08
1 reply
I did, actually! Although I believe it was after we wrapped it up.
2020-11-26 16:20
Better get to it then
2020-11-26 12:10
aiming high but will it happen without nitr0 him self?
2020-11-26 12:13
1 reply
i wish nitr0 wasn't in a slump for that long, he was one of the best fragging igl in NA, but just like any other big orgs, they don't tolerate an excessive amount of time performing bad
2020-11-26 12:39
LULquid 2 - 0 MALD Pussies
2020-11-26 12:19
#29
 | 
Germany felo
Hope they do, still the best NA team on paper...
2020-11-26 12:21
Lulquid biggest paycheck stealers 2020
2020-11-26 12:21
The bar has been set HILARIOUSLY low.
2020-11-26 12:28
lets face it stew2k is a shitty ingame leader
2020-11-26 12:32
LUL. he is underdog. NA CS is joke
2020-11-26 12:41
#39
 | 
Japan Sayon4Ra
Dogie want to achieve something after losing to tier 3 Triumph
2020-11-26 12:48
damn feels good to be a naffer
2020-11-26 12:55
lulquit never come back.
2020-11-26 12:58
Stew risky igl You guys need an igl
2020-11-26 13:05
#49
 | 
Brazil wololo10
Delusional
2020-11-26 13:16
EU CS LUL
2020-11-26 13:21
Twistzz is inconsistent and has no game sense, Stewie is not a good IGL, Nitro was better but couldn't frag and neither can Stewie. Liquid used to dominate against eu teams on lan, but its gonna be different now. But if there is one team that can succeed in eu right now its Liquid. Just get a good IGL and an AWP player.
2020-11-26 13:36
ANY NAFFERS IN THE CHAT ?
2020-11-26 13:58
1 reply
NAF FOR PRESIDENT OF CSGO 2024
2020-11-26 15:06
make no sense that if you are a team it should be harder to play against bad opponents without structure who play pug style. liquid are a bad team and now their are not allways most skilled team on the server. that`s why they loose and also when they dont get momentum they crumble all tight matches even in NA... in EU they have no chance with the players they have now
2020-11-26 13:58
3 replies
No, he is right. If they keep playing against bad or pog teams they are going to get worse only. They need to play against top teams to improve.
2020-11-26 14:11
He also said they had no motivation in NA because nobody is serious enough. It's hard to perform when you dont take the game seriously. Also, star fragger playing a pug style is totally unpredictable. How many times have you played a game, start doing something specific because you tell yourself that it its the smart move BECAUSE you think a good enemy would never do that or this to counter you... that would be fucking stupid after all .... and BAM you die, because the other guy actually did it. He pushed like a fucking retard, but it worked because he has great aim and was lucky. How many times do you shout at your screen "why is he there? That makes no sense". Well thats how pug style can win a game. Some structure and random stupid lucky plays.
2020-11-26 14:15
1 reply
if you cant use nades and have teamplay sure you can loose vs pug. but you suppose to be superior in both skills and teamplay.. it`s no excuse to be so bad :) i think it`s over for the NA teams they have allways struggled with close matches only time they shine is with momentum
2020-11-26 17:28
Naah bro. just get any decent EU igl/awper and kick Stewie FFS. people just brag about how he is no.1 NA player and only player to win a major..... STFU. That was a fluke. Faze choked because of Choko. Tarik was the reason they won. ( Give credit where it's due. ) lulquit, please go international and kick paycheck stealer ( bot2k ).
2020-11-26 14:02
2 replies
+1
2020-11-26 14:11
true
2020-11-26 16:17
#60
 | 
Europe k1otaN
WE WANT TO PULL OFF SOME BIG VICTORIE LOST TO TRIUMPH KEKW
2020-11-26 14:02
1 reply
lol
2020-11-26 14:15
nicely done interview but thats a yikes
2020-11-26 14:05
1 reply
lol
2020-11-26 14:15
not even won by triumph, ta finding it easy to get the mibr kkkk ez for v$m
2020-11-26 14:21
#75
 | 
Poland SebL
I feel like in the next year NA scene will bounce back, they still have 3 teams that could be really good. Liquid has dropped a lot, but I think they can comeback to a TOP level, this roster looks good. I think they are going to surprised a lot of ppl by how they will be playing in EU. I still feel like taking moses as a coach is a mistake, I don't think he will be good in this role. I feel like it could be totally different story for Liquid if they would keep playing in EU through the online era.
2020-11-26 14:49
WHERE ARE MY NAFFERS
2020-11-26 15:05
#82
 | 
Europe t.o.p
Easy BLAST and DH EU
2020-11-26 15:08
4 replies
#83
 | 
United States Fordring
Not gonna be easy, but I hope we will win
2020-11-26 15:11
3 replies
It's hard to be a liquid fan...
2020-11-26 15:59
2 replies
#109
 | 
United States Fordring
Stay loyal my friend
2020-11-26 16:42
1 reply
NAFFERS are always loyal mens....
2020-11-26 16:53
Actually Liquid plays robotic CS. Same and same, no innovation in their play @ all. You can't go further like that
2020-11-26 16:12
Honest words right there...NA scene summarized in an interview
2020-11-26 16:12
Good to hear from Liquid's good player
2020-11-26 16:21
#108
 | 
South America JKenny
NAF <3
2020-11-26 16:30
MIBR roster as brand Liquid more worth it. than this liquid, mark my words!
2020-11-26 17:38
OK LOL
2020-11-26 19:26
great interview from the most consistent liquid player over the years. NAF is so underrated! unfortunately i dont think liquid will be successful as long as stewie2k is the IGL. he is not a leader and his strats are garbage. its so easy for opponents to get in his head because hes a rager. i actually think NAF would be a fantastic IGL for liquid because hes calm and is definitely the smartest liquid player. i could see him thriving in a stanislaw type role for liquid.
2020-11-27 00:29
Cool Interview and all... But sadly mibr will destroy liquid (or happily for me hehehe boi)
2020-11-27 00:38
You almost beat chaos! Thats a big achievment
2020-11-27 05:16
Good Luck
2020-11-27 12:14
Omfg , these fanbois who got wrecked in 2019 by the same TL are so mad
2020-11-28 04:42
no nitr0 = no win xD
2020-11-29 05:49
Yeah "you want" but you won't.
2020-11-30 14:59
BUT THE THEY MEET ASTRALIS HAHAHA
2020-12-03 01:51
without nitro trash, better switch to valorant while its not dead yet
2020-12-05 12:27
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