Nivera: "I wanted to play so badly when I was sitting behind the team that I didn't think about failing"

The Belgian player opens up about his adaptation to Vitality and his place in the team ahead of the French squad's BLAST Premier Fall Finals run.

We sat down with Nabil "⁠Nivera⁠" Benrlitom to chat about his journey since joining Vitality in October, including the decision to be a substitute specializing in just two maps, the team's morale after winning IEM Beijing-Haidian and their spirits heading into the last stretch of the year.

Vitality, having recently claimed their first title of 2020 after four second place finishes, are now set on trying to retain their No. 1 spot in the world rankings heading into their last two events of the year, starting with the BLAST Premier Fall Finals.

Nivera believes the Fall Finals will be competitive with teams trying to end the year on a high note
(photo courtesy of Louvard Game)

Nivera, who is happy with his current role in the team as a substitute on Dust2 and Inferno, talks about how this gradual approach to integrating into the team has been a positive experience, allowing him to not be overwhelmed and giving him the opportunity to have an impact on the maps he plays.

The 19-year-old also notes that while other players could be bothered by such an arrangement, he always puts his team above personal ambitions—including his hunger to get time on the server—, and states that "as long as we win, that's all that matters to me."

You’ve been in Vitality for two months now. How has the adjustment to the team gone?

When I joined the team they didn't want me to have too much to learn, so XTQZZZ proposed that I just play a couple of maps to feel more at ease. This really was a proposal that I could have refused, but I thought it through and I came to the conclusion that only playing a couple of maps would be a smaller workload and therefore I would be able to devote more time to making sure I was really good on them.

This really helped me because if I had to learn all of the maps there would probably be a couple that I would not play very well, or that I would make a lot of mistakes on.

How did it come down to Inferno and Dust2?

We decided that I'd play Dust2 because it's one of my best maps and they figured that things would go well for the team with me playing it. On Inferno they had a big problem on the CT side, especially regarding the AWP, despite having ZywOo. There were some problems with the B site that complicated things, so they decided that I would play it in my favorite role, as the main AWPer, and so I'm now part of the trio on A.

How does practice work? Are you there every day or just when the team practices your maps?

When I joined the team and we decided to follow this plan I watched all of their practices. After some time we saw that it wasn't very necessary because I wasn't playing the other maps, so if we practice Dust2 or Inferno I'll be there, but if not I won't be on the server. I do, however, try to be on TeamSpeak with the team as much as possible in order to connect with the group.

This segues well into a question I have regarding your place in the team. Do you feel like you're fully integrated or do you still see yourself more as a kind of sixth-man, a little bit on the outside?

We all talk a lot when we're bootcamping together, be it in or out of the game, so thanks to that I feel integrated. There's also the fact that misutaaa is on the team, whom I played with in Wonderkids, which also helps because I spend a lot of time with him and I don't feel left out.

Regarding misutaaa, how do you see the progress he has made since the Wonderkids days?

You can immediately see that he's much better now. When I joined Vitality he was making fewer mistakes and he was more rigorous, although of course he needs to keep working—he's still 17, even younger than me. It's a lot about mentality, too, when you're so young and you're in the best team in the world, it can be overwhelming.

I look at Gambit as an example, they're all 18 to 20-years-old, except Hobbit, yet they play a rigorous style, they don't take unnecessary risks, and they're serious about the game. Young guys like us, we need to take them as an example.

Did misutaaa give you any tips when you joined the team or was that your time in Heretics enough preparation to step up to the next level?

Everyone on the team is very open and they let me ask all of the questions I have so anytime I have any little doubt I can ask and they answer sincerely. It has all been very natural and misutaaa hasn’t really needed to offer any help since everyone is so open.

I think that playing in a tier 2-3 team like Heretics really helped me understand some key concepts about teamplay and Counter-Strike in general, which is something misutaaa didn't have when he arrived in Vitality. He had to learn so much, which has taken him a long time, but he got there.

Do you think about playing more maps in the future? Have you talked about that with the team at all?

They know I'm hungry and that I want to play. As of now it's just the two maps, but maybe in the future we can add some more. Why not? It will also be dependent on team performances and stuff like that.

I know some people would hate being a sixth player, like I am in my current situation, just playing a couple of maps. But for me, personally, I have always thought about the team first—in all of my teams. As long as we win, that's all that matters to me. I don't care about being a star or whatever, I just want to win with the team and the rest will come on its own.

Do you think it's a sustainable system? Have you thought about what's going to happen when LAN play returns?

Yeah, I've definitely thought about that. I'm not very sure how it's going to happen, changing a whole set-up to replace a player. I know that mentally we're prepared and we'll do our best—the team, the sixth player, it'll be the same as we do it online. The only question is really regarding changing set-ups, I don't know how that will happen.

You just won IEM Beijing-Haidian, which was your first tournament win of that caliber, and you're also the top team in the ranking right now. Do you feel like the squad to beat?

We play a rigorous style of Counter-Strike despite our individual prowess and we try to play off of each other as a team as much as possible, which has paid off for us. We're still hungry and we have the goal of remaining the top team, so we're not going to let go. The real challenge starts now.

Vitality played several finals this year before the big win and has consistently been one of the top teams in the world. Did you feel like you had to be at a really high level when you joined to not fail the team?

I just had this mindset that I really wanted to play. I wanted to play so bad, especially when I was sitting behind the team, that I didn't think about failing or anything else, I just wanted to hit headshots. That hunger is really what pushed me.

It has now been a couple of weeks since your IEM Beijing-Haidian victory. What have you done during this time? Did you take some days off? How's your preparation coming into these last events of the year?

We took a couple of days off to rest after IEM Beijing-Haidian, which is when some of the players traveled back to their homes. Then we returned to our regular practice routine, which has been working well for us. We haven't changed anything, we've been doing well mentally and we're even more focused now because it's the final sprint of the year.

So you're all back home now. Are you going to bootcamp for the last few events or will you play from home?

We're going to play the BLAST Premier Fall Finals from home, then we're going to get back together to bootcamp for the IEM Global Challenge since that will be the last tournament of the year and we really want to go all out.

You're already qualified for the Blast Premier Global Finals. Do you feel less pressure to perform at the Fall Finals?

Speaking for myself, personally, when I feel pressure in CS, it's good pressure. Pressure pushes you to be better, to perform. We were already qualified for the Global Finals when I played my first tournament with Vitality, the BLAST Premier Fall Series, and there was also that little something that pushed me then, so even if we're already qualified, we're going to take the tournament seriously.

You're kicking the Fall Finals off against mousesports, the DreamHack Winter Masters finalists. What an opening match! Any special preparations for it?

We know their game more or less, the guys have played mouz plenty of times, so it's nothing new. We're going to do the usual to make sure that we're all in the right mindset to show up and go all out. Every player has to work on their own conditioning, making sure they're on point individually to come in hot and pop some heads [laughs]. We all just need to put in that little bit extra. Even for the leader, having a bunch of guys that are on point right off the bat makes everything easier.

It's going to be Astralis or NAVI after mousesports, no matter if it's in the upper or lower bracket. Any preference?

Both teams are amazing, but I'd love to play Astralis. Last time I played them I was still in Heretics and we lost 0-2, but it was very close, so personally I'd love to take revenge on them. It's a match that I would really take to heart and try my hardest to win.

Regardless of your rivals, how are your spirits going into the event?

It's an end-of-the-year tournament, so teams that have had a bad or mediocre year are going to try really hard at these last events. The level could be higher than during the rest of the year, so we're preparing to play against teams that are going to give it their all on the server and we're expecting some great battles.

As for us, we're looking to keep that top spot in the ranking and we're expecting to have a lot of close games, which is why we're preparing thoroughly and we're ready to go all out.

Belgium Nabil 'Nivera' Benrlitom
Nabil 'Nivera' Benrlitom
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
2020-12-08 11:33
1 reply
You'd think he is used to sitting behind, because he has an elder brother
2020-12-08 11:48
2020-12-08 11:33
twist | 
Kazakhstan azamot
just replace botsuta with him, insta boost
2020-12-08 11:34
yes man
2020-12-08 11:34
Jordan Zereeni
hubi nivera <3
2020-12-08 11:34
ratio'd by scooby doo doing a backflip x
2020-12-08 11:34
2 replies
2020-12-08 11:35
Australia Cheesle2
2020-12-08 12:44
2020-12-08 11:35
Turkey SplattXy
2020-12-08 11:36
Ok but who 🚗 🚘
2020-12-08 11:38
3 replies
I car!
2020-12-08 11:55
1 reply
I_car cars
2020-12-08 13:08
@I_car wya
2020-12-08 13:13
nivera >>> misutaa
2020-12-08 11:38
tbh i'd like to see him just be on the main roster, but this seems to be the best implementation of a 6 man roster so far.
2020-12-08 11:38
France Yougz
I love him so much Zywoo 20 yo Nivera 19 yo Misutaaa 17 yo Future is bright for vitality
2020-12-08 11:49
3 replies
2020-12-08 13:20
Europe PowwneD
RpK 31yo but still beast 😎
2020-12-08 13:41
1 reply
Rpk is daddy 😎
2020-12-08 13:51
who cars 1 map user.
2020-12-08 11:52
1 reply
+1 who cars about this bot can only play 2 maps xD
2020-12-08 12:00
Nivera the next GOAT of Belgian CS
2020-12-08 11:52
15 replies
GOAT? hahahahahahaha
2020-12-08 11:59
6 replies
Ukraine volod1m1r
considering scream retired yeah
2020-12-08 12:46
5 replies
nivera also plays with awp here and there.ScreaM was just raw aim rifler and nivera is nowhere near that lvl with rifles.
2020-12-08 15:35
the last 2 letters of GOAT mean All Time screaM's all time legacy is light years ahead of nivera's
2020-12-09 03:00
3 replies
"Next GOAT"
2020-12-09 06:40
2 replies
No such thing as a next goat u become the goat when u pass the previous goat i could say a random talented 6th grader is the next goat but he isnt until he becomes the goat screaM is the goat and until nivera passes him, which most likely wont happen, he will stay the goat,
2020-12-09 18:47
1 reply
Next greatest of all time I really don't get how this is so hard to comprehend
2020-12-10 00:03
2020-12-08 12:15
Belgian Cs KEKW
2020-12-08 13:23
6 replies
Mad cuz he's better then most danish players?
2020-12-08 14:18
5 replies
hahaha :D yes im crying to much good belgian player :(
2020-12-08 15:20
his brother was so good that no team what him and he need to play Valorant hahaha bot
2020-12-08 15:23
1 reply
Am I talking about his brother? No still his brother was one of the best aimers the game has ever seen. Why u need to be so toxic just bcs there are also good players that arent danish?
2020-12-08 15:35
Mad that danish betters are and always will be better than him? i dont hate him or anything but saying hes better than *most* danish players doesnt actually mean anything
2020-12-09 03:01
1 reply
Unless you're saying Astralis and Heroic are gamblers, this is just false
2020-12-09 06:42
Was in class didnt see :(
2020-12-08 11:56
7 replies
expected from plastic fan of n0vera
2020-12-08 11:59
5 replies
You dont know what having school is like, the orphanage you are in does not educate you well
2020-12-08 12:06
3 replies
Nt kid Imagine not having enough time for your fav player hahahaha plastic fanboy.
2020-12-08 12:08
Imagine going to school lmao 😝
2020-12-08 12:17
school boy kekw
2020-12-08 12:27
shox | 
France ZyGod
s1mple fan are worst fan. True is pain
2020-12-08 13:31
So late!, you don’t deserve the flair anymore
2020-12-08 12:28
Overrated bot baiting so hard just like zywh0
2020-12-08 11:59
3 replies
expected from d0g2k
2020-12-08 12:03
1 reply
2020-12-08 12:11
Dude, people stereotype an entire fanbase as toxic if you continue with this shit.
2020-12-08 12:07
cuz u dont toch the next lepel pley... lakad matatagggggg
2020-12-08 12:09
Last time, he saved final, when he swap with shox, navi almost guaranteed win 3-0
2020-12-08 12:17
Valve probably going to disallow 6man roster as he did with rmr events where teams lost points when team changes
2020-12-08 12:31
Whats people problem with 6 man rosters? I dont understand. Other teams can have 6 man roster too if they think its an advantage. Somebody can argue that “because teams with more money has advantage”. I mean,isnt it how the world is right now? Doesnt matter what sport or just common life,people and teams with more money gonna have always advantages in some way.
2020-12-08 12:47
1 reply
Agree. You're 100% right
2020-12-08 14:40
Clap clap this genius Nivera!=)
2020-12-08 13:01
South Africa hehetymen
6 man roster scam. Worst era in csgo.
2020-12-08 13:03
2 replies
hahahah na'vi will be in stoneage forever, Astralis already trying 6-man roster
2020-12-08 13:36
1 reply
South Africa hehetymen
Navi already have a six man roster with b1t. After that final against vitality they saw how big advantage it was especially in bo5s. Really don't like the direction the game is taking with it though :(
2020-12-08 14:55
Pakistan LoOuU2
too good to be playing only 2 maps , he even outfragged Zywoo on few of his maps and thats saying something!. But Vitality are currently setting a trend which i foresee as a norm in the future of our CSGO Esports
2020-12-08 13:08
Scream brother pog
2020-12-08 13:11
this is somewhat advocates for swinger parties
2020-12-08 13:31
2020-12-08 13:44
6th man actually work dude
2020-12-08 13:49
2020-12-08 14:36
6 men rosters are the future 5 men rosters is like MR12 and 6 men rosters is MR15
2020-12-08 14:40
Mom said its my turn to play CS! - the problem of 6 player rooster > didn't get to play get cuck > did get to play but didn't do as expectation > lose motivation > benched
2020-12-08 14:44
1 reply
Nivere top 1 2021
2020-12-08 15:02
Poland SebL
It's really interesting for example if they are on BC, they play like 8hours a day, and a lot of times it's like 5 maps, so Nivera plays 2 and then he has times for himself or what? Really interesting. Btw. I didn't even know that Nivera played with misutaaa before, I guess this team wasn't on HLTV. It has to be amazing for a 17y/o guy like misutaaa to play in his first serious team and already win a T1 event. I'm looking forward to see how they are going to perform after the break. I think it's going to be really hard to beat Astralis in this tournament tho. But anyway GL to Nivera and Vitality.
2020-12-08 15:38
2 replies
Yeah they played toghetter for 2/3 years they where the best in the french semi-pro scene for about 1 year then they where bought by vitality and heretics
2020-12-08 15:48
1 reply
Poland SebL
That's quite interesting story that they parted ways when they were semi-pros and now they are back together in rankingwise the best team in the world.
2020-12-08 20:21
Soon top1
2020-12-08 17:05
Oh, not what I expected. I always felt like 6-man can't work in a long term, he basically confirmed it.
2020-12-08 17:13
There is no team sport without substitution/rotation. For all the obvious reasons. IMHO this is the future.
2020-12-08 19:15
I'm still skeptical about 6-man rosters on LAN, but, while everything's still online, the best of luck to him. Vitality are looking strong.
2020-12-08 21:03
Croatia de_usvult
Hard work pays off.
2020-12-09 01:24
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