huNter-: "Having JaCkz back on the team means a lot to me; it was really tough for me when we decided to replace him"

The G2 star spoke to HLTV.org about the recent changes within the team and his first impressions of the new roster ahead of the ESL Pro League Season 13 playoffs.

In early March, G2 underwent roster changes following a series of middling results, moving Kenny "⁠kennyS⁠" Schrub to the bench and bringing Audric "⁠JaCkz⁠" Jug back into the lineup after the latter had spent some months on the sidelines.

Almost a month has passed since the switch and we got the chance to talk to Nemanja "⁠huNter-⁠" Kovač, who was recently featured in Red Bull's "Unfold" video series, which delves into the Bosnian's early days playing from his parents' internet café and the impact that his relationship with cousin and now teammate Nikola "⁠NiKo⁠" Kovač has had on his career.

huNter talks kennyS' benching, JaCkz's return, and NiKo's switch

In our interview with him, the 25-year-old discussed G2's lineup changes, explaining what prompted the decision to place kennyS on the bench and recall JaCkz. He also spoke about NiKo's switch to the AWP role, which quickly became a target of criticism from pundits and the community alike, and gave us his first impressions of the new setup following the French-Balkan squad's successful campaign in the ESL Pro League Season 13 group stage.

You can read the full interview below:

After a promising start with NiKo, the team seemed to fall off late in the year, and the first two months of 2021 looked difficult for G2, as well. What kind of issues have you been facing that have prevented you from putting up better results?

When NiKo joined the team, our opponents didn't know what to expect from us, we were unpredictable. Of course, you also have the hype and drive to play well together, which is always strong when you welcome a new player. Then, I think that it is not easy to stay consistent online, to keep the right focus, especially after a year playing in those conditions. Most of the teams are struggling to be consistent at the moment, even if there are also some newcomers among the top teams that are doing really great.

The addition of NiKo was the beginning of a new process for us. We first had to make a choice between AmaNek and JaCkz while going from tournament to tournament without any real preparation. It was only at the beginning of 2021 that we had the time to really work our own identity. It takes time to get things into place, we are still far from delivering our best game, but I'm happy with what we are doing right now. We'll keep working hard, and I think we will be much better in the future.

How much did the results have to do with the lineup changes you made and how much of a factor was kennyS' individual slump? Can you explain what made the team bench kennyS and bring back JaCkz?

We are playing to win and, of course, results are important, especially when you are playing for G2 Esports. You need to feel pressure if you don't get good results. But I think we didn't play that badly at the beginning of this year. We lost to Astralis in the BLAST Global Finals in a really unlucky match and then to NAVI, and those two teams played the final just a few days after. A little while later, at IEM Katowice, we lost against Gambit, who won the event.

We showed some good CS at times, but not enough for what we wanted to achieve. Kenny didn't play that badly at all, he was working a lot and wasn't the main reason for our performances, I would say. Our staff thought that our system would be more balanced with a player with a different profile, and that's why JaCkz got back into the team after Katowice. He is a really good guy, and I'm happy to have him back as much as I am sad for Kenny, but that's how competition works, the team goes first.

What are the team's expectations when it comes to the longevity of this lineup? Is JaCkz expected to stay long-term or are you weighing up the possibility of adding a different player?

It's more of a question for [coach] maLeK and [manager] NiaK, but I can say that we didn't bring JaCkz back for another test. Our goal is to give this lineup a fair shot and stay together long term to improve, play better individually and as a team. We haven't talked too much about expectations yet, we want to see how things fall into place first, focus on setting up our game, getting the positions and roles right, and when we see how far we can go, we will talk about expectations. But from my perspective, I really believe in this team and I think we can do a good job together.

In what way do you think this move will help the team improve?

JaCkz is a really great guy and a talented player. He is always positive and his energy, inside and outside of the game, is something I can't describe... Every team would like to have a guy like him. I'm personally very happy to have him back, since we did a good job together in the past, we complement each other well on the T sides. We were struggling a bit after he left, the job he is doing as an entry-fragger is really helping us. But we also lost Kenny, who is a reference in other aspects, and there is a lot of work to do to compensate for that. We will do our best, NiKo needs some time but I feel he will do a great job.

The main point of criticism people have brought up regarding this move is undoubtedly NiKo's switch to the AWPing role. Why did you think that was the best option? Were there any other possibilities in consideration when it came to how you'd approach the role moving forward, be it signing a new AWPer or having AmaNEk pick it up more instead?

NiKo is a star player, and when you look at this kind of player right now, most of them play with an AWP. If you want to be the best player in the world in the current meta, playing with the AWP is a big advantage. I really think it can be good for NiKo and for the team. Only time will tell if it's a good fit for us, but I won't regret trying this way.

nexa appeared on HLTV Confirmed last month and spoke about the dilemma you faced at the end of last year with the choice between AmaNEk and JaCkz, citing JaCkz's issues with his English as one of the reasons why the team ended up going the other way. Have you taken any steps to fix that, now that he has returned to the lineup?

Yeah, it was one of the reasons why we chose AmaNEk, but it's not the main one. We wanted the best for the team and AmaNEk was really important for our CT sides, especially with the double AWP. I know JaCkz kept on improving his English, as he was looking to find a new international team. Today it is much better and he will keep improving.

huNter- has his duo partner back on the server

Judging from previous interviews, you and JaCkz are quite close, inside and outside the server, as you shared the same room at events and played a lot of positions in-game together, something you highlighted as a source of confidence at IEM Katowice at the beginning of 2020. Can we expect the two of you to return to the sort of dynamic you had in-game as before? What does it mean to you personally to have him back on the roster?

Honestly, having JaCkz back on the team means a lot to me. Like I've said a million times, he's my older brother. We were roommates back then, he is one of the best people I have ever met. He's ready to do anything for me, for the team and for the people he likes. It was really tough for me when we decided to replace him, I was literally crying. It was really weird to be without him on TeamSpeak, to practice and play without him, as he was always the big heart of the team. Always positive, no matter what was going on inside or outside of the game and always trying to keep the team in a good mood. More importantly, having him on the server means more space for me, we were a great T-side duo back in the days and I hope we will do even better in the future.

What are your first impressions of the new roster after the ESL Pro League group stage?

I'm really happy that we made it to the playoffs. It could have been better, honestly, especially that last match against mousesports. We could have taken first place in our group without that loss, and I think we deserved it after beating NiP, FaZe and Vitality 2:0. A bad map can change a lot of things in the group stage, which is what happened to us against ENCE. Overall, like I said, I'm very happy with the improvements we have made recently and can't wait to start the playoffs.

It has been close to five months since you teamed up with NiKo. It was a combination that the two of you looked very excited about and had high expectations for, but so far it looks like the jury is still out on how good the move was. How has it been to actually play alongside him for an extended period for the first time? Is it all that you imagined, or are there some growing pains associated with getting a player who requires a lot of space?

It is a great feeling to play with my 'brother' on the same team. I've worked hard to get to this point, to be at the same level as him and finally play on the same team. The feeling is a bit weird sometimes, I still don't realize that I've reached this level, honestly. Two or three years ago it seemed impossible, but I can now say that anything is possible if you put in a lot of effort. I can't wait to play offline events next to him, that's what I am waiting for. As for our duo in-game, just a bit more patience, as I said earlier, our game is still getting into place.

G2 are set to start their campaign in the ESL Pro League Season 13 playoff bracket with a matchup against Liquid, which will take place on Friday at 19:00 .

Time is adjusted to your selected timezone
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nemanja 'huNter-' Kovač
Nemanja 'huNter-' Kovač
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.13
Maps played:
1229
KPR:
0.78
DPR:
0.67
France Audric 'JaCkz' Jug
Audric 'JaCkz' Jug
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
850
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.68
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.16
Maps played:
1392
KPR:
0.80
DPR:
0.67
France Kenny 'kennyS' Schrub
Kenny 'kennyS' Schrub
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.13
Maps played:
1841
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.63
#1
 | 
Poland Cryzilian
kick Niko pls
2021-04-01 21:00
23 replies
#5
 | 
Sweden ShageN
+1 kick choko ffs
2021-04-01 21:02
3 replies
+1
2021-04-01 21:05
1 reply
-NIKO +KENNYS
2021-04-01 23:05
#81
 | 
Europe chespiZ
Niko need move to mibr they r trash but they buy majors, thats good
2021-04-02 00:51
#8
 | 
United States Shr3y
Next: NiKo replaces as IGL, Nexa benched
2021-04-01 21:02
4 replies
next faze out of next tournament again whilst faze fanboys malding at niko xd
2021-04-01 21:31
3 replies
+1 kekw
2021-04-02 01:05
KEKW FACTS
2021-04-02 04:01
+1 hahhahaha
2021-04-02 06:14
it was tough for hunter to play with niko (cousin) instead of jackz ?
2021-04-01 21:03
2 replies
NiKo my cousin! How bout we go bowling!)))))
2021-04-01 23:54
1 reply
+1 LMAO
2021-04-02 01:48
always niko's fault for isn't it? seems like you're obsessed with him
2021-04-01 21:03
1 reply
+1
2021-04-01 21:24
+1
2021-04-01 21:11
+1
2021-04-01 21:16
#43
 | 
Brazil cadik
+1
2021-04-01 21:25
#46
 | 
Italy who_car
+1
2021-04-01 21:28
+1
2021-04-01 22:33
+1
2021-04-02 05:05
NiKo lives rent free in your head XD
2021-04-02 06:28
Hunter looks 2 face toledo. Just wants to be own space. Dude its fucking team game
2021-04-02 15:57
+1
2021-04-22 17:51
NiKo GOAT
2021-04-01 21:00
1 reply
#3
 | 
Serbia LtN))
ok
2021-04-01 21:01
"Friendship ended with kennys, now jacks is my best friend"
2021-04-01 21:02
10 replies
#15
 | 
United States BigDudley
+1
2021-04-01 21:03
+1
2021-04-01 21:05
axaxaxaxa
2021-04-01 21:10
mens))))))))
2021-04-01 23:55
+1 axaxaxaxxaxaxa
2021-04-02 01:06
+1 He's scared to ask kenny for flash
2021-04-02 04:06
lul
2021-04-02 06:14
+1 hahahhaa
2021-04-02 08:47
xD
2021-04-02 09:05
+1
2021-04-30 21:25
#7
 | 
Sweden ShageN
kick arrogant egoistic BOT ChoKo
2021-04-01 21:02
3 replies
+1
2021-04-01 21:17
Choko rent free in your head
2021-04-02 05:21
r e n t f r e e
2021-04-02 06:15
#9
 | 
Sweden Fizze
Serbia STRONK
2021-04-01 21:02
Very interesting read I'll check it out later
2021-04-01 21:02
bromance
2021-04-01 21:03
needs a bait to shine just like most star players good for him
2021-04-01 21:03
for me too, hunter
2021-04-01 21:03
Go Hunter Go! The best Kovac out there , may you achieve more success!
2021-04-01 21:06
"If you want to be the best player in the world in the current meta, playing with the AWP is a big advantage. I really think it can be good for NiKo and for the team" oh yes, buy the best rifler in the world for 2 mil, make him the primary awp and then say its a good move
2021-04-01 21:07
5 replies
#22
 | 
Portugal dracø
+1 lol
2021-04-01 21:07
0/8 where'd you get NiKo costed 2million from, wow + how is that an issue for them Anyways it's clear it's a temporary move as stated (NiKo hybrid AWP alongside AmaNek) and G2 has kept an eye on great players so I'm expecting JaCkz to leave so NiKo can relocate. NiKo hasn't touched the AWP at all in his past games. "Only time will tell if it's a good fit for us, but I won't regret trying this way." If you read the interview you can see huNter's insinuating norhing is settled yet. kennyS was a problem thus it must be fixed, they're getting better results without him and they're in evaluation phase so what's the problem
2021-04-01 21:36
3 replies
These kids just don't understand things. They just comment on anything coming in their mind
2021-04-02 05:23
1 reply
Ikr, 100%
2021-04-02 07:27
when you say they are getting better results without what you mean? cause in the last 4 games against furia they won 3 with kennyS and in this last tournament they reach QF. Last year with kennyS they went to the final. Plus this entire tournament was a joke to G2. Shitty group where they lost to last last team (mouse), plus some individual carry games where hunter appear (liquid, etc). Whithout that they did not pass the group. so now i would like to know your explanation. To me they are not better
2021-04-05 18:36
hunter most wholesome player <3
2021-04-01 21:08
You need to learn to play without a JaCkz tho, otherwise you ain't as good as you portray, Hunter.
2021-04-01 21:10
7 replies
Every star player has it's own bitch to bait.Cold dissapeared without Taco, zywoo had alex, s1mple has the whole team, NiKo baited the fuck out of FaZe clan. It is what it is.
2021-04-01 21:17
6 replies
zywoo does it all by himself, same as yekindar. s1mple boombich,perfecto and flamie COLD, taco niko/blamef sure igl bait whole team
2021-04-01 21:19
2 replies
there are shits baiters and good baiters ques who are those shit's
2021-04-01 21:45
1 reply
Both lame.
2021-04-01 21:52
#44
 | 
United States PP_Bizon
I don't think this is the same thing, it's more of a mental/personality thing if anything
2021-04-01 21:27
zywoo had the whole team to bait like s1mple. It was even worse baiting than s1mple did in 2019. NiKo called around himself just like BlameF does. Its just that BlameF took the baiting on whole other level.
2021-04-01 23:06
1 reply
this paragrah made me laugh lul
2021-04-02 03:50
Bromance
2021-04-01 21:12
Bromance
2021-04-01 21:12
cute
2021-04-01 21:12
ahahhaahhahahaahhahahahahahah
2021-04-01 21:15
AAAHH GOTCHA APRIL FOOLS JACKZ SUCK LOL
2021-04-01 21:16
#32
 | 
Portugal chicosar
Who doesn't like Jacks? The guy is an entry headshot machine
2021-04-01 21:16
#34
 | 
United States weaboo
bot
2021-04-01 21:16
Dating?
2021-04-01 21:17
Yeah, just FUCK kennys, hes NOTHING!
2021-04-01 21:18
#40
 | 
Georgia Megobari
They bought Niko (star-rifler) for 2 millions to let him play with AWP? XD
2021-04-01 21:20
2 replies
agree mens #21
2021-04-01 21:21
You got everything wrong #49
2021-04-01 21:30
#45
 | 
Italy who_car
Ch0K0 was the problem kekw
2021-04-01 21:28
G2 is slowly turning to brotherhood team. Soon -amanek + another brother pro.
2021-04-01 21:29
1 reply
Guardian Kovac and Maden Bos'kovic' to G2 soon
2021-04-01 22:11
#48
 | 
Serbia hitomi79
hunter- and f0rest, two most polite guys in CS:GO
2021-04-01 21:29
Inb4 they kick him because niko couldnt bait him enough
2021-04-01 21:33
Bosnian Beast
2021-04-01 21:40
3 replies
I <3 bosnia
2021-04-02 06:46
1 reply
<3
2021-04-02 10:30
#111
 | 
Bosnia and Herzegovina Biske
yes mens
2021-04-02 08:01
1 reply
Bromance is real
2021-04-02 23:35
niko will fail and g2 also. what a dumb decision for real
2021-04-01 21:44
Hunter "TwoFaced Toledo" Kovac
2021-04-01 21:54
I'm not sure if I should interpret this as "I don't like kennyS" statement from Hunter.
2021-04-01 21:54
Good guy jackito One of the best personalities in fr cs with rpk and bodyy
2021-04-01 21:55
3 replies
#62
RpK | 
France HippzZ
I would even say one of the best personalites in cs
2021-04-01 22:04
Rpk is a snake no? He dumped ex6 at some point
2021-04-01 22:55
1 reply
I don't recall that nobody has a problem with him, good mate he's like a teddy bear
2021-04-01 23:05
Breaking news: hunter is gay for jackz
2021-04-01 22:23
4 replies
i mean, who isnt
2021-04-02 03:51
3 replies
Youre right the guy is hot AF and apparently nice, wtf
2021-04-02 05:06
+1
2021-04-02 11:04
+1
2021-04-02 16:46
dead team
2021-04-01 22:32
add kappapride in title
2021-04-01 22:47
#73
 | 
France SpAKstor
I’m gonna cry
2021-04-01 23:11
boyfriend
2021-04-01 23:19
jackz confirmed as a total bro
2021-04-01 23:30
he's gonna get kicked for an awper in a month lmao
2021-04-02 00:03
1 reply
#130
 | 
Bosnia and Herzegovina filipasas
TRUE lmao, CERQ INC
2021-04-02 13:24
as expected from Niko cousin, back stab your teammate like nothing.
2021-04-02 00:09
kennyS was the problem jajaja
2021-04-02 00:46
wasnt nexa a decent awper in valiance
2021-04-02 02:01
So choko kicked kenny to get awp and farm more bait stats
2021-04-02 04:25
Gotta love JackZ and Hunter <3
2021-04-02 04:43
Bromance. hNt- JaCkz
2021-04-02 05:27
no bromance with the unhappy man kennys
2021-04-02 05:40
IN YOUR FACE KENNYS
2021-04-02 07:13
😳 👉👈 Jackz with Hunter
2021-04-02 07:27
in other news: "im happy that my bait is here again, so i can look good"
2021-04-02 07:32
1 reply
+1 He had <1 rating before JaCkz lol
2021-04-02 08:02
Happy gets one over kennyS once again. "We removed him and I was sad, we removed kennyS and I'm Happy"
2021-04-02 07:35
Nice interview
2021-04-02 07:41
#118
 | 
Nepal askyee
''We are playing to win and, of course, results are important, especially when you are playing for G2 Esports. You need to feel pressure ..... but that's how competition works, the team goes first.'' How tf a team would work with they all have that kind of mindset, most of team are more of a friends to each other and for example thats the reason astralis was that good
2021-04-02 11:13
Keeping jackz, kicking whiffy S and making niko the hybrid awp a la zywoo, s1, devve was the best move since day 1 imo. I think they will be a LOT better with this configuration in a few monthes
2021-04-02 11:24
1 reply
+1
2021-04-02 18:42
Looks like sweet love between two real men.
2021-04-02 11:31
Honestly I would expect more changes in G2 soon, I don't think this team is good enough to suceed, they don't have enough firepower, and even their playstyle seems weird at times, I don't think this is going to work. I think that JaCkz is a good player, better than AmaNEk, and honestly I think G2 made a mistake when they chose AmaNEk over JaCkz, I think they should've parted ways with AmaNEk. The duo of NiKo and huNter- is looking really good, but I still think that the expectations from them were a bit higher. Anyway, GL in the playoffs G2.
2021-04-02 11:31
2 replies
Nah Amanek is very versitale. But ye you are right, imo nexa needs to step up as well, he didnt play good for a "fragging" IGL.
2021-04-02 12:31
1 reply
nexa hasn't showed anything, he wasn't good fragging lately, and he doesn't seem like a good IGL either.
2021-04-02 14:33
STFU and take ropz
2021-04-02 11:42
How is "We" tough"... Oh when you mean with "we" Niko
2021-04-02 12:29
TL:DR; i can't say it but we need to kick niko.
2021-04-02 12:54
" but that's how competition works, the team goes first." So why add Niko?? he is toxic for every team he joined. "NiKo is a star player, and when you look at this kind of player right now, most of them play with an AWP. If you want to be the best player in the world in the current meta, playing with the AWP is a big advantage. I really think it can be good for NiKo and for the team. Only time will tell if it's a good fit for us, but I won't regret trying this way." OMEGALUL literally admit give AWP to boost Nikos ego. Not because it was the best team decision. "He is a star player and star player play AWP". Hahaha tell that Electronic or Ropz... Ask Fnatic or Faze. ROFLMAO. Really what a shit show comment from Hunter. Reach almost Aerial level.
2021-04-02 13:13
5 replies
ropz doesnt want to AWP. NiKo does and the team.believes he can keep up with Zywoo and s1mple so why not try it.
2021-04-02 15:17
4 replies
because he will never reach that level with AWP. And it isn't about AWP or not it is about the explanation and reasoning G2 offers. Stroke Nikos ego "oh do AWP yeah you can be better than s1mple". Instead of a mature decision. "We need you there and there and do your job there. This actually the main difference between Niko and device/zywho/s1mple.
2021-04-02 15:39
1 reply
You do realize s1mple and device were primarily riflers, don't you?
2021-04-03 06:23
#135
 | 
United States PP_Bizon
But when ropz does awp he's very good at it
2021-04-02 15:47
1 reply
Just like NiKo in FaZe. Main AWPing needs time and dedication until you are consistent. Second AWPing is easier.
2021-04-02 19:59
cool
2021-04-02 13:26
We can understand how hard it is for a baiter to play without a bait.
2021-04-03 04:39
Login or register to add your comment to the discussion.