B1ad3: "If there's a great rivalry between top teams, they always improve each other; it's a natural process"

Aleksandr "⁠s1mple⁠" Kostyliev and Andrey "⁠B1ad3⁠" Gorodenskiy talk about the moment of high confidence NAVI are in heading into IEM Cologne.

Natus Vincere enter IEM Cologne chasing their goal of winning back-to-back tournaments following a close victory against Gambit in the StarLadder CIS RMR, the latest chapter of a burgeoning rivalry with the young CIS squad, who are now in their third month at No.1 in the world rankings.

Confidence is at a high in the NAVI camp, according to s1mple

NAVI will start their tournament run against Renegades, one of the heavy underdogs at the event in Cologne, although the Australians showed in the Play-In stage that they are not to be overlooked as they surprised OG with a 2-0 upset to knock out the international squad and secure their spot at the main event. Following the opening match, there’s a chance Natus Vincere will end up facing Vitality, which would set up a duel of titans between the top two players in the world that hasn’t been seen since January.

"I want to play against Vitality because those were always fun games," s1mple said at a press conference when asked about who he’d like to face in the tournament. "It would be interesting to see how they would play against us." The Ukrainian AWPer then added that he sees Gambit as his team's "main opponent because they beat us three or four times in a row before we could beat them in the best-of-five final.”

Coach B1ad3 also chimed in regarding the rivalry and how it has the makings to become one of epic proportions if both teams are able to maintain their current form at offline events. "Potentially, it can be one of the best rivalries, it depends on how we will perform on LAN and how Gambit will perform on LAN," the 34-year-old said. "Basically, we will see in two or three months if CS has come back to LAN in full. At this moment we're playing them a lot and they're pretty spectacular matches, but it's still online, not on stage. I think for it to become the greatest rivalry we would need to play more matches, more finals, and on stage."

The Ukrainian skipper also commented on Mathieu "⁠Maniac⁠" Quiquerez’s words after the Swiss analyst said that Gambit becoming a powerhouse was the best thing that could have happened to NAVI. "I think at some point it's true, actually," B1ad3 said. "But I think it would happen with any other top team. If there's a great rivalry between top teams they always improve each other, it's a natural process. If not Gambit, it would be any other team.

"If we speak specifically about Gambit, our players are a bit more competitive when we play against them because they came from nowhere. It's not like Astralis or Vitality, with big names in the team, names that have been around for a while. The fact that they came from nowhere, from online, for our players it was a bit annoying when they started to win everything. But it's not that big, it’s just a little factor."

Regardless of the opponents NAVI might face, one thing is clear: IEM Cologne could not have come at a better time for the team in terms of confidence. "I feel like all of our players finally felt the power that we have," s1mple said. "All of us had an ace [at StarLadder CIS RMR]. I think we finally felt the power that we can believe in each other until the end and that we can make a great comeback. All of us showed great individual performances and I feel like we have extra confidence before IEM Cologne."

Winning an RMR event without coach comms is positive ahead of Cologne

B1ad3 agrees with the sentiment, but for a different reason, stating that the victory at the RMR event was important due to the similarities in the way he communicated with the team at the Valve-sanctioned event and how he will able to do it on LAN. "It's different compared to online because I can't constantly speak and communicate with the team, which we’ve been used to during this long period of time playing online," he said. "To win without me having the ability to speak all of the time is like showing that we can do the same on LAN.

"This transition could be difficult but now we see that on LAN I can speak in tactical timeouts, and we beat Gambit even without those tactical timeouts. We just spoke before the map, had a gameplan, and I couldn't change or correct anything. We showed that we can play without me in TeamSpeak and that's a good sign for our confidence."

Another factor in NAVI's favour heading into IEM Cologne will be the possibility to see Denis "⁠electroNic⁠" Sharipov at his best as the Russian player has proven to be better on LAN than online, according to B1ad3, who lauded the 22-year-old. "electronic has a lot of experience and understanding of the game," the coach said. "He knows how to operate with the opponent on the map in specific situations, critical situations, so he's a crucial factor in the mid-round. I think you can get the most out of this ability on LAN because a lot of players are really scared of doing something unusual. If you make a mistake you'll think you're responsible for it, and you’ll blame yourself for doing something wrong in the game. That becomes even more important on LAN.

"electronic and s1mple are always doing these things on LAN. They make some moves that other players will not do without their experience and confidence. That's electronic's main strength, his determination during crucial situations in the game. Not all players can have his determination in hard situations, they're scared of something or don't know what to do, and on LAN it's a huge advantage to have such a player."

Having a player like electronic will be a big advantage on LAN, B1ad3 said

On the other side of the spectrum will be Valeriy "⁠b1t⁠" Vakhovskiy, who proved to be a crucial player for Natus Vincere in the recent grand final against Gambit, in which he was the highest-rated player in the series alongside s1mple. Much attention has gone into how well the newcomer has performed despite his lack of experience, raising questions about how he will fare in a new setting.

"Some new players need the experience," s1mple said. "Before, it was Perfecto and Boombl4, now it's B1T, but I think we're doing great work and we have been in the top 5 for many months already — I think we're doing a great job and this is the best lineup I've played with. B1T has really good aim, like flamie had, but B1T is a younger player and he just needs more experience. He has more motivation to improve his game. He plays really good roles that we missed before, and he's been practicing these roles."

The soft return to LAN, with teams playing in their bubbles, and some of the teams that need further quarantining even playing from their hotel rooms, could ease many players' nerves as they look to prove themselves in a new setting. "It's a bit the same [as playing online] when we’re playing from our rooms,” s1mple said. "But it will feel different when we're in the studio with the other teams.

“LAN events are usually with a crowd and you start to get nervous or you feel some pressure, especially on stage, but this is the first event and all players are going to feel it at least a little bit because it's something new for them. I haven't visited Europe for like a year and a half, so it's quite exciting."

Russia Denis 'electroNic' Sharipov
Denis 'electroNic' Sharipov
Age:
23
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
1155
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.66
Switzerland Mathieu 'Maniac' Quiquerez
Mathieu 'Maniac' Quiquerez
Age:
32
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.96
Maps played:
837
KPR:
0.66
DPR:
0.67
Ukraine Valeriy 'b1t' Vakhovskiy
Valeriy 'b1t' Vakhovskiy
Age:
19
Rating 1.0:
1.05
Maps played:
296
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.65
Ukraine Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev
Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev
Age:
24
Rating 1.0:
1.24
Maps played:
1408
KPR:
0.85
DPR:
0.64
I agree.
2021-07-08 17:46
#3
 | 
Russia Evil_DaviD1
Good coach
2021-07-08 17:47
15 replies
+1
2021-07-08 17:52
+1
2021-07-08 17:54
+1
2021-07-08 17:58
+1
2021-07-08 18:00
cis cs good as s1mple rating
2021-07-08 18:12
+1
2021-07-08 18:37
+1
2021-07-08 18:41
+1
2021-07-08 18:43
+1
2021-07-08 18:43
#57
 | 
China HEIDASHUAi
+1
2021-07-08 18:47
#62
 | 
Reunion fthata
1000/1000
2021-07-08 19:11
+1
2021-07-08 19:27
#66
Sw1ft | 
Germany Joyex
God-Tier Coach tbh...
2021-07-08 20:03
Sick coach Brought soo many young talents to tier 1
2021-07-10 13:49
+1
2021-07-10 13:50
#4
 | 
Brazil Bertanzin
Onliners Will fall...
2021-07-08 17:47
1 reply
#8
 | 
Belgium RobinDG
Yes O Piano Will definitly not stay irrelevant
2021-07-08 17:48
Wise words!
2021-07-08 17:48
whut
2021-07-08 17:48
#9
DG | 
Spain MCMXCVI
cant believe bladee invented rivalry
2021-07-08 17:48
2 replies
dg
2021-07-08 17:49
be nice 2 him
2021-07-08 18:38
gambit not even that good just every team got shit online
2021-07-08 17:48
who cars
2021-07-08 17:49
giant of thought
2021-07-08 17:50
6 replies
#17
 | 
Russia Soawii
the father of ukranian democracy
2021-07-08 17:51
1 reply
#38
 | 
CIS lorg0n
+1
2021-07-08 18:01
#18
 | 
Ukraine VoidWave
+2
2021-07-08 17:51
#25
 | 
Russia mshkoda
Horosh)
2021-07-08 17:54
1 reply
XD
2021-07-08 18:41
xd
2021-07-08 17:55
#14
 | 
Russia mshkoda
Wise
2021-07-08 17:50
#16
 | 
Ukraine VoidWave
Good coach
2021-07-08 17:51
Very good read
2021-07-08 17:53
Vitality and G2 are more dangerous on LAN.
2021-07-08 17:54
B1ad3 based and goat
2021-07-08 17:55
Smart coach
2021-07-08 17:56
cool
2021-07-08 17:56
Let's go NAV1
2021-07-08 17:56
Well spoken Mr B1ad3
2021-07-08 18:04
nice
2021-07-08 18:08
NAVI top #1 of IEM Cologne
2021-07-08 18:25
#45
 | 
Norway Flick_
Its been like this since the start of CS, top teams always studied each other to outplay and outsmart them.
2021-07-08 18:26
Ez for future major winner s1mple and navi
2021-07-08 18:41
#55
 | 
United Kingdom spxrkk
coach
2021-07-08 18:45
#58
 | 
Czech Republic Evis1337
NO SHIT?
2021-07-08 18:47
#59
 | 
China HEIDASHUAi
Go NaVi !
2021-07-08 18:47
It's not always true because u r playing against same opponent and u start studying their tendance,play-style,tactics. You cannot anti-strat any opponent every time you have to come up with new things and stuff to be at the top like astralis prime So basically you always try to be better than someone not your self because of that you will improve against that team but not other team like renegades,liquid,furia,vici
2021-07-08 19:14
But astralis liquid was one sided rivalry
2021-07-08 19:17
1 reply
Maybe it wasn’t really a rivalry then 🤔
2021-07-08 23:51
Gigant misli, otec ruskoj democratii
2021-07-08 20:12
Except maybe liquid vs astralis:))
2021-07-08 23:51
2 replies
? you consider astralis 32 0 liquid every final a rivalry?
2021-07-10 17:19
1 reply
Yes mens)) it was a rivalry, liquid trying to win for once
2021-07-10 20:45
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