B1ad3 on Intel Grand Slam prospect: "I think it can get in our heads really easily"

Natus Vincere head into the Pro League playoffs as heavy favorites to take the title, but pressure is mounting as the players sit just three matches away from an Intel Grand Slam victory.

Hot off a win at IEM Cologne before the tournament break, there was little doubt whether Natus Vincere would make the playoffs of ESL Pro League Season 14. Any early trepidation regarding their form following the end of the break and return to online play was swiftly quelled as the Russian squad took Group C by storm, stamping their authority over fnatic, MOUZ, Evil Geniuses, and FaZe, with only BIG briefly putting a halt to the CIS side's momentum.

The single series loss has done little to dissuade Andrey "⁠B1ad3⁠" Gorodenskiy's troops in the break since the end of their group, and the team now have their sights set on one thing; an Intel Grand Slam victory, which they would secure if they win ESL Pro League.

"We're trying to focus on the Intel Grand Slam," the 34-year-old coach said in a press conference ahead of the playoffs when asked about what winning ESL Pro League would mean to NAVI. "It's a little more motivating than winning the [EPL] title because only two teams were among the past winners, Astralis and Liquid, so we want to write down our name in history."

B1ad3 says the Intel Grand Slam is the team's main motivation heading into EPL playoffs

B1ad3 further explained that had Pro League been on LAN, the team's desire to win the event on it's own would be much higher. But with online events looking the same for much of the past year and a half, the achievement of winning the Intel Grand Slam is instead what the team is looking to for motivation as they fight through the playoff bracket. Valeriy "⁠B1T⁠" Vakhovskiy, for one, expressed frustration in the return to online play, having had a strong debut for NAVI in his first offline showing.

"I'm a little bit disappointed, because playing on LAN has totally different emotions," B1T said. "Obviously after a big win you expect to play as many LANs as possible, and right now we just have to move everything online, which is not cool."

Sitting between NAVI and a chance at the Pro League trophy and Grand Slam victory are three matches: their upcoming quarter-final bout against ENCE at 16:00 , and if they advance, a semi-final against Liquid or Heroic, followed by the grand final where they would meet either OG or Vitality.

For B1ad3, the two teams NAVI would meet in the semi-finals are the biggest challengers, alongside Gambit — although with Vladislav "⁠nafany⁠" Gorshkov's men eliminated by Vitality on Thursday, one less obstacle stands between NAVI and the tournament trophy. The coach's immediate concern is regarding NAVI's own form coming back from the break, saying that they are "not in the best shape" — something that Aleksandr "⁠s1mple⁠" Kostyliev thinks will be less of an issue after the team has spent the past week practicing and preparing for the bracket stage.

s1mple is ready to jump back into action against ENCE

"We had a small break for electronic's birthday, and now we just have more time to watch what our enemy is going to do and play more scrims," the 23-year-old superstar explains. When asked about how their map pool has shaped up with all of this practice and the integration of Ancient, s1mple didn't hold back in sharing his thoughts on the map.

"I think everyone who picks Ancient is taking a gamble," he states. "They're doing a coin flip because there is always something new on this map, some molotovs, some nades. We're always ready to play this map if anyone wants to pick it, of course we're practicing it. All other teams have more chances on this map because it's new."

The statement holds up to scrutiny as well, with NAVI currently sitting on a 4-2 record on the map with wins over Astralis, MOUZ, and Gambit. Even more fearsome though, is their record on Nuke (9-0), Mirage (12-4), and Inferno (8-3) — all staple maps in the pool, and ones that teams often don't veto. NAVI's struggles lay in Dust2, where a fluctuating record leaves them open to some upsets; however, the team's overall form across the remainder of the pool leaves them unlikely to lose a series outright, especially when paired with the fearsome form of s1mple.

Even with a week off from officials, Natus Vincere seem prepared as they look toward the three remaining matches in Pro League, after which their attention will turn to IEM Fall CIS, where they'll look to confirm a Legends spot at the PGL Major. For now though, Season 3 of the Intel Grand Slam is what the team are fully focused on, and B1ad3 hopes to take some of the pressure off his team as they make a bid to secure the win in Pro League.

"I think it can get in our heads really easily," he says of heading into the playoffs of EPL just one tournament win away from the Grand Slam win. "The thought that we are really close to the Grand Slam, that with each step we are closer and closer to writing our names down in history. I think for us it's very important to have a proper mindset and just not to think about it all and just play, think only about the game to show the best. It can only distract us, so we'll try not to think about this."

Ukraine Valeriy 'B1T' Vakhovskiy
Valeriy 'B1T' Vakhovskiy
Age:
18
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
319
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.64
Time is adjusted to your selected timezone
Russia Vladislav 'nafany' Gorshkov
Vladislav 'nafany' Gorshkov
Age:
20
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.97
Maps played:
743
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.70
Ukraine Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev
Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev
Age:
24
Rating 1.0:
1.25
Maps played:
1431
KPR:
0.85
DPR:
0.64
damn
2021-09-10 14:23
2 replies
nice b8 bl8 but no
2021-09-10 14:26
i agre
2021-09-10 14:27
hltv jinx
2021-09-10 14:23
4 replies
+1
2021-09-10 14:48
+1 :(((
2021-09-10 15:37
#44
 | 
Brazil Lostty
hahahaha
2021-09-10 15:38
Happens everytime
2021-09-10 15:52
ok
2021-09-10 14:23
blade is right
2021-09-10 14:24
cocky?
2021-09-10 14:24
2 replies
realistic*
2021-09-10 14:26
#17
 | 
Ukraine FGVM
the opposite
2021-09-10 14:33
B1ad3 is goat
2021-09-10 14:25
all the interviews, very nice)
2021-09-10 14:27
#12
 | 
United States Rayduh
Liquid Grand Slam - 1 Gambit - 0 NAVI - 0
2021-09-10 14:28
19 replies
#27
 | 
Russia necklace
Astralis Grand Slam - 1 Liquid - 1 Gambit - 0 NaVi - 0
2021-09-10 14:50
3 replies
#45
 | 
Brazil Lostty
how does the grand slam work?
2021-09-10 15:39
2 replies
You win a lot of t1 tournaments in a short amount of time you win grand slam
2021-09-10 15:52
In a span of 10 "Master level" tournaments (so dreamhack masters, esl pro league, iem etc) you have to either: a) win four events including a big one (like for example iem katowice or esl one cologne or major organized by esl or dreamhack) b) win six events
2021-09-10 16:00
well, at least navi is about to win a major unlike liquid which will never get that title
2021-09-10 16:45
14 replies
#64
 | 
United States Rayduh
That’s such a 0/8 comment lmao
2021-09-10 16:56
13 replies
what about gambit? sadly liquid will never be one of these teams which has that title((
2021-09-10 17:27
12 replies
#85
 | 
United States Rayduh
literal different teams with Dosia X God and Zeus, all retired players from 5 years ago
2021-09-10 17:39
#86
 | 
United States Rayduh
also winning major really doesn't mean that much, Devilwalk 1 major, Fifflaren 1 major, znajder 1 major, Zeus 1 major, mou 1 major, RUSH 1 major, etc.
2021-09-10 17:40
9 replies
yeah, choking at major actually means more
2021-09-10 17:41
7 replies
#89
 | 
United States Rayduh
people just don't care about major titles that much, you have have a major win and still be obscure like znajder or devilwalk or mou (literally my friends who are faceit level 10 players never heard of either players), but everyone knows s1mple
2021-09-10 17:42
4 replies
havent we been talking bout orgs?
2021-09-10 17:43
3 replies
#93
 | 
United States Rayduh
Well Envy 1 major LDLC 1 major Luminosity 1 major SK Gaming 1 major
2021-09-10 17:47
2 replies
all those orgs are actually known and even legendary if u are not a newfag
2021-09-10 17:47
1 reply
#104
 | 
United States Rayduh
Yea but of them are still in Esports but they don't even care about the CS:GO scene enough to sponsor a team despite having a major title, goes to show how little people care about majors won 5 years+ ago
2021-09-10 17:51
1 reply
wow, u know how to link flags . that's really nice
2021-09-10 17:48
#122
 | 
Poland m9xddxd
winning a major means a lot for a team, it immortalises your names how can people even say that they are worth less than other tournaments
2021-09-10 22:56
#87
 | 
United States Rayduh
while on the other hand, s1mple 0 major, zywoo 0 major, niko 0 major, electronic 0 major
2021-09-10 17:41
imagine online grand slam
2021-09-10 14:28
8 replies
2 event was hosted on LAN. both was biggest events after major ... cry
2021-09-10 14:29
4 replies
"LAN"
2021-09-10 14:46
3 replies
Local Area Network if you dont know what does it means
2021-09-10 14:48
2 replies
smart navi fan
2021-09-10 14:49
1 reply
his country isn't russian or ukrainian and his flair is unrelated what he told you was completely true
2021-09-10 16:47
#32
 | 
Spain capta1n
NAVI have been the most consistent team over the online era so it should be counted just the same
2021-09-10 15:12
2 replies
onliners
2021-09-10 15:15
1 reply
Navi won the grand slam before it was named like this
2021-09-10 15:56
Keep it cool guys
2021-09-10 14:30
hahahaha making excuses already hahahah
2021-09-10 14:34
2 replies
16-2 16-5 7 round in two map :DDDDD
2021-09-10 17:37
1 reply
ahahhahahaahahahah
2021-09-10 18:14
Aí zikou o que sabe Kinda cocky but okay
2021-09-10 14:39
now that gambit lost to vita, there's no one that can deny NAVI the grand slam
2021-09-10 14:41
5 replies
#22
NAF | 
India FosFate
You underestimate NaVi
2021-09-10 14:44
4 replies
+1
2021-09-10 15:41
'Overestimate' you mean else your Comment does not hold any sense.
2021-09-10 15:49
2 replies
Its a joke.... Thats a meme that navi's best ennemy is navi itself
2021-09-10 16:06
1 reply
xd
2021-09-10 16:46
Ok
2021-09-10 14:43
hltv jinx
2021-09-10 14:55
Poggers hopefully navi wins it))
2021-09-10 15:01
gl
2021-09-10 15:04
#31
JK | 
Asia flipflop
First Jerry Then Hobbit Now B1ad3???
2021-09-10 15:04
so... all-in on ENCE?
2021-09-10 15:17
GL HF NAV1
2021-09-10 15:18
inb4 looses against ence
2021-09-10 15:18
What a shame they decided that online tourneys should suddenly count towards the intel grand slam
2021-09-10 15:21
26 replies
they were the best lan team right before online era started
2021-09-10 16:47
20 replies
they only won one lan tourney right before the online era started which didnt even have an audience. They were completely irrelevant in 2019 and i mean they even lost the other lan event right before katowice to mouz lol
2021-09-10 16:49
19 replies
they have beaten astralis 3 times(the best team at that time) so it actually means something
2021-09-10 16:50
1 reply
what are you talking about? the online era started right after Katowice in 2020. NaVi was certainly not the best lan team before that as they were pretty bad all throughout 2019.
2021-09-10 16:54
You managed to compare three different lineups and have audacity to speak about 2019 NaVi. Didn’t know 2019 NaVi had perfecto and bit. How dumb are you ?
2021-09-10 17:18
16 replies
are you retarded? He's talking about pre online era which was literally in fucking 2019 where navi was dogshit
2021-09-10 17:18
15 replies
He is talking about whole 2020 when NaVI after kicking Zeus (1-30 IGL) and Guardian (who was whiffing every single round he picked up an AWP) and went on a tear prior to Katowice and during Katowice. When LAN returned in Cologne, they literally won it again. How fcking challenged are you ?
2021-09-10 17:19
14 replies
He said they were the best lan team before online. 2020 was literally all online apart from the first 2 tourneys one of them without even having a crowd you absolute sperg. "Went on a tear PRIOR to katowice" what tear prior to katowice they literally didnt do shit before katowice?
2021-09-10 17:21
13 replies
Which he meant by 2020 Katowice and prior events to it. And Cologne 2021. That hard to get it ? Why tf would you bring up 2019 ? BLAST group stages and some other results before BLAST. Oh and Cologne 2021.
2021-09-10 17:23
3 replies
Katowice was right after the player-break, the only other event they played in 2020 on lan was the ice challenge event which mouz won by beating navi. So i ask again what did navi do before katowice exactly?
2021-09-10 17:23
2 replies
Can’t you read ? Are you that fucking challenged ? BLAST where they literally gained a huge momentum, don’t want to talk about it? Oh yeah I forgot about 6 month break prior to Katowice. That made sense
2021-09-10 17:26
1 reply
Blast? you mean the group stage QUALIFIER event, where teams have to win 2 matches to qualify?? Why don't you bring up the actual event they were playing to qualify for which Complexity won lmfao. 6 months break prior to katowice, you mean the one month player-break? the entire year of 2019 where navi was absolute dogshit in every lan event? You must be baiting at this point, no1 can be this retarded
2021-09-10 17:29
But hold you managed to bring NaVi that had Guardian (why isn’t he in NaVi rn) and Zeus before it and legit say that 2019 NaVi wasn’t good but there two new players in NaVi’s core rn axaxaxaxa Yeah crown would help G2 from getting 0-6 on both Katowice and Cologne axaxaxa
2021-09-10 17:25
8 replies
Who cares that they had a different roster, that was the roster they had before online era which is the period he was talking about lol. They have been good during online era yeah, so has teams like fucking BIG and Heroic axaxaxax
2021-09-10 17:27
7 replies
Yeah yeah it doesn’t matter they had a bot on the most crucial gun in the game absolutely axaxaxaxa. Nope, he was talking about 2020. Not 2019 but you are too dumb if you managed to “Who cares that they had a different roster” Yeah been good during online and on LAN as well where last two LAN events were won … by NaVi. Cry is free
2021-09-10 17:29
6 replies
Well that's too bad that was their roster before online era started. Then he shouldnt mention it as pre-online era, cause 2020 was online, but you seem to be coping a lot with understanding this. 2 lan events without a crowd, huge congrats to the navi guys let's hope they don't shit themselves as usual when the crowd arrives
2021-09-10 17:31
5 replies
So mention 2018 then. It’s pre online era. Mention 2014. It’s pre online era too. YoU aRe CoPiNg You are literally lacking brain cells and common sense by mentioning whole different NaVi lineup. Yeah crowds would make it different indeed. As I said G2 with crowd would annihilate NaVi. Let’s hope you don’t shit yourself and embarrass yourself again :)
2021-09-10 17:34
4 replies
Why would i mention something long before online era started? 2019 was right before online era started and navi sucked back then. You seem to be getting really angry a lot on these forums, take a breather holy shit hahaha
2021-09-10 17:37
3 replies
Bc you mentioned 2019 axaxaxaxa when NaVi had a way more different roster with way more different roles and structure. You seem to be getting really dumb on these forums, take an L as usual holy shit hahaha
2021-09-10 17:48
2 replies
cause that was before online era? where navi was dogshit. Again with a spergy projecting reply, damn ur life must be rough hahaha
2021-09-10 17:49
1 reply
Again with the dogshit reply explaining why are so dumb and mentally challenged. Keep crying here, butthurt dan. As usual, taking massive Ls. hApPiEsT nAtIoN more like saltiest and most toxic nation with zero reading ability anything apart their shitty slave language hahaha
2021-09-10 17:53
- navi - onliners pick one
2021-09-10 17:46
3 replies
This guy is challenged. Don’t even bother
2021-09-10 17:49
2 replies
true danish fans are down bad after device got dumped by his gf and heroic got exposed for cheating))
2021-09-10 17:49
1 reply
Indeed they are, one funny breed ))
2021-09-10 17:51
Yup, shouldn't
2021-09-10 18:11
@CS moments that precede unfortunate events today will strikes again
2021-09-10 15:26
3 replies
feels like it has been happing with every interview this tournament
2021-09-10 15:27
Sadly it can happen 50/50 chance
2021-09-10 15:36
1 reply
i feel like its still 35/65 hades and dycha must hits their shots and snappi good calling
2021-09-10 15:46
STOP JINXING FFS
2021-09-10 15:33
Damn another jinx rip navi
2021-09-10 15:35
We will win the Grand Slam <3
2021-09-10 15:41
Happy Birthday Papatronic!
2021-09-10 16:31
s1mple, b1t, and electronic lan gods pog
2021-09-10 16:45
#80
 | 
Brazil Elakk
NaVi era starting
2021-09-10 17:32
18yr old who was an academy player a few months ago really just said "i prefer lan" LOL once in a lifetime talent
2021-09-10 17:46
goat coach
2021-09-10 17:49
Sasha needs this win and a major before He Will become the GOAT
2021-09-10 18:06
No way navi wins this intel grand slam If they do, it will stain the trophy forever to come
2021-09-10 18:11
S1mple X ZywOo. Will be a fun final to watch
2021-09-10 18:26
Mickey Mouse Grand Slam if Navi wins, online doesn’t count
2021-09-10 18:29
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