B1ad3: "For our system it's really important to have at least 7-10 days where we can reset"
NAVI haven't lost a beat since their triumph at PGL Major Stockholm, besting BIG 2-0 in their opening series in Copenhagen for BLAST. They were given a true test in their second match of the event though, going up against a Heroic side who have been adamant in stating that they are Natus Vincere's No.1 competition, and the Danish team were true to their word as they made it a contentious series, despite NAVI coming out on top 2-1.
Following the match, HLTV spoke to Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy to get his thoughts on the series, during which NAVI nearly pulled off a comeback from a massive deficit on Mirage, as well as hear what he had to say regarding comments made by Casper "cadiaN" Møller and René "TeSeS" Madsen on how Heroic are Natus Vincere's main opposition. The 35-year-old coach also shared his perspective on what the communication on the team was like during their match against G2 at the Major, and delved into their goals for the final stretch of the year.
I wanted to start with the comeback that almost happened on Mirage just now, you brought it really close, back from 5-15, what was the communication like during that comeback and when it was cut short in the end?
Mostly it was cold-blooded playing without bright emotions, cheering and so on. Sometimes we have such a mode, for example we had the same versus G2 on Nuke in the grand final of the Major, and we actually don't feel a lot of excitement while we're winning rounds. For example, when we are catching our opponent, when we are close to the comeback, then we start to feel more excited, more happy, voices are changing and so on, but I think we need something of that earlier.
Versus G2 on Nuke, only in OT did we start to communicate properly, be more active. When you have a better mood inside the TeamSpeak, players can communicate more, give more useful information, have some ideas inside the game. When you have low communication, it's a chain reaction, one is reacting on another one. Versus Heroic on Mirage it was also mostly cold-blooded, but I think if we had started much earlier to be more active in communication, I think we could make a comeback, but on T side I think we played really bad.
You also had the choice for the decider map between Overpass and Nuke, and you currently have a nineteen-map winstreak on Nuke. What led to you choosing Overpass over a map you're so dominant on at the moment?
Actually, it's obvious because when you play against strong opponents, first of all they can anticipate the map, and make a lot of preparations. So they can counter you, and you don't know what they will prepare. The second thing is that it is their strongest, or one of their strongest maps, they'll usually pick it, so it's not a good tendency to pick your strong map and not think about your opponent, you need to respect it, respect your opponent. We would have problems on Nuke if we played it, because they know how to operate on Nuke, they know how to find gaps. We didn't want to play it at all today, and also we have some interesting rounds that we didn't want to show off on Nuke versus them, and we needed those if we wanted to win it.
There is this seemingly one-sided rivalry between you and Heroic brewing — you haven't actually lost a series to them yet — but they've been talking in interviews about how they're a team that you are afraid of, how they are your No. 1 competition, and that you know that too. Is that actually the case from your end?
Well, definitely we are not afraid of anyone at this moment because, I told a lot of times in interviews, that when you are winning against teams, you gain knowledge in how to beat these teams, and you gain confidence. It's impossible to be scared after that. It's more that they're saying they are the only team they can beat us, it's not like they will beat us, but they can beat us. It's true, they are one of those teams of course.
I think there are three or four teams that are really hard to play when they are in prime shape, or playing good on the day of the match. Gambit, Heroic, G2, Vitality, I think these four teams. Also, it's fine, their logic is like we had close matches, it's true, but after each match we usually have a lot of analyzing of mistakes and we make progress, and we're changing a lot of stuff. So it's not smart to analyze the game that was five or six months ago because we could change a lot. It's only about logic, but still I respect Heroic and I think they're one of the strongest teams that we can play.
This event and the Global Final are your last two events of the year since you're not at IEM Winter. You're obvious favorites going into it, especially after your Major run and IEM Cologne. How do you want to close out the year, aside from just winning the tournaments?
The year? Of course just winning, that's all. We know that we are the favorites, and it's not always good, it gives you pressure. In the G2 final at the Major we had pressure when we started to lose on Nuke, I felt like we were experiencing a lot of pressure, and they [NAVI's players] can't play the way they usually play because of that. I think, being fair, it doesn't give you an automatic win, you need still to do the same style that you were doing before and sometimes even more, because teams start to analyze more, only you, and you need to not relax and start just playing. You need to add something else if you want to keep winning.
Of course, one thing is when you're the favorite, sometimes teams are actually afraid of you, and it gives you the confidence, you see it in the match. For us it's more to finish the year with the wins because we want to build our era — I think any team wants to do this — but we are on a good path now, we're winning good events in a row. This year it's obvious that we'll be happy with two wins, and even if we will lose some of the remaining tournaments, I think it will give us a lot of information where we need to work next year.
Does not being at IEM Winter detract from the end of the year for you at all?
No, because it's not about actually playing events, I think it's more about winning events. We always speak about this tough schedule, it was more about before the pandemic, the schedule was really tough. Online also was really tough, but you were playing at home, okay.
But I think it's not healthy to play so many events in a row, at least if you want to win them. If you have a good competitive scene, it will be impossible to win all of them in a row because your motivation is not so good. You can't add something new, they start to anti-strat you, and of course physical energy is also lost with traveling, playing all the time, and if you finish getting to the finals, you don't have any days off between the tournaments actually. For us, our system, it's really important to have at least 7, 9, even 10 days where we can reset ourselves mentally and to prepare something new for the event. In that case, we are ready for it.