B1ad3: "We did not have any practice at all after ESL Pro League"
The reigning Major champions earned their chance to defend their title in Belgium and coach Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy thinks they have a good chance to do it.
Natus Vincere have qualified for the PGL Major in Antwerp after a 2-0 victory over Vitality's French-Danish project. The CIS powerhouse began their adventure at the Regional Major Ranking event with wins over QUAZAR and OG, before being slowed down by a surprise 1-2 loss to Heroic on the second day.
It was not an easy game for the Major champions, but they were able to pull through the series over Vitality in two maps. Following their victory, the 35-year-old coach caught up with us to discuss a few of the issues and obstacles that Natus Vincere had to face at this event.
Congrats on your win against Vitality, you are 3-1 now and through to the Major. I am sure you'd prefer the Legends spot to be within your control, I think you need MOUZ to win against FaZe for you to go through, but how does it feel to have secured your place at the Major?
Thank you. Yes, I think the fifth round will determine a lot, I don't know if Eternal Fire has won (Editor's note: The interview was conducted during the Eternal Fire vs fnatic matchup) but if they win, we'll go through in a lot of scenarios. We are happy that we managed to qualify.
Let's go back to yesterday, what happened in the game against Heroic? It was a tough one for you.
Yeah, it was a really tough game but I think we managed to qualify despite losing to Heroic. We did not have any practice at all after ESL Pro League because of different circumstances and we could not get together. Our players were only playing individually and I think it affects us a little bit when we play versus tier one teams, because of our decision-making and analysis. It would have helped us if we practiced more to be more in the CS world so our brains can be merged with this universe, right? In that scenario, we would have been more focused on details, but still, we are happy without practice we managed to qualify.
Inferno has not been perfect for you recently, yesterday you lost it against Heroic, and even when you won today it was a close game. Has your feeling for the map changed or is it something else?
Inferno is actually a map we play a lot depending on our skill, we didn't have a lot of difficult or complex tactics with which we can fool our opponents, so we play with more raw skill because the map forces us to do this, it's a really old map. Still, some of the same problems came up, we did not have the practice to add something new and the little details I said were important in clutch situations.
Especially when we started to lose yesterday, we started to get a lot of nerves and we started to play more passive, I think emotionally we were not so fired up, especially on the last map. I think we made too many mistakes, we lost 4v2 on the CT side of Inferno and that was a very important round, I think it changed a lot. On the T side, we lost the pistol round 3v2 before losing the next force buy. We were going into A 4v1, on round 5 or something, and we lost it. So...mistakes, too many mistakes.
On the other hand, your Mirage has been really good, probably one of the best in the world. We noticed on the first day against OG you used this new molotov, the "Guatemalan Molotov", tell me about it?
When I saw it, when s1mple was standing on it and I realized what was going on I thought: "Woah, that is a cool and interesting molly." He told me that he saw it in some other game and practiced just before this game and yeah, we are working a lot on our Mirage.
You have a really good record against Vitality, you played against them a bunch of time in big games in the last year, now they have a different lineup. How different did they feel to you, and do you think you still fit that matchup?
Actually I don't know the details, I did not analyze to get the whole picture for this team, once we play them more I'll understand more, but at the moment I think they lack individual skill. I mean not skill in terms of thinking but in terms of mechanics, raw skill, out aiming, etc. They need firepower.
There have been a few rumors about NAVI, the future of the team, and the players. How do you as a coach manage to keep everyone united and on the same page in times like this?
I think the same as any other coach really. We have problems, emotionally everyone is not "in their dome." We just always try to speak more as a team to stay in reality, just to realize that if each player does not give 100%, we'll regret it in the future anyway. When you are emotionally down, still you'll feel even worse if you lose.
We are trying to understand that our main goal, no matter what, is winning and creating our era, we lost two events but still, it's something that the players must keep in their heads and try, even if they don't, they can try to do this.
You are going to the Major in less than a month, have you got any preparation ready or have some things you already know you're going to do?
Now I think everyone on the team is realizing really deeply what is going on. They are now understanding that they lost one event, a second event, and when you are losing you are refreshing these motivational reserves inside of you for when you are playing, not at 100%, but maybe 150%, when you do everything to win — as we did at the last Major.
When you are winning, your motivation starts going down, not like really low but maybe 90%, not 100%. Now when we lost two events, I think we have a good chance to prepare for the Major. Our plan is to prepare really well for this Major because we know we can win it. In those matches that we lost, our players realized that we didn't show our game, every player understands that it was not our game and even if the opponent won against us, we knew how to beat them.