nitr0: "I'm not scared of the word 'Astralis,' I was scared of the players, now I'm not scared at all"

The Liquid captain spoke to HLTV.org after qualifying for the Legends Stage over their old Danish rivals.

Liquid started the Challengers Stage of PGL Major Stockholm in dismal fashion, going down 0-2 and sitting upon the brink of elimination after the end of day one. However, they managed to claim redemption by excelling in series play, eliminating 9z, fellow North Americans Complexity, and former rivals Astralis en route to securing a spot in the Legends Stage.

'Captain America' doesn't fear the new Astralis

After completing the comeback and advancing with a 3-2 record, HLTV.org had a chat with Nick "⁠nitr0⁠" Cannella. The 26-year-old in-game leader spoke to some of the changes in Liquid, including playing with a proper AWPer and what Richard "⁠shox⁠" Papillon brings to the lineup, as well as what it means to him to beat Astralis to advance to the Legends Stage.

Congrats on qualifying by beating Astralis, just tell me how you're feeling right now with that win.

Obviously with the first day being 0-2 for us, there was a little loss of confidence, especially on Inferno because we lost it twice, and when you lose twice on a map you kinda have to see what's going on and find some solutions. Beating them was a huge step for us, I think they've been playing pretty well the last couple of months, like watching them at BLAST and stuff, they've been having some good wins.

Today was pretty good for us against Astralis because their map pool is very similar to ours, and they actually picked our best map. That was definitely a relief when they picked that, we were like 'alright, cool,' and we get CT side, we know how to play this map, we have a lot of protocols. We were definitely happy with how the veto went. Today was definitely the hardest matchup, like Liquid versus Astralis out of all the teams in my opinion, so happy to win.

On that note, Liquid versus Astralis is obviously a historic matchup, so how does it feel beating them specifically to make the Major Legends Stage? With the new lineups between you and them, how did it feel on the server?

Honestly it's a completely different vibe, a completely different team. Since there's no device, there's no huge tier one AWP — I'm not saying Farlig is bad, but I don't think he's a device right now, he needs to implement his style into the team. I feel like he's maybe a bit too passive, he's not doing the plays that he likes, maybe he's not as comfortable, I know he was the last one to join.

There's a lot of things there. In terms of old Astralis, like when I was playing versus now, they're completely different. They have only two of the same players so it's hard to even really think about it. I'm not scared of the word 'Astralis,' I was scared of the players. Right now, I'm not scared at all.

What was the team conversation like when you went down 0-2, were you saying something like 'these results can't stand?'

Well obviously we were one of the favorites to go through to the next stage so there's a lot of expectations, personal expectations, organization expectations of going to the next stage, so there's a lot of pressure. Honestly it was best-of-ones, and I don't know, I'm just not a huge fan of best-of-ones when you're the favorite. I knew when we got to the best-of-three part of the tournament we would have no problems, and that's how it turned out. Our map pool is pretty good for a best-of-three, but maybe we messed up some vetoes here and there in the best-of-one process, but honestly I'm just happy to be through.

For you personally, coming back from VALORANT to your first Major, what does to make it to the Legends Stage, obviously with some difficulty but to get through?

It means the world because... I was actually thinking about this the other night, I just came back to this game and I'm already in a Major, it's pretty impressive, for me personally, because I didn't have too many expectations,

I wasn't IGLing in VALORANT until the last two months or so, so coming back to CS I knew it was going to be pretty hard, and obviously I think the game is just harder in general, like mechanically and how the meta is. There might not be as many variables as VALORANT when you're IGLing, but there's way more mind games in my opinion. It's way harder to call in CS because the games been out for so long, it's evolved so much, like even coming back the game has evolved so much compared to 2019.

A lot of it has been just learning, I'm still getting used to things, but I'm happy to definitely be in the Major and at least make the next stage with all of the top dogs.

We were standing near you toward the end of the match, the second last round, and you wanted to call a B rush in freeze time but shox said that you shouldn't, and take it slow instead. How is it having shox's influence behind your calling for situations like that?

He's very good at picturing the macro, whereas me, I like to just call things I feel in the moment, even if it's not maybe the correct call we should be making, it's the call I feel will work the best. Obviously sometimes I call it off if he has an idea, like you saw in the second last round. It was actually a good call from him because they started three B that round, so props to Richard for that.

He definitely helps a lot, and in specific ways, he's not just a mid-round helper where he's like, 'we can do this right now,' or 'we should do this,' he's more like 'well they just failed at B, we can maybe re-hit B or maybe fake it,' he's good at moving the puzzle pieces around depending on how they're playing. He definitely helps a lot in aspects of the game where maybe I'm not as focused on them, and more focused on us and what we're doing and what we can do, micromanaging. shox is thinking big picture, and I think it helps a lot.

There's a vocal number of people in the community who think shox doesn't belong on this roster, but from what you're saying, he brings a lot to the table.

Yeah, I wouldn't say anyone should be cut right now. We're still a new team, we still need time to progress. Coming into the Major, we didn't have the best bootcamp because we had the RMR, and then we had two qualifiers in North America that we had to play online, then we had a three day bootcamp, and then we came here.

Our practice wasn't that good coming into the Major, so I think if we had a little bit more time to practice and actually have some days off where we can focus on our mental and stuff, we would be a lot better, but right now we're just trying to get the best of both worlds and focus on what's in front of us.

shox helps add to nitr0's calling

Part of the new Louvre Agreement says that you need to scrim a certain amount in North America, has that been a detriment to you at all in the first half of the year?

The thing with NA right now is that the practice just isn't good. There are teams that are just changing constantly, there is no consistency, so when we look for practice, we have no idea if these teams made changes, what's going on. They don't play the same as Europeans obviously because they just don't have the experience of playing across the sea, and it's just a lower quality of practice.

CS right now is just exclusively Europe if you want to be a top tier team, but at the same time, it's nice to be home and focus on your personal life and stuff. Right now we're just trying to find the correct balance.

I wanted to touch a bit on playing with oSee. When you were on the previous Liquid lineup, you were using the AWP and the team didn't really have a consistent tier one AWPer, so what is it like having that in your arsenal now?

It's actually kinda neat and cool, because now I'm calling with an actual AWPer, I've never called with an AWPer on my team. It's definitely different, like when I had the AWP I could say, 'I'm doing this, you guys can support me,' because I'm pretty vocal and I know what I want when I'm AWPing.

It's nice because oSee is really good at supporting, and it's nice to have a second dude on the team that knows how to support really well, has good comms, he knows all the nades, so it's really nice to have that in your back pocket. He's like an IGL's best friend when it comes to in-game micro stuff, he's been doing really well honestly and he steps up when he needs to for sure.

I also wanted to talk a bit about EliGE, his performance has dipped a little compared to the peaks he had last year. We were actually looking at a graph, he has really high DPR for a rifler, so we were just wondering if there was a reason for that, have there been some role changes or anything?

[Editor's note: nitr0 understood DPR as damage per round rather than deaths per round]

The thing with Jon is that he likes to have his set plays, and he's very good at identifying when he wants to use those plays, so he has a lot of impact in that department, he has a lot of freedom on the team to just figure out... if he is feeling like he can get a kill doing something, I'll be like, 'okay, let's do that, and everyone else do this.' We kind of make plans around what he wants, you know he's a star, so that's usually what happens. He's been doing great, he's an amazing fragger, but other than that there's not much else to say.

Have his roles changed at all in any way, like how you've used him before to now?

Honestly no, not really, he's switched up a couple of spots to when I was playing with him before, like last time, and me as well because I was AWPing. I'm also learning new spots now. I became an anchor in VALORANT, so when I came back to CS, I wasn't really the same player I was in CS.

I've been doing anchoring for a year and a half in VALORANT, and mentally I'm pretty good at it I feel, I know the mind game part of it like, 'I played here last time, I'm going to do this,' or 'I'm going to show this utility and next time I'll do this utility,' they're different mind games. I think it's very important to have your anchor be kind of a smart player, because if they read you, you just lose sometimes if you're alone. Coming back to your question, EliGE hasn't changed much, he just got better individually.

Heading into the Legends Stage, there are a lot of top teams coming in, FaZe, NAVI, and so on. Looking at that pool of teams, how do you feel about heading into that stage and your potential now, where are you looking to land there?

It's just a relief that we made it because we were 0-2. We're going to think about it a bit, and I think we're actually going to feel more confident versus the teams we play in practice all the time, we know how they play, we know the caller's tendencies, so I think it's going to be... definitely not easier, but we're definitely going to have a chance to make playoffs in my opinion because we just need to keep talking and fix our mistakes, just continue and we'll be good.

United States Nick 'nitr0' Cannella
Nick 'nitr0' Cannella
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
1377
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.66
France Richard 'shox' Papillon
Richard 'shox' Papillon
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
2007
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.66
First?
2022-05-12 18:55
1 reply
Yes King
2022-05-13 02:02
Hmmm
2022-05-12 18:55
blameF to FaZe -rain +blameF
2022-05-12 18:56
10 replies
#19
Pol0 | 
Czech Republic olpp
replacing entry with lurker... gg
2022-05-12 19:00
1 reply
The little entry work he did on col was actually pretty good, but I agree that replacing anyone on faze right now would be the wrong descision 100%
2022-05-12 20:02
Ah yes, Ropz and Blame on the same team will definitely go well. I can already see Karrigan’s instant death every round.
2022-05-12 19:03
5 replies
Isnt faze the best team in the world right now and isnt karrigan the igl? why would they do something like that?
2022-05-12 19:15
4 replies
Why are you asking me instead of the guy who suggested it
2022-05-12 20:16
3 replies
No I really want your take on this, please Khan
2022-05-12 21:02
2 replies
I would say yes, definitely yes.
2022-05-12 21:03
1 reply
+rep
2022-05-12 21:03
#34
smooya | 
United Kingdom 2udo
could have said konfig and not looked like an idiot, gj
2022-05-12 19:14
1 reply
#59
NAF | 
India FosFate
this
2022-05-12 19:52
#4
 | 
Hungary YoloKutya
thank for 0-3 pick
2022-05-12 18:56
1 reply
#68
 | 
Europe amdbakiev
nt
2022-05-12 20:18
#5
 | 
Denmark slacking
wut
2022-05-12 18:56
ok nice interview jinx, watch them become trash next game
2022-05-12 18:56
#7
rain | 
Kazakhstan St0ve
Actually winning Astralis, even when only baitf is playing kinda brings me hope for Liquid. Maybe, just maybe they can qualify to quarterfinals
2022-05-12 18:57
what a chad comment
2022-05-12 18:57
1 reply
Bro HLTV should pay him for that headline
2022-05-13 02:03
based but who would be scared of BOTS
2022-05-12 18:57
2 replies
Where is your respect to 4 time major winners?
2022-05-12 21:00
me they dont think or feel only kill
2022-05-12 21:00
0-3
2022-05-12 18:57
#11
 | 
United States zovint
EZ for liquid. Welcome back nitr0. Time to show CS who’s boss
2022-05-12 18:58
3 replies
tru
2022-05-12 19:03
#57
 | 
United States DarkFX
NA is back baby!! Wohoo!!! Lets go Liquid, time to make playoffs now and go on a real run!
2022-05-12 19:46
+1
2022-05-13 02:43
rekt
2022-05-12 18:58
#13
 | 
United States Illusi0n1g
Liquid blows and I'm from NA
2022-05-12 18:58
5 replies
ur also a big fan. Surely something is wrong with you
2022-05-12 19:00
3 replies
#21
 | 
United States Illusi0n1g
And your a nafany fan from Russia? You ok goof ball?
2022-05-12 19:02
2 replies
from russia? I am american
2022-05-12 19:03
Dont go down that rabbithole….
2022-05-12 19:29
#42
 | 
United States Tokkul
We don't have anything better though.
2022-05-12 19:24
Too little too late
2022-05-12 18:59
astralis just bad now
2022-05-12 18:59
gigachad statement
2022-05-12 18:59
LULquid barely scraped to legend stage, impressive
2022-05-12 18:59
Based
2022-05-12 19:01
#24
 | 
Hungary Mitomen20
"there's no device, there's no huge tier one AWP" OOOoooh, farlig roasted.
2022-05-12 19:03
2 replies
#29
 | 
France marponche
Its just a fact, not a roast
2022-05-12 19:07
well, even the opponent knows that
2022-05-12 19:39
the only person who's scared of the name astralis is bubzkji
2022-05-12 19:04
1 reply
#88
 | 
Denmark twinseN
Lmao :D
2022-05-13 00:45
Well he is not wrong, the 6 man core that made Astralis the GOAT was to be feared. This current version .. meeeeh not so much
2022-05-12 19:05
He saw the roster and seeing no device sighed with relief xD
2022-05-12 19:06
Just happy Astralis denied NA of any international success apart from 1 fluked major. Astralis forever the GOATS
2022-05-12 19:09
19 replies
#37
 | 
Japan PKcrash
cheatroic fan talking? you are so bitter to wish a region do badly for no reason
2022-05-12 19:17
2 replies
#62
roeJ | 
Denmark lonnyb
Acting like everyone doesn’t hate denmark cs for no reason lol
2022-05-12 19:56
1 reply
#89
Petra | 
Poland 138|
not everyone + just cheating heroic nt
2022-05-13 00:49
are you forgetting 2019?
2022-05-12 19:18
8 replies
Where Astralis took a break, Liquid won, and Astralis came back to destroy them at the major? no no i didnt forget
2022-05-12 19:31
7 replies
#66
 | 
Asia LiuCrystal
why lie so confidently?
2022-05-12 20:07
6 replies
lmao what? That's a fact. Astralis didn't attend many tournaments, yet they still rekt liquid at the major and were the best team of 2019
2022-05-12 20:58
5 replies
#79
 | 
Asia LiuCrystal
"Where Astralis took a break, Liquid won" two of liquid's biggest tournament wins in that summer run were events astralis attended and one of htem they lost directly to liquid in playoffs just because they won the major and ended up best team of the year ( partly because liquid fell apart after the player break ) does not mean liquid werent the best team in the world during their run cause astralist DID attend the biggest events at that time and DID lose fair and square
2022-05-12 21:04
-6 - Not a historically defensible thesis. - Doesn't describe a broader historical context. - Doesn't provide specific examples of evidence. - Doesn't use historical reasoning to frame or structure an argument.
2022-05-12 23:23
3 replies
based
2022-05-13 01:54
what? Tiny Denmark dominated and penetrated your GOAT team, nt
2022-05-13 23:26
1 reply
My GOAT team is all aim no name. nice try nn
2022-05-14 00:20
copium more about Astralis. It is a new roster, right ?
2022-05-12 19:19
#58
 | 
United States DarkFX
Astralis not even playing in this major LOL
2022-05-12 19:52
5 replies
They literally played today lmfao
2022-05-12 20:58
4 replies
#80
 | 
United States DarkFX
Yea they got spanked by NA! WOHOO!! Lets go Liquid!
2022-05-12 21:04
3 replies
I don't get your point. But you're american so there's probbably not too much to get
2022-05-12 21:49
2 replies
#82
 | 
United States DarkFX
Liquid gonna take down your team next
2022-05-12 21:56
1 reply
Liquid in majors kekw
2022-05-12 22:16
love this
2022-05-12 19:10
#32
 | 
Poland deji333
MY GOAT
2022-05-12 19:12
#33
JK | 
Asia flipflop
nitro - no device, no dupreeh = no respect
2022-05-12 19:13
LMAO the GOAT roster really did a number on him nitr0 has dev1ce PTSD xDD
2022-05-12 19:17
1 reply
#53
 | 
Russia andrez27
xaxaxaxaxa +1
2022-05-12 19:39
#40
 | 
Slovakia xaboff
Gigachad
2022-05-12 19:21
#41
 | 
Sweden GGrowler
dupreeh gaze shivers nitros timbers
2022-05-12 19:23
#43
 | 
Bangladesh ImpacT_
nitr0 gigachad
2022-05-12 19:24
#44
 | 
Poland Tongus
Yeah if I knew im playing vs xyp i would have died of laughter
2022-05-12 19:27
You will be soon enough.
2022-05-12 19:28
1 reply
with farlig and xyp9x on the roster? sure mate looking forward to the astralis vs liquid match in the legends stage
2022-05-12 19:33
lmao based
2022-05-12 19:29
#48
 | 
North America minte
goat nitro
2022-05-12 19:30
#50
 | 
United States DarkFX
" I feel like he's maybe a bit too passive, he's not doing the plays that he likes, maybe he's not as comfortable" Nitro nailed it on the head here. Astralis do not let their AWP have any impact at all and they treat them as a support player.
2022-05-12 19:31
LETS GO NITR0
2022-05-12 19:38
#55
 | 
United States GobyCS
Liquid to the playoffs!
2022-05-12 19:40
To long but I agree...?
2022-05-12 19:41
Based
2022-05-12 19:52
#61
 | 
United States urm@m
TOOOOOO EASY FOR HIM AND NA, BACK TO WIN ANOTHER MAJOR
2022-05-12 19:55
good comeback, will be tough this stage. most likely a 1-3 exit :/
2022-05-12 19:57
#65
 | 
Papua New Guinea AlphaSwede
GIGACHAD NICK CANELLA
2022-05-12 20:05
#69
 | 
Indonesia cleostar
what a great day for NA last hope
2022-05-12 20:21
Oh wow, now he should be scared of 0-3 exit cuz that's what's going to happen.
2022-05-12 20:34
Based
2022-05-12 20:37
the ASTRALIS era ended a little while ago... ⚰️💀☠️
2022-05-12 22:17
11 replies
their era ended in late 2019
2022-05-13 00:41
10 replies
Really it ended in early 2019. You can't let another team win like 6 tier 1 events in a row and claim a continuation of an era. Even if they did win Berlin they turned right around and lost NY next time out. That's not sustained dominance by any definition.
2022-05-13 02:50
9 replies
yes, u actually right. this major was deadline for astralis to become worse and worse
2022-05-13 03:29
7 replies
Yeah they weren't bad in mid/late 2019 but the era was long over by Berlin and they weren't good enough after. Still a top 3 team on the year for sure though.
2022-05-13 04:03
6 replies
i think valde can bring something to this team in next 6 months, he obviously better than xyp9x atm
2022-05-13 04:05
5 replies
Imagine if they could get Device back as well as Valde. Astralis would be right back in the mix.
2022-05-13 04:06
4 replies
k0nfig + valde + dev1ce looks sick on paper but astralis ceo need 2 more years to understand their problems
2022-05-13 04:07
and yes, i never sleep on k0nfig i watch this guy even before epicenter when he was in dignitas. when he feel it, he just smash heads and unstoppable. xyp9x need to go already long time ago, just click in his profile everything red as fuck.
2022-05-13 04:09
2 replies
I saw a stat that Xyp has been negative rating 19/21 of his last events. Kind of crazy. He seems done.
2022-05-13 04:11
1 reply
yeah just shadow of old minister, but everything come to end. same it was for coldzera/olofmeister/get_right and other good players aswell. idk he is still not old as fuck but already washed as hell
2022-05-13 04:12
Astralis was still by far the best team in the last half of 2019, i mean while they went on to win 4 tourneys reaching 5 finals liquid won nothing that year after getting eliminated in the Berlin major
2022-05-13 10:58
Glad he talked about Shox being important for the team. If Liquid comes out the first day 2-0 / 1-1 they go through to quarter finals, they can't afford to have an off day again and go 0-2
2022-05-12 22:52
Proud of you brother!
2022-05-13 02:42
Am I the only one that noticed they called this the PGL Major Stockholm in the first sentence of this article???? LOL
2022-05-13 05:18
I'm ready for a captain america redemption arc
2022-05-13 08:58
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