huNter-: "If we want to beat Vitality I think we need to be even better than today"
The Bosnian rifler sat down for a quick chat after G2 beat NAVI in the EPL quarter-finals.
G2 emerged victorious from their quarter-final series against Natus Vincere in ESL Pro League Season 16 on Friday, pulling off a reverse-sweep with wins on Inferno and Mirage to advance to the semi-finals against Vitality.
Following the win, HLTV had a quick chat with Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač to discuss the match, as well as talk about the team's form during the group stage and how it feels coming into the playoffs after two weeks without officials. The 26-year-old also spoke to the form of Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov, who has been hitting a consistently high level since the team made two roster changes during the tournament break.
NAVI is a really big name to take down. There were some questions on their form coming into the playoffs, some analysts predicted you to win as well. What was your perspective going into the match, did you feel like you were on pretty even ground?
We cannot ever think that it will be easy against an opponent like NAVI, because for me they are still a top two team in the world, them and FaZe. If we want to be better than them, we need to beat them multiple times and we need to win what they won, obviously.
NAVI is a great team, and of course coming into the game against them we didn't think too much honestly, we just wanted to play our game that we did in the group stage. We didn't think about, 'let's go to the semi-finals, let's win this event,' we are just going step by step, game by game. We are still a new team, we are progressing and we are trying to improve as best as we can and as much as we can. This is our main goal, nothing else.
During the group stage you went through flawlessly, the only team that didn't drop a single map. It's been more than two weeks since then, so did you feel like you were out of practice or a little rusty when you first started this match?
Yeah, we were discussing it even yesterday and two days before, because we arrived here four days ago. It's really tough to come here, be here for four days, and play the first game as an elimination game, you know? Because as you already said, two weeks ago we played the group stage, and now we are coming after two weeks and the first game that we are playing is the quarter-finals.
It's really tough to change the mindset, like playing the first game and immediately it's an elimination game, because we all felt as if a new event was starting and then even if we lose, we have one more chance. It wasn't the case obviously, but still we managed to focus, even though this first map was not the best. We didn't play the best honestly, our best CS that we wanted even on all three maps.
We had some good moments, but we had really bad moments as well. I mean, it's still fine, we won, and now we don't have much time. Tomorrow is the Vitality game, we need to watch what we can do better for tomorrow because Vitality is a great opponent as well, and we played against them six times or something in the last six months. We know each other really well, and them with Spinx, it's a really good team, and if we want to beat them I think we need to be even better than today.
One of those bad moments was that m0NESY 1vs1 right at the end of Dust2, which more or less decided the final outcome of the map. What was it like on the server spectating it for you, feeling the map maybe slip away in that moment?
When I saw that he is taking an M4 and I saw two bullets left, I was like, 'oh my god' [shakes his head, smiles]. After that yeah, of course it's not easy to bounce back because it was...14-13 or something?
Yeah, they were up 14-13 and would have been broken if you won.
Yeah, so it was a tough moment, honestly I don't know why he was switching the weapon or why he didn't just keep the AWP and shoot one bullet in his head. It's easy to talk now obviously, but things are going through your head really quick in those moments, really fast, so yeah. I'm happy that we at the end won Inferno and Mirage, this Dust2 doesn't matter.
On those last two maps and especially Mirage, m0NESY had a really strong performance. His form has been one of the big talking points since you added HooXi, the change seems to have really unlocked m0NESY and his rating and performances have been very consistent. From your perspective, what is helping him excel this much?
First of all when he arrived to the team at the beginning of the year with JACKZ and Aleksi, he didn't have experience in tier one and it wasn't easy for him to adapt at the beginning. Because he's a really great kid, he always wants to be a really good teammate, he always wants to listen to everyone, but his game sense should allow him to do more things and to be more free.
Now, he gained more experience after 6-7 months playing in tier one, playing all of those events, and for me this is the main reason why he is doing better and why he's doing moves and playing better overall.
Obviously, HooXi helped him as well. HooXi is forcing him to do those things and we are forcing him overall as a team to do those things because life is easier when the AWP is doing a really good job, and m0NESY is doing it and I hope he will just continue doing it.