npl: "We are a better team than we were in Copenhagen"
Natus Vincere's newest member spoke to HLTV about making it to his first arena and his and the team's improvement at IEM Katowice.
After barely scraping through the BLAST Premier Groups in Copenhagen last month, Natus Vincere have turned up at IEM Katowice in great form. After matches against Cloud9 and Liquid, they are yet to lose a map and have advanced to the Spodek Arena, and are about to face off against G2 for a place in the semi-finals.
For newest addition Andrii "npl" Kukharskyi, this means the first arena appearance. We spoke to the youngster to get his first impressions on making it to the iconic Spodek Arena, how he rates his progress with the team in his first month as a full-fledged member, and the reasons behind their improvement from Copenhagen.
Making it to your first arena event, 4-0, tell me your first impressions, first feelings about making to such an iconic place as the Spodek Arena.
I'm very happy about this. I was dreaming about this tournament and being here and playing in the arena. Actually, our main goal is still to win the tournament, so we'll try our best. We're not in the best shape, the best form, but I'm very happy.
As you say, leading up to this tournament there were some issues since the transition over the past couple months. You looked convincing here, what's been behind this improvement and the form here in Katowice?
We had like two or three weeks of bootcamp, we practiced a lot of praccs and individuals, of course, everyone in the team is playing after praccs, so we improve individual skills and teamplay.
But what has been different between BLAST and here?
I don't know, maybe just because I'm learning what I have to do and at least know how electroNic will call, which calls he will do. Maybe that's it.
Back in Copenhagen, B1ad3 said that he would have rather liked you to be introduced into the team more gradually, map by map. That obviously didn't happen and you went from playing a couple of maps to everything from one tournament to another. How has been this transition? Do you think it would have been easier on you?
It's harder now than if it was with somedieyoung in a six-man roster, because I have more maps, new information on maps, new rounds, new positions, everything, and there's a lot of material to work on. I had with somedieyoung two or three maps, now I have seven maps, and I have to take this all and learn faster and faster. It's hard, but I try to.
Are you happy with how you've been progressing so far? It's been about a month since you joined the team permanently, how are you feeling about your progression?
I'm feeling good. I'm not super happy about my progression, maybe 5 or 6 out of 10.
What do you think you still have to improve on the most?
About knowledge in-game and what the enemy will do, and the macro situation in-game. Maybe more individually, I still have a gap to work on, aim, confidence, and experience on tournaments and LANs.
You still have G2 left to play before you go to the arena. It's a team NAVI have struggled against in the last couple of matches and even in Copenhagen. How are you going to approach it this time? Do you think you have better chance now that you've been showing better form at this tournament?
Of course we have a better chance now because we made, even from Copenhagen to Katowice, we made a lot of work and we fixed our mistakes, hopefully. Hopefully, I hope so, I mean (laughs). NAVI are a better team than we were in Copenhagen.