daps: "For this tournament YEKINDAR is IGL and nitr0 is second IGL [on some maps]"
Liquid were caught off-guard by an 0-2 start, according to daps, who says the team had a fruitful bootcamp before the event in France.
Damian "daps" Steele' men had a nightmare start at the BLAST.tv Paris Major's Challengers Stage, where two best-of-one losses to Apeks and FORZE in the first day of play put the team up against the ropes from the start. Liquid recovered against Fluxo, winning their first elimination match, followed by a victory over their regional foes, Complexity, in the third day.
The Canadian coach took some time to talk to HLTV about the tournament so far, what went wrong for Liquid at the start and how they're turning the ship around. He also gave some insight into Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis doing some of the calling at this event, a decision taken because Nick "nitr0" Cannella had to miss some bootcamp days leading up to the event.
You had an 0-2 start, which seemed unexpected because nitr0 said he didn't see a slow start happening here. The nightmare scenario happened, so what is it that went wrong there?
We've rewatched all of the games we've played so far and we counted every individual mistake we were making. Macro-wise our ideas were good, especially against Apeks we were getting into the A site on Ancient. We just weren't taking control, our comms were low, we were making 10-15 mistakes per map against FORZE and against Apeks. You know, obviously if you're making that many mistakes it adds up and you're eventually going to lose the game. So that's sort of what happened on the first two games on day one.
You mentioned a bit about there being low energy in the comms. How has that been? Are you guys calm, or is it more somber? What's going on?
I would say that the first game against Apeks, the comms were a lot lower than they normally are. We weren't saying basic information in post-plants, we weren't coordinating, you know, like, 'Oh, peek off of me, you do this, blablabla.' Basic things weren't being commed. In the FORZE match that wasn't the case. In the FORZE match it was just a lot of mistakes.
In terms of our mood, it's just like... We want to try and simulate our practice environment in the match. We want to keep a collective head, do everything properly, and generally over the course of this team that has been working. It happened at Rio, where we had a really good bootcamp, and we had a really good bootcamp before this event, and I think we felt the pressure coming into it — the expectations. Whereas some of the events we did really well at, or even made finals at, they were sort of less pressure events. I think that's a factor that has sort of affected us.
So worse bootcamps, then?
I've been joking about it, sometimes. Technically, our worst bootcamp ever was before the Pro League where we made the final. You know, again, I don't think that's a thing, but it's a funny joke.
One of the things that I noticed in the 15-0 half against Complexity was that it was the first time some of the players were smiling at each other, looking a little bit lighter. It seemed a bit somber at times, now it seemed easier, there were smiles. How important was not only beating a regional rival, but doing it in such a way?
In terms of the smiling thing, the truth is that if you're winning you're going to be happy and if you're losing — especially to a team you shouldn't be losing to — it's pretty hard to find that happiness. People obviously stay focused and collected, but to actually be happy... I don't think there's too many teams that are smiling when they lose. Actually, VINI is always smiling, I notice it a lot. [Laughs]
It's super important for our confidence even though Complexity isn't a top five team in the world. Sometimes domestic match-ups can get a little scary just because you play against each other a lot. We even scrimmed them a few times before this event, so it's super important. It kind of reestablishes us a little bit at this event and gives us a lot of confidence moving forward.
Now you're in the 2-2 pool, you have one do-or-die match. You were in this same situation in Rio, what lesson are you going to bring from it into this final match here?
I said it in an interview back in Rio. We were really affected by the pressure and expectations. We threw the game against Heroic on Overpass, I remember it to this day. So it's just about mentally staying focused and not letting outside things affect our preparation going into the game. That's something that has hampered us at times and we know that if we just play like we do in scrimms and in our bootcamp we can beat anybody in the world.
Regarding the team atmosphere, what can you do to be comfortable going into such a high-pressure match?
Like prior to?
Yeah, just in general, to go into the game without feeling the pressure that you had in Rio or how to manage those expectations.
It's hard because I feel like we manage pretty well prior to. We're joking around, having fun the day before, even going into the van shuttle coming here. But sometimes five rounds in it just hits you, you know? Maybe you start out bad, down 5-0, and they're winning cleanly — we're not even killing someone. That's when it hits you and, you know, it's been a thing we've struggled with at times, but I'm confident that we're going to correct that as much as possible. I'm sure it'll still seep in occasionally, but as long as we're addressing it right away then it won't manifest.
Regarding leadership, Kalle Strömgren said he overheard YEKINDAR say he would lead at some point in the match against Fluxo. Then there was some rumor about the leadership. is there anything to that or is everything normal with nitr0 calling?
The main reason for it was that we had the two week bootcamp and nitr0 had things that he had to deal with, so he couldn't be there for like the first five or six days. We did three maps with me scrimming in place of him so we could still practice and we kind of made the decision halfway through the bootcamp that YEKINDAR will just call because he has more reps on these maps. We were like creating all of the things together and stuff, and YEKINDAR was already secondary calling, so it's not like a massive shift. So for this tournament YEKINDAR is IGL and nitr0 is second IGL.
So it wasn't a Captain Philips situation...
No, no, no. It wasn't like that, it wasn't like a takeover or anything like that, it had nothing to do with nitr0. It was just the situation that presented itself and we just felt that it made more sense in the moment.
Good luck further in the 2-2 match, you guys still have to wait to see who you'll play against...
Someone told me it's most likely Grayhound.
So if that does come to fruition, what do you make of that match-up?
Grayhound is not really a team I watch and I don't think we've ever played them. I think they beat NIP at Pro League. They're a team that has looked better in recent years, for sure, than the past Grayhounds. It's a team we're not going to underestimate, we don't underestimate anyone here, and as long as we keep our composure and trust our game then we'll win.