huNter-: "If you're losing it's because of a lot of reasons. It's never one reason, it's never one guy"
The Bosnian rifler swung by HLTV's microphone for a candid interview following G2's 5-6th place exit from IEM Dallas.
G2 made the journey to IEM Dallas with the aim of redeeming themselves after a recent downward trend, one which has seen the European troupe bow out of ESL Pro League Season 17 and the BLAST.tv Paris Major outside of the playoffs — a far cry from their first-place finishes at IEM Katowice and the BLAST World Final a few months back.
|BLAST Premier Spring Final 2023|
Regardless, the Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen-led roster's woes have only continued as we approach the final stages of the season. They did make it to the IEM Dallas playoffs with wins over a smaller Nouns and OG, but faltered when it came to facing tier-one opposition, losing to Heroic and FaZe to be sent packing from Texas in 5-6th place.
HLTV had a few words with Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač in the wake of G2's exit from their penultimate tournament before the player break. The Bosnian rifler spoke about the mood within the team and addressed why their body language comes across as negative at times, how he and the rest of G2 help HooXi when the Danish captain is struggling, and how the European side are planning to end the season on a high at the BLAST Premier Spring Final in Washington, D.C. on June 7-11.
Not the end to Dallas that you would have liked. What has the conversation in the team been like since yesterday?
Oh, honestly we didn't talk much because we finished kinda late and we just had food and went to bed. We didn't talk about the game and we are not talking, especially when we lose and when we are out of events, we don't like to talk that night or the day after even. We like to chill and rewatch the game ourselves, see what really happened, and then talk after that. So we didn't really talk, but I am sad that we didn't qualify for the semi-finals because the crowd was amazing, and today and tomorrow will be even better.
Something that was pointed out on the desk and was just visible in the group stage and even here was that the body language in the team has been kind of negative. Everyone seems quite down, it seems like people are sad even before the games have started sometimes so what is the situation with that?
We wanted to do better at the Major. We practiced really hard before it and we had our goal to go until the end of it, but it didn't happen and we didn't play how we wanted to play. After that we were all disappointed, and it was really tough to bounce back after a couple of days. Even two weeks after we lost against fnatic we played the game here, so it wasn't easy.
That's not an excuse, we are G2 and even if you lose one event, you need to show that you're better in the second one. We showed some better version of ourselves here, especially in this first day, but after playing against Heroic and FaZe we were not good. Yeah, we need to step up individually in a lot of aspects, not only the mood and atmosphere because we know that when the mood and atmosphere is good in a team, everything is better and there is less pressure on all the players. This event we were not good, but I am happy that we have one more event to try to fix it and to try to be better in Washington.
Yeah, the Major loss was obviously very hard for all of you. After that, was there any switch-up of style or conversation about changing the way you play?
No, not really. The main reason why we lost a couple of games at the Major, of course the first day with the game against Vitality was a tough loss, we had them, and the second game that we lost against Bad News Eagles we had them, so both games we threw. There were not so many reasons to change something drastically in our playstyle and the way we play. We needed to fix some things, we didn't have that much time to do it as well, but yeah, we need to just keep playing, keep going, and I think for Washington if we can just step up individually I think we'll be a lot better.
The reason I ask is because I was around your player booth during the group stage a bit, and even just watching from the stands during the playoffs, I saw that you were talking quite a lot during tactical timeouts and mid-rounds. It almost looked like you had taken over calling on some maps.
No, not really. I didn't see it like that. I just wanted to help and I am always trying to help, everybody is trying to help, but especially me and NiKo are always trying to help HooXi. If he is calling good and everything is going well, of course you don't need to help, you just shut up and listen to him and do whatever he wants to do. But if you see that he is struggling a bit and of course you're his teammate, you must help him, and that's what I'm always trying to do and that's what I was always doing even before when I had some other IGLs.
So your input level hasn't really changed, like on Inferno and Ancient specifically I saw you were talking a lot, so kind of the same?
Yeah I mean, usually when for example I am on sites with jks and m0NESY, I'm the guy who is talking the most. I am the guy who is calling setups and who is calling around that, but if I am with HooXi and we are playing T side, I am not talking too much and I'm just trying to listen. Of course if I see something that can help and that we can use to win the round, of course I'm trying to help. That's all.
Going into that FaZe game, there was this round on Ancient, you hit B a bunch of times and then at 13-14 you faked it and then went A. Was that HooXi's call as well?
Yeah, it was 100% HooXi's call. I mean, everything we do is HooXi's call. People are now maybe thinking that somebody else will take over, but no. We just failed one, one-and-a-half events kinda, and HooXi is our IGL and he will keep calling. Of course we are trying to help and we were always trying to help, even when we were the best NiKo was helping, I was helping, and that's what we'll try to do — and our coach, obviously.
So yeah, it was his call, and it was really good that we were attacking B a lot. Then we faked it first, then we faked it once more and then we went on A. It was an amazing call, they over-rotated and especially because we were in a 5vs4 advantage situation, so it was a perfect call.
As you said, this last one-and-a-half events hasn't been fantastic for you, but even before that since EPL, it's been on a bit of a downturn. What do you feel like some of the issues are in the last two-and-a-half, three months compared to the first portion of the year for you?
We need to step up individually, as I already said before. We are not playing well, me included. Some games I am playing well, some games I'm not playing that well. I need to find the consistency that I had at the beginning of the year and usually since I play CS. Not only me, but some other players in the team can do better, and we all know that. That's the main issue I would say, nothing else.
Going into Washington, it's the end of the season. It's been a very long season for a lot of people as well. What's G2's perspective going into this last event?
That's the last event of the year before the break. It's kinda never easy mentally to just focus, you know? You know that you're playing the last event and after that is vacation. It's kinda hard. You always want to give your best, it's the last event, and you're thinking okay, you're going on break, you must give your best, but we are a bit tired as well. But still, that's not an excuse, we didn't do well as you said at the last couple of events, and we must do well in Washington if we want to be happy with this half of the year, since January.
We really want to do good in Washington and be happy with what we did in this season. It will be tough, there are a lot of good teams nowadays, it's never easy to beat anyone, and as you can see there are no teams that are winning everything for one year nowadays, it's really tough to do that. Lots of good teams, but if we want to be the real G2 that we were in Katowice and before Abu Dhabi and at the beginning of the year, we all need to step up individually and in all aspects. Mood, atmosphere, playing, shooting, clutching, everything if we want to do well in Washington.
Is there anyone helping to step up that mood and atmosphere?
Of course we are all trying to help. NiKo is the most experienced guy and he was in the team, he had a lot of ups and downs, he's experienced and he knows what we should do. We're all trying to step up, we're talking about it, sometimes it's tough especially when you are not playing well, when you are losing it's tough to have a good mood and to have a good atmosphere. If you are losing and then if you start winning, you will always forget what was happening before, so we need to start winning again and that will change everything.
I've seen people comment about it both at the event but online as well. A lot of the time HooXi has looked sad or been walking around alone, separate from the team. Is there anything going on with that?
No, honestly not. Us players, we are not talking about anything other than the game, we are just focused on the game. HooXi was sad because we didn't do well at the Major, and his main goal since we started playing this year and our main goal was the Major. We failed, but yeah, that's not the end of the world.
Of course we are trying to help him as well, and I understand him kinda in some ways, but in some ways I don't, but that's life. We need to just keep looking forward and that is what we are trying to do. We are all supporting HooXi, he is our IGL, he was always calling well and every time we lose he's kinda putting it on himself. I respect that, but it's not always on him and it's never on one guy, like if you are winning you are winning because of a lot of reasons, if you are losing you are losing because of a lot of reasons. It's never one reason, it's never one guy, we are all a team and we need to just act as a team and that's what we'll try to do for the last event.
When you say you understand him kinda but other times you don't, what do you mean?
Yeah I mean I understand him because he's feeling sad because we failed at the Major and we wanted to do better, but one thing I don't understand is to keep focusing on it. We talked as well, we need to just focus on what is in front of us and not think about what happened before. We are a team, we need to help each other and that's what we'll try to do, forget what happened, try to learn from our mistakes, and try to be better for the future.