Liquid traveled to Malmö after a semi-final finish in New York, where they lost to Astralis following a first place finish during the group stage where they beat both eUnited and G2. The American squad is now set to play OpTic at 14:40 to kick off their run in Sweden.
In the interview, nitr0 talks about how Liquid‘s current form has affected him and the rest of the team from a leader’s standpoint, the current rivalry with Astralis, the rise of Evil Geniuses, and his first impressions of the Cache remake as he was part of the show match in New York where it was revealed.
The first thing I wanted to ask you is something that has already been talked about, but I wanted to get your insight as the in-game leader. What changed from before to after the break?
We got rusty in our fundamentals, when we got to the bootcamp before the Major we wanted to work on what we already had and not create too many new things. We’re inexperienced as the #1 team in the world, we knew people would watch our stuff but we didn’t really think too much of it because everything we were doing was working so well before the break. We got caught off-guard a bit in that aspect but we’re finally identifying that. We don’t have to create new metas or anything super important, we just need to focus on the little details in our mid-gaming and stuff like that which is really what has been affecting us the most. We’re finally getting back into it a little bit, but I’d say we’re still at around 70% or 80%, there’s so much room for improvement from us.
We’re inexperienced as the #1 team in the world, we knew people would watch our stuff but we didn’t really think too much of it because everything we were doing was working so well before the break
How does that affect you as a caller, not having the same confidence as before?
Whenever your fundamentals aren’t as strong more micromanagement is required, not just from me but all of the players. Identifying when to go and not to go and stuff like that and having more protocols down because people, whenever they start watching your demos, are going to figure out what you’re going to do when X happens, they’ll be a step ahead of you, which is how it always feels when we’re playing Astralis. Even on Vertigo, we knew what they were going to do, that they were going to be aggressive on A, but they took it a step further and also started to take forklift room, which is something we haven’t seen in practice, so that caught us a bit off-guard. You know how Vertigo is, it’s really hard without that A-ramp control, so they were just smarter on that map and a step ahead. We need to be a step ahead next time.
Talking about Astralis, they’ve said that their goal now is to get that #1 spot again. How do you foresee that rivalry going now?
We were kind of even throughout our “era” or the span of tournaments that we were winning, or whatever people want to call it. Whichever team performed better on any given day could win. They’re a really great team, the greatest team that CS:GO has ever seen. We haven’t played them that much compared to 2018 where we were in like every final against them. We need to keep playing against them, and we still have a decent record against them this year. Next time we play I think we’ll be more prepared because we really hate losing to them, especially, because there’s a rivalry and this is a great storyline in Counter-Strike right now.
Talking about storylines in Counter-Strike, the rise of Evil Geniuses becoming another contender is quite the story. What do you think about them?
They’re a great team, they just need more experience on the big stage. Just like Astralis and us, we had that stage fright, there’s a hump in less experienced players’ careers that just need more experience on the big stage. We know how good they are in group stages, they’re a really great team and are already top 3 in my eyes. They’ve been really impressive this tournament.
It was gla1ve who said the other day that he sees Liquid and EG as similar teams, do you agree with that, is it a fair comparison?
We have a lot of similarities, being from the same region and playing each other a lot means we steal each other’s strats and we know how everyone plays… we also play FPL together and stuff like that. In terms of strategy, I’m not sure he meant that, or if he was talking more about individual players…
I gather he meant stylistically…
Yeah, I’d say we’re pretty similar.
You haven’t had that much time to practice or figure things out after Berlin, but how do you think you’re evolving? Do you think you’re going on an upward trajectory or do you think you’ll need to reset? We talked in Belo Horizonte last year and you said then that you needed a reset because you were stale. Is that how you feel now or do you think you’ll gradually get back into shape?
Even during the little break we had after Berlin, we’d get online and our practice would feel a little bit stale. We’d fix our mistakes from the matches we played at the Major, but sometimes we get on and it’s difficult to create new things, especially online. We had a big talk after we lost to Astralis and we talked about all of our mistakes and problems, how we always feel like we’re a step behind, and how we’re not always having great games, so the environment isn’t that good and stuff like that, but we finally identified what we should be doing in practice more and I think that’s really going to help. I can’t say everything here, obviously, but I do foresee us having an upward trajectory. It may take a while to get back up there but I have high hopes.
We had a big talk after we lost to Astralis and we talked about all of our mistakes and problems, how we always feel like we’re a step behind
You played the showmatch on Cache, can you give me some first thoughts or opinions about how it felt?
I kind of like it, I think the map is a bit too vibrant, although that’s not strategic. It’s a good adjustment, but I don’t think it will change that much. The biggest change I saw was that instead of just smoking forklift to go to the A site from door, now you have to smoke white box because the sniper can see into site from truck. I think that’s the biggest strategic change because you’d be forced to use two smokes to get onto the site.
The biggest change I saw was that instead of just smoking forklift to go to the A site from door, now you have to smoke white box because the sniper can see into site from truck
In mid there’s a new window, so taking mid control as a T holding for aggression is a little more dangerous because if CTs want to retake they now have that little window. They could peek on the ground, the window, and highway, so it’s a three-way peek now. The biggest changes were mid and A, and I kind of like it. B didn’t change that much, just a couple of places you can jump on in site, but it didn’t change that much. I think the map will still be played the same.
Any feedback for the creators of the map?
The only thing I saw, and that won’t affect the public or anything, but there’s a molly that went inside of a box, so really it’s just narrowing down to the little bugs and stuff like that. Strategically speaking I’m not really sure, I don’t have experience in mapmaking or anything like that so it’s hard for me to tell them anything, although we did find a few bugs. I thought it was a really good stress test. It just has to be played more now so we can figure out what can change.