After Na`Vi’s exceptional win against G2 Esports at CSGO’s IEM Katowice 2020, the team sat down to talk about the preparation that went into the tournament, Kirill “BoombI4” Mikhailov’s affinity for SMGs, Egor “flamie” Vasilev’s dominant play, and just how much the win meant to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive star Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev.
During the interview, Head Coach Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy also dished the dirt on just what new addition Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy has brought to Na`Vi after Ladislav “Guardian” Kovacs departure.
Missed the action? You can read the recap of Na`Vi’s dominant victory over G2 Esports by clicking on the image below.
Boombl4, you joined Na`Vi after IEM Katowice 2019. How would you sum up this last year?
Boombl4: It was a big year for me. When I was invited to Na`Vi, I was really happy. And then I joined the team. I just said to myself, “I need to work a lot.” Now we’ve won my first big event. I’m proud of my team, and I want to work more.
Perfecto seems to be the missing piece in the perfect Na`vi, what does he bring to the team?
B1ad3: I think he brings new blood, fresh ideas during the game, and he’s our mini Xyp9x, no, even better than Xyp9x. He’s our new “clutcher” because he’s clutching always crucial moments [laughs]. He’s our clutch president.
During the group stage, you had some tough matches. Who was your toughest opponent?
s1mple: I would say the toughest match was against FaZe, first of all, because we lost two Nuke games. After that, we fixed a lot of mistakes for Astralis and G2. And I think after the second game against FaZe, we regained that confidence we had [again] after the victory against Astralis at BLAST. Maybe [that’s why] we were one step ahead of the other teams in this tournament.
So what kind of adjustments did you make during the Group Stage?
s1mple: I think we’re just working every day. We added small details or changes in them when you find out the opponent. Yeah, after some losses, especially on Mirage against Fnatic on T side, we know how to play against them. They just triple smoke corner every round.
But sometimes we just forgot about it. Maybe that’s because we haven’t had this experience before. So we just keep working every day to fix our mistakes.
You dominated both your opponent’s map picks in the grand final. Did you expect them to pick those maps?
B1ad3: Yeah, we expected it, but… in a best-of-five match it doesn’t really matter which map will be the first or second. They were good maps for us. Mirage was good on the CT side. We knew that [G2] would pick it and we would choose the CT side.
I think it was a mistake for them to pick Nuke. Because we would start on the CT side and we ‘re very confident when we have a big lead. We’re getting really confident. Our CT side is really strong now. After every map, we evolve as a team. We know how to react to openings and [what the other team is doing].
The other maps were pretty expected. We had to choose between Inferno and Train, and we picked Train as the fourth map. So, yeah, it was pretty expected because it’s a best of five. The main thing was that they picked Nuke.
s1mple: Because we needed to start CT side, and it’s easier to play. It’s one of the maps you need to start CT side and get a lot of rounds.
The finals looked very easy for you. Did it feel as easy as it looked?
s1mple: No, of course not. The preparation is always the same. You’re always a bit nervous before a game because you don’t know what to expect. Maybe they’ll [pull off] some crazy highlights. Maybe their team will be on point or they’ll do some random stuff like stack three B and we’ll end up there.
But when you have to play and just, I don’t know. We felt our power as a team. We told ourselves that we shouldn’t chill or relax, you know because anything can happen against any team.
Playing with a new teammate can be stressful. Was the empty arena an advantage for you?
s1mple: I would say maybe a maybe, yeah, but 100 percent say that [the team] was sad that there wasn’t a crowd. I mean, we wanted to get this experience. Especially Perfecto, because he’s only played with a crowd once.
So just I mean, I don’t know. I think we would win anyway. With this preparation? Yeah.
Boombl4, what made you such a beast on Nuke?
Boombl4: We were just prepared for their T side. I worked with Blad3 and he [showed] me [what they did] every round. Everything was working for me. Every time they went for me, I would just kill them.
B1ad3, you have coached several teams. How does it feel to work with such a talented roster?
B1ad3: So actually, as it goes, [I did everything the same] when I was coaching Gambit. The players are much better. The [strength] of the team and the organization is much better, of course. We’ve built a good squad here, piece by piece.
Your old teammate, Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko, said that he “wished he could lift the trophy with you,” but he couldn’t come to the event. Do you want to comment on that?
s1mple: First he said that he wasn’t going to present the trophy, then he said “I’m going to give you energy and hand this trophy to you,” and after all that he said he said he’s going to send the trophy to the Na`Vi office. So, I mean, just give us some energy.
I remember the time we played with Zeus here at Katowice, and I’m just happy that we won it. I mean he did a lot, a great job for the players. Especially me, electronic, and flamie [and boombl4].
After your recent success, do you feel like the team to beat right now?
B1ad3: I don’t think we’re the best team right now, but we’re the best team at this tournament. We need to work a lot to become the best team in the world… The scene is really competitive and any team can win the next tournament. But we realize this, and we’ll work even harder because we know what we need to implement and what we need to fix.
I think we’ll be very well prepared for the Major.
Is this performance a result of tactical preparation or peak form? Could it be both?
s1mple: I think we have 100% of everything right now: discipline, with relationships, with preparation. I mean, when you’re in a team and you see everyone do their job every time and then you get results, you gain extra confidence in your teammates. Extra confidence in your game. You understand that your opponent is scared of it now because your team play just keeps getting better.
Boombl4, your skill with submachine guns is exceptional. Is it because of extra training or just a coincidence?
Boombl4: Well, I have some positions where using SMGs is so good – like pop[dog] on Train. I like to play with SMGs and I train with them a lot on maps like aim_botz or deathmatch and it’s working for me. I can just run and shoot [laughs]. I just like using them, and we can have more money if I kill a lot of them [more laughing].
flamie, currently you are the longest-standing member of the Na`Vi roster; what’s your secret?
flamie: Well, maybe luck?
Maybe I’m just trying to do what the team [asks of me]. I’m trying to [comm] as much as I can and play as well as I can. I like to do all the dirty stuff for the team, and I’m happy that [we’re] playing so well.
Na`Vi won at two events in 2010 and 2011, but is there anything that makes this time more special?
B1ad3: Well, it was another era. I think it was great, but we’re building a new era. Everyone has been waiting for it, and we’ll do everything to keep doing it. There wasn’t any pressure at [Katowice]. We focused on our main goals.
It’s also been really pleasant. To know that the name “Natus Vincere” [will be] engraved on the trophy. It’s very nice.
s1mple: Wait, I’d like to say that this means a lot because this isn’t a trophy that you’ll see that often from ESL. You can only get it once, maybe a few times maximum. It means a lot to me. As Blad3 said, there’s Na`vi’s name and [next to] 2020.
And I’m just… I’m just happy. I just hope that everyone who didn’t believe will start to. Everyone who trash talk talked will start to be quiet.
So, yes, it’s a very good feeling. You know, it’s a really rare feeling.
flamie, have you been doing anything special recently to elevate your performance to this level?
flamie: Yeah, I think we have a system for the whole team [like] what to say and what to do. I’m trying to play as much as I can. At the beginning of this tournament, I didn’t feel the game. I felt like I wasn’t playing well.
But we discussed a lot of mistakes with [Blad3] and the [rest of] the team. I started to believe in myself and believe in the team. Then I played better and the whole team played better.