NAF talks Liquid’s growth and Anubis B after IEM Katowice 2023

By Kenneth Williams


Feb 12, 2023

Reading time: 5 min caught up with Team Liquid’s Keith “NAF” Markovic at IEM Katowice 2023 to talk about the squad’s incredible result.

Team Liquid was expected to make a deep run at IEM Katowice, and it definitely succeeded with a finish in the semi-final. Lurker NAF played a key role in the result, earning the team’s highest HLTV rating for the event at 1.11. NAF graciously agreed to sit down with following Katowice to discuss Team Liquid’s growth over the last year and the newly stabilized roster.

NAF interview after IEM Katowice 2023 playoffs 3rd-4th is a massive achievement here at IEM Katowice, especially after last year’s 13th. What’s the team’s biggest area of improvement since that event?

NAF: Overall, I think composure was a big one. We had the FaZe game in the group stage, it was the last map to qualify to make playoffs. We were up 10-5 coming into the second half and then FaZe was able to bring it all the way back to like 11-10. They won (seven) rounds in a row. Sometimes in the past, maybe we would have crumbled and just fumbled it completely, but we were able to keep composure and keep it up and were able to qualify for the playoffs. 

Then you saw it again, when we were playing Vitality. They’re up 12-0, and we’re able to bring it all the way back and win in overtime. I think our mentality and our composure was, I think, really well at this event. Unfortunately, I think individually, just as a team, we aren’t at the same level as G2 and maybe Heroic. There are some positives to take away and some negatives, but it’s all about improvements, and we’ll just see in the future.

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The Liquid roster had a lot of changes in 2022 and is now seeing some great results. Do you see a long future with the current roster?

I think the biggest thing that was really important for us was bringing in (Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis.) It made sense on paper, that our team roles are more distinct. (Joshua “oSee” Ohm) is AWPing, I’m just lurking and playing anchor positions. YEKINDAR is that very aggressive entry guy, he plays more aggressively on CT sides as well. (Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski) is that second guy that can trade him and also be aggressive at the same time. And then we have (Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella) our in-game leader and all that. 

So on paper, the roles are all set. It makes more sense, whereas before there was probably some more clashing in the past. I think with this lineup, we have the right five, and as you can see, it’s been showing somewhat. Unfortunately, I think last year our biggest disappointment was the Rio Major, but besides that, we’ve made second-place finishes, and semi-final finishes. We’re on the right path, we just need to keep working.

Is there a sense of excitement about playing in the capital of CSGO, Katowice?

Oh yeah, of course. It’s like a spring final for Katowice, and then there’s Cologne, which is the summer final. It’s just one of those iconic events that you always want to be at each year. Playing in this arena, it’s always unique. I love the atmosphere here, it’s always fun. Katowice is always a special event. I’ve been here plenty of times, I remember I came here for the first time in 2015, so eight years later still coming back here. It’s always a fun time, and the arena is always something special. It’s always something you want to qualify and play in. I’m just happy I was able to play in it this year. 

How do you feel about Anubis now that you’ve had some time to explore the map?

Overall, I think it’s nice to see that Valve introduced new maps into the system and not recycle them, even though there are some maps that I would like to see come back, like Cache or Cobble. It’s cool to see them bring in a new map. There’s definitely some flaws with it that they fixed a little bit with some invisible wall clippings and stuff like that. I think there’s still a few more changes, but I do believe the map is a good map for the pool, and I think a few more changes will make it even better, especially on the B bomb site. It’s really hard to hold. The Ts can just run in and instantly be all over the site. I think there need to be some changes made to the map, but overall I think it’s a good map and it’s a step in the right direction.

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Any thoughts on the current split between M4A4 and M4A1-S?

At times when I’m playing an anchor side, I think more bullets could be more important, but I also think about the range with the A1. If you’re closer to the A1, you can kill people with four bullets instead of five. I think it’s all about how you’re positioning. In some of my positions, I could get the kills quicker. I’m leaning more toward the A1 right now, playing with it, just due to more close-range battles where I’m able to get the kill quicker. My vote is with the A1 right now.

Is there a story behind your nickname?

Nothing too crazy, my nickname is NAF. I came up with it when I was, like, 12. It stands for “nutty as fuck,” that’s what it stands for. (laughs) But if you ever see the FLY on the end of my name, it’s a remembrance of an old teammate of mine that passed away when I was playing Counter-Strike: Source. He passed, and all of my teammates, we just put FLY on the end of our names because his alias was BRUNDLE-FLY. So that’s a remembrance from that.

Do you play any other games outside of CSGO?

I’m always usually pretty busy playing Counter-Strike and when I have time off I like to take my time off. I’ve always played League of Legends from time to time. I played it in season three and I always would play it on and off, here and there, so League of Legends at times.


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