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(Photo: Na’Vi)

By Taras Bortnik

Special to VPEsports

VPEsports had the opportunity to chat with Natus Vincere’s Denis “electronic” Sharipov following the squads first win in Katowice. The team is currently competing in the Legends Stage of the IEM Katowice 2019 CS:GO Major where they hold a 2-0 record. The squad took down two French teams in G2 and Vitality to secure their place in the 2-0 pool alongside Astralis, Liquid, and Renegades.

In this exclusive interview, electronic discusses the Major, his teams preparation, the French teams, a loss at the ICE Challenge, and more. You can read the full interview below:


VPEsports: First victory, congratulations! S1mple said in his after-match interview that the game was not difficult. How was it for you?

electronic: In fact, we gave a lot of stupid rounds that we were supposed to win. It seems to me that the French have not changed their game, continue to play all with the same tactics as before. It was enough to see the demo, because they played very predictably. By the way, I do not know what it is connected with, but they play differently from other teams. The French have their own particular style.


VPEsports: Can you tell us about your preparation for the tournament? If I’m not mistaken, Na’Vi hadn’t gathered for bootcamp…

electronic: We played online for a long time. Then we had a championship in London, we even sat there for a few days for bootcamp. After we have already returned to homes and engaged in dense workouts seven days a week. Worked in sweat.

There are a number of reasons why we could not go on the bootcamp, but I do not quite understand why we needed it. Everyone writes about that we need to train more, make bootcamp, but these people do not understand how this happens in reality. Does team need a bootcamp if it has been playing for a year and a half with the same roster? I mean bootcamp for two weeks. If you look at Astralis, then they don’t often stop at the bootcamp, and they don’t do that for a long time. It is necessary to come together for some purpose, but when you spend more than two weeks on the bootcamp, the brains begin to melt. It’s hard to come up with something new in the game.


VPEsports: Do you think that the meaning of bootcamp is overvalued?

electronic: I am the fan of the fact that long-term bootcamp is needed only by teams that have recently assembled a squad so that people can get used to each other, learn the characters of each, and work on their joint game. If we gather for a long time, and we already know each other for a long time, we have nothing to learn in ourselves. We can work only on our game plan, but for such a thing many days are not necessary.


VPEsports: Did the ICE Challenge tournament help or not?

electronic: It is difficult to answer. Of course, we wanted to win, but we didn’t want to show our preparations and new developments. And the old ones knew everything, and that’s why they beat us in the final. Plus, superimposed side factors, like small problems with communication. Now everything is much better, the tournament has begun and we are ready to win.


VPEsports: cadiaN after winning the tournament said that your map pool makes you too vulnerable, due to the fact that you have trouble on Cache and Nuke. What do you think about it?

electronic: Yes, we understand and realize the vulnerability of our map pool, but do you really think that we are not working on it? North was stronger that day, but… let’s say I don’t mind meeting them today and playing the same maps to see what kind of map we have and how we would  play. It should be understood that they did not pass on the Major and they did not feel any pressure and played as freely as possible. If we were in their shoes, we would have played just as well. But we came to the tournament in order to train the team game, to feel mutual understanding in the team. We were preparing for a Major.


VPEsports: Not so long ago, Zeus  expressed some interesting thoughts about the attitude to the Major as a regular tournament. Does the Major means something special for you?

electronic: Of course, special. I think that even for Zeus, even after those words …


VPEsports: I will ask directly, did you have discord in the team?

electronic: Did not have. We had the same thing as all the teams over time. Quarrels, problem solving – this is common. Astralis, for example, may not quarrel, but this is because they are now winning everything. When a team wins, players will be best friends. When I first came up to Natus Vincere, we had such a period that we did not leave the championships before the semifinals, which made a habit. And when we stopped reaching playoffs, it hit us hard.


VPEsports: A recent sensation in the ranks of your team’s fans brought a published vlog of Zeus, in which a quarrel between Kane and Zeus was shown on the basis of the distribution of responsibilities. Now everything is settled?

electronic: Responsibilities are distributed for a very long time. The fact is that we are always trying to find something new, and there may be disagreements in the process. We have been playing for a long time, so we can allow to communicate in this way. Everyone understands that if you now allow yourself too much, after 5 minutes you will cool down and everything will be fine.

Frankly, I do not quite understand why this is laid out in the network. When I watched this episode, it was funny – I was surprised. But the video actually came out with such a hype, I watched it myself several times and showed everyone to everyone – everyone was laughing. But this is not worth paying attention.


VPEsports: In the ranking you were put at number 3 by other teams. Do you agree with this place?

electronic: Not all teams appreciated us like that. Like G2, which we just beat, put Na’Vi in seventh place. Of all the teams, they put us below all. But I am satisfied with the final seeding, it is highly expected.


VPEsports: What are your expectations from the Major? Zeus called the top-8 a decent result in the tournament. How are you with this?

electronic: A goal that does not disappoint me is getting to the playoffs. I will be very upset if we cannot do this. Note, I’m not saying that this is our goal – to go to the playoffs, this is our minimum task.


VPEsports: Natus Vincere has a huge fan base all over the world. Do you feel the pressure due to the need to show the result?

electronic: I do not feel any pressure at all. People love to write something bad in the comments, I even saw a video about how bad we are and how we don’t do anything. It’s just stupid to do it somehow: when we win, everyone around us shouts about how cool we are, and when Na’Vi loses, they all at once accuse us of being unprepared and changing interests. I am very grateful to the true fans, and I don’t have anything to say to people who are rooting occasionally.


VPEsports: When it comes to haters, how do you handle it?

electronic: Quietly, I just know when you can read the comments, and when you have to abstract from this for a couple of days.


VPEsports: I would like to discuss with you the team of your former mentor  Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodensky of Gambit. They did not manage to pass through the minor, despite having a solid roster. What do you think, why?

electronic: I think that there is not a B1ad3 case there (a little bit rough). Gambit individually become worse to play. In fact, the level of teams on a Minor has become a higher. When I watched the Minor, I realized that if Gambit won, it would be very difficult for them. Their main problem is that there is no captain in squad. It’s one thing when a team plays with boldness, but quite another when something goes wrong in mid-rounds. Many players begin to lock themselves in these moments, and they start to give less information. And the team always had a man who would say what to do. Personally, I do not see the captain in Dosia. The captain should give a lot of information, and not just indicate the direction. I played with him in the national team at WESG. There is no captain in Gambit as such, and B1ad3 himself said in an interview that he wants to bring the team to a state in which every player will speak and give calls. But when you lose 2:13, hardly anyone wants to talk, especially if no one has leadership qualities. This is the problem.

It also seems to me that the players do not fit each other. This is evidenced by the fact that they first signed Dimasick, took into the roster, then kicked. And for what? Why sign a person first and then abruptly abandon him before such an important tournament as a Minor.


VPEsports: Can you name Na’Vi’s three main opponents at this tournament?

electronic: It’s too early to talk about this. All teams are playing well now. Liquid play well now and came to the Major for the victory. I can name 2 main competitors – this is obviously Astralis and Liquid. The rest of the teams all play well, obviously not just arrived to play. MIBR is in good shape, ENCE … Renegades perform well. There aren’t unworthy teams at the Major.


VPEsports: The latest news about your team has brought alarm to the ranks of the fans. Would you share a few words to calm them down?

electronic: No reason to worry. We trained as efficiently as possible and are fully prepared. Cheer for us, and don’t write negative comments.


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