By Taras Bortnik
Special to VPEsports
Prior to Natus Vincere’s match against NRG, we sat down with the team’s coach Mykhailo “kane” Blagin. Na’Vi would go on to lose the match 2-0 and be eliminated from the StarLadder Major in Berlin.
Kane discussed their upcoming and previous matches along with rumors around Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko departure.
VPEsports: You have a match with NRG, which Boombl4 called a comfortable opponent. Do you agree with his statement?
Kane: I do not think that there are comfortable opponents in the playoffs of the Major. We have a really positive history meeting with them, but every new match is a new story. We played with them in training and all the games were very close. In total, seven matches were played – four won, and three lost. But all these matches were close. I think it will be an uncompromising match in which we hope to win.
VPEsports: You had three days between the stages of the tournament. How did you spend them?
Kane: To be honest, we rested for two days. Now we have been training for two days – on Wednesday and Thursday. I do not see anything terrible in this with respect to the NRG, because we had two more days to play in group stage. Therefore, I think we will be in good shape. The team should not be tired, because we hope to go further than one match. It is necessary to maintain physical and emotional strength.
VPEsports: During tournaments, teams tend to gain momentum and progress. What progress has Na’Vi made this week?
Kane: Definitely, first of all, we got rid of the game excitement and tuned in to the fact that these were tournament games, not trainings. This is important because official matches are played in a completely different way, with a different level of communication. In training, you are constantly in your comfort zone, while the tournament imposes stressful conditions.
Well and, of course, spaces on different maps, which we were able to refine and improve. From match to match, all teams are getting better, including us.
VPEsports: I can’t help but ask about recent news that Zeus will possibly leave Na’Vi soon. How did the team meet this news, did it affect the preparation?
Kane: I can say that we practically did not pay attention to this news. The question arose, of course, where did such rumors come from? At the moment, I believe that these anonymous sources have decided to get hyped and it is nothing serious. We in the team are honest with each other and such conversations are held openly.
VPEsports: On the stream, it was clear that Natus Vincere has a large staff in the tournament. In addition to you, there is still a psychologist, manager and B1ad3 with the players. How does Andrey Gorodenskiy help the team?
Kane: We regularly work with a psychologist, we introduced this on an ongoing basis from Madrid. And I can say that the atmosphere in the team has improved, I can’t say that the problems have disappeared, but after all, illnesses are not treated in a day.
B1ad3 cares about the team and watches. To a greater extent, he tries to deal individually with the players and tries to prompt the players with his opinion, if such a need arises. Regarding the general vision of the game, I make key decisions, while he keeps focus on helping players.
VPEsports: Your match with CR4ZY made fans worry. You, standing behind the players, were you worried?
Kane: We just made the wrong decisions. On the first map, we understood that there would still be an opportunity to recoup and there were no worries, but it was a bad game on our part. Again, we played absolutely unsuccessful pistol rounds, lost the first buy rounds, and they, in turn, had a good anti-force. And then they got 5: 0 which is a solid advantage.
On Inferno, we knew that CR4ZY had a good CT-side. Unfortunately, several wins in the key rounds allowed us to finish half 8:7, even though we could have had a greater advantage. When we switched sides, I had a feeling that there was still a margin – there was confidence that we could win on that map. And when s1mple made that double with the AWP – it gave us a lot, after which the opponent had no chance. In the end, we could have been lucky too!
VPEsports: Nuke was completely different. It is worth noting that you had already played against mousesports on this map and it did not end in the best way for you. However, against CR4ZY it was a completely different level of performance. Was there any special preparations?
Kane: Rather, we just played well on our CT and T sides. In general, we can say that we were well prepared for this map coming into the Major. In that match with mousesports, the opponent prepared their attack well, which greatly strained us.
In the case of CR4ZY, we knew how they would attack and therefore made changes to our style. We adapted. Zeus did a great job on his individual ramp game after the match with mousesports. Therefore we were much more comfortable playing. You also need to understand that the good CR4ZY statistics on Nuke have been worked out mainly online games against weak teams, and we have been playing on this map for more than a year. When I studied their T-side, it seemed very unbalanced.
VPEsports: It is rare to see that Na’Vi plays as the number two unless against Liquid or Astralis. But in tomorrow’s match, the sympathy of most fans is on the American side. Does this mean anything to you?
Kane: If the history of games with Liquid and Astralis is not the most pleasant for us, then with NRG the opposite is true. When training with them, we do not feel like outsiders. We have no feeling that we are underdogs. Yes, they showed a good game, but this is just a certain stage. In fact, they won two bo1 and one bo3 vs Astralis in non-knocked out match from the tournament. We respect this team, but we are comfortable with it.
StarLadder Major interviews: