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<h2>Interview with FNS</h2>
Q. First of all, congratulations and welcome back to the home of the free!
Q. I heard you were stuck in Canada for a while. What happened there?
I had a visa issue. Unfortunately, I told the truth at customs. I’ve never been asked if I got a salary and unfortunately I just said yes ‘cause I didn’t wanna get any of my teammates in trouble since they were in front of me. They had already gone through customs so I didn’t know what they said, so the second I said that I got a salary I basically wasn’t allowed to enter the country. So I basically got denied entry once in the U.S. then I’m just like, “Shit.” CLG did their best and it worked out that they got me the visa, so that was awesome.
Q. So you weren’t there for the CEVO LAN. How was it watching instead of playing?
I learned a lot more watching just because you could tell what’s wrong with your team. You learn a lot from just watching in terms of mistakes and I pointed them out. As soon as I got to the house I told them exactly what I thought went wrong, especially on Mirage which as you can see is a lot better now. They lost to Liquid on Mirage 3-16 the last time they played them so we were able to fix a lot of things before (today).
Q. You guys have been doing really well. You guys did pretty well at the ESL ESEA Pro League where you had some upsets. What can we chalk this up to?
It comes down to how much effort we’re putting in throughout every single day. You know, people think that because some of us stream that that’s all the time we’re putting into the game. People are like, “Why aren’t you guys preparing for this or that?” Do people expect us to play all day? What we do is we put enough time in, like 6-7, maybe even 8 hours a day of just demo watching (which we hadn’t done before) and playing. So we recently started doing that a lot more and then we stream later in the night. But we’re still considered worse than Cloud9 which in my mind I think they’re the better team right now, so we’ll definitely feel a lot more satisfied when we beat them in a best of three.
Q. Yeah, for sure. So I saw that you were not sitting in the center. Are you still the in-game leader?
Oh no, we actually changed roles. We were gonna do that for CEVO LAN anyways, so even if I was there at CEVO we were still gonna use Cutler as the in-game leader. We felt it was probably the best thing to do because in terms of our team, we don’t have a good support role and Cutler has a lot more individual skill than I do and that’s why I wanted him not to call, but the thing is we never had a really good support player so I thought I could be that and he felt he could really do well in-game leading too so he wanted to try it out. He seems like he’s starting to like it, and as long as you enjoy in-game leading then it’s fine--you should do it. He puts a lot more time in now that he in-game leads and obviously he did a great job.
<img class="fleft" src="http://www.teamliquid.net/staff/FOnTTaX/counterstrike/2015eslonecologneinterviews/nfs.jpg" />
Q. So you said that Cloud9 is the better team right now. What do you think differentiates you guys?
Their roles are a lot more solidified than ours and I don’t know about currently, but for these last couple tournaments it seems like they have an entry fragger, they have a good strat caller, and they have an amazing AWPer. When jdm has a good game for us, we usually end up winning that game. That’s such a big AWP presence in Skadoodle that they have, and in my opinion he’s the best player, maybe in the world. Overall, he’s probably the most difficult player to play against when we play them, so I would say the fact that they have Ska and Jordan (n0thing) stepping up a lot more makes them really really really good. In terms of why they’re better than us, I would say consistency; they have more of it than we do.
Q. Okay, so you guys played Liquid on Cache and Mirage, two maps that Liquid are very confident on. What were your thoughts behind that?
We also are confident on those maps, but we’ve never had good CT-side Caches. Our T-side Cache we pretty much have pretty solid--we practiced it over and over again--but CT sides we always fail. So this time we had to make sure that when we started on CT, we got a good start and it was really big that we got the pistol round. We did get eco’d I think at one point, or a half-buy lost us the round, but we were able to bring it back and only gave them three rounds. We knew our T side was strong, so at the end of the day even if they had a little comeback going we knew we were gonna win if we played our game.
Q. So your whole team has been doing well. hazed has been stepping up lately as well, especially against Liquid. Is this something we can attribute to your roles now?
Yeah, the problem was that he was the lurker for our team and Cutler was the support role and I was the strat caller, so we swapped everything. Cutler became the in-game leader/support, I became the lurker while not in-game leading so I could focus fully on supporting and throwing nades and flashes for my teammates, and hazed became what he’s comfortable in: the entry fragging role. So if you were to put it in Cloud9 terms, hazed is our fREAKAZOiD.
Q. What do you think Liquid did wrong? How were you able to beat them so comfortably?
Honestly, I would obviously have to rewatch the game to see what happened, but I feel like they gave us way too much respect early in the game. One thing I did tell my team though is the fact that if we get an early lead, any NA team except maybe Cloud9 usually won’t be able to come back. And so, slowly but surely I feel like they were tilting a little bit. I don’t know, but I just felt like that based on their gameplay, and almost halfway through the first half it didn’t seem like they knew what they were doing or they couldn’t make up their minds and there were really late executes and stuff like that.
Q. Okay, yeah. Who would you say is the mood maker on your team?
The mood maker… That’s a tough one (laughs). Uhm… tarik? He’s kind of a goofball.
Q. (laughs) How is it being on a team with tarik? He seems to have a lot of fun.
Yeah, it’s fun. Everyone thinks he’s like some guy with no brain that just runs around, which I couldn’t tell you how wrong they are. When it comes down to it, he has a lot of raw skill, and I’m not saying he’s the smartest player in the world, but when it comes to pure overall skill it makes up for it, and he makes good decisions in-game. When he’s playing matches and even scrims with us, he plays for the team, he makes good decisions for us, he plays based on the game plan and he doesn’t overextend if he doesn’t have to. So in that sense he’s a lot more disciplined than people might think. But in terms of like outside of the game, he’s really awesome to hang out with. We all get along really well which is another good thing about our team. We all just get along great; we’ve been friends forever.
Q. Yeah, you guys are living in the same house together right? So you aren’t getting on each other’s nerves or anything?
Nah. I mean, we get into arguments all the time--especially me and jdm--but everyone in general, we argue all the time about the dumbest stuff. A lot of times it’s mostly about CS and how we should be playing certain things, and if somebody disagrees we argue over it, but it’s never personal at any point.
Q. So you guys are headed to Cologne after this! When do you guys plan on flying out?
Well, we’re going to this next tournament (IEM) that’s in two days so we’re literally flying out tomorrow. We’re going to Germany. Now, I don’t know if we’re gonna be staying there or not and bootcamp. We probably will come back here and play a lot of CS before going back there.
Q. Who are the top two teams that you do not want to play against in Cologne?
I’m gonna say it again: I think Skadoodle is the hardest player to play against. I don’t wanna play Cloud9. I also don’t wanna play Virtus.pro. Virtus.pro is probably one of the hardest teams for us to play against.
Q. Oh really? So not Fnatic, TSM or nV?
No, because you could--well, Fnatic you can’t really anti-strat, but the fact that we’ve beaten them once gives us confidence that we could do it. Virtus.pro has 16-0’d us on LAN before. That’s in our head no matter what.
Q. Any last words for your fans?
Thank you guys for supporting us and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you to our sponsors and mainly thanks to CLG for giving us a house to bootcamp and get better that way. Big shoutout to them.
<h2>Interview with n0thing</h2>
Q. So I’m here with Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert who just won the ESL One Cologne NA qualifiers. How do you feel right now?
I feel good. We expected to qualify but it’s always good once you actually do it ‘cause you don’t want to get too ahead of yourself.
Q. Who was your toughest opponent in this tournament?
I would say probably Liquid. We played Noble which is a newer team and eLevate which is not so new but they’re still not as good as Liquid or CLG.
Q. Did you expect CLG to be the number two team to qualify?
Kinda, yeah. The only chance was if Maximum Effort put in a bit more of a showing, but they just didn’t seem like a team when I watched them. It was surprising to see eLevate get the result they did on Cobble.
Q. How did you enjoy the tournament? It was closed to the public.
Yeah, obviously there’s not a lot of fans here but ESL ran the event great. Good setup, enough space, warmup area, catered food, had shuttles--pretty much everything you could ask for in an event.
Q. Yeah. You guys have been traveling nonstop like the past month or so, going from tournament to tournament. Did you guys actually get to prepare for this tournament?
A little bit. We had some PR this past week at HyperX but they let us use their bootcamp area, so that gave us some time to look at things. But it ended up not really playing too much of a factor in the matches we played this week. We were working on things that we’re weaker on, which is no secret. We always veto Mirage so we’re working on Mirage.
Q. So what are your plans now? Are you gonna go back home and chill for a while before you bootcamp?
Yeah, we’re gonna have ten days at home and then we go back to Germany for a five or six day bootcamp prior to the ESL One Cologne major, so we’re gonna take a couple days off here and let our brains reset, relax and then start thinking about ways we could patch up some holes we have ‘cause everyone’s obviously gonna look at our team now and find antis. We gotta list all the ways we could beat ourselves and that’s kind of the first step--to go through the ways we think people will beat us.
Q. What do you think are your biggest issues right now?
Well, there are a lot of small specific things. It’s more of just gaps that we have created on purpose because we wanted to funnel people into them in the past. Now that people are aware we kinda gotta tweak those gaps.
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Q. Okay, so your team has been performing off the chains. You guys have improved a lot since you made the roster change. What do you think is the difference between this roster and the last one?
There’s a lot to the psychology of a team, but I think simply put our team environment has been a lot more stable with roles and people inside the team. I think what normally unites a lot of the top teams is having a good sponsorship, salary and a contract, but once you get to a certain point, if a team’s players don’t like each other then it kind of poisons the well. I think what you’re starting to see with NA which is good is that more people are getting serious about it which is making them not shuffle around rosters as much. I think what our team did is just three of us have been together for a while--me, shroud and seangares--and we finally brought in two guys that can play the roles that can complement us well and also out of game. We’re able to argue with each other but not get personal and angry at each other because you needa be able to be transparent in-game, so I think that’s one of the big differences right now.
I think you’re starting to see Liquid and CLG acknowledge the fact that they need to go a little bit more in-depth with their preparation because they have the skill. The difference is it just seems like our team is just functioning a bit better as a unit.
Q. What do Skadoodle and fREAKAZOiD add to your team outside of the game?
Well, Skadoodle’s just a very focused guy, and it’s funny because when you have a guy that’s that focused and serious all the time, when he’s having a good time and laughing it just shows that he brings level-headedness but he also encourages the team environment and team vibe while bringing seriousness. Like, I don’t wanna mess up because I feel like I’m letting him down or seangares down because they’re so meticulous.
fREAKAZOiD brings a lot of heart and vulnerability and I think that’s important, because he’s the first one to call himself out and he’s the first one to call other people out. When you kinda know that it’s his personality--like, some of the stuff he says would be so obnoxious if it came out of shroud’s mouth or something, but since fREAKAZOiD’s saying it you can’t hold him back. So the fact that we all kinda accept it, I think it makes us all feel a little bit more open with each other, and as people that’s big because we’re not like an NFL organization where we have a bunch of offensive coaches/defensive coaches bringing us together. We gotta bring ourselves together and I can’t stress how important that unity is in Counter-Strike.
Q. You’ve been performing very well as of late as well, much better than a couple of months ago. What have you changed? Is your role any different now?
If my team environment is good, then I’m normally pretty good as a player. But since probably August of last year I just wasn’t comfortable until probably about March or February of this year. It was just between lineups and what we were doing in-game. I went from an entry fragger, to a lurker, to support, to taking people’s spots on maps. Not to go into too much detail but our team wasn’t functioning like a team and… I just couldn’t seem to focus. The energy of my teammates seeps into my focus too much and if I feel like someone is annoyed at me or this or that I just start thinking about it and it takes it away.
I think that I’ve always had the skill and dexterity and aim or whatever. It just comes down to me being focused and focusing on my role.
Q. Can you describe for us your role in and out of the game?
In-game, it’s kinda multi-faceted. As you can tell I’m not an entry fragger but I pretty much do everything else. Out of game, kind of similar to Ryan (fREAKAZOiD). I just try to get people to talk and call each other out. So like I said I’ll call myself out if I mess up or call someone else out if they mess up and just make sure we’re having a good time. I always of course mess around with everyone and just make sure everyone’s in a good mindset.
Q. So who do you think’s funnier: you or fREAKAZOiD?
(laughs) I don’t think there’s a scale. I think if you’re positive then it’s worth it either way.
Q. Going into Cologne, who are the two teams that you do not wanna be grouped with?
Probably TSM or Fnatic. Actually, I would say TSM and Virtus.pro. Virtus.pro is almost more annoying to play against for us right now. But Fnatic is so good, I guess it really just depends. There are probably three or four teams that we wouldn’t want to be in a group with, but the fact is we qualified and we’re gonna have a hard group regardless, so we just gotta be ready.
Now, the new format is weird because if you win one then lose one then your third match is randomized. So I personally am not that big of a fan of it because I think it just makes it even more random. I would prefer them at least doing a BO2 or BO3 or something, but it is what it is and we just gotta be mentally tough.
Q. Any last words that you have?
Thanks to Team Liquid for the interview and if anyone out there wants to look at Cloud9 and our sponsors, Cloud9.gg is our website. Thanks for all the support. My Twitter is @c9n0thing and shoutout to all the fans who love Cloud9.