It has been a busy two months for Natus Vincere.
One of the world’s best teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has been zipping across the globe, moving from Kiev, Ukraine to Jonkoping, Sweden to Dallas and Austin, Texas. Their success has varied from place to place.
They won a major championship at the Star Series finals in Kiev with a finals victory over Swedish side Ninjas in Pyjamas. A rematch with the Swedes in Jonkoping at the Dreamhack Summer finals was less successful, resulting in a runners-up finish.
Natus Vincere’s trip across the Atlantic hasn’t gone exactly to plan, with losses to Complexity and Virtus Pro leading to a fourth-place finish at the ESEA finals and a second consecutive finals loss to Ninjas in Pyjamas resulting in another runners-up finish at the Iron Gaming tournament.
With August promising to be equally busy, featuring majors in London, England and Cologne, Germany, we spoke with Natus Vincere member Ladislav “Guardian” Kovács at the Iron Gaming tournament in Austin over the weekend. Kovács, one of Counter-Strike’s premier snipers, dished on the ESEA finals, that Virtus Pro loss, and the side’s recent inconsistency.
Competing at the ESEA finals without Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev
Kovács: We had to change players with Arseny “Ceh9” Trynozhenko since Sukhariev couldn’t come after his passport was lost. So that was unfortunate for us, but it went quite well even though we didn’t have our full team. We just put Trynozhenko in Sukhariev’s role and he had some good moments for us.
Losing to Complexity at ESEA
It was quite interesting to play Complexity. In terms of skill they were good, but I don’t think they have a lot of strategies when they play. It was more like a (pick-up) team with some teamwork, but their skill was very strong.
Losing to Virtus Pro at ESEA after having swept them at Dreamhack Summer
When we lost to Virtus Pro, everyone was expecting that we would be crushed, and we went to the third game with them so it was quite an achievement with our line-up.
Natus Vincere’s performance at ESEA
The fourth-place finish was a good achievement, it was fine for us. Maybe we could have done better in the Virtus Pro game, but that happens.
If ESEA would have gone differently with Sukhariev playing
With the full line-up we would have probably made the finals because we are so confident at the moment. We are just playing huge.
Potential for American success in Europe
I would say that the American teams could contend anywhere, but the other teams at the top will be preparing a lot (for ESL One Cologne) so it will be hard for everyone.
Possible rematches with American opposition
It’s hard to say how we will play against the Americans next time. It might be that we’ll play them in Cologne. We’ll see.
Their experience in America
Between tournaments we had three or four days to relax by the ocean, drink, soak in the sun, have some fun. It was good.
Making changes after a loss
We’ll check our demos and watch how our opponents played, how we played, and maybe we’ll change some things. But in general our game will not change, we always play the same style. We are confident in our style, so we don’t change much for our opponents.
We have some trouble sometimes preparing together online, but we are confident when we are prepared.
Struggling in group stages, losing to Flipside Tactics at Dreamhack and nearly to Exertus at Iron Gaming
Overconfidence by us is why we lose in group stages. We hunt for frags, play a mixed style. On the other side they play as a team. We cannot win a game like that. The next time we will play more together as a team, using all of our skills as one.
Suffering a second finals loss to Ninjas in Pyjamas in three events
Our revenge will come when we play them in Cologne. We are confident.
Photo via Natus Vincere/Facebook