NRG has already bounced back from their poor performance at DreamHack Masters Dallas last weekend; they have reached the semifinals of ECS season seven after beating FURIA in the Group A winners’ match.
Yesterday, we caught up with Tarik Celik, one of NRG’s star players, during ECS’ media day to talk about the team’s results so far, their potential to be the best North American lineup, and more.
Their run at Dallas
DreamHack Masters Dallas was NRG’s worst tournament since they added Tarik three months ago. The team’s only win came against Cloud9, who is going through a rebuilding process and has played poorly at the last several events.
“I think some of us played poorly individually-speaking and also our teamwork was really awful. We were not on the same page,” Tarik said. “And our rivals played good, for example, FURIA really did shut us down on Overpass and had a really good game against us. G2 really surprised us in the elimination game and they should have won by 2-0.”
Tarik also said NRG isn’t satisfied with the team results despite some semifinals appearances.
“In my opinion, the results are not really satisfactory. I mean, getting top four is a good start to our team, but Dallas was definitely a setback and I hope it doesn’t happen again because I think that with the caliber of players we have, we should be doing a lot better.”
What’s missing for NRG?
NRG came to ECS season seven finals with a good mentality, according to Tarik, but he still doesn’t know what the missing piece is for the team.
“I’m still trying to figure that out. For me at least, I feel that I haven’t been playing as well as I could be. So once I come back to my level, it will definitely make a big difference to my team.”
It makes sense that Tarik would not be playing at his full potential, though, considering he spent the last half of 2018 playing with MIBR and had different roles back then.
“Things on MIBR were totally different. My whole philosophy has kind of changed since I have been on a totally different perspective, so coming back to an American team it does feel more natural for me.”
And with Tarik not reaching his peak yet, NRG hasn’t been much of a competitor to Team Liquid at the moment. Their NA rivals established themselves as one of the best teams in the world on the HLTV rankings, after winning DreamHack Masters Dallas. But by the end of the year, Tarik wants to usurp the top spot from Liquid.
“In terms of the ranking, top five is definitely the goal—that’s what I’m shooting for. Yes, I think we definitely have what it takes [to become NA’s best team], it’s just a process, unfortunately, it won’t happen overnight. We just have to keep working hard and make sure we don’t give up.”
Damian “daps” Steele became NRG’s in-game leader since November 2017. Since then, he has transformed the team’s individual pieces into a solid squad.
“Daps has been trying his hardest and I think that it comes out to a lot of everyone else also putting the effort to make it work, we are trying our best.”
Although Tarik joined NRG just as a player, he wants to give more input to the team. He was Cloud9’s captain when they won the ELEAGUE Major in January 2018.
“To be honest I haven’t done as much as I want to. I think I can do a lot more like I said, I don’t feel that I’m fully comfortable in the team yet. That’s a lot more than I can do and personally, I think that’s one of the reasons that we aren’t playing as well as we could be.”
For Tarik, it’s a matter of time to NRG show more promise, according to him, the players haven’t peaked on the same tournament yet, which comes with persistence, reviewing their mistakes on and a lot of training.
NRG will return to action on the semifinals of ECS season seven finals. They will play against Group B’s second-place team on Saturday, June 8 at 10am CT.