Stewie2k on Liquid’s form: “We're trying to adapt, but it's not as easy as it looks and it's a lot harder for us right now”

The CS:GO pro believes Liquid can get back to the top.

Photo via ESL

One of Team Liquid’s last CS:GO events of this year ended with a loss to Fnatic in the ESL Pro League quarterfinals on Dec. 6. 

Jake “Stewie2k” Yip spoke with Dot Esports regarding the issues that plagued Liquid throughout their matchup against Fnatic. The North American player also discussed the expectations to end Liquid’s stellar year on a high at the BLAST Pro Series Global Final.

I want to focus on your T-sides against Fnatic since you played them just last week in Arlington at ECS. Did you see any weaknesses this time around? 

Stewie2k: Yeah, there are definitely a lot of weaknesses. We lost two ecos on both maps in one half, I think, so that was pretty disappointing. That’s really going to kill the momentum and it’s hard to bring back rounds with less gun rounds. So it was a little tough for us on the T-side, but it wasn’t just that. I think it’s more about us being more confident in our duels. It looked like we were pretty stale and a little bit lost most of the rounds, especially on Inferno. 

A little bit about Overpass: Lately it hasn’t been too good for us, but knowing the last tournament they completely destroyed us. So this time around, we tried to make a better game plan and it was actually going pretty good. I think if we didn’t get eco’d on our CT-side in the second round of the game then we could have pulled off a 16-11 or 16-12 in our favor. So, yeah, there’s a lot of rounds we could look back on. But other than that, I think our T-side could’ve been way better. 

Moving onto Overpass, the start of the game was a little slow but then you started to come back. Can you explain how you came back into the match? 

I guess it was just more about getting into the groove of the game. I think after that after the second round where they force-bought and won the round, our economy was broken. I think after that we got stunned in a way where we didn’t know what to do. We were just sitting back and letting them run all over us and by the time we were really low they would come really late, but we got caught off-guard by them holding us and us aggressing so they punished us a lot. So later when we were losing, we decided to start peeking more and taking our spawns and trying to get into the groove of the game, get some energy going, get some adrenaline going and then we just eventually went there.

You led an impressive comeback in the first half of Overpass, how did you change your approach to counter fnatic?

Honestly, the first few gun rounds were really unlucky—the first round were we finally had guns, [Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken] gets naded and I got spammed through a smoke. Yeah, it was pretty unlucky. And those rounds, it can make it look so bad, but honestly it’s really unlucky and unlikely to happen I feel. But that changed the game and it gives them a lot of momentum because they won so easily. 

Although you played well toward the end of the first half, you failed to get going at the end. What went wrong during this transition?  

I think at the first few gun runs they pressured B-site a lot and we’ve seen them do this strat that they do where they throw two smokes and they go through them when it’s about to fade. But this time around, I’m assuming they know that we’ve watched your demos so they know that we are aware of that strat. They tried to counter it. They used as pressure and tried to nade us in positions that we like to play. I think it’s a lot of tendencies. So I think they studied as well and got a good game plan. But late round, I think they executed with about 20 seconds and the whole time they only hold for pushes. So actually if we just sat in the site and held our nades I think we would have won. I think we realized that a little too late and it kind of cost us a few runs on our CT-side.

You mention a few errors on your CT and T side. But do teams know how to exploit your playstyle? 

It’s kind of hard. I wouldn’t think we’d been in this position, in our careers where we were the number one team at one point and everyone’s all eyes on us and studying us, it’s going to be a lot harder. We’re going to have to be more adaptive and innovative. So right now we’re in a tough spot. We’re trying to do that. We’re trying to adapt, but it’s not as easy as it looks and it’s a lot harder for us right now. But we took a few tournaments off and hopefully we can improve. Right now, I think we’re doing pretty good. Even though we lost to Fnatic, I think they’re doing really well right now. They’re all peaking and they’re all playing pretty good CS, so it’s not as bad as it looks.

So would you say you’re still taking away positives from this event, considering your placement? 

Yeah, I think honestly throughout this tournament we play really well. Only all the way up until the Fnatic match. Even against Astralis, the game felt pretty good. But you know a lot of unlucky rounds from them, a lot of unlucky rounds from us. That can change the game and that’s what made it so intense. But I think if we look back at Dust II on the last map, there’s a lot of rounds where we can say we’re OK with losing like them.

Although you used to be the best team in the world, culminating in an Intel Grand Slam victory, what’s different from that lineup to the Team Liquid of today? 

It’s not really a valid excuse, I think it’s just mainly us being fatigued mentally and physically. But we’ve been traveling a lot this year, so we’re going to try to find a better way of scheduling next year. So it doesn’t, it doesn’t sound like a good excuse, but at the same time it’s something that we don’t want to use any excuse, but it’s something that we can’t help. We’re trying our best. We have to show up to tournaments and prioritize gaming, but it’s not as easy as it looks. 

Moving forward, you will be attending the BLAST Pro Series Global finals to finish the year, how will your team prepare for this event? 

Well, during our team talk after the loss to the fnatic, I looked at [Nick “nitr0” Cannella] when we were alone, I was like, we’ve got to prepare for this tournament and we we’re going to win this tournament, so we were stressing that we have to make a good game plan and make sure that we put 100 percent into the preparation to try and get the best out of it. Our first game is going to be against Astralis. We’ve lost them so many times but we’re coming closer and closer each time now. So this time we said we’re going to try our best and we are going to take this one. And from there we’ll probably ride the momentum really well. 

So do you believe that your team could come straight back on top?

Yeah, I think so … we’re not happy that we lost, but we’re happy that we got a few days off to rest and stop travelling. And just have a couple of days off to re-energize.