nitr0: "everyone’s five years younger than me and I'm like damn, makes me feel kind of old"
North America looks to have revived itself after a devastating first round yesterday. Liquid, EG, and Party Astronauts are all 2-1 whilst Complexity plays for the opportunity to go 3-0. Coming off an absolute domination of paiN, who painfully lost to MIBR last night, Nick "nitr0" Cannella sat down and spoke to Dust2.us about their performance so far, coming back the game, and the journey of Joshua "oSee" Ohm to being a star AWPer.
So obviously NA teams just in general, and not just yourself had a bit of a rough start at the beginning. Brazil looks like very dominant coming out, but now if Party Astronauts win their game, I think they're 14-5 up at the time of this recording. Then that means that other than one NA team, all NA teams are up 2-1 at least. How are you feeling about NA’s overall performance
Obviously Complexity was the only team to take their first match, so I feel like NA was kind of asleep the first round of matches. But overall, like I never really had a doubt that, like us, Complexity, Evil Geniuses, maybe Party Astronauts, were going to make it through to the groups or whatever. But I mean, when I was looking at the bracket it was kind of like, I haven't been here for like a year and a half since I came back and I was looking I was like, damn I don't know a lot of these teams. I know the players, but I haven't like been avidly like practicing against them in NA or whatever. So, me coming back, it was like I have to really study these people and understand how they play and how their team runs and stuff so that was like my biggest stint coming back. It was just kind of refreshing how these people play, and yeah, it's just when you don't play a player for a year and a half like they could have changed so many things, you know, like tendencies and stuff. I think NA is doing good right now in this tournament so we’ll just have to wait and see how it pans out.
Who would you say has impressed you the most coming back, team or player?
I haven’t been watching too many matches since I got here, but I think it's pretty cool to see FalleN and gang doing pretty good, since it’s kind of like their last dance type ordeal and they’re 2-0, so I mean it’s pretty cool.
So you know there's loads of talks, everyone's talking about their rival team here, and teams that they really want to beat. Obviously, you went away for quite a long time, and now coming back is there any team, any player you have in your eyes that you really want to beat in this tournament?
Not really, I'm just here to play and just try to get the job done and then make the Major. Obviously, it's everyone's dream to make the Major, especially oSee. It's his first Major ever, so it's probably more pressure on his shoulders, so to speak, but I think with having us as teammates and our experience I think he feels like more comfortable, than you know, like Complexity where a lot of them haven't even attended a Major or done anything at a Major. This tournament may not be as much weight on their shoulders, but the second they get to the Major there’s going to be a lot more weight in my opinion.
Speaking of pressure, and oSee in particular, you’re a veteran player and you’ve been around in those high-pressure situations. How are you helping him get through them?
I feel like words can only do so much justice. Obviously you can comfort someone by saying like, oh yeah, you have us next to you, but I think at the end of the day, it's all upon him to kind of just take in the pressure and use it as best of his ability as possible, and he's been doing really good so far. I think he had a 3.0 rating, which is insane in my opinion, and this is the qualification for the Major so it does have a lot of weight. He's gonna keep on doing good for sure.
Speaking of his performance, NA teams in the past never really had that American star AWPer. What does it mean to Liquid to have that now?
It's really nice to have honestly because, I'm feeling nowadays in CS the AWPer is the star on most teams. You have s1mple, sh1ro, broky, all these really good AWPers are like their stars, and I think having like that star AWPer is really important making a new team. When we're looking at making a new team, we’re like, we need an AWPer, no doubt about it. We can’t have a rifle/hybrid anymore because the AWPers are too good, and it just seems nowadays it's the only thing that can stop a really good rifle half the time. So that was definitely part of the process and oSee was a no brainer coming into the team.
Do you think oSee can be the best American AWPer we've ever seen?
For sure, yeah.
So obviously you have shox on the team. What does he kind of bring that maybe another American player just doesn't really have?
I think he obviously brings a lot of experience. He brings a lot of very good mid-round situations, and he likes to theorize like "if X happens then we could try this or do this and do this" and we've been doing like all these things in practice and I think that's honestly like where we've gotten the most growth in our past couple months since we formed. He's doing all the pistols and anti-ecos for us right now, so that alleviates a lot of pressure off my shoulders so I can just focus on gun rounds and just studying opponents and force-buys and stuff like that. So he's been a huge help to me and I think he's just like a great motivator in general, and having the experience that he has he doesn't get nervous or anything, so it's just nice to have.
Does this team have the ability to be one of the best strategic teams in the region or even in the world?
Yeah I would say so. We're not too innovative, to the point where we're finding crazy nades and all these crazy things, kind of like BIG. But I feel like the way we play, we try to be pretty simplistic and then also after every single game we like to go back and look to see what we can change, because we know these teams are going to watch us. We need to make sure that we're step ahead of them and we're not doing like the same thing where we're just readable, because I feel like nowadays like everyone is doing a lot of review and VOD prep and stuff, so I feel like it's always in your best interest to go back and watch your games. See what you can fix, see what you can improve on them for the next one, and even if it's a very small timing, like 5-10 seconds, it's so big in CS that you need to be able to do that as a team and not become readable at all.
What would you say is more important, watching the opponent and trying to read them or watching yourself and try to make yourself unreadable?
I would say both, because obviously we're going to do the prep no matter what for the team you're playing. But at the same time, you want to be able to insert your game against them, and whether that's like changing a timing or changing a specific nade set or whatever it may be, you gotta be a step ahead. Because you know for a fact, they're going to try to read it. Maybe they get a successful read, maybe you miss something, maybe there's a gap here or whatever, and that happened at EPL. One of the better things that we have under our belt is like the last tournament was our first Overpass, so we could do whatever we wanted. But after that Overpass, we need to see what we can do better and see if what we can fix.
You guys haven't been together that long, is that surprising element that you have going to help you when you get to the Major?
I would say it’s not anymore, but the past couple tournaments it definitely helped, but for the Major I think people are going to be going crazy and really trying to anti-strat and do whatever it takes to win. I think just in general, since maybe we haven't scrimmed X team or Y team maybe they don't know how we play, they just have a demo to watch us on, and that can only go so much because you still gotta play the game.
Obviously, you just had EPL; I don't know how happy you are with your form, but I think you played quite well. Does that experience hinder you because you guys are quite tired coming off that, or does it give you experience that other NA teams don’t have?
I think it was a very good momentum-based win. Obviously, we lost against NiP, but we knew that we could have beaten them, we had a couple hiccups here and there, but we still played a really close match versus them, and we felt like we weren't on the same level as we were in the previous day against Heroic. But yeah, I mean compared to other NA teams like Complexity, Evil Geniuses, they're coming off really rough tournaments from EPL, so I'm sure it doesn't help them at all. They're all like "we got owned at the last one, we gotta make sure we step up here". Whereas us, were like we just gotta keep on going, we're doing good right now, we can see the progress. The second we see progress, we have a lot of momentum going forward. I think obviously losing to NiP was kind of crappy, but take what we could from in and a quarterfinal finish at that tournament is a big deal, so we definitely felt good from that tournament. Coming here, losing to 00 Nation kind of put us back down, but I feel like we’re back now.
Obviously, trash talk is a cornerstone of NA CS, has been for a long time. Who’s your hype guy, who's the guy who just builds you up, does the trash talk, that kind of thing?
We don’t really trash talk, so to speak, we just kind of keep it within our team. We just like kind of like to motivate ourselves. We know what the person next to us likes to hear and what they don't like to hear and stuff like that. We're not like a team that likes to banter too much, we just kind of keep it on social media sometimes, here and there for fun. I think the team is just a bunch of great guys and sometimes if someone is calling you out on something you have to fire back. But we're probably not gonna be the first to fire if that makes sense.
You went away for a long time, and then you came back. What was the biggest change that really just took you off guard, that surprised you?
The biggest change is probably just playing against new players, for example the actual team Players, and Outsiders. I haven't played against too many of these teams. I played against Jame and Qikert and all these dudes a long time ago. But, Players, they're all pretty young, like there are like 21, maybe 20. Coming back, I had really to understand how they play, and when I came back, I remember watching them, and they were the best team in the world during the online era, so I had to make sure to be pretty studious when it came to the new players. Obviously, I was playing the game so much so many tournaments, so many scrims back-to-back that I knew how each player would play most situations, but when it comes new players, you have to study them, you have to play against them and get a feel for how they think about the game and all these things, so that was probably the biggest hump for me.
Is it kind of odd now being seen as the veteran player?
I'd say so. I'm 26, about to be 27 and It's just like everyone’s five years younger than me and I'm like damn, makes me feel kind of old. Then I know I'm not old for CS, I’m not like 30. But I honestly don't think age matters anymore. I feel like shox is about to be 30, and I feel like he's doing really good right now, and I don't see any signs of him going down downhill. I think you just play until you feel like you can't play anymore basically, and age is just a number.
Liquid are currently in a prime position to reach the Major, sitting at a comfortable 2-1 record. The team will be looking to keep up their hot streak in their BO3 qualification match tomorrow.