Plopski: "I feel like I've found myself again"
After NIP's 2-0 victory over FURIA, Dust2.us' Ryan Friend caught up with Nicolas "Plopski" Gonzalez Zamora. The two discussed the various changes to NIP's lineup, the state of Swedish CS, and NIP's hopes and dreams here at the PGL Antwerp Major.
You've advanced, so that's pretty big! At the onset of making it in here did you think that you were going to go through at least 3-1 or did you think it would be a bit more challenging?
I felt that it would be a little bit more challenging. I mean last time at the Major we got the same kind of thing where we went 2-0 the first day and then we played NAVI again, and this time it happened again! We were closer this time, we got a map off NAVI, but I think we still played well in that game and we showed glimpses of what we can do, and today I think we just played very good on both maps. There were some little small mistakes on Inferno T-side, but we closed it out so I'm very happy and proud of the boys today.
The team has gone through a series of changes, and talking to es3tag yesterday he said that everyone's role has kind of been changing. Have you found that to be exceptionally challenging?
Well, I feel like I'm more comfortable now with my new positions. I'm kind of mainly a lurker now, and I haven't been that before ever in my career. I feel like I've found myself again, because I had a bit of a slump last year. Now I feel much more confident in-game and outside of the game, everything just feels more smooth. Definitely, I feel like the whole team with all the new changes feels better.
Obviously, the addition of Brollan has been somewhat recent and was a big move. How has that contributed to the overall quality of the team, going forward with those changes?
I mean obviously Brollan, my guy, my brother, he's one of the best players in the world, and Sweden of course as well. I'm just really happy to have him on board. We've been friends for a long time, and it's always been a dream of mine to play on the same team as him, and now we have him, and now I feel like we're actually a very good team, doing damage and I feel like we can come a long way.
Swedish CS has obviously gone through a challenging point, with some of the old legends starting to fall off, but there doesn't seem to be a dearth of quality in the new ranks. The NIP academy, as you well know, have had a number of players come through and play alongside you guys. How do you feel about the quality of the next generation of Swedish players?
To be honest, I haven't really watched that many Swedish players, but I know there are a few of them that still have a good chance in the future that are still young, like 16 or 17. I feel like all the NIP academy guys, they're still like 18, I feel like they have a very big future ahead of them. Just overall, the quality of the young players coming up, you see every team now is just taking a young guy and suddenly, boom boom boom, everyone's dead. I feel like it's very fun to see people get the chance, and I feel like there are a lot of Swedish players that will get their chance.
FURIA is obviously one of the bigger teams with a rabid fanbase, so how was it to play against those guys? I was talking to es3tag and he was mentioning the fast style they had. How well did you guys feel prepared for today's game, and what were some things you wanted to focus on?
Well, we had a very big talk, because like two weeks ago we played against Bad News Eagles, and they kind of have like the same style, very aggressive and doing kinds of things that we don't expect. After that game, we were like "okay let's try to practice a little bit against aggressive style of game" because we always struggle against that. I feel like today we had very good preparation going into the game, we know all the things they like to do, so we just came up with a plan to basically handle all the aggression that we were not comfortable with. I feel like we did a great job on Nuke, and Inferno a little bit less but it still worked.
So, as far as the map picks, as part of that preparation, how did you foresee the veto going?
We weren't really quite sure what they were going to pick. We were going to pick Inferno or Overpass because that's the most comfortable maps for us, but we were not sure what they were going to pick. We thought they would pick Mirage, but they picked Nuke, and I feel like it's a good map for us, especially starting CT now in the silenced meta, it's very nice to play Nuke on CT-side. So when they picked that we got very confident, because we have a good Nuke in my opinion, so it was a good match for us I would say.
There's a lot of pressure coming on to NIP, you guys have been the focus of a lot of people, for good and bad reasons. How are you handling that sort of outside pressure at one of the most high-level, high-pressure events of the year?
Well, me personally, I'm not really thinking about it, I'm just happy now that we have a stable lineup, because as you said before we have played with a lot of academy players. You never really feel secure or confident in the team, because one day we play with this guy, the next day we have another guy. But now we have Brollan, we got these five players, and we're confident with each other, really fun guys to hang out with outside of the game. Obviously, everything just feels great now.
For playoffs, obviously, it still needs to be decided who you're gonna go up against. Do you feel that with this five-man lineup you guys can go far and even reach the final?
I believe so. If we continue to play like we did today, I think we can come a long way, and I feel like everyone is hungry. Last time we got to the quarterfinals in the Major, now we want to get even further, so I believe everyone will put in the work and do their job to make it possible.
With NIP's place in the playoffs secured after their win over FURIA, the Swedes now eagerly await the conclusion of the Legends stage to find out who their quarterfinal opponent will be.