nicoodoz: "we have a pretty good draw against ENCE, so we have a good shot at making semifinals"
Following the conclusion of the final match of the Legends Stage, which Copenhagen Flames take down Imperial 2-0, Dust2.us' Ryan Friend snagged Nico "nicoodoz" Tamjidi to chat for a bit. The two discussed the game versus Imperial, why the squad has been unable to translate their LAN success to online events, and nicoodoz's thoughts on their upcoming game against ENCE.
Congrats on making it to the playoffs! That's a huge achievement. You just beat Imperial, which is an upset after what they showcased last night. Walk me through that Inferno game. It was their pick, but you guys absolutely dominated almost that entire game. How did you prepare for that?
We actually had a hard time preparing for them, because we were expecting three different picks, Mirage, Inferno, and Overpass. I don't think we were that confident in them picking Inferno because we showed a pretty good result yesterday against FaZe, you know, beating them on Inferno, something not many people expected because Inferno is literally our worst map. We had a good game plan, we knew what they wanted to do and stuff like that, so we just followed through with our game plan and grinded the rounds one by one.
What was that game plan?
I mean, mainly shutting down the aggressive stuff. On B we know they like to give up banana and stuff like that you know, so we just had to not be scared to take control of that part of the map and then play defensive on the other side because we know how they like to react.
It seemed really strong, even in that pistol you guys were just rushing down their throats. Were you guys trying to set the tone that way?
Yeah, I mean HooXi just said "let's run down mid and smash them"; we didn't really talk pistols before the match, he just said it in freeze time, and we were all down for it.
What's it gotta be like to have that kind of confidence against some of these legends of the game and stick it to 'em?
We're really confident in our own individual skill, we actually think we have a slight edge above them in individual skill and they have the experience over us. So we are not scared to take duels and stuff like that and just run at them. We just didn't play scared.
Not playing scared is obviously one component, however, that Vertigo game went to overtime, and got a little tense there especially because you gave up that lead at 15-14. What was going through your mind and the team's mind as you were trying to close it out?
We were a bit down at that moment in the game because I think we all felt like we knew what they were doing but we just couldn't close out the rounds. We had a good idea every time they were coming, and personally, I was messing up a lot on A and wasn't really sticking to my own game plan and what I do in my protocols with roeJ, so I was messing that up a lot. I took a deep breath in overtime and just started to play like I should, and it worked out.
You've obviously had a meteoric rise to get to this point here, and obviously, this last year has been very interesting. We all know about the Complexity offer that's been there. Has that kind of weighed on you guys? Have you been looking at that outside pressure and maybe trying to ignore it, or have you been taking it in?
I think we've ignored most of it because you read a lot of bullshit on social media that "other players want it more", but in reality like what roeJ said on HLTV Confirmed, we all five had agreed with Complexity and were ready to sign but they decided to go another way. We didn't really care too much about what other people say because we know the truth. We just don't really think about it and we just stick together. If an offer comes, an offer comes.
I was talking with Vorborg earlier, and he was saying how many of the players have individual offers. Is that something you're looking to explore after this, and have you looked at your own performance here and seen how this could maybe elevate your value?
I'm not really gonna think too much about it during this time, because I really want to focus on the playoffs and I just saw that we have a pretty good draw against ENCE, so we have a good shot at making semifinals, so I just want to put 100% focus on beating them and playing our potential semifinal.
Alright then, so let's talk about the Major. Making the playoffs for the first time, the biggest achievement of your career, what's going through your mind? I was talking with saffee who earlier qualified for playoffs, and he was emotional, very much in tears. You, on the other hand, look very calm and collected, you had your emotional outburst before or after. Tell me what's going on personally with you.
Personally, I'm really happy. I might not look so happy, but I am pretty happy about it. After the game, I was shaking a lot, and when I was on that desk segment I was shaking a lot as well. I was incredibly happy, especially because the first thing I thought about is the feeling that I felt when I lost against NIP. I didn't want to do that again, and it was such a relieving feeling when we won the final round, incredibly happy.
So you're going to go into the arena on Friday. Have you been in an environment like this before, and how are you trying to mentally prepare for thousands of fans who are going to be screaming at every single play?
I mean, I'm just going to try and enjoy it the most because this is a first-time experience. I did play the show match back in Stockholm, but I don't think it's gonna be close to the same feeling at all. So I'm just going to try and enjoy every second of it and just enjoy playing Counter-Strike in front of thousands of people, just living my dream.
The road here has not always been easy, you guys seemed to struggle a lot in the online matches. I think a lot of people are just calling you LANimals at this point, you can't perform online, especially in the COVID era but somehow when you show up to LAN you have been. Has that affected your mental at all, not being able to perform consistently?
I think it has helped us during these big events because personally, I'm really happy before going to a LAN because I know that we can perform well, and I just get another level of confidence when I'm playing on LAN. I feel really comfortable in the studio, around my teammates. I think the biggest problem about going online is that you can't set yourself up the same way. When you play in the Legends Stage of a Major and then you go home two weeks later and have to play a Pinnacle Cup, it's just not the same feeling. It's hard to stay focused, so I think that's why we get in those huge slumps.
How do you try and stay focused, especially during these online games?
I mean, just focusing on the game as best as possible, you know. It's just not the same feeling, it's really hard to replicate that kind of feeling, that kind of intensity, it's just not the same thing.
A lot has been said about social media in terms of death threats, criticism, etc. You've been on social media, you joke around a lot and you even said earlier that there wasn't going to be a third map in this series. Is playing around with social media sometimes your way of relieving the stress that you have, or can it be a double-edged sword?
I really enjoy social media personally, and I think I'm really good at ignoring all the negative messages. I don't think they really get to me, especially during those online times when you lose a lot of games being the favorite, you get a lot of messages, but I mostly just laugh at them and laugh at people losing their money. I don't really care honestly, it's not my problem. My brother is also a huge part in keeping me positive and writing feedback after every game. I don't really care too much, I mean I enjoy being on social media, I love interacting with people and ratioing you, for example, stuff like that. I just have fun.
Looking ahead, with the draw against ENCE, what are you going to try and exploit out of them? What have you seen that you think you guys can do really well against?
Without giving too much away about their gameplay, because we already know a lot because we played a lot against them in the past, I just think our gameplay and our style fits really well into theirs, and we have a lot of stuff that naturally counters what they do, so that's the biggest part in that game.
nicoodoz and his teammates will have since been spending their time preparing for their arena match against ENCE, slated for today at 10:30AM.