YEKINDAR: "We're going to have our chances later on"
After a less-than-stellar showing at the IEM Rio Major earlier this month, Liquid are set to compete in the BLAST Premier Fall Finals in an effort to secure a spot at the BLAST Premier Fall Final in Abu Dhabi in December. At the Fall Finals, HLTV's king_dempz spoke with Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis on a number of subjects, but primarily focused on the IEM Rio Major.
YEKINDAR made clear in the interview that the team expected a better placing, and that the early 16-2 loss against MOUZ caused the team great difficulties. Despite these setbacks, YEKINDAR stated that he believes that the team learned a lot from their Major performance, highlighting that the squad had a fighting mentality even when the odds were against them. Although YEKINDAR believed that Liquid should have placed better, he elaborated that he did not appreciate the "favorites" tag that had been bestowed upon the team after a second-place finish at ESL Pro League, alongside a quarterfinal finish at IEM Cologne.
Touching on his own performance, YEKINDAR stated that he struggled to find a balance between contributing to the macro side of the game, while also managing his individual aspects. This is the reason the rifler highlighted for his abnormally low rating for IEM Rio, but even despite the poor individual showing, YEKINDAR stated that he believes he "gave my all to give my team the most chances to win, so I don't necessarily think I was playing that poorly".
The two went on to discuss YEKINDAR's increasingly important role in working on Liquid's macro, with YEKINDAR claiming that the new role provided him no additional pressure and that he took it on because he believes it would contribute towards further victories.
Bringing the conversation back to the Major, YEKINDAR elaborated on the lack of a clear favorite at the event, highlighting various struggles each team was facing heading into the event, including the youth of Vitality's squad, NAVI's inconsistency, and the lack of invites to elite events for underdog squads like Outsiders and MOUZ. YEKINDAR specifically pointed out this lack of invites as a boon for these squads, as teams like Outsiders, MOUZ, and FURIA felt compelled to grind specifically for the Major, unlike the favorites like FaZe and NAVI who have a large number of tournaments to prep for.
Looking ahead to the future, YEKINDAR made clear that the goal for this event is for Liquid to qualify for the BLAST Premier World Final, otherwise the North American side would have no remaining events for the year. Long-term, YEKINDAR said that the squad will be looking to shift their goals following the player break, moving on from the goals set over the course of the past six months.
Liquid are set to begin their BLAST Premier Fall Final campaign tomorrow at 01:00PM, with the team set to square off against G2 in their opening BO3. Those interested in reading the full HLTV interview with YEKINDAR can find it here.