YEKINDAR: "I think that we completely wasted our time preparing for this tournament"
Liquid have come off a redemption win against fellow North American side ATK, but that comes after an incredibly disappointing and historic loss against Rare Atom. With Liquid sent into the lower bracket, they face the tough task of having to play Spirit in the next round, and potentially NAVI waiting for them after. Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis spoke with James Bardolph and Alex "Hawka" Hawkins to discuss the bounce-back match, the team's preparation for Pro League, and the aggressive playstyle of the Latvian.
Bardolph: I see you wearing slides, there is a comfort thing, but is there anything else you do when you come to LAN? Is there a certain sleep thing, do you bring a pillow into the hotel? What are you guys doing to stay comfortable as you go place to place, country to country?
I am not really sure, many people have their own schedules of like sleeping, minimum hours that you need to sleep. That's not always possible because sometimes you have early games when you finish late games the day before, so for everyone it's a different thing. I personally don't really think about it that much. I eat what I want, I sleep how many hours I want, but maybe that's the problem, I don't know. For everyone it could be different.
Bardolph: You are just out here like a lion, YEKINDAR. Taking a dump, not even wiping, just lion energy. That was a great game of Mirage. I think ATK were really unfortunate with how that oSee clutch came towards the end. You were super aggressive in the mid position. What gives you a sense of the space that you could take away from an opponent in a game like that on Mirage?
I think it's a matter of.. you could always do it, even against strong teams, it's not that easy to counter. It's just more of a macro thing. The times where I knew we were able to win against the mid because of our utility or because of our numbers, we would usually call that mid fight. Also, just feeling. Mostly understanding if you are comfortable taking those duels or not today, or everyday. So, just feeling mostly.
Bardolph: Just going to Overpass just focusing on you individually. I felt like your presence, especially around toilets on the T-side was very dominant for Liquid. What makes you so good on Overpass?
I am not entirely sure. A lot of things that help me is my teammate's communication. We knew that there's some sort of key communication around that map that I can use to gain space and take control. I believe that helped me a lot. Also, I believe we got multiple entries, like all the time. If you get the kills somewhere there is a gap on the map. The easiest gap to use, especially if you kill the second A player, then you know that banana or long is clear and if you're going out long and he's not there, then you know where he is. So that's mostly communication based game and information.
Hawka: What was the preparation like for you guys ahead of this event. I know for first BLAST of the year, you didn't have that long to prep. What was it like here for Pro League? It's a weird format where you want to get to playoffs obviously, but most people are much more focused on the playoff side of things.
I personally think that we completely wasted our time preparing for this tournament. Obviously people want to be home and it's really hard for US and NA people to be around Europe all the time and tournament. When you are going back home you have obviously have to practice in NA schedule and against NA teams, or you have to play with 130 ping and wake up at 8 AM to practice for European pings. We tried both ways and when you only have a maximum of three scrims when you're in NA and especially the level of the teams is a lot lower than European teams you don't really gain much. It's like vacation time. I feel like we got super slumbered by it and we just lost our... After we started playing with 130 ping I believe many players lost their own confidence when you just get destroyed in European practice and you need to wake up at 8 AM in NA. Those things are inevitable. People have families. People have girlfriends. People need time off. Sometime in the season that time comes and you just have to sacrifice it.
Liquid are now headed to the lower-bracket semi-final where they will play Spirit in hopes of meeting Rare Atom or NAVI in the qualification match.