Twistzz: "I don’t think we’ve peaked at all."
Following their win at IEM Chicago, beating ENCE 3-0 in the final, Team Liquid took part in a press conference to discuss the Intel Grand Slam, their current form and their place in CS history.
Is there any pressure for Liquid to be the first team to win the Intel Grand Slam twice?
Stewie2K: There is no pressure. I think the biggest pressure was winning the first one. We try to stay realistic as much as possible and we don’t add that pressure to our game. We know it is there but we are trying to play every game like it is the same and I think we have gotten that type of routine down.
Can you talk a little bit about that series against ENCE? With the first two games going very fast, and the last going back and forth?
Stewie2K: It went by pretty quick. We were surprised at how quick it was going and how easy it was for us at the start. We expected a harder game on Nuke, but it felt like they tried to keep playing aggressive and keep trying to catch us off guard but it just wasn’t working. It was a blink of an eye.
When you guys are playing well, is there a temptation to experiment or do you try to stay within the game plan?
EliGE: We try to stick with what is already working. If we are up 8-0 or 8-1 and we’re winning a bunch of rounds, we don’t need to change what we’re doing until they know how to beat what we are doing. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
You are the best at the moment, but are there any improvements you feel this team needs?
adreN: I think day in and day out, we always find stuff. Every single day we practice or play a match there are always things that we can improve on. I am trying to take note of that so when we actually do go practice, we can talk about it and fix it.
A lot of outlets are saying you are the best CS:GO team of all time. Where do you rate yourself among the pantheon of great CS:GO teams?
EliGE: I think that is going to be a lot easier to answer a little bit later from now. It is easier to see from the perspective of like, how many [trophies] we won, how many Majors we have won, how many grand slams and stuff like that, so I think it's a little too early because it has only been three months. We are just getting started and we will think about that later.
You have been playing with EliGE since the inception of the Liquid roster. How has it been watching him develop to become one of the best riflers in the world over that time?
nitr0: It has been great obviously because he is on my time. He has learned a lot over the past four years and adreN can attest to this as well. He has just matured a lot and it’s just great seeing his individual skill be so high up. I don’t know, I guess it speaks for itself.
Is there fear you peaked a little too early with the Major coming after the player break?
Twistzz: I don’t think we’ve peaked at all.
EliGE: We are just getting started. It’s only three months in and we just won the grand slam so that’s pretty good too. It’s literally like a Major.
What team is the most capable of taking your spot as the #1 lineup?
Stewie2K: Right now it’s pretty hard to say. If you asked me maybe a month ago I probably would have said Vitality but it seems like they need a break and need time to fix their mistakes and learn what they need to learn from it. After we played them a couple times they were a pretty tough team to beat and during our boot camp we practiced against them a couple of times, it was pretty hard as well so I thought they were going to be the team but it’s felt easier and easier every time we played them.
What qualities does adreN bring that make him unique as a coach?
EliGE: He has a really good mind for the game, even when he was playing for us Nitro and I really respected him and he taught us a lot about the game. Back then it was just really tough for him because he had to kind of baby us. We were really young and we didn't really know how to play top tier CS. So, as soon as the availability came up we immediately said we wanted to get adreN because he knows a lot about the game, he knows what he’s talking about and we respect what he says. Right now, anytime he is going over teams before we play them, going over any important stuff, or need a mental break between rounds he can make a plan and make sure everyone knows what is going on when it happens.
Do you have a sense of what has made you so dominant the last few months?
Stewie2K: I think we leave everything on the table. That’s the most important thing. We try not to keep it inside and build this bubble that might pop later. It could cause more problems than it needs to. I think that is the one think we prioritize and it’s helped us along the way because we’re open with each other, we can criticize each other without any tension and I think it’s all about outside of the game. Our relationships need to be strong and I think it’s kind of showing.
What did you learn with MiBR that you brought to Liquid to help the team become champions?
Stewie2K: I think at MiBR, they have a very structured playstyle and they want to play to the point where you want to make the least mistakes. Sometimes playing that way might work and when it doesn’t work it looks really bad. But, when it does work, it looks really good. They play really textbook and they rely on not making mistakes too much I feel. But I definitely learned a lot from them. They taught me how to use my utility well, they taught me how to support my teammates, what people should be doing and how to do it the right way. I think I can bring it to these guys, and I’ve always said that the NA style compared to the Brazilian style is way different because NA doesn’t know how to play how MiBR plays and MiBR doesn’t know how NA plays. I think those were the missing pieces and in a way I just brought that here.
You guys are playing really loose and just winning off raw talent. Are you guys shifting the meta away from the tacticality, or are you just the outlier?
nitr0: No, I don’t necessarily think so. We have five players who know how to play the game. I think it comes down to having strong fundamentals, like knowing when to support your teammate and stuff like that. Obviously we learned a lot from Astralis and being defeated so many times by them that I think we brought the best of both worlds. Like I’ve said, everyone is just playing insane right now so it really helps in that sense.
Sadokist tweeted that the Intel Grand Slam is more prestigious than a Major, do you agree with that? Do you feel like you still need to get a Major to solidify your legacy?
Twistzz: The Major is the only thing that is missing. I think the grand slam is more prestigious right now because you have to win more events to accomplish it. We are just missing the Major and that is right around the corner. Looking forward to it.