"we are the second best NA team, so hopefully, we can make our way up to that number 1 stage" -Ethan
So you guys have just come from Dallas, where things didn’t really go to plan. How did you feel about how things went in Dallas?
Definitely subpar. Our goal was to make at least the semifinals there, so we definitely didn’t meet our goal for there. We reviewed a lot and fixed a bunch of mistakes for this tournament. This was the big tournament that we were looking at so hopefully, we do better.
You guys have quite a busy schedule because after this you’ve got the Americas Closed Qualifier and more tournaments in the year. How do you balance the time and make sure that you get to practice as well as rest?
It’s definitely hard for practice. We try to practice a little bit at events either when we go out or on the way throughout our days, but we don’t really have that much time at home, especially when after this we play in the Americas Qualifier that starts in a day or two. I think that, in all, we have 5 days at home, so obviously we have our travel day and maybe one day off; not a lot of time at all.
When you see that Team Liquid, who are obviously the North American team that is at #1, does that help to motivate you as a team as fellow North Americans?
I think it’s a motivator for us just because right now I think we are the second best NA team, so hopefully, we can make our way up to that number 1 stage.
And because Liquid didn’t qualify for the ECS Finals, do you think this is a big tournament to show what you’re really capable of?
For sure, I think we’re definitely confident in this tournament. I think that we match up against every team here, but I don’t think that we’ve ever played Astralis before. I think my first match with the team was against Astralis and that was a year and a half ago. Throughout that time, we haven’t played them at all but it should be interesting.
Do you think that because Astralis have been absent from events that they are perhaps not as well practiced as other teams and that this is your best chance against them?
Just because they haven’t attended tournaments doesn’t mean that they’ve declined in skill level. I feel like, out of anyone, they’re the most prepared. They’ve had the most time to practice, fix their mistakes, and maybe even reinvent some things, so it should be exciting to see what they bring to the tournament.
The community tends to be quite cruel to in-game leaders in general and daps is not more void of that with the community being quite critical. What things do you think he brings that perhaps people don’t recognize from an outside perspective?
Us being a younger team other than tarik and him, he brings a level of seriousness to the team when things get out of hand in practice, where he will bring it down to a better level and definitely helps during things like that.
You guys are obviously with tarik now and have had a few months with him. Has he settled into the team? Are things progressing as you’d hoped?
I think we’re progressing slowly. Right away, he fit in really well, sliding into the mold that we already had. Right now it’s just getting used to each other and getting the chemistry back, so hopefully, it will work out well.
What do you think you guys have to do as a team other than beating Astralis in order to do well here? Would it be just making the playoffs or making that final?
I think the final personally, or anything other than that would be a disappointment for me. Like I said before, I think we’re confident against any team here, so hopefully, us and Astralis are in the finals.
You were saying that you think that you’re probably the second best in NA because Team Liquid is at #1 and I think you’re at tenth in the HLTV rankings at the moment. Do you believe that you guys will climb higher by the end of the year?
I’m hoping so because 10 is not good enough for me. I think the highest we’ve ever gotten to is 4 or so, but at that point, I don’t think we really deserved it. Right now, 10 is an accurate representation of us, so hopefully, we can climb the rankings a bit more.
Is there anything that you’d like to add for those fans who may be here and the people who have been cheering you on?
I’ve seen a lot more NRG fans, more jerseys at tournaments and stuff like that, so that is really cool to see. Hopefully, we end up doing better at these tournaments even though it’s been a rough ride for the last couple, so just stick with us.