Despite Natus Vincere’s recent struggles, GuardiaN still has a positive outlook about his team’s future.
During the ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals, Slingshot’s Jarek “DeKay” Lewis caught up with Na’Vi’s Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács to talk about his team’s recent run of bad form, his vow to play better and why it’s so hard to find good AWPers.
Jarek “DeKay” Lewis: What were your initial takeaways from your team’s performance this week?
Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovacs: It was pretty awful. We had a big boot camp for three days before it, but we cancelled the last day because we had no opponent. Actually, we had FaZe as an opponent, but they cancelled because of some issues. So we lost one day, and maybe that day could have solved the issues we had. It was pretty awful, but what can we do? We can learn from our mistakes. Maybe we are not giving everything we can to the game, but I can say we are trying hard. Sometimes you can try hard and (it still doesn’t work). We’ll just keep trying and practicing, and I think the time will come.
JL: Is that the plan now? Are you gonna go home right away and start practicing for Cologne?
LK: I think we will have some days off because we are coming back from the U.S. and the time schedule is pretty hard. We will need maybe two to three days to get back to our (routine). And then we will start practicing, of course. We have some event in mid-June, then ESL One Cologne. We don’t have many days to practice because I have (my) wedding on July 1. It’s one day before ESL Cologne. It’s unfortunate, but we have to give everything we have in June and see how it goes.
JL: What did you think about this event? You’ve been at plenty of ESL events by now. How does this one compare?
LK: I would say this event was probably the best event from ESL I’ve been to in terms of shuttles, taking care of players. Food, ordering whatever wanted. In terms of taking care of players, this is the best event so far from them.
JL: It’s been a long time, and I know people asked you a lot about it back then, but I’ve been personally curious: How long did your wrist injury affect you after you came back? Are there any lingering effects now?
LK: I would be honest, after the injury, it took about two to three weeks to feel good. My recent play basically is because of myself. I lost some motivation. I played other games. I still play other games. Of course, I feel sorry for my team because I feel like I’m letting them down. At the same time, I would say the injury was periodical, for some period of time, and that’s all. Our performances is just because of ourselves and myself.
JL: How confident do you feel with the AWP? Do you have the confidence right now?
LG: I’m always confident as a player, even if I’m not playing that much. I feel limited at times, and that takes (away) some of the skill, I would say, I possess. My style is not the same as it was before, and I want to come back to it. I will work hard to find my style I used to have when I used to be (known as) one of the best players. It will take some time. I will quit all the games I play besides CS and start playing only CS, CS, CS, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be much better.
JL: Is there a specific player on LAN you find it difficult to play against right now?
LS: To be honest, it wouldn’t be a specific player. It would be a team. The hardest team to play is always Virtus.pro. Even though they’re not in form, it’s some kind of psychology game or mental game against them. They can just hit you on your weak point, and you’re off your game and you’re losing four or five rounds in a row to them. Coming back against them is always hard because they seem to be prepared for it. It seems like they always have an answer. You could win three or four rounds in a row, but then they money fuck you. It’s hard. I don’t feel the same against SK. They probably are the best team. Astralis, I feel like they’re easier to play against. They just don’t make many mistakes, which is why they are good. I feel like they’re easy to play.
JL: Everyone has seen some of the teams online, but the results are so much harder to get. What is you opinion on online Counter-Strike?
LS: I think playing online is OK. Of course, it’s different from LAN when you’re sitting next to each other. Ping is different. Playing online, it’s different how you approach the game. If you approach it the right way, you should feel fine. If you approach it that you don’t care, of course you will not qualify. We were lucky to get here because the last eight games, we were 1-7. It felt the same way. We just didn’t approach the games as we should and it went out of control. I’m fine with online. Of course, it’s difficult to play if you have two, three games daily. But if you have two best-of-ones, twice a week, then it’s completely fine.
JL: There’s not really many AWPers in NA. Skadoodle and JDM are there, but there aren’t a lot of others. Do you have an explanation for why there’s not many AWPers in NA?
LS: I probably know because when I started to play CS it was around 2000, 2001. I started as a rifler, playing until 2003, 04, 05, 06 on only rifles. And I suddenly became a sniper. Somehow I came to think the AWP is very nice to play and the kills are nice. But at the same time, if you don’t know how to control a sniper rifle, (it’s tough). In 1.6 it wasn’t very hard. In CS:GO, if you’re a newcomer, and if you’re young, you can just say AWP is very hard to start with and just give up. Probably that’s why a lot of snipers, they love the AWP, they love to pick it up. But to become good with it, they probably give it up because it’s hard to play in CS:GO. In the beginning of the game, I felt the same way. I wanted to give it up because it was so hard to play with.
JL: What would you say, if there’s one thing revolving around events, your whole career, is there anything you think should be addressed or changed or there needs to be more work on?
LS: To be honest, in terms of organization and the companies that are taking care of us and organizing tournaments, I think they are improving event by event. If we need some changes, it’s probably in-game Valve should do. Organizations are perfect. I don’t think even sometimes with some of the (traditional) sports, I think they don’t have some things like we have. I think we should be humble about that and appreciate what we have and just rate how the organizations improve. It’s more game part (that needs improvement).
Cover photo courtesy of Turner Sports/ELEAGUE, illustration by Slingshot