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Neo discusses Snax's role as in-game leader and reflects on four years with Virtus.pro

NEO says Virtus.pro will change in-game leaders soon
The last few weeks have been a struggle for Virtus.pro. Photo by Adela Sznajder/DreamHack.

Slingshot’s Vince Nairn and Jarek “DeKay” Lewis caught up with Virtus.pro’s Filip “NEO” Kubski at ESL One New York to talk about the team’s form, in-game leading and where to go from here.

Vince Nairn: What were your major takeaways from the performance this week?

Filip “NEO” Kubski: We’ve been struggling so much lately. There’s just too much stuff we have to improve. Just some internal problems we’re going through, and we just have to figure out and work on these things. We know some of them, what we have to do, and hopefully we’ll get there .

VN: This situation isn’t particularly new to you of being in really good form or struggling and rebounding. Does this time feel any different?

FK: Actually, no. We’ve been through worse. In our own feeling, we’ve had worse times. Maybe the results are worse right now if you look from an (outside) perspective, but from the inside, we know it’s just a matter of one thing or a few things, and we know that we can get back to what was better. Probably the biggest factor is the in-game leading role. Snax is not as experienced as I am and TaZ is in that matter. I think he has learned a lot from that time. Maybe we haven’t had good results, but it’s also important. Who knows how long we’re going to keep playing, and someone will have to step into that role, and I think he has learned a lesson. Now it’s time to move on, and we’ll see what’s coming.

VN: Have you guys gotten to that point yet where you’re going to make the change of roles?

FK: Yeah, we’re probably going through that right now. I think we’ve wanted to make a change already after Greece, but then it’s like we have four tournaments in a row, one week after another. On one hand, it’s good to keep the same in-game leader because changing one without any preparation is kind of YOLO. But if it’s not working, then why not change? It’s just a decision between two bad options in the end, but still we have to make a step.

Jarek “DeKay” Lewis: I’m sure it’s difficult because if you’re leaving Greece and want to change leaders, you have maybe one day of practice before the next event…

FK: Yeah, but on the other hand, me and TaZ have already been in-game leading for many years and it might not be a problem, but it can be a problem. So who knows how it might end up, but from what we’ve seen this tournament, maybe we should have had that change of the in-game leading role.

VN: What’s it like to reflect on playing four years with the same five-person lineup?

FK: We’ve been there with the old lineup in 2006. We had one lineup for almost four years. So it’s not something very new for us, but it’s good and bad. When you bring new fresh blood to the team, everyone is feeling fresh and everything’s new. With the same old lineup, you just know what to expect. Theres good stuff and bad stuff in that. I guess we are comfortable with what we have.

JL: Speaking of fresh blood, is there anyone else in Poland who you’ve noticed or you like who might have a good chance in the future?

FK: I haven’t really been looking into Polish players that much. I follow — right now there’s ESL Polish Championship kind of thing going on right now. There’s lots of very good players. There’s lots of players with high potential to be on that level, but they need good environments to do it.

JL: We saw you on Nuke, and your Nuke looks very good. We saw Pasha joke that he wishes he could play it always. Do you have other maps you think you’re that good on or could get good on that you haven’t had a chance to play a lot?

FK: I guess everyone is afraid of our Nuke. It seems like Nuke just shows that this team can work so well. We can beat everyone on Nuke. I’m not sure if we’ve lost Nuke lately. Unfortunately that’s the only map we play that’s that good, so I wish to play that all the time like Pasha said — or just work on other maps.

VN: I know there’s a lot of talk in the community about a roster change, but independent of that, have you given any thought to how much longer you want to play professionally?

FK: Not really. I just enjoy it, and I’m very unsatisfied with my personal game right now. But if the team is not going well, it’s going to be very hard to find someone to perform. So first of all, it’s about the team. Then I’ll worry that much about my own game. We’re going through bad times, and we just have to go through that (and get better).

VN: Is it still enjoyable for you though?

FK: Yes. The competing part is great. There’s so much traveling these days. It’s crazy how big it’s got.

Cover photo by Adela Sznajder/DreamHack