We had a chat with Keith “NAF” Markovic following his teams 2-1 victory over HellRaisers in their quarterfinal matchup. The top fragger of the series for Team Liquid discussed his expectations for the match, the five rifle setup, and Astralis.
VPesports: Talking about the match you just finished against HellRaisers, it looked like you guys were going to dominate at the start and the match would be similar to yesterdays matches. Then all of the sudden they were giving you a run for your money and took map two. You guys have a history of struggling to close out maps, so walk me through this series.
NAF: On the start of, we were pretty confident. It was our map pick and we’re a team that strives a lot off momentum. So we started T-side and really strong, like 7-0. On mirage we were really confident in everything we were doing. On CT-side they started to come back a little bit, we let our guard down a little bit and gave them a few rounds but we knew in the end we’d close out.
Going into dust2, I had a feeling they would pick dust2, but some of my teammates thought they’d pick overpass. I think it was just myself and zews who thought they’d pick dust2. Once we saw dust2 I wasn’t really surprised but some of my teammates were surprised.
VPesports: Had you guys prepared more for overpass because of that?
NAF: Yeah, we watched a lot more of their overpass. Going into dust2 I knew they were really strong and woxic is a really good AWPer on that map. They won the pistol, but we started winning the early gun rounds and I think we had like a 10-5 half but on the CT-side, we just kinda failed. They kept going A and we couldn’t find the solution to fix it. I don’t know if that was anti-stratting where they found a hole in our defense.
VPesports: I felt like it was a lot of catching the team on rotation, a player coming up cat soon as the CT rotate came through.
NAF: Yeah, I was playin’ a little bit of rotate-strike, taco and I were playing rotate-strike *laughter*. Yeah, they knew the weak spots on dust2, gotta give it to them, they played well on dust2.
On Cache, it’s another comfortable map for us and them too. We started T-side and it’s another momentum T-side, if we win early rounds and get the pistol we should be able to steamroll them. That pretty much started happening, then they kind of gained back and got a few rounds at the end of the half. Then on second half we won the pistol which was crucial, I feel like if we lost the pistol they may have just won the game to be honest. CT defense on Cache is really difficult. So we kinda had that relief and didn’t get eco’d in the following round and went up 13-5 so we were comfortable, but maybe too comfortable because they kinda started gaining back but we were already at 15 so we knew we only needed one round. Then the miracle pistol round with twistzz and taco holding down B. Overall it was a wild match, honestly, I was a little surprised by how well they played. I thought it was gonna be a quick 2-0 to be honest. They played great, all the players, so good game to them.
VPesports: Do you feel that your teams 5 rifle structure is hard against a team like HellRaisers with two AWPers on a map like dust2?
NAF: Yeah, dust2 can be really difficult. When we started playing dust2, we’d run a solo AWP and I wouldn’t AWP mid. I’d just let them run down mid and up catwalk. In this match I tried AWPing but I couldn’t find any kills, we couldn’t find a way on dust2 to get them. Overall yeah its pretty difficult to not have a main AWPer. I think Nick does a good job at it for IGLing and AWPing and carrying all this stuff he has to do for us, but yeah it gets a little difficult.
Even earlier this year against Astralis you can see that having no actual AWPer can destroy us. It’s like with dev1ce and GuardiaN. We played FaZe at Belo Horizonte and we played Nuke and they AWPer just destroyed us because we don’t have like the real AWP talent on our team. And you can tell from the finals we’ve played against Astralis in the past, dev1ce would just destroy us because we’re a bunch of riflers trying to use an AWP. But overall its difficult but also has its strengths.
VPesports: Speaking of Astralis and dev1ce and his AWP, you guys were finally able to take them down after awhile of them being the team always taking you guys out. In an interview with dupreeh earlier, he said that that victory may have hurt you guys rather than helped you because the confidence you guys gained at first was ruined by their almost comeback.
NAF: Winning that much is means a little bit of something, like it means we can beat them when we were struggling to even get a map off of them so its nice to know we can beat them. It wasn’t like a blowout, it was very strange game, we’re both strong on T-sides. It almost didn’t feel like we were playing a real match. Honestly I don’t give us too much credit for getting the win, honestly we loved it and it gives us a little bit of hope going up against Astralis again, maybe in the semifinals.