Denis "seized" Kostin is a long-standing member of Natus Vincere and the team's newly appointed in-game leader. His team has not had an ideal start to their season after finishing in last place at SL i-League Season 2, but they have made adjustments and are hopeful going into ESL One New York 2016.
Prior to ESL One New York 2016, seized took the time to speak to theScore esports about his new role on Na`Vi and the roster's potential.
Ahead of SL i-League though, Sergey "starix" Ischuk was very positive about Na`Vi's latest roster and noted that the team has been practicing for 7-8 hours a day. In your opinion, what went wrong for the team there?
We didn't show our game at this event at all. It was our first event with s1mple so everyone was expecting a super performance, but in my opinion we did not “handle the pressure.” Everyone in the team was so afraid of making a mistake, afraid of not playing like everyone was expecting and I think that's the main reason.
When s1mple first came into the lineup he effectively took over for Zeus as the team’s support, but now it’s been decided that he would take over as the secondary AWP. You are essentially handing your AWP over to s1mple, so how did the team come to that decision? What are your feelings having to shift roles?
It's always hard to change something that you've been doing for a long time. We are still trying to find our best game and we are trying so many things in-game.
I switched roles with s1mple because now I can't focus on my own game 100 percent. I had to become the IGL for the team because of Valve's decision about coaches.
The sniper should focus on “his zoom,” only god FalleN [Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo] can do both things great. That's why in my opinion he is the best IGL nowadays.
We'll see though, we have amazing potential, but we are not ready yet. Hard work will pay off I'm pretty sure. It's time for each player to work 200 percent.
As far as I know this is you first time leading, what’s that transition been like so far? How much support have you been getting from starix and the rest of the team?
Right now the number one goal for me is to start playing as soon as possible and do at least 70 percent of what I can, while at the same time make good calls.
starix has been trying to help me but we need confident play from everyone, only then will we have success. In my opinion we have two main qualities: first, good tactics, and second, strong individual skill. We just need to figure out how to make it work at the same time and everything will be good.
What are your first impressions of the team’s new setup during scrims and practice?
s1mple had some crazy flicks during practice and afterwards I said, "hm, OK, OK, you can be the secondary AWPer.”
You tweeted out very recently that the team will have a talk about the past week. How did that talk go? What were some of the issues discussed going into ESL One New York?
We had some problems, like every team, but after that talk I hope everyone is confident in the team and themselves, which not is something we have had in our last games. So hopefully everyone will come fresh and ready to show our real level in New York.
What are your thoughts on the Swiss-format used for the group stage?
I never tried this system, for me it will be the first time, so after that I can tell what I think about this system for sure, but I think this format really shows who's is the best and deserves to go to the playoffs.
Your opening matchup is against Team Liquid, but you won’t know which team you’re facing next in the eight-team group. How does that affect the team’s preparation?
Now teams will focus more on their “own game” and coaches with IGLs will have less sleep hours for watching all the demos.
How excited it s1mple to face off against his old teammates?
I think s1mple has so many “old teammates” so it's nothing special. It's probably something special only in the first matchup after roster changes.
What are the major concerns going into NY? What do you hope to achieve there and in the rest of the season leading into the next Major?
My main goal as IGL right now: find our best game. Main goal as a team, like always: win a tournament.
Hopefully we will show our real level in NY, like I said before, and then we can fight for the trophy.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking
Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev. You can follow him on Twitter.