Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev and Denis "seized" Kostin are the primary and secondary AWPers respectively for Natus Vincere, who are in Group A for the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017.
Both players fielded questions during a press conference about the return of in-game leader Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko, the role changes within the team and more. Below is a full transcript of that press conference.
Vince Nairn (Slingshot Esports): What's it been like having one tournament under your belt with the new roster, how are things going?
s1mple: It was a great experience for us in our first tournament, even if we didn't do really well.
We've just been playing with Zeus and our new coach kane for two weeks, so these tournaments will be a big experience for us and we're going to continue practicing before the next event.
Dennis Gonzales (theScore esports): This is mainly a question for s1mple. How is playing under the leadership of Zeus? I know seized has played under Zeus before, but for you, has it been much of an adjustment? How would you describe Zeus as a leader?
s1mple: So, now we have a real in-game leader. Zeus has been a captain for 15 years and it's nice to play under him, but it's really hard for our team to change our playstyle because everyone has new roles. For example, now I'm playing main AWP, while others have become lurkers or entry-fraggers.
It's nice, not only playing with Zeus but with kane as well, because kane helps him a lot with the tactical style.
Kevin Hitt (Dexerto): Now that you have a new roster, how do you feel coming into this tournament?
ELEAGUE is really important for our team because it's a big event and it's broadcast on TBS as well. Everyone is excited and we'll show our best individual and team skill... maybe not in the group stage, but if we go to the playoffs, we'll practice much more before.
Slingshot Esports: This one's for seized, I know initially the team has announced that you were stepping away, but then Zeus came back and you guys formed the old lineup plus s1mple.
What was going through your head during that period? Did you know if you wanted to play, when did you first get the feeling that this team could be coming back together and what was your reaction to that?
seized: In that video, when they said that I would be benched in the team, I had mixed feelings. In that week, I felt sad. I was so frustrated about what to do next and I just tried to refresh my mind since I was on vacation during this time.
I talked to other teams and players to see what I could do after, but in the end I'm back in Na`Vi and I'm really happy about it, to get that second chance. I'm really excited to play like I did before I became the in-game leader, so I can just focus on my own game.
theScore esports: This one is also for seized. You kind of touched on this already but coming back into the team, you've returned to your old role as the secondary AWPer if I'm not mistaken. How is that a factor for you, having that comfort level? How has practice been back in that role?
seized: It's really nice just to focus on my own game, I'm really enjoying playing like this now, just thinking about what I need to work on. My confidence, my own game, so I'm trying to improve as much as possible. For that, I need to play as many officials as I can. Of course, I need time to get back into my old shape.
Slingshot Esports: This one's for s1mple. What's the biggest adjustment that you guys have had to make with Zeus coming back as the in-game leader in terms of style or map pool or anything like that?
s1mple: We need to get back our tactical style. All of us have good individual skill, but we need great tactics that are going to work for everyone. Same with positions for everyone.
And of course we need to add more maps [to] our map pool because we only [practiced] for two weeks, so we have five [or] six maps, but all of us want seven maps for every tournament.
Sam Nordmark (Dot Esports): Since you guys have FaZe Clan in your group, you might be playing against GuardiaN. How does it feel going against him, in particular for seized, since you guys have played together for so long?
Actually, I don't feel any special feelings when playing against FaZe now. It doesn't matter [at] this point. It's just like playing any other good team who are Top 5, so not much difference from before. You just play the game, nothing special.
theScore esports: Going back to DreamHack Masters Malmo, you guys made it to the playoffs, which was pretty big, but in that series you ran into a bit of bad luck against Ninjas in Pyjamas. On Map 2, you guys were up 10-5 at the half but they ended up making a comeback to force overtime and eventually won after a double OT.
What was going on within the team? Is that something that's going to be an issue going forward or has the team dealt with that internally?
s1mple: Everyone was a bit nervous. I can talk about myself, that I was nervous a lot in this game because we just lost in our game. We lost a lot of 4-on-3, 5-on-4 situations when they don't have any chance to get the round, but then they started winning.
Afterwards, everyone was frustrated because we lost our own game. Even in overtime we had two match points and we lost a 4-on-2, two times. It was just a bad day for us.
Dexerto: Na`Vi are one of the most popular brands, teams in the world when it comes to CS. In your opinion, what's it gonna take to get this team back on top of the heap and be number one in the world?
s1mple: I think our team just needs more time to practice because even though we didn't have a lot of time before Malmo we showed not bad or good CS. We have a lot of potential in our team and I believe in maybe one or two months we will become much, much stronger.
We of course want to be the number one team in the world, but as with any team, we need time for this.
Dot Esports: How do you feel Zeus' in-game leading style differs from yours? I would say he's one of the most famous in-game leaders in the world and I think you had maybe more than six months in-game leading for your team.
Do you feel like Zeus is maybe already doing a better job or has a better perspective on the role than you had?
seized: Of course he'll do a better job than me because he is a much more experienced captain than me. He's been a captain for 10 years, maybe more.
The big difference between us is, now at least, we have a more loose style. It's more about our individual plays in his rounds. When I was in-game leader, it was more about tactics and timings. That's what I can say about this.
Slingshot Esports: How do you guys feel about having a player break? Do you feel refreshed, energized? Did this help you out?
s1mple: Of course it feels great after a break because you refresh your mind, but I don't like breaks because after you get back from practice you're playing really bad and it makes me angry more because I don't feel my game.
So it's always nice to play after a break, so you refresh your mind, you become more calm and more ready for the tournament.
theScore esports: This is for s1mple. You touched on this a little bit but, talking about taking over the primary AWPer role, I know for a lot of us in the community, this was kind of the dream scenario for you, being the primary AWPer for Na`Vi.
Do you have the same kind of feeling? Do you think that this is the role that you belong in? How are you taking to that role?
s1mple: I thought that primary AWP was going to be more [easy] but it became harder because you have to learn more angles from pro players, you need to know more positions. I can't say that I'm going to do much better with an AWP or rifle, I just need some time, because it's a new role for me.
This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.
Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking
Discipline Priest Pharah a silenced Cavity 9mm Ryu Bounty Hunter. You can follow him on Twitter.