Team Liquid's Nick "nitr0" Cannella is considered to be one of the best young talents in the North American scene and dropping 35 frags against Fnatic at the ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 Finals was a testament to his strengths.
Although he had a couple of great games, his team ultimately fell to Fnatic in the Group A decider. After his team's heartbreaking loss however, he set aside some time to talk to theScore eSports about how he developed his game, his experience playing with mOE and what he learned from this tournament.
Looking back on 2015 as a whole, what was your favorite moment from this year?
My favorite moment from 2015 must have been our qualification into the major, DreamHack Cluj-Napoca, by knocking out Renegades on the big stage. It was my first big stage experience and it was definitely a memorable one.
You are often heralded as one of the brightest young talents in the NA scene. How have you developed your game to where it is now?
I have honestly come a very long way to where I stand today as an individual player. I was playing ESEA-Main with my old team and eventually got into the higher tier ten mans where you saw players like swag, dazed… etc. After that, I got a tryout for Area-51 with Steno. Steno taught me so much about the fundamentals of CS that it still affects my playstyle today in terms of teamwork and basic CS. Next, I had a magnificent coach and ex-teammate who definitely had a tremendous impact on who I am today, not only as a player, but as an individual – Dmode. Moreover, my aim came from death matching, but losing teaches me a lot as a person, and how I can build upon it. Obviously my team and I have lost a lot in 2015, but I promise 2016 will be different.
The NA scene has had a historically tough time of trying to contend with the European teams. What do you personally think needs to be done to try and close the gap?
Communication and practice/work ethic is the main issue that needs to be addressed inside of North America. I do not think it is skill, as I think most North American players can easily hang with the Europeans. Once North American teams find the correct work ethic and implement it into daily practice, I think we will be able to contend; however, we are not at that level quite yet.
Coming into the ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 Finals, your team has not had the kind of results that I believe you were expecting, falling short at DreamHack Winter in the group stages. What have you guys worked on to try and remedy this coming into the ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 finals and going into the new year?
The main thing to take out of all of these back-to-back LAN events for us has been to widen our map pool and use our practice time more efficiently as a whole. European map pools have always succumbed ours and it is a recurring problem for every event, especially in best-of-threes.
You did not have EliGE in your first match of the tournament. What was it like playing with mOE in the lineup? What were your expectations coming into the match?
People always say that EliGE is a huge impact to my success, and they are not wrong. Our team has very passive players, not counting EliGE and I as we are always there for each other. Our goal on the team is to open up sites for the team to finish the round and it works most of the time. As for mOE, I really enjoyed having him for that one day. I think he got his frags he was supposed to get but unfortunately we couldn’t close the matches. Thanks mOE for standing in for us, massive respect!
In the third match of the tournament you faced Fnatic. Historically, you seem to always have great games against them. What do you think is the reason that you have these insane games against one of the best teams in the world?
Counter-Strike is a very momentum based game, if not the most. I can honestly say I just felt very comfortable today. I was warming up earlier on Saturday and I saw some of the Fnatic members not warming up, so I really felt the urge to put in my full effort and I came out firing. I am personally probably one of the momentum based players in this game: once I get a good start, I will finish strong, and vice versa.
Even though you had some good games, your team fell short in the group stages. What did you guys learn from this tournament?
From ESEA/ESL LAN alone, once again I think our map pool was dominated by Fnatic. We were not 100% ready for their Mirage, and we failed to win our map in a very close fashion. We tried changing some positions recently due to poor performances and have lacked the time to practice new setups. I am not one for making excuses and I wanted to say that they flat out out-played us and out-shot us today.
At this tournament, you are playing on the previous patch of the game. Have you had a chance to play on the new patch and what is your personal opinion of the new patch?
Fortunately for me, I have not played on the recent patch so it did not affect me at all; however, I wanted to try out the Revolver because it is always funny playing with broken patches! I don’t have a personal opinion on the update because I haven’t tried it out yet, but I can honestly say it is fun getting used to new patches.
Overall, what is your team’s plans for 2016?
Without saying what has not been publicly released yet, we are definitely going to be preparing harder for everything as a team, and I personally am going to try to help out adreN more with in-game leading.
What are your personal plans for the holidays?
My personal plans for the holidays are to take a small break, hang out with family, celebrate Christmas, set aside some personal plans for my girlfriend, and then begin the grind for 2016.
Do you have any final words for your fans?
Obviously, I love you all and I hope you love me too! No, but I cannot thank you guys enough for all the support; it really makes my life a lot easier with support. I am a very passionate player and I hope you keep supporting my team and I in 2016!
This article has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Paul Park is a writer for theScore eSports. Follow him on Twitter.