NAF: “This is the strongest we have ever felt together”
We talked to the ever serene Keith “NAF-FLY” Markovic about their two-week boot camp, facing HellRaisers, the UK experience, and changing their playbook.
Before even the Challenger stage, people were saying Team Liquid was a strong contender alongside FaZe, Na’Vi, and Astralis. After going 3-0 in the Challenger and LEGEND stage has it impacted your confidence going into the playoffs?
I guess going through the Challenge and LEGEND stage after going 6-0 with some tough matchups like Astralis and NiP we have been feeling really confident especially before we came here we had a two-week boot camp. This is the strongest we have ever felt together.
When we spoke to nitr0 in the legend stage, he said he didn’t want to play Astralis (for obvious reasons) but thought that you had a better chance to beat them in a best of three. You did win a best of one against them, but do you still have that confidence potentially going into a semifinal matchup against Astralis?
Obviously, beating them is a good sign since they have dominated us in three finals. Playing against them gives us a little confidence because they are beatable, but I can’t say that game was a breeze. If we meet them in the semifinals we can’t say we are going to beat them, it is going to be another tough game. If we meet them there, a lot of people will consider that match even ourselves will consider that the grand finals of the tournament, but if we meet them it will be a fun match.
Your first game in the playoffs will be against HellRaisers who have been an unpredictable team. How do you feel about that matchup?
With HellRaisers we beat them in the Challenger stage 16-9 on Inferno. The team is really fun with their two young stars woxic and ISSA, that’s the thing their team is really young they are a little bit inexperienced going onto a stage as big as this one they might crack under pressure and make a mistake they normally don’t. Who knows? Going in I’m going to feel very confident because we have five amazing players where they have two people they focus on. For them, they are going to have to be very lucky with timings maybe have some good timings or anti-strats. I think we win 2-0 but I am not going to underestimate them.
You were here for ECS S5 Finals in June where you lost to Astralis. How did you find the UK crowd and the environment here at Wembley?
I was here for S3 and S5 and it is an amazing Place. The fans are super nice nothing bad has happened. I enjoy eating Nandos its a great place and the crowd is great. I loved it every time I was here hopefully they can cheer really loud for us.
Looking at Liquid before and after the player break, I think the way you play now you added a lot of versatility. Before the player break, you fell into a lot of standard rounds. Do you think you agree with that?
We had a boot camp so came up with a lot more strategies and gimmicky plays. The more we played with each other in boot camp, challenger, and legend stage and even when we aren’t playing officials we are playing scrims the looser we play and everyone gets along. Hopefully, it all helps us win the major.