Shortly before his transfer announcement to Natus Vincere we caught up with Ladislav “Guardian” Kovács. We talked about lots of things with the Counter-Strike legend, including the hottest ones.
How do you rate your time in FaZe Clan? What did it bring you and what do you regret?
I regret how it all ended. Even in the beginning, how it started with karrigan and that we kicked him before we had a replacement. We got into a position where we had problems and one of the options was to play with stand-ins, like Xizt, AdreN or NEO. That was all a mistake, rain and I mentioned it in an interview in the StarLadder Berlin Major 2019, it was a mistake to kick him. Otherwise, it were good times. We had some kind of a record, talking about ESL One: New York 2017 and ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017, where we won without dropping a map, so that was an awesome success. What I of course regret is the ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018, which we should’ve won.
Why did FaZe never reach its full potential, even when it had the roster to do so?
We were actually really close. But why it didn’t work out? It was probably some players not trusting the captain and then the captain failed in that part, when it was 15:11 on the deciding map. So overall, even though I’m not only considering the Boston Major, the distrust of all players was mostly deciding and then it led to the change. Everything fit together but developed chaotically, that’s how I rate it.
Did you ever feel in FaZe that you needed changes earlier?
There always were lots of changes, so we won something, but it didn’t work out with NEO if I’m remembering correctly. We weren’t doing bad, but somebody always found something in another player and because of that it didn’t work out. A radical change was needed, and the guys decided that we need two changes, who were NEO and I. But I was also thinking that this is not what makes me happy, enjoyable. I have nothing against the players because I understood that a change is needed for them and me. FaZe didn’t even know about it yet, the players and coach decided it themselves. We will see if the change will be good for them or good for me. But I hope that it’s good for everyone.
You once said that FaZe will be your last team. Will Natus Vincere be your last team, if the Major goes successfully?
With the term “last team” I meant the team where I will be the longest, but it didn’t work out how I imagined. If we won the Boston Major, I would probably found a Czech and Slovak team and play around with it here, or I would ultimately retire and start an entirely new career. I didn’t reach the highest what you can in CS:GO, even though I tried to play a lot and put everything into it in Berlin, it still didn’t work out. But I think that now with Na’Vi we will have a bigger chance because they are a complete team, four players plus me, so we will see, I will try.
Do you think that after your transfer, the structure of FaZe will change entirely or they will replace their players one by one by role.
I shouldn’t say these things, but I think that the main problem will always be there. I don’t think it is in one person, but in multiple people who can’t decide on one thing and can’t find a solution. I think that’s how it’s gonna be.
Let’s go to the main part, Na’Vi. Did they first ask you when it came to the main impulse? Didn’t you have more offers?
Yes, there were multiple offers, one was building a team for an organization. So that was my first choice. I was in contact with Na’Vi for multiple tournaments. I once said that I would return, which was a comment done out of fun. The second day after the Berlin Major, I got an offer which I liked and right at that moment, I had a chance to return to Na’Vi rather than build an entirely new team, which was understandably a simple choice.
In the past, you left because of disagreements with s1mple. What’s your relationship now?
I wouldn’t say there were disagreements in the team. I didn’t like how he was acting to players, but that’s the same in any sport, that a young talented player is behaving differently than an adult. I just didn’t like things which affected the playstyle of other players, but it was the age. I’m not blaming him, I was probably the same when I was his age and swore to players, I’m not gonna lie. So I never had a problem with him as a person or a player. He’s a good boy, you can talk to him and do anything with him. Back then he was a kid and he was resolving things in a way which I didn’t like.
What will be your exact role in Na’Vi, if we look at s1mple.
My role is already written on the Na’Vi website, for those who already read it. I am going to be the main AWPer, while he is going to be the secondary, he is basically the captain of the team, who is going to be motivating the team to good mentality and behaving. Between us, it’s like this. The new in-game leader is Boombl4 and the others have the same role, with the exception that B1ad3 is the coach.
In the last few months, Na’Vi was carried by two players, do you feel you can change that?
I don’t know if I will be the carry in the individual/skill part, but in the mental, yes. I’m not the type to be nervous and bring the team down, I will strengthen it in the other hand. What goes about my individual game and skill, all the former roles that I didn’t have in FaZe will be brought back, so I will feel good. So I think it will be better, even my individual game.
How much longer do you think you can play?
I think it’s hard to say nowadays. We are the first generation of pro players, who don’t know when it’s ideal to stop playing when your individual skill is on point and you can help the team. I want to at least play the two years until I’m thirty and we will see after that. If I can stay in Na’Vi these two years, I wanna know how my skill fares. When I will see an individual decrease and I will be falling down, I will decide to retire and not take up space when there are many better young players. So my goal is to play for two years and then see.
Which will be your first tournaments where we can see you?
DreamHack Masters Malmö 2019 starts in a week, then ESL Pro League Season 10 – Europe, BLAST Pro Series: Copenhagen 2019 and maybe CS:GO Asia Championships 2019, although I don’t know if we will go there.
How do you feel about this transfer window (excluding your transfer)? Do the fans have something to look forward to?
I think everybody has their transfer window except FaZe closed. I know that broky is going to trial at ESL One: New York 2019 and I don’t know the fifth. I know, that there were talks about coldzera, who was talked about when I was in the team too, that he would be our fifth. I don’t know if they will buy him, if they bought him or if they have the money for him. I think it’s all except FaZe. (note from playzone – the interview happened a week before coldzera was announced)
Talking about Slovaks on the scene, what do you think of frozen?
I think it’s great to see another Slovak or Czech on the scene, but I’m sad that oskar fell off. I think it’s great that frozen is in a team with karrigan, because he is the type of player/leader that can bring out the potential in young players. So I think it’s very good for him, but I also think that he has a lot to learn. He is showing lots of results.
You talked about oskar, where do you think he would fit? Any tips?
I honestly don’t know him well, even on the player side. People can say we played together in myDGB.net, but in that short while you cannot know a person, so I will not say where he fits. He is a world-class player and he would be a great addition to any team. I hope he joins a good team and that he doesn’t retire.
Last question, who do you think is the top 1 team in the world?
I think this is a controversial opinion, but Astralis is my top for the last two entire years. Maybe they didn’t win as many tournaments because of Team Liquid, but I still think that they were better as a team than Liquid. Although Liquid beat Astralis numerous times, it doesn’t mean that they were the better team. For me, Astralis.