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Following NiP’s exit from the IEM Katowice Major, we were able to catch up with Jonas “Lekr0” Olofsson, the in-game leader of the Swedish NiP. We talked about the tiny mistakes that cost NiP the game and the team’s ambitions for the future. Check out our interview below.
Daily Esports: You had a long way to get to the Champions stage, coming out firstly from the Challengers stage, then into the Legends stage, and then you got a massive bomb dropped on you when you had to face Astralis. How did you prepare mentally for this kind of challenge?
Lekr0: We put in normal preparation like against any other team. We tried to focus on some things and avoid some things about the other team, but overall we played them like any other team. The only thing we might have focused more on than other guys was the veto. We had to do something different than we usually do. I think it worked out pretty good. We caught them off guard with Dust2. I just feel like we should have won it since we prepared really well on it. There were just some unlucky rounds and big plays from Astralis I think.
DES: As you said, you gave Astralis quite the challenge on Dust2. What do you think you could have done a bit better to close out that Dust2 in your favor? Do you think you could have done anything to play out the map a bit more efficiently?
Lekr0: Yeah, I think we did our executions really well, and how we forced out their rotations, I think we did that really well. I just think what lost us the biggest rounds were just firstly one individual mistake by me and REZ [Fredrik Sterner] on catwalk one round, and the other time was when Xyp9x [Andreas Højsleth] pushed and killed three. So I think those were the biggest rounds that changed the flow of the game, but other than that I think our CT side could have been a bit better.
DES: Coming into 2019, obviously 2018 was the year of Astralis. I wanted to hear a little bit from you whether if you think Astralis can continue this massive stride of dominance. Do you think it’s possible for Astralis to replicate 2018?
Lekr0: Yeah, I think there’s a chance they could do it. I think they will probably be a top-three team for sure this year. I’m not sure if they can keep the number one spot; I think there’s going to be a lot of tough challenges for them. I think a lot of teams are getting better. I think last year there were a lot of roster shuffles and new additions to teams; people weren’t completely ready with their teams. Right now, I think one or two months and all teams are going to be ready. So Liquid had a roster change, [and] so did MIBR. Give them a month or two and I think we’re getting there, so eventually, I think it’s going to be a tough fight.
DES: What do you think about your team? What are you looking to achieve this year?
Lekr0: So I think my main goal is to at least be a top-four team, always making it to the semi-finals. That’s how I see a top team. You don’t have to win every tournament — you just have to win some. Just being a top contender, being in the finals, being in the semi-finals all the time, is what makes a good team and that’s what I strive for.
DES: Last question, do you follow any other esports? We know NiP has many teams in such esports as Rocket League, Dota 2, PUBG — do you follow any of them?
Lekr0: Yeah, I follow Dota 2 a lot. I’ve been playing it for many, many years so I follow it a lot.
DES: Are you inclined to support NiP in Dota 2 as well?
Lekr0: Yes, I support the team, of course. I watch them play; I watched them here in [Katowice]. It was really fun to watch the other team. I’m glad NiP fixed their Dota 2 team, and now they’re a good one as well.
DES: Thank you very much for your time, and I wish you and NiP all the best in 2019.
Lekr0 had a positive outlook on 2019. His personal aim is to remain one of the competitive teams in 2019, maintaining a top-four spot in the table amidst the strong teams that he thinks will emerge to challenge the on-going reign of Astralis. NiP had a very successful run at Katowice, getting all the way to the playoffs though having a long way from the Challengers stage. If their form continues, Lekr0’s hope for NiP may very well be a reality in 2019. We wish Lekr0 and NiP the best of luck in this exciting year we have ahead of us.