NeLo: "We still have a lot to learn"

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In our fourth of six installments of this season’s “Road to Tokoname” series, we have a chat with Natus Vincere captain, neLo, about his team’s approach to this tournament.

Header image by R6 Adria

A breakout performance in their debut Pro League Season has landed Natus Vincere in EU's top spot, and the temporary replacement of one of the team's members seems to have not made a dent in Navi's remarkable momentum. Will this online streak continue offline, or will Na'Vi's honeymoon phase come to an end?

After defeating the prior team carrying the Natus Vincere banner, Na'Vi earned the favour of the mammoth Ukrainian organisation and an influx of new fans when this new team entered the Pro League. An impressive victory over G2 Esports on play day 3 garnered even more attention, and by play day 10 Na'Vi had firmly established itself in the middle of the pack.

However, Jack "Doki" Robertson was made unable to participate in the remaining four playdays of the Pro League and was temporarily replaced by Ellis "Pie" Pyart. With such a sudden predicament befalling Natus Vincere, no one could have anticipated the decisive victories this new ensemble would bring. Consecutive victories over PENTA, G2, Team Empire, and Chaos Esports propelled Na'Vi from the middle of the scoreboard to a first place finish, earning a spot at the Season 10 Pro League Finals.

In the lead up to the Finals, we reached out to Leon "neLo" Pesić for his thoughts:

For the final four play days of the season, Pie was brought on the roster to temporarily replace Doki. With the Finals right around the corner, how do you plan on working with Pie in order to be fully prepared for the LAN event?
 

We are working hard so Pie can catch up with everything. After we got him in, we said "Let's play the last four playdays, improvise a lot. We can do this." We prepared for each enemy and qualified for Japan and the Six Invitational 2020. Also, let's not forget that one of a kind comeback vs G2.

With the temporary replacement of Doki with Pie, how has the dynamic within the team changed, and how do you feel it affects your gameplay?
 
We obviously needed to adjust and adapt. Doki had a unique playstyle, and no one can try to imitate that. So, we swapped some roles and made adjustments.
What do you think was the key to your success during Season 10 of the Pro League?
 

We were a fresh PL team; none of us had played in the PL before Season 10. But, we are group of talented players who grinded a lot to get here. We still have a lot to learn, but Natus Vincere picking us up and providing us bootcamps and support has helped a lot towards our success.

Your team has seen impressive success inside the EU in your debut Pro League season. Now that you will be facing international competition, do you think the series of wins you’ve built up inside the EU will carry forward through the LAN event in Japan?
 
We want to win Japan and we will do our best to lift that trophy.
In the Quarter-Finals, you face APAC second-seed Wildcard Gaming. How do you think the differences in play styles between regions will affect the outcome of your match?
 
This will be the first time we will play an APAC team, so it's going to be interesting.
If you win against Wildcard Gaming in the quarter-finals, you’ll encounter either Ninjas in Pajamas or Team Reciprocity. Of the two, which would you prefer to face in the semi-finals and why?
 
The Season 10 Finals bracket
I don't really care. If you want to win the tournament, you need to beat everyone.
The other half of the bracket features impressive teams as well, with Aerowolf to face the Vodafone Giants and DarkZero to face FaZe Clan. Which teams on the other half of the bracket in particular that you think teams should watch out for?
 
It depends. I think Aerowolf can surprise again, and DarkZero if FaZe is forced to play without their main roster.
Other than you, who do you think is most likely to win the Season 10 Finals?
 
I would say FaZe but they have visa issues, so I'm going with Giants.
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Catch Natus Vincere in action next weekend as the Season 10 Finals get underway, with action slated to start on both the 9th and 10th of November at 10 AM JST (UTC+9). Na'Vi will first take on Wildcard Gaming, and if successful will then face either Team Reciprocity or Ninjas in Pyjamas on their potential journey to the Grand Final.