BESTIA Noktse: "I don't want to have the spotlight shine on me or be the star player of the team"

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    Coming into ESL Challenger Atlanta 2023, not many expectations were set for South American team BESTIA and their chances of going far in the tournament. While they were able to qualify from the region over the likes of Imperial Esports, ODDIK and RED Canids, two of their players became unable to attend the event due to visa issues. That led to BESTIA picking up Nicolás "NikoM" Miozzi and Roberto "reversive" Themtham as stand-ins less than two weeks before the start of the tournament.

    Despite all this, BESTIA managed to take down North America’s M80 2-0, clinching the second map after a comeback from a 9-3 deficit to continue their run in Atlanta before bowing out in 5-6th place.

    After defeating M80, BLIX talked to BESTIA IGL Nicolás "Noktse" Dávila about how they made the result possible, how they have prepared for the event with two stand-ins, the team's current level within South America and much more.

    Note: This interview was done in Spanish and subsequently translated into English.

    Taking down M80

    Pedro Romero, BLIX: Thanks for taking down to do this interview. I want to start this conversation by talking about this series against M80, which ended in an upset victory for you. How do you feel about this result right now?

    Nicolás "Noktse" Dávila: We feel very good. Thanks for the interview, also. We worked a lot this week. Unfortunately, we are playing with two stand-ins because we couldn't field our main lineup. We put in a lot of effort, and we feel content because we were able to show the results of our work within the server.

    Looking at the team's series against M80, you guys were down 3-9 in the first half of Anubis before eventually coming back to close it. What changed for the team in the second half?

    Noktse: I think Anubis is a map that is very T-sided. When the match started, I knew that defending was going to be much harder to do, so I told the team that we only needed three rounds and that if we got anything more than three rounds on the CT side, it would be brilliant.

    That said, we believed in each other that with a bit, and we trusted that with little, we could be a lot, so on the T side, it was just a matter of using all of our energy into winning pistols, which helped us a ton. We lost the anti-eco, but we won the round after that, and once we started the second half--we were prepared with our strategies, though it was obviously small--the mentality of the team and the will to not give up was what gave us the victory.

    Playing with stand-ins

    BLIX: And talking about having to play with two stand-ins in reversive [Roberto Themtham] and NikoM [Nicolás Miozzi], how difficult has it been to play with them for this event?

    Noktse: On one hand, it was easy because they applied a lot of predisposition on their part for everything that we needed to do, and on the other hand, it was very difficult because, though we arrived with six months of preparation with the main team and had plenty of strategies and other pre-planned stuff, we couldn't utilize all of that so we had to adapt and work with a much smaller strat book than we would have liked.

    Also, some of the guys hadn't played on Anubis before, so they weren't familiar with the map. That said, we had to work a lot in trying to compete on Anubis because we knew there was a possibility [we would have to play that map in this event], so it was very difficult. It was easy because those players made it easy, but at the same time, it was difficult because all the other teams were well-prepared. We couldn't show our part because we didn't have our main lineup.

    BLIX: Amidst the team's preparation for this tournament, what exactly did you guys focus on?

    Noktse: Yes. We organized a special preparation plan. We had a week to prepare--within 10 to 15 days--and luchov [Luciano Herrera] and tomaszin [Tomas Corna], who are the two guys who couldn't get here, participated in these practice sessions. They did so to help the new guys get used to their new roles and counsel them on things they can and can't do. We transferred the strategies we had in the main team to this version but in a rather reduced version because the mind can’t handle so much information in a short time. So our preparation was basically us covering a lot of tactics, a lot of strategic preparation and playing a lot of games to get a little rhythm and have more chemistry--not to mention the guys outside helped a lot with the new players in adapting very quickly.

    Viewing BESTIA and Noktse's progression in 2023

    BLIX: Looking at BESTIA's trajectory for 2023, you guys won plenty of online tournaments in South America before eventually getting to ESL Challenger in Atlanta. What was the one thing that caused such a rise in form for this team this year?

    Noktse: I think it was the lineup first and foremost. Each member of this team played their part in an important way that allowed us to have a year like this. Then it's the support from BESTIA since they helped us tremendously. And finally, it's the preparation. We prepared ourselves and worked very hard. We are a team that loves to work hard, and though we have fun, yes, also treat our job very seriously. We love to win, so everyone chips in their own grain of sand to make [this year's success] possible. I think the key part is found in this: demand a little more from ourselves and do it while also enjoying everything.

    BLIX: One other thing that has stood out from this team this year is your contribution as the IGL. What changed for you while being on this team that helped you become a better IGL compared to the past?

    Noktse: A lot. I am 30 years old, and I have a lot more experience than the other guys, not just in the game but also in life. I've been in various teams and did a share of good and bad things and I learned a lot from all that. Last year was also a big lesson for me where we played two RMRs with two different rosters and in two different languages to boot (in Portuguese and Spanish), which gave me plenty of things to learn from.

    It also helped me understand how people and teams function. In addition to the start of this year with the Paris Major RMR, it gave me a lot of experience as well. I also think by acknowledging that I'm not a young player/IGL, I don't want to have the spotlight shine on me or be the star player of the team. I focus solely on improving for my teammates because I know that's the best way to win. That has been my mentality for this entire year. It's about pushing myself to be a better player but understanding what my role is and what I have to contribute to the team.

    Noktse became a new player by the time he joined BESTIA in early 2023 (Image Credits: ESL) Noktse became a new player by the time he joined BESTIA in early 2023 (Image Credits: ESL)

    BLIX: How do you compare your experience with the Brazilian and Latin American teams that you were a part of?

    Noktse: The difference comes from the cultural side. The Brazilian teams, as is the same with the Argentine teams, have a different way of life, a different way of seeing things, and a different way of communicating with each other. There is no better or worse team. Simply put, they're different, and I think the comparison is exactly that.

    Those experiences forced me to learn new ways to communicate with other people and connect with them so they could then believe in my ideas for the game. And I think that strengthened my mentality when it came time to convince them on how we should play. One of the most important things when it comes to a team winning is believing in their captain and their philosophy. I think that's the comparison I can make between the Brazilian and Argentine teams. I had to learn how to connect with the players.

    BLIX: I asked pino [Rodrigo Manarino] this question earlier in this tournament, so I'll do the same with you: where do you see BESTIA's current level in SA with other teams? Do you see this team as one of the region's best or somewhere around that?

    Noktse: I don't want to say we're the best team in the region because there are other great teams as well, but we are one of the three best teams so far as this year has gone. We're in a great position to make that huge leap that we've been wanting to take. We need European competition and tournaments like this to grow, and I'm very proud of the team's performance. I'm proud to be where we are currently, but I think we have a lot more steps ahead to improve further, and I'm eager for us to do it.

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    CS Virtual Trade Ltd, reg. no. HE 389299 Registered address and the principal place of business: 705, Spyrou Araouzou & Koumantarias, Fayza House, 3036, Limassol, Cyprus
    Copyright © 2024 BLIX.GG. All rights reserved.