Years after joining and eventually being joined by his cousin, Nikola “NiKo” Kovac, Nemanja “huNter-” Kovac finds himself as a key figure in the best team in the world. After trouncing the competition at IEM Katowice 2023, the Bosnian was awarded the MVP as he and his cousin claimed their first big event trophy together.
After the final, we caught up with huNter- to discuss his feelings after lifting the trophy, as well as winning the MVP for the event and how much further this seemingly unstoppable G2 team can go.
Sam “AN1MO” McKenzie, BLIX.GG: Congratulations, you won the final 3-1. How are you feeling right now?
Nemanja “huNter-” Kovacs: I feel amazing, we still can't get over the last couple of months, maybe we'll be able to process it in a few days. It feels amazing, especially because of how I played, this is the third final for me, fourth for NiKo, and second for m0NESY, so it feels amazing to win the trophy.
BLIX: You won the MVP, despite potentially not being in the running until the final, how happy are you to win that as well?
huNter-: I don't care about it that much. Of course, it feels good and it boosts my individual confidence, but for me, the most important thing is the team. If I get MVP next to NiKo, m0NESY, and jks, then of course it makes sense that I'm full of confidence right now.
BLIX: How special is it that you get to be on that stage and win the trophy with your cousin?
huNter-: It's amazing because I was watching him lose against fnatic 3-2 after having a couple of match points, and it was heartbreaking for me. When I started playing, I told him and myself that one day we'll lift the trophy together, and of course, this is a dream for me and for him, for both of us.
BLIX: You told him that, did you always believe you were going to get here?
huNter-: Yeah of course. I have been working a lot ever since I started playing CS:GO and I had always wanted to be where I am right now, which helped me keep working even more.
BLIX: On Inferno, Heroic ended your map streak. They're very strong on Inferno right now, how were you feeling after that map?
huNter-: We didn't talk about it almost at all, we just talked about what we can do better for the next map. We weren't focused on the streak or anything, we were just focused on what was in front of us, and we were focused on Ancient and what we felt we should do against them. That was the most important thing I think.
BLIX: On the other hand, you guys are insane on Nuke right now. How comfortable do you feel on that map?
huNter-: We feel comfortable on almost all the maps in the pool right now, we have a really strong map pool. Of course, now people will watch us and try to copy us, people are probably already doing that so we need to be smart and not change or overdo things, we only need to change a few details to work against being anti-stratted. We are feeling good individually, and we understand how to play with each other, this is the most important thing.
BLIX: Mirage is a comfortable map for Heroic. When you won that map, was there a moment where you thought "Yeah, we've won this?"?
huNter-: Not really, considering I knew Heroic is a really mentally strong team alongside them having cadiaN to constantly hype them up regardless of what's happening. I'm really happy we closed it out on Ancient because Vertigo would have been tough. In terms of Mirage, we haven't played it that much in the past couple of weeks and it was tough at the beginning to get used to the map again when they were playing really well, but after being down 7-1 or 8-1, we did a comeback all the way into T side where Hooxi did amazing with his calling. We played well individually and all had good decision-making.
BLIX: You are potentially the best player in the world for appearing somewhere in the middle of the round and getting a kill without taking damage. How are you so successful at doing that?
huNter-: We have four really good individuals in our team and we all kind of have our specific job. NiKo is here to entry, m0NESY is here to do a lot of things as an AWPer, jks as well who is lurking and anchoring. Then there's me who is in between all of them and I'm in those positions where you always have to fight, that's why I'm popping off in these moments, I'm always focused on my crosshair and I don't even think about anything else. I always try to help my teammates and sometimes I'm overdoing it when it's not good for me or them. I think I should always be more focused on myself, I've been doing that the last few days and it's been amazing.
BLIX: How do you read into these situations and know that a gap is there?
huNter-: It's just a feeling, nothing else. You don't have much time to think in this game, you just have a feeling, you trust that feeling, and you go. Of course, there are your teammates too, you listen to their comms and where the enemies are, openings can come from that. But the most important thing is to trust your feeling, and your aim, and just go.
BLIX: You guys have won two tournaments now and are the best team in the world. What are the goals, how much further can you guys evolve?
huNter-: We don't have too much time to celebrate, the most important things are in front of us. Katowice was important and so was Abu Dhabi but we are playing the qualifiers for the RMR in three or four days. That's the most important thing, so we cannot be overconfident or anything even as it's Online against not the best teams, we were struggling a lot when we lost the last RMR. Of course, anything can happen but I don't think we can afford to not play another Major.
BLIX: What's the next step for G2?
huNter-: I don't know, we aren't thinking too much about expectations or goals. We are always trying to focus on what's next, the next game, the next event, and the next opponent. That's one of the reasons why we are doing so well.