Following ENCE's penultimate match of the BLAST.tv Paris Major RMR B, BLIX saw down with recent addition Guy "NertZ" Iluz to discuss joining ENCE, the Counter-Strike 2 Beta and how it would feel to qualify to the Major, among other topics.
Note that this interview was conducted following ENCE's round four match against 500.
Hugo "TheSwedishJoker" Nilsson Meier, BLIX: Congratulations on your win over 500. How was the game from your point of view? What do you think it was that allowed you to come out on top in the end?
Guy “NertZ” Iluz: On Nuke we played well overall, T side and CT side. Overpass I think still we were 9-6 on the CT side, they won the pistol round so, of course, they were starting 3-0. On [the] T side we started well, we made some mistakes at the start of the second half but after it, we knew what [was] going to work in the game.
BLIX: You guys ended the first day 0-2, a result not many expected. What were your thoughts and the talks inside the team coming into these elimination matches?
NertZ: We knew it was going to be tough games when it’s best-of-one because you don’t have room for mistakes. After the 0-2 we were a bit down, but after two hours we understood that it [was] going to be best-of-threes now and in best-of-three you should show that you can qualify for the Major, there are no excuses.
BLIX: It’s only your second appearance in the RMR Circuit, how’s the whole thing been so far? Do you feel some added pressure compared to playing in ESL Pro League? How does the team help you manage it?
NertZ: I would say it’s like another tournament, but it’s a Major, the last Major, of course, there will be pressure. For me, I need to perform in every tournament and that’s all.
BLIX: You played in Endpoint before transferring to ENCE, and your performances made you one of the most talked about players in the scene. Did you have any other offers that you were considering? Why did you finally decide on joining ENCE?
NertZ: I had a couple of teams that wanted me, but I always told my agent I wanted to join ENCE because I believe in the players and I believe in the organization. I was so happy when I found out I was joining ENCE!
BLIX: While playing for Endpoint, you had the chance to face tier-one teams at ESL Pro League. Do you feel like those experiences helped you during your transition to ENCE, a proper tier-one team?
NertZ: Yes, of course! When you do great damage in top-tier events, other top-tier teams will offer you, probably. This [came] out of it!
BLIX: You’ve been playing together for a little over two months. How’s it been in general? Have you been able to notice any differences compared to your time in Endpoint?
NertZ: Yeah, a big difference I would say. Role-wise, tactic-wise, I feel like in Endpoint we had a lot of freedom, we had a lot of defaults, while in ENCE we still have defaults but we also have a lot of set rounds, a lot of things we are doing by the book. I’m not saying we don’t have space on ENCE, I have a lot of freedom on ENCE, maybe more than Endpoint, but there is a lot of difference between the two.
BLIX: You’ve taken the next step in your career by joining ENCE and consistently competing internationally. Have you set any personal goals that you want to achieve this year, both with the team and individually
NertZ: We talked about it, for me it is to win at least one big tournament in 2023, that is my goal.
BLIX: Since you’re new to the team, do you take every event as it comes and try to get used to this whole environment? How does it work for you
NertZ: For me every tournament it’s kind of the same, because we’re not in any LAN in a group stage, you don’t have the fans. So it’s kind of the same, every tournament is kind of the same. I would say I should know how we’ll play in front of a crowd, this is the difference, but every tournament is the same for me until now.
BLIX: I spoke to Pavle "Maden'' Bošković yesterday and he told me the vibe in the team is almost like a family. Is that something that maybe was not there in Endpoint? Have you felt a big difference in that regard?
NertZ: I mean in Endpoint we were kind of a family as well, in ENCE there is an insane atmosphere between the people. We’re open to mistakes, we know how to take criticism from each other and overall I feel like we’re a big family in ENCE as a team. In Endpoint as well we had a good relationship with each other.
NertZ on CS2
BLIX: Valve released the CS2 beta quite recently. Have you been able to play it a little bit yet?
NertZ: Yeah, I played CS2 and I think it needs to have some changes made to the game. The only thing that I think is bad in CS2 is [that it is] like Valorant because the skill difference is [smaller]. The gap between the skill, for example, if you’re level one in FACEIT or level ten, is now between level 5 and level 10. I think CS2 didn’t change CS, they need to do some fixes but I like the game overall and I want to adapt to it already!
BLIX: Did CS2 meet your expectations of what Source 2 was going to be, and do you think it can at least match CS:GO’s level?
NertZ: I mean it would be better than CS:GO in my opinion, because there is still a lot of hype about CS2 and I feel it’s going to be crazy.
BLIX: The Paris Major and other events will still be CS:GO events, while I heard from Viktor "sdy" Orudzhev that EPL is going to be on CS2. How will you divide the time between CS:GO and CS2 moving forward?
NertZ: Obviously, they’re going to release CS2 during the player break, so instead of going on a vacation during the player break I should play CS2 the whole day! So it actually can be true that Pro League will change to CS2.
BLIX: Even though this would be your first Major, does it add a little bit of pressure knowing that this will be your first and last chance to get your name on the CS:GO Major trophy?
NertZ: I feel like the pressure for me is there because I don’t have stickers yet, I haven't qualified for a Major. So yeah, I want to get my stickers in the game, so it’s not just another tournament!
Be sure to check out BLIX's earlier interview with NertZ's teammate maden.