After lackluster results in the second half of 2018, Team Liquid are ready to reclaim their throne at the Chongqing Major, according to Maroun “GH” Merhej.

Liquid have been struggling ever since August, when they finished 4th in The International 2018. What followed was an underwhelming performance by previously one of the best teams in the world. It was time for a change.

But a roster change wasn’t what they needed. What they needed, was in fact as simple as a bit of rest.

Team Liquid gave up their spot in the Major and took a much-needed vacation and it paid off. Right after their return, Liquid took first place at the MegaFon Winter Clash, defeating Natus Vincere in the Grand Final.

According to Maroun “GH” Merhej, a good rest was long overdue for the team.

Team Liquid decided to take a little vacation after qualifying for a major. Were you about ready for one?

Everything has long gone to the fact that we will go on vacation because after TI7 we had almost no rest. We continued to play tournament after tournament. During the year we began to feel that we were tired, but there was no time for a break, there was TI8 ahead. So we decided not to step on the same rake. Immediately after the end of TI8, there was not so much time before qualifications for a major, so we decided to skip the first tournaments together to take a break and focus on the next goal.

Team Liquid has been playing together in this lineup for two years now, this is an amazing achievement. Don’t you get tired of one another?

Yes. Usually when we take a vacation, we rest both from the game and from each other, because we have to spend 2-3 months with the team. And these are seven people of different nationalities, with different histories and different cultures. There comes a time when you start to move away from each other, already something does not click. And then you may need a little time to reload your feelings and become friends again.

How did you spend your free time?

I didn’t do much, honestly. I just rested with my family, I often met with friends. Spent a lot of time in front of the computer, but did not play. Just watched movies and TV shows. I went to the gym, went in for sports, enjoyed a delicious meal. And here we are again.

While you were resting, Mind_Control played a major with Ninjas in Pyjamas. How did you respond when you heard about his plans?

This is a funny story because on the day when the team discussed this, I could not participate in the conversation. So I just did not know about it. I later read about it somewhere on the Internet. And such: “Oh, MC will play with NiP”. It’s funny, because I was far from the first to find out about this, simply because I wasn’t there during the discussion.

In those matches that I saw, as for me, he played very well. He showed himself on Earthshaker and on other heroes. They entered the top 4, which is by no means a bad result. I was happy for him, the whole tournament was rooting. He deserves to play the major.

He told you how to play against NiP now? Are they good?

In fact, he did not talk much about being in a team. He shared that they have a completely different approach to the game, it is different from ours. They look at the game differently. He said the team is being led by PPD. They are quite masterful guys, but sometimes, when the game is not going according to their plan, they can have problems.

PPD on Twitter wrote “Mind_Control had just left the training room and told us he would destroy us at the qualifiers.” Do you believe he could say that?

MC is a nice guy, I like him. But when it comes to competition, MC is fearless. He is able to say anything, because he strongly believes in himself and his teammates. I think he can confirm with his work any word.

Speaking of the latest tournament results. Kuroky set a record by playing each hero in an official match. Do you think there is a player who can achieve the same?

Perhaps you never know for sure. I think there are other players who have been on the stage for 5-10 years and continue to play. But this is a great achievement — to be the first player who played on all the characters.

Do you remember how it happened? Maybe someone said that there is an opportunity to pick TA for Kuroky?

We did not take part in this decision. It happened spontaneously. We just wanted to have fun and enjoy the game. Kuroky has a draft, so he can do whatever he wants. He simply said: “I want to play on TA” and pressed the button. We just answered this: “Okay. We trust you, play TA. Go!”. Of course, we were shocked for about 10 seconds, but then we looked at him, he looked at us and we decided: “This is Kuro, he can do what he wants.”

How do you manage to keep calm constantly?

In fact, I am not always calm. Sometimes I have to go through difficulties. Sometimes I need time to collect my thoughts. For all the time I realized that it is better to remain calm and deal with problems without emotions and aggression. So you will find a solution much faster than if you get angry and nervous. To solve the problem, you must first cope with anger.

What should a person do when he feels the approach of tilt? How to avoid it?

Getting into tilt is normal. Many people suffer from this, including me. In this case, I am trying to figure out what caused me to lose my temper, and deal specifically with this. Sometimes after the games, I feel tilted, so I just go out, take a deep breath and don’t play for 30 minutes or an hour. Just trying to relax. Just take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are playing a game that you love and are just trying to have some fun. You do not enter the game to shout at people.

 

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