NBK on his transition to VALORANT, timeline on joining a pro team, and more in Exclusive Interview
Nathan “NBK” Schmitt, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s veteran, has announced on June 29 that he is going to transition to VALORANT. The news shocked both CSGO and VALORANT communities as there were no recent leaks of the event potentially taking place. Nevertheless, the 27-year-old added a video to Twitter titled “A new beginning.”, announcing his shocking move to Riot Games’ competitive shooter, VALORANT.
Runitback got the chance to have a chat with NBK. Focusing on his unexpected switch of esport titles, NBK went to great extent to explain his view on various matters. Starting from the various reasons for his transition, announcing when he hopes to compete with a professional VALORANT team, to even his opinion on the VCT circuit. All that and more can be found in the video below.
We also picked three of our favorite and most extensive questions and answers and transcribed them below.
[00:10 – 3:07] Runitback: You had such an extremely rich career in CS:GO. You won a Major with Team LDLC and Envy, among other numerous awards. You played the game for so many years. Why did you decide to switch to VALORANT, and why at this time?
NBK: That’s a pretty wide question which I’ll try to narrow down *laughs*. I think, first of all, as a human being, when you do something for an extremely long time it is bound for you to want to have some changes, try something new. Especially in such a high-pressure environment that is the height of esports. Especially Counter-Strike because it is constantly changing, tournaments every weekend, stuff like that. And I’ve done that for 11 years as a pro player.
So there’s that first part and then there’s a more internal part of finding the right motivation and right approach of being challenged in the game. And in teams finding the next thing to go after. I think the online era as well hurt that to some degree. Of course LANs are coming back but still in the background… it’s tough to stay motivated. In high level competitions, regardless of what it is, you need to have that in order to be on the next level and to really be on the winning, dominating teams. I’m sure I could have stayed [in CSGO] and be in top 20, top 15, even top 10 [teams], but it wouldn’t have been the same thing. And I wouldn’t have been true to myself either.
So those things combined, among others, how I see the future of VALORANT, and comparing it to Counter-Strike. So all of those things combined boiled down to one thing. What do I want to do on a daily basis when I come to the computer. What do I want to compete for? What do I want to achieve next? So I think that’s when the move to VALORANT became evident that…you know I want to be challenged on a different level and in a different way. I think coming to VALORANT was the best way to do that simply.
[12:15 – 14:19] Runitback: Do you think that by the end of the year would be a good timeline to give you [to join a team]? Or will it take a little longer to get on a team?
NBK: I’m hoping that it will take much less than that. I expect to be ready to play at a good level in like three-four weeks from now. I expect to be ready to play then.
Runitback: That’s pretty soon!
NBK: Yeah, it doesn’t mean that I’m gonna play and gonna have a team, obviously. But this is in my mind. One of my best qualities from my time in Counter-Strike is to learn things very fast and absorb them and to then build them in my mind and spit them out, if that makes sense. So that’s why in VALORANT, just watching a few games of top teams gave me a few good ideas and how to tweak things. What’s important and what’s not important. And that’s just by watching several games.
I expect to be ready. I will not be at a great level, but I expect to be ready to compete in a few weeks from now when I’ll also know what kind of direction I want in terms of role and agents I want to play. This is also a big one obviously. I think individuals are very important in VALORANT, more than in Counter-Strike for example. So being ready individually is going to be really important. But that’s something that takes time, it’s not something you can rush. I’m aware of that. I’m very aware of the timelines and I’m not trying to rush the process whatsoever. I have an idea in my head and I stick to it. And I’ll see how it changes on the path. But I’m quite confident on the time frames and how to make things work.
[25:40 – 28:31] Runitback: Will you be focused at all on individual awards? If we look back at CSGO you were named the 5th best player of 2013, the 17th best player of 2014, and the 9th of 2015 by HLTV. Is that something you’re going to care about in VALORANT or not really at this point?
NBK: The truth is it’s never something that really was a motivation. I had very little interest into personal accolades like that. I look at team games at the very essence of it that…if you win, you win as a team. And maybe you’re going to carry the game so it’s great. I would be proud of myself if I carried my team, whether it is in calling or in playing. But there is also the undeniable fact that if you lose, you generally lose as a team and you win as a team. And so my focus has been always, always, always on that. That’s why I took the roles that I took every time on my teams. I was just adapting myself to what was needed in order to be good. And it always worked out really.
Those [personal awards] are just more bonus things if they happen more than anything. I’m also pretty realistic in terms of expectations. I’m not the 18-year-old kid that is going to focus on fragging and jumping around and Raze satchel and then just ult them (the other team). My goal will be to make the team work. Individually, I’m always going to work hard to be up-to-par to those guys, the ones that are going to be more kill and carry focused on the team.
You need to have good players and good aimers at every level of your team. It’s not that when you’re taking a more supportive role that you are allowed to not shoot people. That’s a mentality that I’ve always never understood. If you want the best team, all five players must be outstanding aim-wise and game-understanding and all that.
So yeah, that would be a bonus (personal awards) but my focus will 100% be on the team and making the team work. That’s all of it. I’m not going to focus more on that than anything else. It’s cool if I am, it doesn’t matter if I’m not [the best player] as long as my team is winning.
*Questions and answers may have been altered for brevity and fluidity.*
Make sure to watch the video for all questions and answers with NBK!
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Naim "EnKay" Rosinski
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