If you’ve kept up with NA Contenders this season than you are likely already familiar with First Generation’s DPS player, Nikolai “naGGa” Dereli. If you’ve missed him here, you may have also seen him on stage at the 2018 Overwatch World Cup on Team Denmark. If you missed him in both of these settings, well, you still have your chance.
NaGGa and First Generation just recently qualified for the playoffs in NA Contenders following an impressive 3-2 season. In the midst of preparation for their first match against Second Wind on January 10th, I was able to sit down and chat with naGGa about the season, how he believes First Gen is looking going into the playoffs and, of course, how he would survive if stranded on an island.
First of all, thank you for taking the time to sit down with me in the midst of the season. Have you managed to have much free time at all during the season?
Definitely, my pleasure! A lot of my time in esports is used for preparation, practice and, in general, in-game stuff. Participating in interviews is a lovely opportunity to do different things within esports, so thanks a lot.
I’ve barely had any free time during this season. A lot of my time has gone into preparation for the current meta, adapting to a completely new play style and building synergy with my teammates. Despite all of that, I did have a few days off, but since I love to play competitive, I rarely have complete off days from Overwatch.
Before we get too much into this season, how has it been simply being a DPS player in this meta? Have you had to rethink your approach to the game or has GOATS come naturally?
Well, I actually enjoy this meta. Previously I have been a very mechanical focused player, which is fine, but in the earlier stages of my career, I didn’t think a lot into the theory of what I did. I mainly just practiced my mechanics and went with my gut feeling.
A few months ago, during Season 2 in EU, I started to think way more about why I do certain things and what I want to do more. Going into this meta has been much more about theory than mechanics. I’ve enjoyed doing something a bit different and purely focusing on decisions. I am sure this will also help me going forward into other metas.
You mentioned a change in your play since you’re playing in Europe. What has been the main difference between playing in North America versus playing in Europe, in general?
Previously when I played in EU during the early stages of my career, I wasn’t as good at recognizing what my role was supposed to do. I learned how to adapt, considering which teams we’re going up against. There’s a lot of different play styles among teams in NA for this season, and it’s important you don’t go into every match with the same mindset.
More specifically, what has been unique about your experience with First Gen as opposed to other teams you have played with?
Our team has a very diverse mix of people with different backgrounds, some came from really experienced teams, some have less experience. There’s also a mixture of age, with me being one of the younger players. We have really great team chemistry and I am really happy about how it is working out. Overall, we have a great team spirit and I love being a part of it.
Speaking of First Gen, congratulations on making the playoffs! How does it feel to have done so well your first season in NA Contenders, both as a team and as an individual player?
Thank you so much!
I knew it was a great opportunity that I was presented with back when the team was in trials. I am very happy with how far we managed to progress, from trials to playoffs. I wanted to try something different playing in a new region, playing against more academy teams, and trying to prove my worth in a scene where I am unknown. But when I joined, we had mutual goals of making it far. We’ve been working in every way possible to make it here and we’re definitely not done.
What is it like preparing for playoffs in NA Contenders? How far do you think First Gen can go based on this preparation?
We have to be really efficient with our practice time and it’s definitely tough considering we’re heading into playoffs on a new patch with Ashe and a few other changes. I think we have worked hard enough during the season, to get the results we want in playoffs. We’re confident we can put up a good fight against every team in NA Contenders.
Whose ready for playoffs?
— First Generation (@FirstGenGG) January 4, 2019
Since the community loves their leaks, I have to ask, does First Gen have some tricks up their sleeves coming into the playoffs?
I can’t say anything specifically, but I hope everyone likes the new meta. 😉
What about long-term? Where do you hope to be as a person and an OW player in the next 3-5 years?
I don’t necessarily have a long-term goal, other than I want to be the best player I can be. I want to have fun with the learning processes I am going through. Overwatch gives me unique experiences, and I hope my work one day will get me to the OWL scene. It’s tough though, there’s a lot of competition. So, it might be a really long road to get there, but that is also the reason I am seeking experiences along the way.
Lastly, I think the world is dying to know the answer to this one, last question: If you had to be stranded on an island with one of your current or previous teammates, who would it be and why?
This is a really tough decision as I’ve been on teams with some great humans and players that taught me a lot of useful things. But, when it comes down to it I would pick my fellow Dane, Zaprey. He just recently went into the pirate business full-time, which could be pretty useful on a stranded island.
But, let’s not forget that I am a Viking myself. Two Danes taking the form of a pirate and a Viking is a deadly combination in any situation, especially on a stranded island… We would totally own that island.
Be sure to catch naGGa and First Generation as they take on Second Wind in their quarterfinals playoff match on January 10th at 7:45 PM CT on the Contenders Twitch Channel. Big thanks to naGGa for taking the time to interview in the midst of playoff preparation – we wish you and First Gen the best of luck this postseason!
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Featured Image Courtesy of @naGGarlai
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