jw: "We can surprise a lot of teams"
Next up on our list of pre-ESL One Cologne interviews is fnatic's Jesper "JW" Wecksell, who explains how his team's preparations for the German event are going.
fnatic reached the semi-finals of Gfinity 3 last weekend, being denied a place in the tournament decider following a 1-2 defeat against Titan, who would go on to lose the title to Virtus.pro.
It was the first event for fnatic since their recent roster changes, which saw Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson and Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer stepping into the shoes of Jonatan "Devilwalk" Lundberg and Andreas "znajder" Lindberg.
While Johansson gave a great account of himself in London and was the ninth-best player of the event on a 1.16 rating, Kajbjer was sub par as he finished on a 0.96 rating, well below his career rating of 1.10.
fnatic are currently practicing online for ESL One Cologne, which will run from August 14-17, and have an extremely difficult task ahead, having been drawn alongside iBUYPOWER, Virtus.pro and dAT Team. Continue reading to find out what Wecksell had to say about these teams and fnatic's campaign at G3.
fnatic came in 3rd-4th at G3, the first event with the new lineup
How have you prepared for ESL One Cologne so far? Do you have a bootcamp planned for the final days leading up to the event? Do you feel adequately prepared?
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: We bootcamped in London prior to G3 so we are only going to practice online prior to ESL One, but these last days we will focus on fixing the mistakes that were made at G3. If we manage to fix these small things these last days I would say we are close to being very prepared; if we somehow fail to fix them we will just be "kind of prepared", I guess. All the teams are so close so I think it will be these "small things" that will make or break.
After a long hiatus from international competition, G3 took place last weekend. What do you make of the results? Were you surprised by anyone? What comes to mind when thinking about the event?
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: I would not say I was that surprised by any team in particular, I was more surprised by how "random" all the results seemed to be. So no team really surprised me in a good way, I guess.
At ESL One you’ve been placed in group C together with Virtus.pro, iBUYPOWER and dAT. Can you go through each team one at a time, and tell us what you think about them, and your chances against them?
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: We have a tough group for sure, but nothing is impossible. In our first match we will be playing against iBUYPOWER, who we also faced at G3, getting a draw, even though we could have won. They managed to win both pistol rounds against us and we still got a draw, so if we do our homework now I would say we have the upper hand, but it could still go either way.
Then we have Virtus.pro, who are probably one of the favorites to win the whole thing. They have always been very, very strong at majors, but having them in the group is better than getting them early in the brackets, I guess. If we play our best we can beat them, of course, but I would say that they have the upper hand against us, but anything can happen, really.
Last, but not least, we have dAT Team. I am not sure what to think about them, really. They are for sure the underdogs in the group and I think if any of the teams underestimate them they will make you pay for it. But if everyone actually stays focused on the task at hand, which is to win every match, in my opinion we should win that match. But they will be there for a reason, so it might be a tough game.
What are your expectations going into the event? I realize everyone will say they are in it to win it regardless of stature, but would you be happy with a quarter-finals exit? Top four? A spot in the grand finals?
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: Being my third major (winning one and going out in the quarter-finals in the other), I would say we we would be happy to some extent with a top-four finish, but reaching the final is our goal. It will be a tough event, for sure, but I think we can surprise a lot of teams.
Do you have a clause in your contracts regarding the sticker money that will be coming in from ESL One? Is that something you had added later on specifically with Cologne in mind, or did it exist in the first place?
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: That is something that has always existed in our contracts.
It’s now been weeks since ESL announced the new map pool, featuring de_cobblestone and de_overpass. Now that you’ve had a chance to practice them, what do you think about them? What do you think about the new map veto system? Do you think these changes will work for or against you?
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: We are five players that play a lot of matchmaking, gathers and stuff when we are not practicing, so we have already played on these maps, and when the news came out we did not want to waste any time whining about it so we started playing them a lot. I really like Overpass. while cbblestone is a bit "meh"; but it is really fun to have something new. I am not the biggest fan of the veto system in the groups, but it is okay, I guess. I do, however, think both these changes will be to our advantage.
jw thinks fnatic have the potential to upset some teams in Cologne
At both of the previous majors we saw a new team win a title (fnatic, Virtus.pro), propelled by new players rising to stardom (flusha, schneider, byali, Snax) . Do you expect another new team to rise up this time and if so, who could it be?
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: If a "new team" wins this major I think it will be HellRaisers, but I have a strong feeling that the winner will be one who has already won a major before. When it comes to players, I think Håvard "rain" Nygaard can surprise a lot. He played very well at G3 and I think if they manage to upset their group and go through he will be a player to watch!
olofm hasn’t played up to his previous level since joining fnatic. Is that a result of his new roles in the team, or have other reasons made his level drop significantly? Is that something you have thought about actively?
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: We have not really thought about it at all, to be honest, I remember that olof at one point said that this was not really his event and everyone can have those events. I think that every player would rather have a "bad event" at G3 than at ESL One, so I do not think it is something to put any weight on. I am sure olof will be owning at ESL One!
Others have implied the reason you were able to top DH Winter was because pronax’ calling style was somewhat unorthodox and it caught a lot of teams off guard. Do you agree? Is that something you’re currently trying to work on to get back to the very top?
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: I think it was more of a mix of us being in very good shape and very motivated and other teams counting us out already in the groups. It was simply just our tournament. But for some reason the whole team has started to listen less to pronax's calls lately, which for sure has made us not stay up there. So I do not agree with that and it is not something that we are working on because we really do not see it as a problem.
You’ve historically been a poor team in close games, as documented on HLTV.org. Is that something you actively think about, still? Do you think the additions of KRiMZ and olofm will change that?
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: I think that we maybe started to think about that in the end with the old team, which is just bad because if you start to think about it you will just focus more on that. We have not thought about it yet with this team and I hope we will not have to do that. But with olofm and KRiMZ I would say we have more skill in the team, which hopefully will help us win/close out more games. So I do not think we will have that problem.
More pre-ESL One Cologne interviews:
|iBUYPOWER: "Too many mistakes"|
|Spencer "Hiko" Martin: "You are in for a treat"|