JW: "We will stay united"
We spoke to fnatic's star AWPer Jesper "JW" Wecksell to find out how he feels going into another major, the cheating accusations, and more.
Jesper "JW" Wecksell has a major championship from last year's DreamHack Winter, as well as a second place finish from ESL One Cologne, already in his stuffed trophy cabinet.
His team fnatic are currently the best in the world, and go into DreamHack as the clear favorites to win it all. So far no favorite has managed to win a major tournament in CS:GO.
JW's fnatic are heavy favorites going into DreamHack
How well prepared do you feel for DreamHack? Did you change a lot of things in how you play or simply focus on refining your current style? Did you take part in the official Inferno Online bootcamp, considering the problems having all teams on-site might bring?
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: I would say that we are prepared, we are doing a mix of both, adding more and new stuff as well as making what we did before in a different way/better. We decided to not be at the Inferno Online bootcamp as we have been on a tough schedule lately and didn’t want to push ourselves too much before DH Winter.
What’s your stance on the stickers? Were you surprised at how much money teams made from them for ESL One Cologne? Do you think more of the money should be allocated towards prizes? As things stand, the Legends capsule pays (per Cologne) more than winning the event.
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: I think the stickers are great, I'm a bit surprised about how much money the teams actually made, and as stated you get more from getting out of groups than actually winning the event, so in my opinion 50% of the money should go towards the prize pool and the last 50% to the players, that would be the ultimate in my opinion.
How do you expect your group to play out? Can you talk about each of the teams in your group in detail, what you expect from your potential match-up against each of them, and how do you expect to fare?
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: We are starting off versus Bravado Gaming, a pretty unknown team for us but we have heard from other teams that pracced against them that they are quite good actually, and obviously we will not go into a major and underestimate anyone, on paper we should win this matchup easily, and hopefully we do that aswell so that we can move on with good confidence.
Next we have Cloud9, which im not sure where to put really, they usually do good in Europe at the majors but I wasn't really impressed by them in the King of Kings tournament so it's hard to say, I would give us the upper hand against them because in my opinion they are a pretty good matchup for us.
Last but not least we have HellRaisers, this will be the toughest team in our group I think, maybe one of the toughest teams in the tournament, they have been playing very solid since they added s1mple and now with B1ad3 coaching them I think they can get really scary, especially if Dosia shows up in a good form, I expect this to be a super close game but hopefully with us coming out on top.
Our recent article “Major problems” brought up multiple issues such as the online qualifiers (cheating, DDoS), inconsistent format (best-of-one groups) with very few matches, etc. What is your stance on the qualification system and the tournament format? How would you like to improve the majors?
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: I think there should be more LAN qualifiers obviously, maybe a bit more like ESWC did, they had LAN qualifiers for almost every spot I think. And they should give the rights to good organisations who actually are capable of hosting such qualifiers. Also, I think GSL groups with BO3 could be a good thing.
Can fnatic become the first favorite to win a major?
Another big issue for debate right now is the CZ-75. Suggestions for it have ranged from altering its rate of fire and damage, to even making it an SMG while upping its price. Do you think it should be changed, and if so, how would you recommend Valve do it?
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: To me it doesn’t really matter WHAT they do to it, the most important part is that they do something, if they make it less like a rifle they could keep it as an pistol because it makes AWPing a bit more flexible I would say but it should really not be a weapon people prefer in front of AK/M4 which sometimes is the case now.
Obviously going into the event the favorites are you and LDLC, but so far the favorites have never won a major. Is there someone else who you think could surprise us and win it all? Who do you expect to place in the top four?
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: It’s hard to say really as Counter-Strike is such a momentum based game, any team can show up any day with a super good day and just play very good Counter-Strike, I think Na`Vi can be somewhat of a "surprise" but it wouldn’t really be a surprise to me. I think that if brackets allow it, fnatic, LDLC, Na`Vi & HellRaisers will place top four.
What do you make of this cheating scandal? Were you surprised players might have been cheating at tournaments, or did you expect it? Do you believe the players caught cheated in LAN tournaments, and do you believe more players cheated who simply haven’t been caught, yet?
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: I’m as surprised as everyone else to be honest. When the rumours started I didn’t believe it at all, but when the VAC bans eventually happened, I got really really shocked. Even though it’s as bad as any cheating, I was stunned to learn that some cheating also might have happened at LAN events, in front of both on-site spectators and unknowing teammates.
For me it’s impossible to tell whether or not more players will be caught, but I would like to see the community tgo easier on the accusations that are going on right now against pretty much everyone in the pro scene, I have no reasons to believe that VAC and the tournament organizers out there can not figure things out themselves, and we have been in close contact with these parties throughout the past week.
You come into DreamHack Winter, where three of you are defending champions, as the clear favorites. Have you done anything specifically to avoid teams anti-stratting you based on the demos available from all the recent wins you’ve had?
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: We have tried to look into everything and hopefully we have fixed everything as well, I think some people will get surprised and maybe caught off guard. DreamHack Stockholm was a huge lesson for us that we have learned from now.
Do you think these recent cheating accusations have affected your team in a negative way? Is it realistically possible to truly ignore all of this, or do you think you can turn it into strength, something to bond over?
Jesper "JW" Wecksell: Of course it’s frustrating to be put in this bad light unjustified only days prior to an event of this scale, I would lie if I told you the contrary. However, we are trying our very best to not be affected by the speculations of our players’ legitimacy, and if we were motivated to repeat our Dreamhack Winter victory before, we are even more motivated now as we realize that the best way to prove people wrong is to perform on the level we know we are capable of.
No matter what happens at DHW we will still stay united in the future, and finally I would like to thank all the fans, friends and team that have been so supportive to me and the guys during these stressful times.
fnatic will be one of the teams kicking off DreamHack Winter on Thursday afternoon at 12:00 with a match against South African Bravado. They will then face either HellRaisers or Cloud9 in their second match.