karrigan: "We are a team to fear"
TSM's in-game leader Finn "karrigan" Andersen speaks in our next pre-ESL One Katowice interview about the team's preparation heading into the event and other micellaneous topics.
Next on the list for our pre-interview series is TSM's Finn "karrigan" Andersen, who took over the role as in-game leader for the Danish squad after replacing Henrik "FeTiSh" Christensen in that title.
For ESL One Katowice 2015, TSM have been drawn into the toughest group on paper, facing off against contenders Virtus.pro and Cloud9 as well as the slightly less-favored 3DMAX.
karrigan's TSM have a tough road ahead of them
ESL One Katowice will be TSM's first offline event with their new organisation, and the Danes were last seen at MLG X Games Aspen, where they secured the bronze medal after defeating fnatic for third place.
In our interview found below, karrigan talks about TSM's bootcamp, his opinion on game balance, as well as the team's ability to attend more offline events come summertime.
Additionally, if you would like to see our preceding series of interviews before this one with TSM, check the table below:
How confident do you feel with your preparation going into ESL One Katowice? Are you having a bootcamp or only practicing online? Is there something you focused on in particular?
You always want more time to practise and prepare, even though we had a bootcamp this weekend, you always feel you could be more prepared. With that said, this tournament was our goal since I teamed up with TSM. We have now had roughly three months to get used to each other. I think our main focus in the beginning was our T side of all maps, which we in my opinion succeeded in. In the meantime our CT side has been way too unstable and that's an issue we have been working on at the bootcamp. One thing we said to each other before the major was that we need to be able to play all maps at Katowice, so we are more confident in the veto process.
What do you think about your group? Can you go through each team and tell us how you think you match-up against them? Which two teams should be advancing to playoffs out of Virtus.pro, TSM, Cloud9 and 3DMAX?
Virtus.pro: Once again VP is in a situation, where they are able to claim the number one spot on their home soil. We all remember the last time they had that chance, they took it with style. VP is an all around great team, with great tactics and individual skill. If you don't stop them at the beginning, you might have a very long match against them. With that said, VP is the kind of a team we like to face, so we will do everything in our power to stop the VP train and take the #1 spot in the group.
Cloud9: They come into the major with more time than before MLG, it will be interesting to see how they adapted. On top of that, they had a bootcamp for some time in Europe, so facing them in the first match will be interesting. At MLG in the group stage it was a pretty much one-sided match, I don't think it will be this time, but we need to come out on top!
3DMAX: They recently lost one of the hottest player at the moment, allu, that will somehow show an impact on their game. I have no idea how to place them yet, which for me will put them as a dark horse in the group. They might be able to catch VP off guard, for me they have everything to gain in the group stage and nothing to lose.
With all that being said, I see ourselves and VP moving on from the group stage.
What is the minimum placing your team will be satisfied with in Katowice? Since this will be your first LAN event under the TSM banner, what are the organization's expectations? Do you feel any pressure to succeed, will you be extremely frustrated if you fail to reach your minimum goal?
Our minimum placing should be the semi-finals, everything else would be a setback from the team. I guess the same goes for the organisation, but everybody around the team knows how much a final for the first time would mean. If we don't reach the semi-finals, I see the whole team getting frustrated. I guess that's why they made a change in their roster, so maybe this time we will be able to get beyond that point.
The professional scene has probably never been as competitive as it is now going into this major, but who do you think will end up in the top four? And who do you see as the most likely surprise, whether to win it all or get out of the groups ahead of some big favorites?
That's a hard question, the biggest influence on that is simply the difference of being #1 or #2 in the group. The groups are stacked with great teams, but trying to put teams into a top four just from my perspective is: EnVyUs, fnatic, NiP and ourselves. You need to keep in mind that VP and Titan could easily be there, even win the whole tournament. I really think it's hard to point out one favorite this time, who is just big favorites to win the whole thing.
TSM want a minimum placing of the semifinals at Katowice
Is there a player or two in your team who you will hope to make the biggest impact in order for the team to achieve its goal?
It's obvious we need device to perform at the tournament, since he is our main AWP on our T side, therefore he automatically has a big impact on our team. Pointing out another player is hard, since I really think every player on this team is able to take the game into his own hands. Therefore if we want to achieve anything, everybody should be on point, if that happens, we are a team to fear.
Since you already participated in MLG X-Games with the team and lost in the semi-final there, do you think you've figured something out from that event that could help the team breach that recurring obstacle?
I simply still believe we had too little time to prepare for MLG. In the qualifier I called all the time on the "fly" and people simply had a too high individual skill at that moment. When we started up in January to prepare for MLG, we had to go through a lot of maps and with the veto system, it meant we only had one ban in playoffs. This time we come prepared pretty much on all maps, where we ban the map on which the specific enemy is strong. I must say that the team showed great morale on the second map versus LDLC, we were far behind as T on inferno and managed to come back. The third map we got run over, but if it was a choke or simply not enough experience together on that map, is hard to say. This tournament I will see if there is a big communication issue and nerves from certain players in the playoff matches. Let's see if we can break that curse! :)
There has been an increasingly high number of online leagues and cups lately. How did participating in them affect your team, do you think it helped in preparation or damaged you somehow? And how does it affect the scene in general in your opinion?
Tournaments and leagues are good for the competive scene, I think playing some official games makes you improve your gamestyle and team. We had a poor run 1-2 weeks ago, with four straight losses in FACEIT, you could feel within the team that something had to change. We made so many mistakes, which doesnt always get punished in practice, since people are testing out different things. I hope we now fixed those mistakes and are able to show that in the next couple of matches at Katowice. Generally speaking about that many tournaments, it is simply great. Directly after the major there are many official matches, just two weeks later we have the StarLadder final in Kiev, right after that Copenhagen Games. In my opinion, it makes the scene a lot better and I am proud and happy to be a part of seeing this community grow. You viewers are the reason why all this is happening, thank you guys.
What does your team think about the changes to Overpass and Cobblestone? Are the changes for the better or worse? Have you practiced them?
It's still hard to find out the meta on those maps, all teams are playing differently and you can feel that in our games. I felt in the beginning that overpass got more T sided, but then teams realized how to play better CT side on that map. Generally, the team is happy about the changes, I still felt the old Cobblestone was nice in a way, just not so many teams played it back then.
Do you like the current state of the pistols, Tec-9 and CZ-75 in particular? Would you make any changes to them or are they all finally balanced enough for competitive play?
Better not to go into details about Tec-9, since I only have negative things to say about it. I think CZ-75 got better after the update, we all know how it was before that update. I would make changes to Tec-9 any time if I could, since that gun is overpowered. If we make a special strategy where I would sometimes go for Tec-9 and grenades, instead of a galil/AK, then there is something wrong in my opinion.
karrigan claims that device will have to be on point
Reportedly the sticker money from the previous major, DHW, was split according to how many of each team's stickers were sold. Which way would you prefer it this time, an even split between all legends/challengers or distribution per selling amount? Or perhaps you would like to see a part of it added to prizemoney?
I think the stickers sold well the previous times, because people opened capsules to take a "chance", like when you open cases for weapons. You can be lucky or unlucky. Right now there are some capsules, but you are able to just buy the sticker you want. If it's good or bad is very hard to decide. I'm just happy the community has a chance to support the teams they like, you can also feel how important the major is in every aspect. Doing good at a major will most likely increase the sticker sales because of more fans.
What is your stance on the current tournament system in the majors? Ever since DreamHack Winter 2013, the system has remained the same with a BO1 group stage, as well as a playoff spot securing a place in the next major. Would you change it in some way or keep it the same going forward?
I would choose a BO3 in the group stage, so you would get the best team out of the groups. Maybe just play a BO1 first match-up, then rest of the matches BO3, something like that. The problem is the time of it, I think it would take one more day to play all groups out and that might be a problem. In a tournament like a major, the last match of the group (deciding matchup) is so intense because of the big increase in prize money, sticker money, playoffs and invite to the next major. That shouldn't be decided on a BO1 if you ask me, but it is fair for all and you have to be on point or else it's over.
Since the start of 2015 the prize money in most tournaments started rising fast. Although no single tournament "outweighs" the majors yet, do you think that time will come? ESL One Katowice will be a huge event nevertheless - do you expect the viewership record will be broken? How many do you estimate will watch the grand final this time?
I think when the time comes, the majors will be increased as well. There is so much focus on these tournaments, that being said, you can feel within the teams that there are so many tournaments. You have to start choosing which you want to attend, where there is the most prestige. From our point of view, we can from summer on finally attend everything we can without thinking about school and university. I expect the viewer record to be broken, but I have no idea how many people will watch, I will just wait and see and be surprised, positively I hope.
The remaining series of interviews will be released tomorrow and of course the event itself is only two days away, as group stages commence on Thursday, March 12th.
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