Karus & Bååten: "Proved ourselves"
We chatted with fnatic Academy players Linus "Bååten" Andersson and Alex "Karus" Saglamoglu at ESWC 2016.
fnatic Academy surprised everyone by reaching the quarter-finals at ESWC. They achieved this by beating Rogue and ENCE in the group stage and eliminating Heroic in the Round of 16. The Swedes lost to ALTERNATE aTTaX in the quarter-finals and we talked to two of their players a day later:
First of all, I want to ask how you guys came together. How did fnatic contact you and how did you feel when this was brought up?
Alex "Karus" Saglamoglu: I think they contacted PlesseN at first because he played for fnatic as a stand-in. He then contacted us, the players. PlesseN and I go way back and we played FPL together. So he asked me and the other guys, telling us it will be fnatic Academy. We got shocked when we learned this and we thought he was just kidding. It was incredible that fnatic wanted us.
Linus "Bååten" Andersson: It was an amazing feeling to just see that big brand and to know that we were going to play as the fnatic Academy.
fnatic Academy impressed in Paris
What is the role distribution like in the squad?
Linus "Bååten" Andersson: Maikil "Golden" Selim is our in-game-leader and shot-caller, Karus and Niclas "PlesseN" Plessen are our entry-fraggers, Aleksandar "jayzaR" Zarkovic is our AWPer, and I play the support role.
Did you have a bootcamp before you came to ESWC?
Alex "Karus" Saglamoglu: We had a bootcamp a month earlier and then we practiced five or sometimes six times a week. We just tried to train a lot, fix our map pool, and make sure our communication was on top. We wanted to prove we were a really good team so that's why we practiced a lot.
You played Rogue in the first match of the group. This was the first match all of you played in front of a big crowd so how was it?
Linus "Bååten" Andersson: On paper, Rogue should have beaten us, to be honest. But we proved everyone wrong. We performed well individually and as a team so it felt great to win against them.
Alex "Karus" Saglamoglu: We all got nervous when we were told it was going to be played on the main stage. I personally got really nervous because I had never played on a stage like that. The crowd was amazing and were making us hyped. I was nervous in the first couple of rounds but then I calmed down.
In the winners' match, you lost 16-11 against paiN. What went wrong?
Alex "Karus" Saglamoglu: We didn't prepare ourselves that much for paiN. We didn't know much about them and our communication on the T-side was really bad. We got stomped on the T-side and couldn't really do anything because we didn't know what to do. I would say we were confused in that match.
You defeated yet another more experienced team when you faced ENCE in the decider match. Can you talk to us about that match?
Alex "Karus" Saglamoglu: We played Cache first and we started pretty good but lost 6-9 in the first half. In the second half, when the score was 11-14, jayzaR won a 1vs3 on the A-site against three dinked guys. After that, we came back to win 16-14 and then just won the second map.
Next you played Heroic and although you lost the first map, you came back to win the series 2-1. How did you stay in the match against one of the toughest teams in the tournament?
Alex "Karus" Saglamoglu: I would say Train, the map we lost on, isn't a strong map for us and Heroic are quite good on it from what we've seen. It was really obvious they would take the win there. On Cobblestone, we won a lot of T rounds and took the victory. On the last map, Mirage, we were just locking them down on the CT-side, hitting our shots and winning the retakes. Our T-side was a bit challenging after we won the pistol round and lost the anti-eco. We got really nervous because we thought they would make a comeback. But we just managed to close the match.
How did it feel to beat a team like Heroic who had a much better track record than you guys?
Linus "Bååten" Andersson: We proved ourselves to everyone who watched and that just felt amazing. They were the favorite team to win this tournament and it felt amazing to win over them.
You got eliminated by ALTERNATE aTTaX in the quarter-finals. Did your own performance caused you to lose or was it the performance of your opponents?
Linus "Bååten" Andersson: We had a good performance. We left a gap on Cobblestone and they abused it to win the game. They performed good but I think we should have had it.
Alex "Karus" Saglamoglu: I agree. I think we threw the Cobblestone game in the end a little bit. I would say Cobblestone should have been ours but they definitely played better on Cache.
Talking about aTTaX, do you think they will win the tournament or will LDLC be able to stop them?
jayzaR had some amazing highlights throughout the tournament. Do his plays get old or does it still fascinate you?
Linus "Bååten" Andersson: It's amazing to see him play that good. He's just hitting these amazing shots and I don’t know how, he’s such an amazing player.
Alex "Karus" Saglamoglu: Some of the shots he hit like two wallbangs on Cobblestone against Rogue got us really hyped. I don’t even know how he got them but they were incredible shots.
What will you do after you go home? Do you have any qualifiers lined up?
Alex "Karus" Saglamoglu: When we go back, we have ESEA Main matches to play. We also play in some small leagues.
Any final words?
BenjaCS is a staff writer at HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter.