kioShiMa: Every tourney could be ours
We interviewed Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey ahead of the SL i-League StarSeries Season 3 finals and discussed with him FaZe's recent improvements and their goals for the event ahead.
FaZe cleared all doubts about their ability to incorporate Nikola "NiKo" Kovač into the team by finishing in second place at IEM Katowice, their first event with the new lineup.
With fewer than 100 points separating them from third-placed SK Gaming in our ranking, FaZe will be hoping to gain some ground on the Brazilians with another strong showing in Kiev. Their first match of the tournament will pit them against HellRaisers, who have been in great form of late and will have in StarSeries the first of three international events in little over a month.
kioShiMa lauds FaZe's potential
In this interview, Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey discusses NiKo's impact since his arrival, the team's struggles against Astralis in Katowice, their current ranking position and even the recent French shuffle.
IEM Katowice was the first event with the new lineup, and you were just one match away from winning the tournament. Were you surprised with the level the team reached so quickly?
No, I wasn't surprised because we had not changed that much in terms of playstyle, we had just upgraded it. We know we have a lot of potential, and this was just proof of that.
Astralis were the only team that you dropped maps to (once in the group stage and then thrice in the grand final). Was there really a big difference between them and the other teams you faced? What was the reason you could not take them down?
We could feel a big difference, yes. Astralis did not make many mistakes or at least it was harder to take advantage of them. It did not feel that we could not take them down, we had a big chance to take some maps from them in the final. We lost rounds that we were not supposed to lose (many anti-ecos and key rounds). That kind of rounds is our focus at the moment.
After finishing second in Katowice. Do you think that this could be your tournament? What are your expectations?
Every tournament could be our tournament. I am not saying we will win every tournament, but we have the ability to win some.
Overpass and Nuke had specific situations where the momentum shifted in Astralis’ favour. Was it disappointing to lose a match because of small details?
Yes, obviously it was disappointing because we knew that without those rounds the victory could have been ours. It is always harder to lose 16-13 or 16-14 than 16-2 because you are so close to actually winning, but then it does not happen.
Will this finally be FaZe's time to shine?
StarSeries will start with a best-of-one Swiss Stage format in the groupstage. What are your thoughts on it, compared to, for example, the format of IEM Katowice, which was criticised by many players?
I like the Swiss Stage format but I also like the format used at IEM Katowice. I love to play more than one match a day, so, in this regard, the IEM format was really good. In my opinion, playing all your group stage matches in one or two days is the best way to do it. With the Swiss format you do not play the same team twice, but then again you only play one match per day... You really do not have time to feel the game as much as when you play a few matches.
Your team has returned to being fourth in our world ranking. Is that a confidence boost ahead of a tournament like this? Are you confident about breaking into the top three?
I don't look at rankings as a confidence boost. The confidence boost comes from the time and the practice you have had as a team. A number in a ranking means nothing to me because every team in the top 10 is good and can achieve good results in any tournament. I would like to be in the top 3 for my organisation.
As many expected, NiKo has had a great impact on the team, finishing IEM Katowice with a team-leading 1.16 Rating. What are your thoughts on his impact so far?
Niko is a really complete player, he can do every role and not complain about it. We needed someone who could take initiative and mid-call, and there you go: we have the player for that.
How did the team practice for StarSeries? Was it online practice only, or did you have a bootcamp? Which in-game aspects have you been focusing on?
We had our normal online schedule and came to Kiev a week before to bootcamp at the SLTV arena. We're focusing on fixing small mistakes, which could make us a much better team.
There has been a lot of talk about how the seeding distribution for StarSeries was made. Were you disappointed to find your team in Pool 2?
I don't look at the seeding, if you want to be the best you beat the best, regardless of the stage of the tournament you're at.
G2 and EnVyUs were recently involved in a major roster shuffle. As a French player, what are your thoughts on this shuffle? Do you see yourself playing for a French team again in the future?
G2 made the best team one could make in France, in my opinion. You have the best players in the right roles, and now it is down to whether they can work together. I am happy in my team right now. I just miss communicating in French but that will not make me come back anytime soon. Maybe in a few years, who knows? After all, it's Counter-Strike!