FaZe won their first title by beating Astralis 2-1 in a thrilling grand final of the SL i-League StarSeries Season 3 Finals. Following the match, we talked to Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, who won the HLTV MVP by ZOWIE award.
FaZe had an up and down event, but hit great form when it was needed the most, in the final match against Astralis. After losing their map pick, Mirage, the European mixture picked up the following two maps, including Inferno that went to overtime.
Mirage was the first map, your pick, you got into the lead but they made a comeback and took the map 16-14. What was the feeling after losing your pick and that close as well?
Personally I felt bad after that map because my performance was very bad. I had much higher expectations for myself… If I would've played Mirage a little better, I think we would've won that map.
I talked to the team after that match and we went into Nuke. We had a feeling before the match, when we did the veto, that we were in an advantage because Mirage is one of our better maps, Nuke also. We were also thinking that Astralis was a bit scared in the veto, because they didn't pick their strongest map, Train.
Nuke was a dominant win, what was crucial in that map?
I think the crucial thing was our energy and the desire to win, because we left Mirage behind us pretty fast and just focused on the remaining two maps. That was the key to winning Nuke. And everything went how we planned as CT… and as T.
Last map, Inferno. You had a bad T side, but as it is Inferno, you had the chance to comeback on CT. In the end, the double AWP—it won you some rounds, but it seemed that it was pretty hard to use it against the executes, smokes and flashes Astralis utilized. Tell me a bit about the thinking around that, the decisions made, and Inferno in general.
Firstly, as T, we were very bad in countering device on B. They had banana almost every round, so they could do whatever they want, they could rotate around the map, play 4 A, 3B, whatever. We decided, in the five minute break that we had before overtime, to find a way to not give them banana so we could do our executes and that brought us the victory in the end. I think that break helped us a lot.
As CT… We played against them online and we had a lot of troubles, that's why we went for the double AWP, we didn't know they would counter it. We thought the double AWP would be the key to our CT side.
You said earlier that the energy was important, karrigan was pretty excited, energetic. Did playing with him for a month now open new thoughts about in-game leading, seeing that you were leading for mousesports for a long period of time? Is there something you would've done differently? Tell us a little about the relationship and his leading.
To be honest, I didn't think about how I used to call and how I'd call if I was back in mouz, because I focused on our team and reaching our goals as fast as possible—which we did. About karrigan, his calling is great, he can do good calls under pressure, but he is willing to listen to feedback too. We work together pretty well and that brought us the victory as well.
Do you have some words for your team after the victory?
I'm pretty proud of my team because we achieved this result as fast as we did. I think we didn't expect we'd achieve it so fast. Thanks to them, and thanks to the FaZe organization who made it possible for me to join the team and achieve my goals. And thanks to everyone that has been supporting us, I hope they continue to do so in the future.
Lastly, what is the next for FaZe, what is the next goal after winning your first title?
Obviously, our goal is to win as many tournaments as possible, I think we have the potential to do so and I think we are showing that potential. After winning a tournament, we can't set our sights on anything less.
Professeur writes for HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter.