karrigan: "No.1 spot is doable"
Dust2.dk caught up with Finn "karrigan" Andersen and discussed with the Danish veteran FaZe's latest results and their success under his tutelage.
Since picking up Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, FaZe have reached the grand final of every event they have attended, winning the StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 Finals and finishing runners-up to Astralis and SK Gaming at IEM Katowice and IEM Sydney, respectively.
FaZe have been ranked second in the world for a month now, and, if they are able to remain in top form, they could very well make Astralis lose their position at the top of world Counter-Strike by the time next Major rolls around.
Read on to find out what Finn "karrigan" Andersen had to say on matters concerning calling the shots for FaZe, replacing Philip "aizy" Aistrup, the differences between his team and Astralis, and more.
You can presumably take a lot of credit for FaZe being among the world's three best teams. What did you bring to the team, and what was missing before you joined?
One of the things I have contributed with is leadership, which allows the rest of the team to focus on their own game. FaZe had never really had an ingame leader, and RobbaN tried for a while to fill that role while also coaching, but when the rule about coaches came into effect, the team was hit really hard. Now there is one person who can lead in the game and the rest can just play their own game. But it was really when NiKo joined that we were able to reach the top 3.
Were you involved in the decision-making process behind NiKo’s transfer?
Since the day aizy chose to leave us, I had only one player in mind, and that was NiKo. I was very involved in the entire process regarding aizy’s replacement. I believe NiKo is an upgrade over aizy (who is a really good player), so he was the perfect fit. I did not want to change too much in terms of roles since the ones we had already fit our playing style. NiKo is an all-round player, capable of lurking, entry fragging and AWPing.
How is the playing style in FaZe, compared to the way you played in Astralis? Did you bring the Astralis style to FaZe, or did you have to adapt to a different style?
FaZe gave me a lot of confidence when it comes to this. I brought in the style that suits the team and myself the best. There is a difference between the way I called in Astralis and the way I do now in FaZe, since the players are different. So it is really more about the players having to adapt to the way I lead in-game.
Are you the only one making the calls? NiKo was the in-game leader in mousesports for a while, and RobbaN is also behind you as a coach.
The day NiKo joined, I told him to mainly focus on his own game. He contributes with so many good ideas all the time, which is perfect for an in-game leader, because a constant flow of information makes calling even better. The idea of having NiKo as a second in-game leader happens when I am sometimes dead, since he is great at taking over and doing mid-round calls. We use RobbaN a lot to improve our communication, which is one of our weaknesses.
Do you still have issues with communicating in English, or have you already overcome that problem after all this time?
The language itself is not a huge problem, it is the way the players communicate that is more of an issue. I think all teams have issues with communication, which is an area where there is always room for improvement. There are issues now on the team that I also experienced while I was with Astralis.
There are also some cultural differences. Is this something you have noticed?
We come from six different countries and we all have very different personalities, so you can definitely feel some cultural differences. What is normal in Denmark may not be so in Bosnia or Finland. But that is not really something I think about. But it is fun to see just how different the people on my team are.
You are known for the way you act on stage. Are you conscious of what you do in front of the crowd?
I love to play on stage, that is something I always missed when playing back in CS 1.6, because I did not get to play in front of huge crowds. I do not really think much about it when I play, but I like to feel the excitement of a big crowd since it motivates me so much more. If you can win the crowd over by making some kind of fun gestures on stage, I tend to do it.
This “beef” that people are talking about between you and Astralis. Was it only to tease them for your upcoming games, or did you just want to beat them?
I do not think there was any beef besides the map veto in the semi-finals. I did not lie about our Cobblestone. They wrote on Twitter that they were glad to punish us in group play for wanting to play Cobblestone, and I wrote back that I was glad they took the bait in the playoffs. It is nice to beat Astralis, but I do not think about that much more than I do when I beat other teams.
How far do you see this FaZe team going? Do you believe you can move up to first in the ranking?
I believe we can, but I think the competition is getting harder and harder. It is good that there is not one team who wins it all. If you look at the ranking, Astralis, FaZe and SK are in the top 3. Those two rivals of ours are the best when it comes to the basic game and they have similar styles, while ours is a bit different. Only time will tell if we can be the No.1 team, but I think it is doable.
What is your playing style like? And how do you see their style?
I always say that the way I call lies between a structured and an unstructured style. I try to adapt our style to our opponent and to what I feel is the best starting point as much as possible. SK and Astralis are really good at being patient with their game, which is something we got a taste of in the final against the Brazilians. We play a lot faster and in a more aggressive way. I think that’s the big difference.
How many good years do you think you have left in CS?
I am going to play until I no longer have the level required or can no longer contribute enough to a team. I do not know when that is going to happen. I try to follow the example of the Virtus.pro guys. I do not know what I am going to do after my CS career is over. I have two options: either I stay in Counter-Strike or I will start using my Master's degree for something completely different from CS. Hopefully, I will only have to think about this in a distant future.
This article was written by rijaH. You can follow her on Twitter.