karrigan: We wanna face the hardest opponent
After his team secured the second spot in group A and a place in the semi-finals, we talked Finn "karrigan" Andersen about the downtime since IEM Sydney, the opener against OpTic and changes FaZe was focused on.
FaZe secured a second place finish in group A, eliminating G2 in the decider match. The European mixture had a good showing in their first match against OpTic, but struggled against SK on Train, where the Brazilian side managed 10 Terrorist side rounds.
To hear about the tournament so far, what his team was working on and who they would like to play in the finals, we talked to Finn "karrigan" Andersen.
Let's start with the time off you had since Sydney, what was the focus of your training, preparation, what did you do in the meantime?
After losing to SK [in Sydney] we realized our map pool wasn't strong enough, especially in BO5's. The two finals we have lost as a team were BO5's against Astralis and SK. So we focused on fixing our map pool and especially Overpass. That was a key map and today it showed as well.
When we got NiKo we just swapped him in where he wanted to be, and after Sydney I decided to swap some positions on the CT side, especially on Overpass, playing rotation is one of the positions we changed. I think that showed today, that we can play Overpass as a good team now, compared to Sydney.
Coming here, were you feeling rusty at all? Was that one of the goals, to break up the rust, get into playing form, get into the rhythm?
When you practice a lot online... We are really a LAN team I would say, our focus and communication in practice is not the same as in official games or LAN tournaments. So I think to talk about rust it's only the first match we can talk about, against OpTic. And it felt OK, it didn't feel like "Oh shit we are on LAN again". Basically, the rust was already thrown out of the window in the OpTic game and that was one of the games that could've hurt us the most, we could've played an elimination game against G2 if we lost the first game. So people knew we had to be focused from the first round against OpTic.
In that match, you had a bunch of 2v4's and crazy clutches that you won that eased up the game a lot. What are your memories of that game?
I think we had some... maybe lucky rounds, but when you look at SK that is how they win a lot of games. And at some point, it is lucky that you have the exact good timing. I just think that we played really good and that is something we worked on a lot on after Sydney, our retakes. Calmer communication, no reason to stress and stuff like this, play the time a little more. If you don't get the kills just fall back and save. That is something we utilized against OpTic. A round that we won 2v4 OpTic overpeeked too early and we were able to defuse last second. That was one of the key rounds you shouldn't win, but you are able to win it because you play it more passive.
SK, when they had their dominant era, especially toward the second part of 2016, they had a lot of retakes, especially on Overpass, they just retook the B site all the time. Do you think that is one of the keys to being a very strong team?
It depends on what players you have. I think our B hold with kioShiMa and NiKo is doing a great job just locking down the site, but if you are not able to lock down the site you also need a backup plan. That we didn't have in Sydney. But now we are able to retake B, but also commit B. That way you can change your gameplay all the time and I think that is has become good for us, on Overpass at least.
After that you played against SK again, that was on Train. That was a map you struggled on your CT side a lot and it happened again in the G2 game, your CT side wasn't that strong on Train. What are your thoughts about that?
I feel like that those are two different games. In the game against G2, we had a lot of good money, we had control, we just weren't able to close out the rounds, maybe some mistakes in communication and rotations, stuff like this. Against SK, I must admit that we won five buy rounds as CT and we basically lost five buy rounds as well. We just lost the wrong rounds and we weren't able to capitalize, get two or three rounds to get control of the money system.
That is what makes SK the most feared team for me, they are so good in these most important rounds of the game, they are able to clutch it and lock it down. And that's a championship team for me.
You are moving on to the semis now and you are going to be playing Cloud9. They are the surprise of the tournament, especially coming out first in the group. What is your thought on that matchup?
If you ask Cloud9, I don't know how many times we played Mirage against them in opening games, when I first joined FaZe. I don't know, it's an interesting matchup, I'm looking forward to it because it will be fun to see the maps. I don't know where we are going to end yet, I haven't looked into it since I don't know Cloud9's map pool at the moment. As you know, Cloud9 has these off-on tournaments and it looks like they have an on tournament right now. That being said, they qualified with two BO1's, now they have to make it through a BO3. And this is where many teams can struggle so we have to see tomorrow how Cloud9 plays. But they are a team you shouldn't underestimate because they have a high peak.
Moving forward, potentially, if you make it past Cloud9, you have SK, Astralis and Liquid you could face. Is there anyone you would like to face more than the others?
I really want to face SK at one point, I think we need to show that we also can beat SK. I'm really hungry to beat SK for the first time in my life in a BO3 on LAN. I've never won a BO3 against them so that's something I really want, to break the curse. Because I feel like there is something mental going on and we all know that with Danish players and the old days.
We need to show that we can also beat SK because we can beat Astralis, but if we can't beat SK then we can't be the best team in the world, for example. We wanna face the hardest opponent for us, and in my opinion, right now, that is SK.