karrigan: "We'll go with the flow and try to abuse the way we play"
We caught up with FaZe's IGL after the European team's victories against G2 and OpTic, and ahead of their match against Renegades.
Finn "karrigan" Andersen ran us through the match against G2 on Overpass, a nailbiter which went all the way to thirty rounds despite an early 7-1 lead from FaZe, a match which ended up as a clash of titans between Nikola "NiKo" Kovač and Kenny "kennyS" Schrub.
You've been up and down lately. Coming into the tournament, how have you guys been feeling?
I think when you look at our results lately either we go out in groups or win tournaments without losing a map, so we have to find our consistency. We lost some matches online, on Mirage, specifically. We have to improve our strats a bit, not just have this explosive style, so we're trying to put a little more structure online and we try to test it out in the important matches we have online. I'm just happy we qualified for ECS and Pro League and we're here and doing well in the group stage so we're feeling very confident.
As you said, the question for you guys is consistency because you go out in groups or win tournaments rolling over your opponents. What do you think that's due to? Is it that reliance on that explosive style?
When you look at it on paper you can't really judge Malmö since it was very early days for us. We tried to have a seven map pool since day one but of course, that takes time. But finally in New York and ELEAGUE that worked really well for us. In EPICENTER we played three teams that are a hard matchup for us I would say, especially Gambit and SK, who have been thorns in our side even going back half a year with the old lineup.
That was kind of the hard thing at EPICENTER. We had a tough game against Gambit, got wrecked by SK, and then we got squeezed out by VP on the last game on Inferno. I think we played OK. Stable enough, always putting up a fight, always in the game, but we just weren't on point individually that tournament. We just needed to put a few more hours of CS in and work on getting a little more structure, but things have been going well for us lately.
About the G2 match, you guys took the early lead, then G2 got the late rounds in T side, and the second half came down to key moments. Could you run me through the feeling closing that match?
We had a great start, 6-0, but we didn't have that much money since rounds were pretty tight. There was a period in the middle of the half where we went back-and-forth several rounds in a row and that was the key moment of the half. I would have liked to have a couple more rounds than 9, that would have been perfect.
We won the second pistol but then kennyS wrecked us two rounds in a row and that put a stop on our game and I kind of got flashbacks to the SK game [at EPICENTER]. We got a little scared to play our game. Like when we played SK, fer was pushing us, now kennyS was hitting all the shots and we couldn't really find an opening to execute on Overpass with five men alive. NiKo came up with a brilliant idea that let us get back into the game and we basically played with a little less respect and that got us into clutch situations in which we could finally close out the game.
Now you're facing Renegades, have you guys prepared that match at all or are you going with the flow?
We're going with the flow on this one, we didn't know Renegades were in our group until the day before the tournament so I just looked into what map we would probably play and we feel very comfortable playing best-of-ones right now because we have a very strong map pool at the moment.
We feel like we can play our own game. I think they've been playing well lately, they won in Shanghai and made it to the final of iBUYPOWER so they're definitely coming in with some momentum and confidence, so we'll need to play our A game to close that one out.
Talking about best-of-ones being good for you, how do you feel about the round robin groups?
When you play a deep map pool and still have four really strong maps, people can see in our stats that our Mirage, Cache, Overpass, and Inferno are really strong, we know if we really want to we can play one of those four maps in a best-of-one.
I always like the IEM format with two groups of six teams. I feel like you play a lot of games, at least two or three per day, and I get into the zone and I always feel good. I also like the new overtime win and loss system. So far so good, and I always love to be part of these big IEM events.
FaZe has established itself as a top team, even topping the ranking momentarily, and now still up there. How do you feel about the top teams right now? Historically there have been periods with dominant teams, but now it seems a bit more competitive. How do you think it stands?
I think when you look at the last results the teams to beat are SK and us. Out of the last three tournaments, we won two and SK won the other one. If you look at Astralis they haven't won in a bit, but they're always up there in the finals or semis. Then G2 and maybe North, although they won't be at ECS and they're not here at IEM. Now I think the gap for teams going deep in tournaments consistently is after the top 5.
We're getting deep into the season. The last events are coming up, do you think you're going to be able to hit peak performance going into the final stretch?
We need to be in a good situation now. We practiced a lot before and after ELEAGUE, and after EPICENTER, but now we have four tournaments in a row. We go home, have a one-day bootcamp, and then we have BLAST, EPL, and ECS, so there's nothing we can really try or change now. We'll go with the flow and try to abuse the way we play, be it explosive or a bit more structured, depending who we're facing. Mapwise we're ready to play all seven maps. We're going to do that this event and test stuff just to see how far we can go with the seven map pool.