We caught up with Maikil "Golden" Selim ahead of fnatic's debut at DreamHack Masters Marseille to discuss a range of topics about him and his team.
fnatic have travelled to Marseille looking to keep their streak going after winning their two previous LAN tournaments, IEM Katowice and the WESG World Finals. The Swedes will kick off the $250,000 event against TYLOO, with Renegades and Natus Vincere completing their group.
With the event about to start, we sat down with Maikil "Golden" Selim, who gave us his thoughts on the team's online performances, their preparation going into DreamHack Masters, and more, including some tips for the new fnatic Academy.
Less than a year ago, you were part of fnatic’s academy roster. Now you are leading the third-best team in the world. What does it feel like to enter DreamHack Masters Marseille with such a high placing in the ranking?
It feels like I have accomplished something with this team. The guys have been supportive and it has helped a lot. It feels good. I don't have that much to say about it, it just came very naturally.
You had a pretty close final against Space Soldiers at WESG. Did you expect such a tough game against the Turkish team?
Yes, we thought they would be a tough opponent because they have been playing insanely well online, and they are at the top in the Pro League table. During the WESG final, we lost the last round of the T half on Inferno, a 2vs4, and that really made the game hard for us to play. We should have never let them do that. It caught us off-guard and I think it affected us for the rest of the map and even a bit on Mirage, but, in the end, we made the comeback.
Things have not been going so well for your team online, especially in the Pro League. Why has the team not been able to play at its usual level online?
We don't know why we have been struggling online, we should be doing much better. It's something we are working on. It's much different than last season, we were playing so well in ECS and EPL. I don't know, online games... they're just not going well for us. We're not working well in-game and some stuff needs to be fixed.
Do you expect you'll be able to play at your regular level on LAN?
Well, we shouldn't let online results affect us because of how we played at the last two events we attended. We won both, and that should give us a lot of confidence coming into this one, but, at the same time, online games have affected us and we know some things we need to fix and that may or may not affect our results. I just hope we go into this very hyped and at full strength to try and win it.
How did you practice for DreamHack Marseille? Did you bootcamp or just prepare online? What aspects have you focused on?
We practiced a bit and played a lot of online matches, but no bootcamp or hardcore practice. We played a lot individually, like FPL and SPL and so on, so that has been the main thing, working on ourselves, although we did play practice matches and made a few minor adjustments.
What are your thoughts on your group opponents?
On paper, it looks like it is one of the easier groups, but you can never underestimate anyone, even though there are more stacked groups out there.
DreamHack Masters Marseille will begin with a GSL group stage, featuring bo1 matches in the opening and elimination stages, before the playoffs. What are your thoughts on this format?
If you lose two bo1s you are out, and I think that's tough because you can lose two bo1s, it does not take a miracle for a team to beat you on just one map. I think they should do like at IEM Katowice, one bo1 then elimination and deciders as bo3s. I think that's a good format.
DreamHack Masters Marseille will feature many teams who recently changed players. Is there any team in particular that you are curious to watch? Who do you think that made the best roster change?
I haven't watched anyone in particular, but I think Astralis have been showing very good form lately, especially in EPL and ECS, they've been smashing it. They've also been playing really well in practice. I think they have a good synergy going on and I think they made the best roster move.
After the WESG Finals, you tweeted that you were going to stay in fnatic. Were you relieved to put the speculation behind and to be able to focus on your work?
Yes, I was. It was a very turbulent time for me, because of a lot of things. I'd rather not speak about it, but I'm happy that I can move forward and focus on the team and on myself.
The winners of the GAMERZ show will undergo a bootcamp as part of fnatic’s academy program. As a former academy member yourself, are you excited to see what these young players can do? Have you had the chance to see them in action?
Yeah, I've watched some of their online matches, they have played an online cup or two. They have potential, of course. I only see problems rising if people clash with each other this early on. I think when I was in the academy team we had a lot more cohesion and we were very honest with each other. We put a lot of work into how individuals had to play in this or that situation, we spoke about a lot of things, and I think that gave us a synergy that allowed us to do anything. If they can understand that, they will be able to improve a lot in like a year or two.
Finally, just thanks to everyone who has expressed their support. They're awesome.