karrigan: "This is the tournament mousesports has to show up in"
We sat down with FaZe’s Finn 'karrigan' Andersen after his team's 16-1 victory over EnVyUs in the first of the two Group A opening matches.
FaZe come into the stacked DreamHack Masters Marseille as the top ranked team in the world despite being unable to win an event yet this year. With Richard "Xizt" Landström substituting Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer, the international squad started the tournament off with a bang, giving up but a single round to Envy.
In the interview, Finn "karrigan" Andersen goes through the team’s preparation for the event, the recent roster change which saw Xizt take over olofmeister’s spot while the latter is on leave, as well as some of the nuances of the current meta at the highest level of competition.
How did you guys focus the tournament? Did you have any specific preparation?
When we got Richard (Xizt) we basically had many officials, so we focused on the officials and not on practising a lot, because practising five or six maps before officials is too draining. We kept it to two or three praccs, played the officials, and just tried to learn from our mistakes. The first week he came in was really bad, I think we lost like 70% of all matches, but the week before this tournament we went 7-1 in maps and that was pretty important for us coming into the tournament.
With Xizt coming in, how has the adaptation gone? What have been the biggest changes for the team from playing with olofmeister to playing with Xizt?
When we learned that Olof needed some time off, I immediately thought about Xizt. There were other players in the mix, but I think Xizt was the best replacement we could get because he's a very passive player and he knows how to play the roles Olof plays. I think he's very clever in the way he plays and that's what we need because we already have many aggressive players.
We had issues before when Olof wanted to play aggressively, and NiKo wanted to play aggressively, so right now it gives NiKo, rain, and GuardiaN more room to play a more aggressive style than they had been playing the past few months, and that's good.
Your faced EnVyUs in your first match of the day, had you prepared anything specific for that match, or did you just go into it playing your own game?
I was pretty sure it was going to be Cache since I saw their Inferno has been pretty bad lately results-wise, and they beat us on Cache in Pro League a couple weeks ago, so we kind of knew they'd go for it. I didn't really prepare anything, I just knew we had a bad game against them online. We lost so many clutches then, but this time we won the clutches and the match turned out fairly easy in our favor.
Yeah, were you expecting it to be so one-sided?
I think the result is lying a little. There were some tight moments with 3vs3s and 2vs2s that could have gone either way, but in the end, I believe we were in control the whole match. At 5-1 I had a feeling the match was going to go our way and that we were going to have a very strong half.
A lot of teams have made changes recently, including you guys, how do you think that's going to affect the outcome of the tournament? Is there anything that has stood out to you when studying teams?
This is the tournament mousesports has to show up and show why they're so high in the rankings. They're the team that has been together for a long time, and they've constantly been improving. They won some big tournaments and some small tournaments, like Budapest, and now is their time shine. If not, it's going to be very tough for them at future events, I think.
I feel like this year has been quite strange, results-wise. We have been very deep in tournaments, but haven't been able to close them out, and teams like Cloud9, mouz, and fnatic have capitalised on that. I feel this tournament is up for grabs, and that the whole year has been up for grabs, so far, and that we may have been favorites but weren't been able to close tournaments out.
What do you think it will take you guys to make the extra push this time around and lift the trophy?
I think the way we played today, and the way we played last week, really shows that we are good adapting to a new player, and we're trying to figure out what maps are hurting us and what maps are good for us, because when you change one player your map pool really changes, and that's what we've been trying to figure out the past few weeks. Coming into this tournament, we're very comfortable and confident that we can step-up individually, and we are ready to play as a team.
Finally, to close it out, when you spoke about the year being up for grabs, what do you think has created the vacuum at the top in which there aren't clear favorites anymore?
I think when we started the year there were clear favorites in us and SK, there was a big gap at the end of last year, with the only teams having an upward trajectory being fnatic and mouz. They couldn't close it out at the end of the year, but they have been improving constantly this year.
If you look at the top of the ranking now, you can see two top teams with international rosters, and now you see SK going international. It takes time, but once it works you can really grab players that fit the teams instead of trying to create a style around the players available in your country. I think that's also one of the reasons that we and mouz are so high in the rankings, and it's what makes the current meta so strong and unpredictable because it's also not easy to play on an international team. There's going to be some miscommunication, and you have to be individually on point. That could be a reason there's a bit of a fracture in the meta and among the top four teams in the world.