We caught up with FaZe captain Finn "karrigan" Andersen at the ECS Season 5 Finals to discuss Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer's prolonged leave of absence and asked him if it's feasible for the team to go on using stand ins for the Swedish star.
The European superteam have acquired the help of the 23-year-old Norwegian Jorgen "cromen" Robertsen for the London event, and confirmed on thursday that he is also going to ESL One Belo Horizonte with them.
The question is whether FaZe can keep relying on outside help to stay at the top of the scene, especially with the Major roster lock coming up this summer. We put that questions and several others to karrigan after the team secured a playoff spot at ECS:
What was your preparation like, coming into this event?
Obviously, we have been playing with Xizt for a while, and then olofmeister came back for a few days of practice. But he wasn't ready at that point, so we really didn't know what to do. We only had a few days to find a stand in for this tournament and for Belo Horizonte. So cromen came in, and I think he's doing a pretty good job. It was tough to play the first few matches with him, just getting used to each other, but he proved those people wrong who have been questioning his abilities, especially on Mirage I think.
There obviously aren't many players to chose from when stuff like this happens. How did you end up getting him?
So, there are a lot of things to consider when you have so few days to find a player. There's obviously contracts, you might have to loan a player without knowing for how long, you might have to take him from another team and all that. So we saw cromen was free on the market after having played with Heroic and he impressed us in Dallas, so it was quite easy to pick him since the rosters had locked right before we found out that we had to use a substitute.
I know the stuff with olofmeister is very personal, but there's been some talk about his latest leave of absence having to do with something different that what it initially was. What can you tell me about that?
I can't really say much. It's up to FaZe and olof how they want to communicate it. We just hope he does come back, we have no idea when it's gonna be. Obviously, we have to focus on ECS and Belo Horizonte and then we'll have to see what we're going to do for ESL Cologne and ELEAGUE, and then the player break comes, and then, a lot of things can change within a few days.
As you were saying, you were doing well with Xizt, and cromen seems to be an okay fit so far, but still, the core of the team, how does it feel for them, and you, continually being forced to use a stand in?
I mean, we were doing quite okay with Xizt, we knew that it would be temporary and just over the summer. When olof came back, we were thinking 'now were ready to rock and roll' and were going to come up with stuff for these tournaments, but then suddenly, it didn't happen. So obviously, on the core side, it was kind of a hit to our motivation and slap to the face. But we're here, we're just going to do the best that we can, and I think we're good at incorporating new players into our playstyle. We play pretty simple, and with the role olof has, there's actually not many tactics that he's actually in, so that's the big reason for why we have an easy time implementing new players, we can still run tactics with the old core.
You're calling this a slap to the face. So how do you as the leader try to soothe it, what do you have to do to make the other guys feel better?
We have to reset and remember that this is still only for the time being, at least we know now that we're playing with the same player for the next two tournaments. That's a big help on the motivational side. So, all in all I'm just happy cromen had time and that he was able to play for us, because otherwise we would have had to play with RobbaN.
I know you said that you can't tell us when olofmeister will be back, and that only he knows, but for how long do you think you can keep on implementing stand ins before it will start affecting your form negatively?
It's gonna be hard from right now. Astralis is the best team in the world, and I think nobody can really challenge them. I think we're the only team that can, winning five of the eleven maps they've lost in the latest months. So it's gonna be hard for us to keep implementing people, and I hope that after Belo Horizonte we have a clear idea of how long this is going to take, for how long will we need a stand in, or if we need a permanent replacement, we have no idea yet.
But it's definitely something you have to think about then, replacing olofmeister completely?
Yeah, we have to think about after Belo Horizonte how we want to attack the last two events, and then there's also the Major restriction coming into effect sometime in July, so we have to look into what our options are for the future.