With Astralis and Natus Vincere, the two teams ahead of them in the ranking, nowhere to be seen, FaZe will be hoping to get back to winning ways after finishing 3rd-4th at their last two events, and pick up their third title counting towards the Intel Grand Slam.
Read on as karrigan discusses FaZe's prospects in Belo Horizonte, Jorgen "cromen" Robertsen's impact since joining as a stand-in, coach Robert "RobbaN" Dahlström's absence from the tournament, and more.
Your first match here was against Ghost, a team on the lower end of the spectrum and with a brand new roster. Did you do any scouting at all or did you go in "blind"?
We went into it blind, looking through HLTV we didn't really find anything so we just played it simple in the veto, and the outcome was pretty good for us. All three maps that came out are comfortable for the team and for the lineup we have right now.
This is cromen's second tournament with FaZe. How did this match go, is he adapting well and do you think he can help you guy go all the way here?
I think he did a great job at ECS, being a last-minute stand-in, even though he had to play at a high level against a team like Astralis in the semi-finals. Here, teams have a little bit of a lower level, which means we can make a few more mistakes without getting penalized as much. Today he did great and I think he'll be able to play his role even better later in the tournament, when we'll face harder opponents.
Talking about facing harder opponents, some of the hardest aren't here, namely Astralis and Natus Vincere. How important is it for you guys to win here?
If we don't win this tournament we will be very disappointed, we've had our eyes on the Grand Slam since day one, since we won in New York, and if we want to have a chance of winning it then we definitely have to win here, where Astralis and Na`Vi are missing, and mousesports are fielding a stand-in. I think our biggest opponents are Liquid and maybe SK depending on their confidence levels from the previous tournament. If we do not win it'll be disappointing as we feel like favourites coming into this tournament.
There has been some talk about the roster issues. If cromen plays really well, could he end up on the roster?
It's really hard to talk about it, so I kind of want to say "no comment". But, for now, I will say that he's a stand-in for the two tournaments [ECS and ESL One Belo Horizonte]. We are not sure what we will do for ESL One Cologne, it's something we'll have to figure out once this tournament is over. That's all I can say.
Is this something you want to figure out before the end of the season, or do you think the player break will be the right time to get everything figured out?
We have two tournaments left after this one, so depending on how everything works out we want to be sure that when we start the next season we'll be sure about what happens. We're not going to field any stand-ins for the rest of the year. It might change for Cologne and ELEAGUE. I'm not sure yet what we're going to do, but we'll figure that out very shortly and, hopefully, we'll have some news before Cologne.
You played Dust2 against Ghost as the second map, now that it's starting to get its place in the map pool and teams are getting more comfortable on it, is it something you're enjoying it more than at the beginning?
When we practised with olof those few days, we did very well on it, it's a map that fits the set roles we have on the team really well, the double AWP and all that kind of stuff is really good for us. We started liking it very much. It's a simple map but there's still stuff you can do to force out rotations and I think that is what fits our playstyle. Force out rotations and trying to force mistakes we can then capitalize on when we hit one of the sites. That's basically why we love the map the most.
RobbaN wasn't standing with you guys, does that have to do with rushing from one event to another or something?
No, I'd rather not talk about the topic, if RobbaN wants to say something, he can say it himself.
How about for the team, flying here right after playing in London?
It's kind of hard to fly from one tournament to another, especially with a stand-in, as when you're in a tournament it doesn't make sense to practice a lot. We practiced a few maps against Liquid the other day to just keep playing CS. It's pretty hard to play here in Brazil since there's no FPL and we can only play DM. That's the hardest part, not being able to play as much as we could in London or other places where we normally go. It's hard to go from tournament to tournament, but we're just going to make the best of it. There's a reason we said yes to coming here, which is obviously to try and win the Grand Slam.