The Swedish team didn't have any issues in their opening match of the FACEIT Major New Challengers Stage, beating the Polish side 16-5 on Mirage to go 1-0 in the Swiss system.
In the aftermath of the game, we interviewed Lekr0 about taking on the in-game leader role, how he approaches it and how it effects his individual game at the moment.
How do you want to play the game as the in-game leader, how do you want to see this NiP play? What's the main focus right now?
My main focus right now is letting people do what they are most comfortable with, and call around it so it's easy not to choke and for the players to play at their best. We have really good entry fraggers and lurkers, so if we use them to the fullest I think we are going to be a really strong team. That's the main point right now, the strategic approach comes next.
So, for now, you are freestyling, playing a more loose style. As an in-game leader, where do you come in? Where does your decision making come in at this stage of the team?
We play a lot of loose-style standards and a lot of the impact comes from the mid-round calls we have, what info we get on the opponents' side. The information that everyone brings during the game is really important for us to play this loose style. But when the communication isn't up and we aren't playing confidently, we usually go towards most of a strategic approach then. When we win a few rounds, we can go back to the loose style, when people get into the zone and stuff like that.
You seem like kind of a chill person, not really a boisterous voice, I think it's fair to say that. Do you have any issues getting all of these veteran players, experienced players, older guys, to listen to you? When you have a specific mid-round call, for them to instantly do what you want to do?
I think right now I'm just trying to get into the leader role a little bit. I'm usually pretty calm and stuff like that, but if they don't listen I'll get really mad and I'll, of course, show it, so they know that I'm mad, so they will listen more closely in the future. I'm just trying to do it in practice, not in official games, scream a bit and get angry, just show them that they have to listen or this won't work.
You picked up the role in a period when you were trying to figure out something else that would work, and the Minor went well. But in the offseason, you had a bit of time, did you do anything specifically to try and learn the role? For example, either watching videos, reading, anything like that? Did you do anything outside of the basic thinking about the game to improve as an in-game leader?
Honestly, I didn't really do anything special to improve as an in-game leader. I think I had really good in-game leaders so far, I think I learned the most from pronax back in the day, and when I played in the first fnatic team, with olofmeister and dennis, I actually learned a lot from olof, even though he is not an in-game leader. But his communication and what you can do with communication, I learned a lot about that. That is what I'm working on right now. And playing in my previous teams with GOLDEN, flusha, and dennis - I think GOLDEN is the only true in-game leader, the other two could be but they don't take the role as their primary one, they have so much experience. I learned a lot from them and I try to use every bit of knowledge that I gain, put it into play, and see how it goes.
In Stockholm you finished top four, which I guess is a pretty decent result, you played some top teams. From your perspective, as the in-game leader, playing against some of the more experienced teams, on the stage, what did you take away from that event?
I think we played really well during Stockholm, we had really bad starts against Ghost, I don't think we really played that bad, it's just that we weren't focused, we never got into the game. But towards the end of the first map against Ghost we got rolling and our event pretty much started from there. I'm really happy with how we played. Even though we lost 2-0 against Astralis, it didn't feel like that, we could've done a lot better. I think we should've had Mirage and at least played the third map. I'm disappointed we didn't make it to the finals but I think we have much more to give than we showed in the semi-finals against Astralis.
Coming to the Major, you knew you were going to play Virtus.pro. What was the approach for that game like?
During Stockholm, we didn't prepare much [for others], we just prepared our own game. Even though we know what opponents have as standards, we don't anti-strat them instantly. We have it in our minds, kind-of, and we don't focus on that. We focus on our own game, and maybe if our game isn't working we can just use what we know about the opponent. Just playing our game was the best we can do.
You lost a few anti-ecos in that game, that was the only thing that looked bad, so to say, you won 16-5 in the end so it didn't matter. But what were the issues in those rounds, that could cost you in some tougher matches down the road?
I think that in the first anti-eco we made a really bad mid-round call. Everyone was for the idea since we lost control of a big part of the map, we decided to just move to the other side. We shouldn't have done that, we should've just played control, play to the strength of our better rifles, but we stressed at the moment, died one-by-one in dumb duels.
Talking about your individual game, now as an in-game leader, have you felt that it has been tougher for you to play, to get the frags?
Yeah, especially in the beginning, when I wasn't used to calling. I tended to think too much, that I have to do this or that, but right now I'm not forcing myself to play CS all the time, I'm just playing the amount I feel like I need to perform and I'm comfortable with my skill right now and I'm not overthinking it. I think if I just keep my focus and my calm I can both call and frag at the same time.
More interviews from the FACEIT Major New Challengers Stage:
stanislaw: "We have all the pieces to really do some damage"
B1ad3: "We still haven't found the perfect in-game leader"
crush: "We didn't play much [officially] because we wanted to find our game"
Hiko "American teams are dependent on the momentum they gain"
NEO: "byali wanted changes even before Snax told us [he was leaving]"
DavCost: "The main goal is to show who we are"