NiKo: "From now on karrigan won't be the in-game leader"
FaZe had a rough showing at ESL One New York, as a 1-2 loss against G2 followed by a 0-2 against NRG meant the European combine was out in last place at a tournament they were one of the favorite teams to lift the trophy.
Tell me a little bit about the team's expectations before coming here. You were one of the favorites on paper, did you feel that way?
Yeah, our expectations were high. I think everyone expected to make it to the final or even that we would win the event. It didn't work out well, though. It is what it is and we just have to keep moving forward.
How hard were the losses? Coming in with those expectations and then losing to G2 and NRG, two teams you're supposed to be better than. How deeply did this affect you?
I think this is one of the worst losses at an event and one of the biggest disappointments we've ever had. It's the first time since Stockholm that we're not actually going to play in the arena, so that was pretty frustrating. As you said, we lost to G2 and NRG, two teams we have to win against if we want to get back to our level. Especially G2, we haven't lost to them in over a year or so, I think. When we started losing it started to feel like the beginning of the Major, and that was a big issue.
Tell me what happened. What didn't work?
It's hard to say why it happened, but what happened is that the mood in the team got bad once we started losing. We didn't play together, the communication was bad... It wasn't us playing at all, I don't know why. As I said it just happened and we're going to try and work on it for the future. There's not much to say, it was just not us.
Several teams have been saying that, after losing matches here, there was bad communication and a bad atmosphere. It seems like a bit of a generalized feeling among some of the teams expected to perform really well here and that have had some troubles. Why do you think that is, is everybody feeling bad after the Major?
I don't think we felt that bad after the Major because we started playing better after we came back from 0-2. Everybody was feeling good, even after the Astralis loss everything was fine in the team, we had our chance to win against them, at least on Mirage where we let it slip away. Losing to them wasn't that frustrating. Coming here everything was fine, expectations were still there, the mood was there, but once we started playing, once we started losing... That Cache game against G2 destroyed us, I don't know why it happened, it just did.
You started calling at the Major after going 0-2 to try and switch things up. Here, karrigan was calling again, right? Did you feel like you were falling back into some bad habits?
Yeah, that's one of the reasons we started playing poorly. Once we started losing it was just flashbacks from the Major. People got in a bad mood instantly. Not much to say, but yeah, we fell into bad habits here at this event.
Did you feel like calling at any point?
No, no. We had a deal, karrigan is calling this event. We were going to try to fix the issue we had at the beginning of the Major and it didn't work out. From now on we're going to see what's going to happen.
Is there a chance we'll see roster moves? Is that a possibility?
It's very unlikely but from now on karrigan won't be the in-game leader anymore, it's going to be me.
So you talked a bit about the Major showing, you said it wasn't a huge disappointment after the bad start. Can you develop a bit?
It wasn't a disappointment because as I said already we played fine against Astralis. We had our chance to win against them. We had a bad start on Mirage, came back, and threw a few rounds. Then on Inferno we had a big early lead, 10-5, won the pistol, but we lost the forcebuy... We just lost some crucial rounds and they punished us for that because they're the best team in the world. It was very close, and just making it to the playoffs was a big relief for us, so there aren't many regrets, I'd say.
By the way, RobbaN wasn't here...
He decided to skip this event to stay at home with his new baby, but he'll be back for the next events.
So you'll work with him hand in hand? Do you think his not being here affected the team a bit?
I don't think it affected anything, but it could have been better if we had him once things started going downhill. He's really good at fixing mistakes outside of the game, like making the mood in the team better. He's really good at getting players to just focus on the game instead of being somewhere else, mentally. That could have helped us, maybe we could have won against these teams if he would have been here, but it didn't affect the game that much.
I'm going to start working with him more than karrigan did, because karrigan is the guy that wants to work things himself. He was working alone most of the time, but I'm going to need help from both him and RobbaN.
So what are the goals for the near future?
I think it's just finding ourselves again. We're supposed to be at the top, and we're going to be there pretty soon.
What do you need to get there?
To find our team again, for the players to find themselves in the team again.
How do you find it?
How do I find it? I have no idea (laughs). I haven't thought about it yet, to be honest, but I think it's going to be about getting something fresh in the team, which is me calling. Having something new people can believe in, I think that's important for the team, and I'm just going to try to get all of the players in their comfort zone again, especially rain because he hasn't been playing as well as he did at the end of last year.