fnatic came to IEM Chicago with two players who had not played with the team on LAN yet, Ludvig "Brollan" Brolin and Simon "twist" Eliasson, and have managed to make it to the playoffs after two victories in their first two match days at the tournament in Illinois.
During our conversation after the match against eUnited, JW talked about the team's new roster, how they were able to exploit BIG, the importance of playing well at IEM Chicago to not fall off of the Big Event invite list, and how tomorrow's match will be good for Brollan to gain experience.
First things first, tell me about the new signings. How are they gelling with the team?
I think they're working really, really well. We had a different plan when we built the roster this time, trying to go for more depth so we can have more playstyles and more potential than just thinking in the short-term. I think the new signings are great and we're only going to get better from here.
Have they brought any extra motivation to the players that were already on the roster?
Yeah, kind of. When we lost flusha it was like a completely new start, for KRiMZ and me at least. Then you add a 16-year-old who does nothing more than sit in front of the computer all day long playing CS, and of course, they brought some hunger and motivation, but I think it's coming from everyone. KRiMZ, xizt, and I, we really want to get back to the top, so I think it's a combination. We give them a lot and they give us a lot.
I was talking to the tabseN earlier and he mentioned that you guys were playing a bit scrimmy. You're saying now that you can play different styles, so is that a fair assessment?
I wouldn't call it a puggy style. We're a team with players that know how to read the game and the individuals we have will abuse the loopholes in other teams, so I think our players just found the holes in their system and we easily abused it. I wouldn't call it puggy because there's always a plan, and if someone finds a loophole, the other team is going to try and work around it. I think that was a pretty bad thing to say, we just abused their holes.
You had the BIG match yesterday, and today you beat eUnited, but tomorrow you face one of the big boys, mousesports or Liquid. How are you feeling going into that?
We're pretty confident, I would say. It's going to be a good game for us to get a good feeling against a really top team on LAN. Under these circumstances, it's really good because we have twist, who's played on the big stage before, but also brollan who is 16-years-old, so I think it'll be a good game for him to play against a top team on LAN without having the pressure of being eliminated if we lose. We're secured for playoffs, and we'll fight really hard for the spot in the semis, but it's going to be a really good test for our team.
I wanted to touch upon the online side of things, where you've been struggling a little bit. Can you tell me how you're dealing with that?
I think the biggest issue we had was that our signings got a bit delayed, so we had to play a thousand matches in a row instantly after getting the players, which is not necessarily anyone's fault, but it messed with us a bit. We won a game, then things didn't work and we had to switch roles and positions... we weren't sure about what we were going to do, so it was really hard. I think it was just bad timing for us, but at the same time I do think you develop a lot faster playing officials.
We're handling it well, I think, we're just trying to get better all of the time. The playstyle we're trying to build is maybe not best-suited for online play because people are playing with more confidence there, doing more random stuff which they wouldn't do on LAN. It's showing that it works decently on LAN. We have more to show, of course, but it's a bit rough. We're all so open-minded right now and trying to learn from everything. It's good, but it's also bad, because you don't want to get relegated. I think it's helping us move in the right direction.
To out the interview, while on the topic of playstyles and being able to do more things, tell me a bit more about your preparation. I'm guessing this is an important event for you guys, even if you're a new team, so how did you prepare for it? Did you do anything special?
We put in a lot of time, and I'm happy that we're taking this chance because we're in a situation right now in which we're about to fall off of the invite list for the top events. We went kind of all-in for this, we've only had like one off day since we signed the new guys, we've played just about every single day since then. Outside of practice, everyone has been grinding FPL and so on, and I think at one point everyone on the team had 110 hours in the past two weeks. I don't even know when that happened last on fnatic, so I would say we really want to take this chance and make something good out of it because we want to secure invites to the top events in the future. We've put in a lot of time and we're constantly trying to get better.