JW: "I think that it's great that the game is developing and we're getting new metas and situational guns"
fnatic, who finished in second place in Group E following ties with Windigo and Movistar Riders, were able to beat OpTic in two maps, Mirage and Overpass, to secure a semi-final berth where they will face the winner of Valiance and AGO.
In the interview, JW talks about the new update to the game, the match against OpTic, the team's Major blunder, how it affected Ludvig "Brollan" Brolin, playing the WESG 2018 World Finals, and his hopes of winning the tournament.
Let's start off with the fact that there was a big update last night and you didn't know if you were going to play on it or not right up until the match started. Did you talk to OpTic beforehand and make any gentlemen's agreements?
Yeah, so we got to the stage two hours after the update came out and they told us we'd have to play on it. We didn't complain or anything, we just asked why and they explained it, and we had to deal with it, but prior to the game, we realized there were some commands to play on the old economic system. We talked to OpTic and they agreed on playing on the old system as well, so we talked to the admins and they tried to fix it. Finally, they came up with a solution so we managed to play with the old economic system and I think that was really good from them.
Did you notice any other changes during the map, any difference with the AUG going back to $3,300, or anything else?
To be honest, I don't think it affected that much, as far as the AUG goes. I guess when we play the real update with the new economic system, I can see it getting played even more than it is played now because you're going to have more money, so I think it may have to be bumped up slightly, like maybe to $3,500, or maybe slow down the fire rate a bit. Right now you shoot the first three or four bullets insanely fast and accurately so when you try to search for angles with the AWP or something the AUG is winning the duel 9 out of 10 times, it feels like.
Other than that, I think that it's great that the game is developing and we're getting new metas and situational guns and stuff like that. We noticed that the shotguns are cheaper now so I think that's a good change for me personally because I'll earn more money and spend less...
We'll see the bank of fnatic back!
Yeah, I think I'm going to play more shotguns overall to be honest because it's so valuable now, even more than before. But yeah, I think it's great that they're changing the game. Right now I just want to see a new map and then I think I'm fine.
Talking about WESG, you and Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson won it last year, is it a tournament you enjoy coming and playing or is it an event you're extra motivated to come to, or is it just another tournament?
I would say it's kind of both, it's kind of just another tournament in the circuit, but right now, after the disappointment at the Major, I think it's a great tournament to bounce back and prove not only to ourselves but also to the fans that we're so much better than we showed at the Major. So it's kind of like another event but we also have to show ourselves and others that it wasn't us at the Major.
Talking about the Major... Late last year you were starting to show that you were pretty good, a lot of people were noticing a big improvement, but then you really struggled in Katowice. How do you see yourselves now?
To begin with, I think the biggest upset for us was the Major because we were insanely prepared. We had easily the best scrim results we have ever had. We dominated most of the teams we played during practice and we had an insanely good flow communication-wise, team play-wise... we played close to perfect, so then going into the Major we started to play not to lose instead of playing to win.
We were afraid of getting upset by these teams and we thought that we were better than that or something, in our minds, so I think it was a good wake up call because in our minds there was no way we were going home from that qualifier. In our minds, I think we even prepared for the Legends stage, so it bit us really, really hard that way. So yeah, it was a good wake up call and I'm not afraid to grind back. I played one Minor before and won that, so I'm looking forward to restarting the whole cycle and just getting back to it.
One iconic moment from the Major that sticks in my mind is that picture of Brollan with his face in his hands and you're behind him, the experienced guy and the youngster having a moment, can you tell me what that meant to him or how it affected him?
I think that it was easily the most disappointing moment in his career.
And he's so young...
Yeah, he's so young and there's so much ahead of him, but he puts so much pressure on himself because he's playing next to us and he knows he can deliver so much more. He tends to blame himself a bit too much when we're playing poorly, so I think that combined with him being a bit nervous, and also being so fresh to the team... and with us having had a bit of a shaky background, maybe he's afraid that if things don't work out we'll change players immediately. I think somewhere in the back of his head it could be something like that, that he thinks we expect results immediately, and so he puts even more pressure on himself.
I think it was the lowest low in his career, but I also think he learned a lot from it and I think we as a team grew through that. Before, as a team, we kind of grew from our wins and got separated by our losses, but with this team, I feel kind of differently. We won in Abu Dhabi [PGL Grand Slam] and we bombed out really hard because of that, but the losses are really making us tougher, I feel like, because we're actually talking about it and trying to handle our problems and learning a lot more now. Hopefully we're going to take something from it and show something good, because we really should.
Tell me a bit about the match today. You played OpTic on Mirage and Overpass, kind of expected, I guess? How were you feeling going into it, how well did you know them and study them, and did you think you were the favorites?
We actually practiced quite a bit against them. We tend to play very close against each other, but as far as this match, I thought it would be Mirage and Inferno because that's our best map and their best map. We weren't too sure if they'd try to abuse Train for the decider, but also our Overpass has been shaky this event so we were pretty sure they'd try and abuse it. We talked a lot about the CT side on Overpass yesterday and a bit before the game and I think everything went as expected. I'd say we were a bit of the favorite, but we were during the Major qualifier as well, so we try not to think too much about it, we just try to play our game no matter the opponent.
On your side of the bracket are Valiance and AGO. Do you see yourselves as a strong contender to be in the final?
I think we should be in the final, but once again, we can't take anything for granted, we really need to stay focused, clear our minds, prepare for the game, and really go in there and give it our all because it's too big of a game to let it slip. Against Valiance I think we're big favorites because they're a mix team, they've played together before, but they're still sort of a mix, so I treat them like Russia. It's a mix team, but they have good players and you can never underestimate good individual players. Against AGO I think it's a bit closer because they are a "real team" and I think they will prepare way more against us than Valiance would, I think, because mixes tend to wing it more. I think we should be favorites in both match-ups, but nothing we'll think about, we're just treating it as a semi-final match.
Let's say you make it to the final and there's like a G2 or MIBR waiting for you there, are you ready to put on the mask, rob the bank, get the $500K?
Yeah, I really, really want to make it to the final and play G2 or MIBR, especially G2 because it would be nice to get revenge from the Major qualifier, where they kicked us out, but also if we play MIBR it would be a great story because they're the legendary SK lineup and we're kind of the legendary fnatic still, so I think no matter what happens or what team we would play, it would be a great match-up. We can hopefully share our true, true self because I think we still haven't shown our true potential here, yet.