JW: "I reminded myself of why I am here, why I am doing this, and I think it started to spark a light"
fnatic swept Ancient and North in the group stage of the Europe Minor, cruising to the playoffs in Berlin with surprising ease. The result comes after the Swedes were struggling at Big Events, finishing 9-12th three times in a row.
We sat down with JW after fnatic topped their group, with the Swede admitting he was questioning "if everything is still worth it", but in the end, finding his passion for the game again, which reflects in his 1.12 rating on LAN over the last three months and a 1.61 rating at the Minor.
I'll start with your individual form, looking pretty good in recent times, last couple of events. What's been going on in that part, where does it come from?
I think it comes from me trying to enjoy the game more, trying to play more overall. It's been a couple of rough moments, the past months, at one point I ended up questioning if everything is still worth it. I think somewhere there I reminded myself of why I am here, why I am doing this, and I think it started to spark a light. It helps that I'm feeling more comfortable in the team and all that, but I would say it's more about enjoying the game and putting in the hours.
What makes it worthwhile?
It's the competition. Even though you are traveling so much, you get really exhausted and all that, there's just something that makes it so fun to compete and be able to meet people from all of the world. You play to be the best, but sometimes you get stuck in some kind of a cycle where you just play because you're used to doing this now for such a long time, and it's your job. I think it's just that, to remind yourself that it's pretty damn fun to compete and try to be the best against everybody and not see it as your job.
In an interview, Xizt mentioned that you didn't practice that much as a team, that you were practicing more individually, playing FPL and stuff like that, and that reminded me of last year because a similar thing that happened. It was before IEM Katowice with Golden, then Golden got kicked, but you also won the tournament. Are there any similarities to that time frame?
I would say both yes and no. The problem with that team was that we had so much issues, and things didn't click that well so we just couldn't do it anymore, if that makes sense. In this situation, I would say it's more like... it's not about practicing because we know our rounds, we know what to do, we have good team play, but it's just in certain situations we lack confidence and overall we just miss a lot of easy shots and all that.
We came to a point where we felt like it doesn't give us anything to play 7 hours of practice every day, we can just play 3 hours of prac every day and then people try to find the love for the game again and just play more individually and find that "thing". I would say the situations are comparable of course, but in the end, this is a team where the problem is not within tactics or within the practice sessions, while in the other team where it was just... we couldn't stand each other basically, it didn't work out.
I guess you're sort of saying that you can stand each other in this team, that is not the issue?
Yeah, that's the roughest part I would say, with this team. We really like to play with each other, we have fun, we're very good with each other outside the game and all that, but it's just something that happens sometimes on the server, it just doesn't click, and it's impossible to pinpoint and say why you are wiped. Cause you see us sometimes, we play and we look like a Major winning team, and then we look like an MDL team the other day. It's hard to pinpoint why, but there is just something which makes it tough.
As Richard (Xizt) probably said in another interview as well, it's not like we want to change any players or look to do anything, but we need to get results. In some aspect it is a business as well, you can't play together because you are best friends in the world, it's not how it works. So I really hope that for myself and for the team that we can start to find this more consistently.
Coming into the Minor, obviously it's the first step towards the Major, and fnatic is a team that is pretty legendary for their Major runs. So how big of an emphasis is this for you guys? How can you compare this to other tournaments, how important is it?
It's hard to say how important it is, because I would still say winning a Major is just as nice as winning Cologne, but at the same time the Majors are what shows the most in your career I would say. It doesn't matter if you won one Cologne, while if you have one Major it's going to be so much more when you retire, so to me personally, it is kind of everything. I still have that record tied with the Astralis guys, so I still feel that I can achieve more and be more legendary. It means very much to me. But also, I don't know, the Minor to me is not that special either because I've been to one before with GODSENT, so it's not that kind of new thing to me, personally, so I'm not really afraid to show our level.
You opened up here with a game against Ancient, and it was a pretty dominant showing playing against Swedes and some ex-teammates as well. How was that experience?
It was a fun experience I would say. I think we were a bit nervous going into it, I think we, in our heads, kind of overestimate them because we know them so well, and we know what they are capable of as individuals. But in the end it's not a team that should ever make us even sweat. Not to disrespect them or anything, but it's just that level we want to be on. It just started off very good and yeah, we just rolled.
After that you beat North, I think generally more people expected them to do well here, and you had a pretty dominant showing as well. Does that bring in confidence for you as a team going forward in the tournament?
Yeah I think it's a good confidence boost, especially for Brollan and twist now that they are in a good position in the Minor. They used to be fighting in the lower bracket in the Minor, but now they actually have a pretty good chance. I think it's pretty motivating for them and a big confidence boost, but also if mousesports end up second place in their group, we're going to play them in the first match anyway, so it's not that big of a deal how we make it through. I'm just happy now that we did, and we can focus on the next step.