karrigan: "It feels really good to win against your old teammates, [...] but I'm sad it wasn't a knock-out game"
We sat down with Finn "karrigan" Andersen after mousesports clinched a semi-final spot in the playoffs after beating FaZe, where they will wait for the winner of the Liquid vs. Astralis quarter-final.
mousesports have had quite the run so far at the ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals in Montpellier, where they beat MIBR, HellRaisers, and FaZe to top their group with a clean sheet, which earns them a spot in Saturday's semi-finals. Their rival is yet unknown, but will be one of the two best teams in the world, as they will face the winner of the Liquid vs. Astralis quarter-final.
In the interview, karrigan talks about winning against his former colleagues from FaZe, how mousesports was put together, some of the nuances about leading the young team, their current goals, going into the match against Liquid or Astralis, and how he works with his coach, Allan "Rejin" Petersen.
How good does this victory feel?
It feels really good to win against your old teammates, I had the same feeling when I joined FaZe and played against Astralis, but I'm sad it wasn't a knock-out game. We also got the harder bracket now, with Astralis and Liquid, compared to NRG and G2. In the end I'm just happy that we proved ourselves against a top 6 team in the world.
I talked to ropz the other day and he said people were perhaps overhyping you guys, can they start to get hyped?
Of course people can't stop hyping us with these young players and the whole situation with mouseports, but I saw some betting companies had us as favorites against FaZe, which is kind of ridiculous in my mind since we've only played two and a half months and haven't had a breakthrough result with an insane placing. People can be hyped, but we need to keep our expectations in line with what we think is the real goal and that's to have good placings in Cologne and Berlin.
How did you work this team together? How did you figure out what everyone had to do and how to get everyone to fit and so on?
It's kind of funny because I was really close to signing another deal before mousesports actually contacted me. I knew they needed two players after benching chrisJ and STYKO, but they never reached out to me so I never expected them to be interested in me. Something happened between oskar, ropz, and suNny, and suddenly mouz came to me asking if I wanted to build a team with two more new players. The names we came up with were instantly interesting to me, exciting young players, and then having chrisJ by my side helping me out, we know each other from back in the days, so I was really happy when I got the offer.
How has the dynamic been, knowning chrisJ from back in the days, you're the two veterans on the team. How is it working out?
I'm definitely calling all of the time, but what I try to improve on is that they see things I can abuse or we can abuse on a bombsite, so it doesn't have to come down to Chris helping me out in all sorts of situations, it's something we've been focusing on a lot and that we need to improve on as a team because I don't have ten eyes, I don't see what's going on in different parts of the map and I need that information because if not I'm making mid-round calls based off of no information. It's something we still have to work on as a team. I don't think we have to work on our individual level, we've shown in the last three tournaments that if we hit our shots we can play well, and we're also not just running around, we're pretty structured compared to my old FaZe lineup.
You went through cleanly to the semi-finals, so what was the goal coming into the tournament and what is it now?
I said to myself that this summer is about getting as much experience as we can, we're still a young team. It's also about getting on stage because that's a different scenario for some of the players on our team. Now that we reached our goal, maybe I would say even better with the semi-final placing, we have nothing to lose. We're going to play the #1 or #2 team in the world in the semis and we want to show a good level against them, but it's also going to be very tough. We're going in as underdogs and we'll just have fun as a team and try to see how far we can go when we play well.
You've only been together for a few months, as you said, but where do you see this team's ceiling?
I have no idea where the ceiling is. We hit our highest one so far right now, but I think you'll have to ask me this in three months after the Major, after everything has settled down and it's not completely new, and also when people start respecting us and anti-stratting us even more. Right now the ceiling is high, but it can also turn at some point, all teams go through a hard period in the lineup and that's when you see if you can adapt to that situation. That's where you show your real strength as a team, if you can go through the hard periods that allow you to appreciate the good times.
To close it out, you're working with Rejin, your coach, can you tell me a bit about him and how you work with him?
I know him from 1.6, from when I played with him like 15 years ago, so I know him on a personal level from back then. We needed a coach that has a new view of things, and it's very important that when you get into a new team that you have a coach that's on the same page immediately. If you've been in a team for a year and you get a new coach, then he has a stronger voice because things have to change... Rejin had to learn a lot of new stuff, how I want to anti-strat, how I want us to do things, but the good thing is that he likes the way I'm calling and he likes how we play as a team. He's also really good at correcting mistakes in practice, which means I can focus more on myself, which has paid off lately. I can focus on myself instead of all of the time correcting peoples' mistakes, so he's doing a great job and is a very underrated coach at the moment.