YNk: "Sometimes we're playing in a way that's not best-suited for the players we have"

In an interview with Janko "YNk" Paunović, we heard about the issues FaZe have faced at recent events and adjusting their style to get more out of their individuals.

An early group stage exit from FaZe following an underwhelming showing in the playoffs of ESL Pro League Finals against G2 is a sign of worry for the international roster, who have recently added Filip "NEO" Kubski as their in-game leader.

YNk is looking to secure NiKo more space to flourish again

We sat down with YNk to hear the thoughts of the team's coach, with the 26-year-old revealing details about Nikola "NiKo" Kovač's form, Finn "karrigan" Andersen's departure, and the AUG-Krieg balance.

Continuing on the last event that you had, which obviously wasn't that good for you guys, Niko said something along the lines of it being maybe the worst event going back to when you had AdreN in the team, but he didn't know why. This is kind of a similar story here, do you have any more insight into what is causing the issues for you right now?

I think that it's basically two things - first thing is the growing pains, getting the new in-game leader that has his own view when it comes to some things, and then we also have some of the things have been working very well for us towards the end of the lineup with AdreN, so trying to find a balance between the two and also trying to play in a better way. It's something that's going to take time for everyone to kind of get on the same page, and that leads to the second issue which is that we've been losing some very easy rounds, and we've been making basic, fundamental mistakes in important rounds.

So many times when we would win a pistol, we would lose the second round. In the Inferno game against mouz, in the first gun round we had a 5v2, we lose it when we were supposed to be getting momentum. Those things are really hindering us, because we're still trying to figure out stuff. It's a combination of still working on getting better as a team, but then also making mistakes in rounds, individually, that doesn't have anything to do with how long we've been playing together, it's just basic stuff that we should be able to be doing better. In reality, we just need a good bootcamp, a longer bootcamp, so that we can have some really good and productive practice, and I think once we are able to get that down, we are going to be playing much better CS.

Talking about individual mistakes and just people not being in form as they were before, especially Niko, who seems to always be in form, doesn't matter what. Where does that come from? Is there a part of just having so many changes throughout the last year or so that led to built up frustration and lack of motivation in the team?

There's definitely no lack of motivation or anything like that. When it comes to the individual form, for NiKo especially, he has had to change his role when he was in-game leading a bit, and his focus was more on the team and calling things. Also, now with NEO, he's going back to some of his old positions, some of his old style - that's where the growing pains are for us. We are not really doing things as a team, and that's on me as well, to an extent, you need to create your game in a way that your star players can shine and they can play to their strengths.

The confusion we had a little bit in our game - sometimes we're playing in a way that's not best-suited for the players we have. That's also hard for him to get into the game and do his own thing when he's not really getting the chances that he can take. When you have such a skilled player you don't need to put him in a 70/30 duel, you just can't put him in 20/80 situations - you just need to create something where he wins his kill, and can take it from there. That's something that's also been a bit lacking, and something that we're aware of and we're going to try and do and implement, and try to play in a way where we're playing towards our own strengths. We kind of lost our identity a little bit lately, and it's showing in the games that we've been playing.

Just a general question about CS regarding something you touched on there, about having room for the star players to play. Something similar to that's going on in BIG now when they got in XANTARES, and it doesn't really fit what they did before. Do you think that you have to have a little more of an open system when you have superstar players? Is it even worth it to go for a very hard tactical style? Because some people are expecting you guys to go that way now with NEO.

Yeah, I don't think it is worth it. I think you should always look at the team and the players you have, and see what fits those players and style best, while also looking at the fundamentals of the game, and not forgetting that either. So, if we have players who are very skilled individually, have great aim - what's the point of us playing super slow and using a lot of utility, trying to create advantages? We just need to make it so the players can utilise that strength, and, in a sense, play a more bullying style, because you're able to pull it off, and then just mix it up a little bit when people think you're doing the same stuff over and over again.

That's why I think you need to play in a way with the players that you have; if you don't have players who shine in that sense, but you have players who are all very similar in level, and then teamwork takes them all together to the next level. We have those teams, and that's fine. I think you do need to adapt to the players you have, and you cannot just force things on a team and on players when they're just not built for it.

Touching on NEO, he has been really putting the team first in terms of giving drops and stuff like that. It is hard for him to find his own game individually when he's maybe just trying to facilitate everyone else?

Of course, it always makes it harder for you to play when you're the guy who's always sacrificing himself for the team, but, simply put, that's his role. He's the in-game leader, so his main focus in the game is to coordinate the other guys and see what we're doing and try to put us in a position to succeed. For me, I don't really think it's even necessary, with the other players we have on the team, for NEO to be putting up big numbers, or even for sometimes to be level. It's expected for him to be bottom-fragging in the team.

I know for him, personally, NEO's a guy who's super hard working and he's very committed to winning, so sometimes he's a bit too hard on himself, because he feels like he has let the team down. I don't think that's the situation, especially when in Dallas he played really, really well. I think it's something that is bound to happen with the role that he has, but I think it's something that's normal for a team and I think it's fine as long as the other guys are using what he's giving them, and that's how everything falls into place.

YNk would've liked to have more time to work with karrigan

I wanted to touch on this - you've played mousesports twice now, lost both times. Obviously, you're not hitting a great stride as a team at the moment, but there's the storyline of karrigan leaving the team and now finding success with mousesports. Is there a feeling that maybe things could have worked out differently, looking back now? From your perspective, was there ever a chance that you could've worked out the differences and still had karrigan, taking into account that you had all of these issues for almost a year now?

I mean, from my point of view, when I was joining the team, that was already kind of a done deal, and I did bring it up in the sense of: "Are you guys sure?", because, me coming in, I would be involved with the game a lot, and I knew what the problems were with the calling and some of the stuff that they had, and I was like: "I think working together, we can maybe remedy that", but the team really wasn't buying that, they really didn't want to give it a go, in a sense. I understand it - no matter how good of a fit a player is for the team on paper, and no matter how much a team needs a player like that, sometimes a player has just run his course with that lineup.

There's loss of confidence, or whatever it is, I don't know the details of it, but it just wasn't an option, right? Once you realise that, at that point there are no more regrets, just moving forward, and some of the struggles we had are obvious, but also after a little bit of time, we got pretty good with AdreN, you know? Winning Miami, doing really well in Pro League, then in Sydney we didn't have Niko. If we had a full lineup, we were feeling really confident for that event. Now we just made a change again, so there are no regrets within the team with the decision, it's just about us moving forward and trying to find the best solution for our team and just moving along.

Lastly, I want to touch on what happened at the Pro League finals with Niko picking up the AUG and Krieg, and then the AUG being nerfed two hours later. The AUG isn't that good now, obviously, but the Krieg is still the same. Niko hasn't been using it at this event, so what are your thoughts on the whole thing - is the Krieg going to stick around? Are you going to be pushing for him to use the Krieg as well?

I think he actually enjoys the Krieg, especially when the AUG was still there. He said: "Ok, I hated the AUG, and the AUG was wrecking me with my AK. Now I can use the Krieg to wreck the AUG", so that was nice. Now that the AUG is nerfed, the AK works better, and of course, he's more comfortable with the AK. I think the Krieg is now mostly situational for him, right? He's still getting practice with it and stuff, and the team is using it I think, now, people need to find a sweet spot - you cannot play around with four Kriegs and an AWP, it's much harder to trade with a Krieg than it is with an AK. It's much better for entrying though, and taking aim duels, so it's good that you have a couple of players that are comfortable with the Krieg, like the specialists or whatever, and the rest of the guys can just keep playing AKs, and it depends a bit on the positioning and situation as well. I think he's going to be using it as well, but I think everyone is expecting it to be nerfed, especially after the AUG, because now it's becoming a bit too much for the Ts.

Serbia Janko 'YNk' Paunović
Janko 'YNk' Paunović
Age:
27
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.97
Maps played:
116
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.70
APR:
0.13
Poland Filip 'NEO' Kubski
Filip 'NEO' Kubski
Age:
32
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.97
Maps played:
1675
KPR:
0.66
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.17
Denmark Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.94
Maps played:
1456
KPR:
0.64
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.17
Maps played:
1087
KPR:
0.81
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Yeah we all can see that
2019-07-07 12:58
#4
 | 
Denmark Twick_reformed 
Ynk useless
2019-07-07 12:58
#5
Twistzz | 
Sweden Unluko 
FAZE LUL
2019-07-07 12:59
u LUL son of a mf beetch
2019-07-08 11:09
Overrated coach
2019-07-07 12:59
+1
2019-07-07 13:02
#53
Sadokist | 
Poland tr1xx 
overpaid
2019-07-07 13:59
+1
2019-07-07 14:19
+1
2019-07-07 17:25
Cry
2019-07-07 13:10
ynk trash coach fire him already jesus christ there is a reason why he couldnt fix both mibr and faze .........................................................
2019-07-07 13:51
Ynk....
2019-07-07 14:18
#2
s1mple | 
India S1ayR 
then what's the point of having those players if it doesn't suit the overall team style
2019-07-07 12:59
#3
 | 
Netherlands PasscaLl 
Cool
2019-07-07 12:58
#6
 | 
India pm_oldmonk 
Who else than the fucking coach is gonna fix that
2019-07-07 12:59
+1
2019-07-07 13:00
#19
COCAINE | 
Mongolia bozgor 
Niko has him on short leash
2019-07-07 13:04
Yes, NiKo hired YNk so they could execute his own strats without questioning the authority on the team. YNk is just NiKo's puppet.
2019-07-07 14:08
Pure speculation.
2019-07-07 18:36
#7
 | 
Germany SehrNetterKerl 
xD
2019-07-07 12:59
#9
 | 
Spain G3CK0 
ynk go back to the desk pls
2019-07-07 12:59
> sometimes Always*
2019-07-07 12:59
Nice one.
2019-07-07 16:30
#11
 | 
Sweden 1nomiS 
hello
2019-07-07 13:00
shut up yanko
2019-07-07 13:00
#14
France RAX_ 
is ok
2019-07-07 13:00
#15
s1 | 
Armenia gr1nch 
shut up yanko
2019-07-07 13:01
and you kicked the guy who knew how to use his players and get the maximum out of them and now you are just having a bunch of big names but washed up players
2019-07-07 13:03
#121
 | 
Netherlands glennakiN 
+1
2019-07-08 01:00
#18
 | 
Vietnam olaolakaka 
poor yanko, he tried his best all the time but faze players suck cold balls
2019-07-07 13:03
Coldzera to faze confirmed
2019-07-07 13:10
#52
 | 
Austria egOrlek 
In my opinion,coldzera will not play for faze
2019-07-07 13:51
I honestly believe they would do better if they dropped neo and put ynk in the lineup. That said they need a proper igl.
2019-07-07 13:19
#45
 | 
Poland LiquidWater 
0/8 lol silver
2019-07-07 13:39
Sorry for offending you
2019-07-07 13:44
Fraud has spoken
2019-07-07 13:05
#27
 | 
Turkey Thunderball 
LOL
2019-07-07 13:13
#87
rain | 
New Zealand Flippee 
coach quotes
2019-07-07 15:54
#21
 | 
Denmark Experative 
+coldzera -olof
2019-07-07 13:05
nt godmeister >>> b8zera
2019-07-07 13:20
#33
 | 
Brazil Kroveen 
0/8
2019-07-07 13:22
Actually refering to his role position. Guardian and rain played worse lately.
2019-07-07 13:36
FaZe should just disband tbh
2019-07-07 13:09
Man from India talking
2019-07-07 16:39
+1
2019-07-07 17:54
Miss old faze line up
2019-07-07 13:10
I mean who had the idea with neo, why would some1 think that is a good move ??
2019-07-07 13:14
No alternatives, all IGL's are contracted in the teams, Neo was free agent and FaZe didn't want and don't want to pay much money for players now. LUL They also tried Sunny but they don't want more firepower cause Niko wanted to step down from IGLing.
2019-07-07 13:35
change ur goddamn playstyle then u morons.
2019-07-07 13:17
#32
 | 
Malta luzanocabbo 
Very clever of you Yanko to notice that , you are truly a coach
2019-07-07 13:22
#34
f0rest | 
Mongolia 22joyZz 
bla bla bla..,
2019-07-07 13:24
No karrigan no win
2019-07-07 13:29
#61
 | 
North America xAriana 
yes karrigan no win
2019-07-07 14:14
#88
rain | 
New Zealand Flippee 
karrigan = No major
2019-07-07 15:54
Nt choko
2019-07-07 23:09
Kicking karrigan the most omegalul decision 2k18y.
2019-07-07 13:31
0/8
2019-07-07 14:09
#62
 | 
North America xAriana 
the best decision
2019-07-07 14:15
#90
rain | 
New Zealand Flippee 
yup, karrigan always chokes his calls in majors
2019-07-07 15:54
#109
 | 
Czech Republic wonderhead 
At least they got to a major final with him
2019-07-07 20:21
#110
rain | 
New Zealand Flippee 
and lost vs Clown9
2019-07-07 20:22
#37
 | 
Norway Ludvic 
They should've singed pasha in place of neo
2019-07-07 13:35
#72
 | 
Bulgaria Amerikana 
HAHAHA
2019-07-07 14:38
-neo thats what he wants to say.
2019-07-07 13:35
#50
xseveN | 
Poland r4v1x 
I don't think so
2019-07-07 13:49
Honestly this roster is dead in the water, disband so these players can go to some teams that will actually make a playoff
2019-07-07 13:35
Yea playing shit is not suited to your players i agree
2019-07-07 13:36
#43
ceh9 | 
World mukas17 
kick niko only solution fucking egomaniac needs to go play quake arena or something he can't function in a team without creating a toxic environment
2019-07-07 13:39
#69
 | 
Poland Ktav 
XD agree mens))
2019-07-07 14:36
#91
rain | 
New Zealand Flippee 
Kick NEO and bring in coldzera
2019-07-07 15:55
Would do the team some good actually. Unfortunately, i don't see that happening. He's supposedly their best player and they gotta put up with him. Except him, it's a pretty chill team. Can only dream he will mature like s1mple did.
2019-07-07 20:28
0/8
2019-07-07 22:32
I just want olof to get 15 major playoffs :/
2019-07-07 13:45
#49
Denmark Fugh 
Faze Down
2019-07-07 13:50
Feel so bad for olof playing with garbage
2019-07-07 14:02
Just -neo +BnTeT, trust me it works
2019-07-07 14:03
#56
EliGE | 
Netherlands gelm1r 
why does FaZe even have a coach if literally any hltv member can see this problem lmao what a joke
2019-07-07 14:04
YnK at his best
2019-07-07 14:06
#59
 | 
Poland @skaddycsgo 
They are talking about firepower they have, and the only star player in a team is Niko.
2019-07-07 14:08
#65
sh1ro | 
China kazuk1 
-sometimes -always
2019-07-07 14:19
#66
YNk | 
Norway Sunny47 
I'm sorry but this was really hard to read. Something about the way its written makes it very difficult to understand.
2019-07-07 14:22
#67
 | 
Asia mocity123 
DISBAND
2019-07-07 14:27
#68
s1mple | 
India KNOX23 
Robban did the right thing leaving this useless team Otherwise it would have been a bad move for his rep
2019-07-07 14:32
#79
 | 
Bosnia and Herzegovina Cryaosic 
He had a kid , he had to leave regardless...
2019-07-07 14:58
Useless team , yeah , why can Someone from India talk About csgo pro teams
2019-07-07 16:43
#98
s1mple | 
India KNOX23 
Name checks out
2019-07-07 16:49
stfu forsaken countryman
2019-07-07 17:55
#107
s1mple | 
India KNOX23 
Name checks out
2019-07-07 20:04
country checks out
2019-07-07 21:59
#123
s1mple | 
India KNOX23 
It's a good experience being indian on hltv You should try it
2019-07-08 05:07
#120
 | 
Iran Gagar1n 
Ok street shitter
2019-07-07 23:47
high paid budget mouz
2019-07-07 14:37
The Professeur surely likes touching today
2019-07-07 14:37
#73
 | 
Poland Ktav 
Choko
2019-07-07 14:39
#74
 | 
World taco__ 
just go back to the desk
2019-07-07 14:42
#75
 | 
Romania SkipLD 
Basically -Neo?
2019-07-07 14:47
CSGO. So uninstalled.
2019-07-07 14:51
Can you just quit coaching and replace Pimp in the analyst role already?
2019-07-07 14:52
..and sometimes u need to get out of other peoples business...”coach”🤦🏽‍♂️😂😂
2019-07-07 14:55
cold to faze
2019-07-07 15:20
It's anyones guess what to do to fix Faze... I think they all just lost it (whatever that it is) collectively, only Guardian seems to be consistant in my mind.
2019-07-07 15:28
#82
 | 
Australia hydra_ 
-olof +coldzera
2019-07-07 15:37
So why do you play in that way? Isn't main task for you to play best roles and lift the trophies?
2019-07-07 15:39
-NEO +coldzera ?
2019-07-07 15:39
#85
 | 
United States Fenoglio 
Like putting Niko on the awp over GUARDIAN.
2019-07-07 15:44
#86
 | 
Malaysia jskhoo 
Stfu Faze Choke as usual
2019-07-07 15:44
Nobody cares duhh
2019-07-07 15:54
Just drop it YNK, come back to the desk.
2019-07-07 15:57
Tbh faze got only 2 skilled players: Kovac and Kovac
2019-07-07 16:00
#95
 | 
Sweden flippig 
Faze just get rid of Ynk already omegalul
2019-07-07 16:38
FaZe can't survive in 2019 with their "superstar" roster. They need a good real ingame leader and one or two superstars , but 5 superstars is just too much to handle with , no one gets his spot and it's a huge mess - feels like an all-star mix team. . and in 2019 no one from FaZe really counts as an all-star player to be honest.
2019-07-07 17:02
-olof +coldzera
2019-07-07 17:08
#104
 | 
Sweden wyv0 
No shit? YnK if you know the problem, why is it that you still haven't solved it? Is what journalists should ask him.
2019-07-07 18:20
#106
 | 
United States _ATaXiA_ 
FaZe's answer to a failing roster is to fire and hire, they don't put enough effort into actually making a line up work. The 5th spot is a revolving door and everytime they get a new person they have to "change the way we play" instead of slotting that 5th into an already established team system. From top to bottom FaZe is a failure.
2019-07-07 18:57
-olof/-Neo +coldzera
2019-07-07 20:14
Faze cold confirmed! But, do YNk and cold still get along?
2019-07-07 20:55
-neo +niko igl +coldzera who needs neo anyways
2019-07-07 21:15
#115
 | 
Other Berlenbacher 
Speaks bullshit or just very stupid?
2019-07-07 22:23
#117
 | 
Canada Gumpypoo 
ya playing a 5v4 is hard style to take with this team
2019-07-07 22:46
Looks like NEO is a trash IGL as well.
2019-07-08 04:57
YNK: "Sometimes I'm talking in a voice that's not best-suited for keeping the players we have awake"
2019-07-08 20:40
What about Olof, Rain, Niko, Fallen, Fer. Cold, Taco, Guardian, suNny, flusha. ?
2019-07-09 04:28
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