Golden: "We have been doing a much better job at [open, direct communication] than before"
The in-game leader spoke to us about fnatic's approach to the veto against NIP, where the team decided against the opportunity to float Vertigo, instead letting their rivals pick Nuke and steer the decider towards Overpass, and about the series.
After talking to Robin "flusha" Rönnquist earlier in the tournament about his return to fnatic and how this lineup will be different to the early 2018 version, we asked the same question to Golden to get his point of view on their improvements from the previous lineup and more.
Talk me through the veto in this match. Obviously, you weren't willing to float Vertigo, a map NiP also don't seem to play, and instead you were okay with letting them have Nuke and Overpass, historically two of their best maps, what was the decision-making process like there?
Yeah, the thinking was more that we saw ourselves as the better team going into it, and we just thought about which maps they are better at than us, basically. We didn't want to float it even though we were confident on any map they were going to pick. As you look at it now, it doesn't look so good (laughs), I think we made a lot of mistakes on Nuke and that cost us the map, but I still believe we did the veto the safest way.
On Dust2, you were only able to find a way through their defense later into the second half, how did you close the map out after it went 11-11?
At the beginning, it was very hectic in TeamSpeak and there were some rounds where f0rest just peeked mid randomly and it made us feel very uncomfortable, he got like two or three picks one time, he disrupted the entire round. And I made a hectic call, as well, which went into their favor, which cost us a round. We took a timeout, spoke about it, saying that we know we will win and that we just need to take time to take the small steps we do on the map, and that's how we got it.
Looking ahead into the semi-finals, Astralis have been looking strong since their win in Berlin and they've looked just as confident here, how do you think you can break them?
Astralis is probably the toughest opponent there is because they are so prepared for everything. I'm just looking at it as: we'll just play our game and try to always be a step ahead, but we're still a new team.
Tell me about how you're feeling about your map pool in general, how confident are you about your map pool this early into the lineup?
It's very tricky, but I think we're still very confident on almost every map. It's just that it feels like we can adapt a lot, that's our strong point, and that's why we look at every map, we just need to talk about it and we will come to a solution.
How is your return to fnatic going to be different from the previous lineup that was very similar, how do you think you can succeed and surpass what you did previously?
Let's start off with me actually coming from the Academy team into the main team. It was a very different atmosphere at the time. Now, we have a mental coach, we have more structure about things with the management, we have everyone understanding that we need open, direct communication with each other, talking about mistakes and about how we can do things better and all that stuff. I think we have been doing a much better job at that than before and, also, me and flusha and also the other guys, we've had different experiences with other players. Everyone has understood more of each other and what it means to be a good team. We're focusing on building the structure, our mental coach is doing a great job, our coach is creating a lot of structure, I'm coming up with new stuff, every player has their own voice. I feel like we're meshing well.
As the player with the most experience with Samuelsson, who was the coach of fnatic Academy before transferring to a managerial role with the main team, can you describe how he is as a coach and what led you to transition him into the coach role?
I had nothing to do with it, it was the main part of the team before I got in. Samuelsson is a great guy, he is a hard-worker, he does a lot of things with the team outside and inside the game, he builds up structure, and he's like our pillar, we always know where we have him. That's how I see him.