YNk: "I'm not sure if cold - broky is going to be similar to cold - TACO, but it's definitely an intentional partnership"
With Marcelo "coldzera" David and Helvijs "broky" Saukants joining FaZe's core, the squad was faced with quite a few questions regarding how to set up the team in terms of roles and positions. In the end, the AWPing duties fell on Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer's shoulders with broky taking most of Swedes' old positions.
In our interview, conducted shortly after FaZe secured impressive wins over Astralis and Natus Vincere, YNk explained his thought process regarding building this lineup and shined some light on how the Nikola "NiKo" Kovač - coldzera partnership has been working out.
Talking about getting this lineup together and the changes in roles that happened, coldzera mentioned that you were helping build the structure with NiKo. How did you envision this team regarding roles, how did you decide to put players in different positions?
Yeah, we did have some overlaps in terms of roles, obviously, you want to put everyone in their comfort zone so they can do their best. One of the main reasons we put olofmeister on the AWP was because he is also more of an anchor/passive player, that is what coldzera does too. And with broky, the question was whether to put him more on that side or not. However, NiKo has to be more in the group because he is in-game leading, rain does a very good job being a part of the group, and the third natural part of the group is the AWPer, right?
In that sense, in the end, we went with olofmeister switching to the AWP and broky taking olofmeister's positions on most maps and being one anchor. coldzera is the other one because as a secondary caller, he can give good information to NiKo, make plays on his own where and create space, make it easier for NiKo to call so it is not a situation where he is micromanaging everyone all the time. People have a lot of freedom to take initiative and give mid-to-late round calls, make plays, and then we just work around it.
This partnership between NiKo and coldzera has been something people have been talking about for a long time, it is very exciting. How did you see the two of them coming together, is it a natural partnership or is it something you have to figure out, how to fit them together?
To be honest, they are great friends outside of the game, they get along super well, but sometimes when it comes to the game itself, they clash on some things. NiKo is a more aggressive player, coldzera is a more passive player, so their views of the game will differ in some situations — which for me is great because both can learn from each other, and in my opinion, the answer is somewhere in the middle. That is why, right now, we have ups and downs because we are going through these motions of being on the same page in some of these situations, that is why we sometimes lose rounds we really shouldn't - it is either miscommunication or something like that. That is why I keep telling the guys: "You know, it is going to take some time for everyone to get used to this and for us to be able to have good chemistry and work off of each other better".
Is it even better from you now that you have coldzera who has a different opinion, a strong voice as well, than before — since karrigan left at least —, when you had mostly NiKo, his ideas were the main ones?
I think that is crucial for any team, really, that is why AdreN was picked up in the first place and then NEO, because you can't have one guy micro-managing everything, I'm not sure what people really think (laughs), but no in-game leader in any top team does that. Everyone needs help and players individually need to be able to react without someone telling them what to do. The game is so fast nowadays, everyone is so skilled aim-wise and game-sense wise that it simply cannot work like that, you cannot have one commander all the time. That was, first of all, necessary for our team, and then, yeah, those clashes I think are really good because in the team there is a lot of respect for everyone, there is mutual respect and people are willing to hear each other out and try things that are probably outside of their comfort zone as well - until we find the way that suits us the best, the perfect mix for our team.
coldzera mentioned that with the meta the way it is right now, that the way you are going to be playing is going bring success at this event, and so far it has been working out pretty well. Is everything working out as expected or is it even better, considering the results?
I think that, obviously, the two results have been very impressive (laughs), I couldn't expect us to have two such big wins straight off the bat and it is very hard for me to predict our result at any tournament against any team because you know, it is really about if we are going to have good energy and good flow during the game, also, if we are going to be able to overcome bad starts which was something we did a great job of doing in the Na`Vi game, being down 5-0 and still having a great half on the T-side.
So for us right now the main goal is just to play a lot more official games, tournaments, because that is when you learn the most and see some mistakes. Practice has been going well, it has been productive, but now is the period for us to go through what we practiced in official games, here and especially in Beijing as well, with a lot of BO3s and the top tier teams being there as well, just get an answer if we are going in the right direction or if we need to make some small adjustments to our game still. So far it has been going great and hopefully, we can keep it up for the rest of the tournament.
Lastly, during the Inferno game we saw broky and coldzera playing B together and I think moses mentioned on the broadcast that this is going to be a partnership on more maps and more sides. Is this something that is going to be similar to the cold - TACO partnership that used to do work in MIBR and SK?
I'm not sure if it is going to be similar to that, but it definitely an intentional partnership because, from my point of view, broky, we were all impressed by him, how skilled he is, how calm he is, good communication, good gamesense for someone so young, right? But he still lacks a little bit of experience on this high level, he is still a bit too loose maybe, because he simply hasn't been punished as much against these teams.
coldzera on the other side of things is a very methodical player, likes to have setups, protocols, things that are not being done randomly on the bombsite he holds and just thought that would be a perfect mix and a great way to make it easier for broky to get into the swing of things and, over time, of course, he is going to see these things for himself and be able to contribute on his own. I think it has been a good decision for the team and I think it has been going great, I'm excited to see how it going to look moving forward.