coldzera: "Everyone is working really hard and it reminds me of how nice it is to play CS"
FaZe had a long day in Beijing, losing their Group B winners' match in the morning to Vitality and going on to play Evil Geniuses for a berth in the playoffs in the evening. After beating the North American team in their opening match on Thursday, FaZe managed to pull off another victory in overtime on the decider map to set up a semi-final clash against Astralis in Saturday's semi-finals.
A happy coldzera shared some of the ups and downs of the day, like losing momentum after several anti-eco blows, especially against Vitality, or being able to bounce back against Evil Geniuses. The Brazilian player also talked about how playing a lot of CS is key to his good form and the good atmosphere reigning in FaZe, as well as his leadership role with Nikola "NiKo" Kovač and Janko "YNk" Paunović and his relationship with the team's youngster, Helvijs "broky" Saukants.
Let's get right into the match against Evil Geniuses. They're a top team, sitting at the top of the rankings, how good was this victory in the decider match?
After we beat them the first time around we kind of knew which maps they would pick, we expected Train or Inferno, which they picked after we lost to Vitality today and didn't play well. The maps in general were pretty good, we're pretty confident in our Nuke. We committed some mistakes on Inferno, we lost some ecos which cost us the game, but in general we had comebacks on all maps and everything, so it's kind of good. We're getting some good chemistry, we just need to figure things out.
It was bad against Vitality, we were off on our two best maps, and actually it was just the third time we played Overpass, but we were figuring out how to play it in practice and we're doing really well on it now, so it wasn't really a surprise for me. We had some off maps and they played really well, we had some hard games today.
What happened in that Nuke against Vitality? It's a good map for them, but it seemed like you could have maybe played it closer...
When we lost to an eco at 2-0 we kind of shut down a little bit. It was supposed to be a flawless round and when they won it we shut down a bit. Then when we had three or four rounds I failed to get a key kill and that made the map get kind of hard. They played really well, as well.
You had some problems against forcebuys...
Yeah, we're trying to fix those mistakes. After the first map, in which we lost two ecos against Vitality, we started to use fast strats or work more together on the second and third maps, but they were hitting good shots, and sometimes it happens. We lost Nuke and Inferno against them because losing those ecos kind of shut us down when we had the momentum. That kind of got in our head, especially on the third map, Inferno, because we had already lost so many ecos, so when we lost the first one after the pistol it shut us down a bit, but it's fine...
Something YNk was talking about in Copenhagen was the relationship between you and broky, playing together and getting to know each other, him being a younger player figuring out his place and all that. How is that relationship?
It's pretty good. We're doing a good job together, especially when we study opponents. We figure out our strengths and weaknesses, especially the things we don't like to do. He's still kind of new and needs more experience, sometimes he'll hear a call and he'll want to rotate really fast, but he's the anchor, so it creates a gap because he's kind of nervous, but I think he's going to do well long term. He's a really good player, especially because he has really good ideas. Sometimes he'll say really important stuff during maps to abuse gaps and he has good comms. He's a really calm player, so that makes him really talented and I think he's going to be really, really good.
Another thing YNk mentioned regarding you is the style difference with NiKo. You're more passive and calculated, he's more forward and aggressive. How's it going finding the common ground?
I'm not a player who's going to give calls all of the time, but I like to give calls in some moments, especially like against EG today. We won two or three rounds on long and they were a bit afraid there, so I called that I was going to fake the A explosion but we go contact B, and that worked pretty well when it was like 14-13 and it gave us match point. Sometimes I'll have an answer, or YNk will have an answer, so we have a good mix, especially on CT sides. On Overpass against Vitality, for example, I was deciding everything, If we were going to aggro B, play passively or gamble four players on B... everybody listened and we had a huge half, 14-1, but when I don't have ideas then NiKo will have a good plan and it makes a good mix.
You're playing Astralis tomorrow, what are you expecting from that match?
Playing against Astralis is always good. It doesn't matter if you win or lose, you get a lot of experience. For me they're still the best team in the world, they have good chemistry, play good Counter-Strike, and it's beautiful to watch. We're trying to figure out our mistakes to play like them and I think we're doing a good job, considering we have been playing played together for two months. We won a tournament and we're in the semi-finals of a big tournament now. Our group was pretty hard and there are good teams here, so it's good to play against Astralis again. It doesn't matter if we win or lose, but we want to show a good game. We want to show we're improving as a team. Our goal right now isn't to win every tournament, it's to be in the semi-finals and finals and build good chemistry, build a good team, build up our confidence and show good CS.
Where do you think you and FaZe are in the bigger picture?
We're in the top 6, for sure. BLAST is BO1, right? But the way we beat the teams was really convincing. I believe we're top 6. Astralis is the best team in the world, EG is second, then you have fnatic, Vitality, Liquid, and then I think it's us. We're playing really good CS, we're playing well together, and I just think we need a little bit more time to figure things out. Today was a good test for us because we were a little bit nervous, especially against Vitality, because we had never had a match in which we were losing so hard. Today we had a really good match, even when we were losing hard we were trying to figure out how to play more calmly... and that's when our CS is good. When we have good comms, when we're calm, and when we know what we're doing.
We have a lot of experienced players and we know how to play situations pretty well, so when we have 5vs4s, 4vs4s, those are the situation we like to play. I think we're doing a good job, we just need to fix the mistakes and learn from each other. That's the best part, everybody respects and believes in each other. I think after the SK/MIBR team of 2016 and 2017, this is one of the best teams I've played with. Everyone is working really hard and this reminds me of how nice it is to play CS together. During my career in MIBR in 2018 and 2019 we lost that a little bit, but now I'm hungry and I want to win again and I feel really good playing with them.
You're feeling really good now, but your first event seemed pretty rough, you weren't putting up your usual numbers. Now we're seeing you put up good maps and solid performances. How has it been, bringing back that form?
I'm still figuring out some positions, like playing B on Inferno. I've played some teams like Astralis in tournaments, but I've never played against Vitality and some other teams, so it's kind of new for me playing B on Inferno against them. They're really good at taking banana, so it's kind of different for me. Some positions I'm playing are a bit different than normal, but I'm trying to figure it out. I'm watching a lot of demos to check when I need to be more aggressive or more passive, how I need to mix my style, and I think it's working well for me. I've been putting in more hours into the game as well. Before BLAST Copenhagen I had 160 hours in two weeks, so I was playing a lot of CS and I think that's how I play at my best. When I play a lot of CS, I'm confident, and I know what I'm doing. That's the best part.