flusha: "We didn't look good in practice, but we knew we were among the top teams"
The Swedish side have secured the playoffs spot after winning two matches in a row, against Renegades and the CIS-based side, avoiding a slow start at their first tournament of the year following two and a half months away from official competition.
We asked flusha about how fnatic managed to do so unlike several other big teams who suffered ring rust at the first events of 2020, and the 26-year-old shared that despite underwhelming practice the team kept their confidence and turned up on LAN with better focus.
After going over details about the Swedes' two comebacks in their matches at IEM Katowice, we went a little off-topic to also discuss the recent confirmation of ESL's partnership with fnatic and 12 other organizations and asked about what made them side with the German tournament organizer as opposed to FLASHPOINT.
Rustiness doesn't seem to be a problem for you guys as it was for several others, was there a secret to that in preparation or in the way that you approached coming back to action?
No, honestly we haven't been winning a lot in our practice matches. It feels like a lot of teams are just playing instead of practicing and we're doing the opposite, actually practicing, and maybe that makes us lose a lot of practice matches. But for us, it didn't look good before coming here, but we had the confidence and we knew we were among the top teams.
What do you mean by not looking good, according to results or just from the way you played?
I mean both, teams have been running over us and insta-headshotting and stuff like that, and then when you come into a LAN it's nothing like that... But our teamplay is definitely a lot better here than what we had at home. Maybe the focus was worse at home and we didn't get a bootcamp before this because of bad weather.
You're not known to be much of an antistratting team, but you did have the chance to watch everyone play while you were at home. Do you see an advantage in that?
We don't really antistrat people like that, but we have different playstyles that we can play into a team. For example, we knew Na`Vi would play mid in Mirage, we have a playstyle against that, so we can just manage our playstyle according to how the opponent plays.
Talk me through the comeback against Renegades on Inferno from 6-14 to 16-14, how did you pull that off?
Honestly, I don't know. At the start, the few rounds they got, they had some lucky shots through smokes and stuff like that, and when we got rid of that then the rounds became easier and we just ground it out. After we got four or five rounds in a row it felt like they stopped knowing what to do and it became easier for us then.
You touched on Mirage against Na`Vi already, that was a pretty big CT side that you had to pull off, too, to come back and close the series. Did you just know what to do against them specifically?
Definitely on the CT side we knew they like to play mid-heavy and we countered that. T side, we weren't really sure, I think we focused too much on what s1mple was doing and not what the rest of the team was doing, so we got just five T rounds. It was enough this time, but I think we can get like seven, eight, for sure.
You had some pretty close encounters against Astralis last year, how do you see the next one panning out in the next match?
We'll see. It's tough because we don't know what map they are going to pick. It's easier against other teams. We knew Na`Vi was going to pick Dust2, we know pretty much whoever we're going to play against except Astralis. They have so many strong maps, they've been picking Vertigo, we don't mind playing it but we just don't know what to prepare for especially. It's going to be a tough match, for sure. Whoever hits the most shots is going to win.
It was recently confirmed that fnatic are among the teams who entered a partnership with ESL, which of course also ties into the choice between ESL Pro League and FLASHPOINT. Can you speak to why you ended up siding with ESL?
First of all, BLAST didn't want us. And then FLASHPOINT, their schedule was a bit close to the Minor and Majors, so we would have to be away from home for like 10 weeks or something, and that's not really something we want to do. We actually checked our travel days, how many travel days in total it would be in a year, and if we played FLASHPOINT it would be easily about 200 or something. With ESL it will be 165 or something like that, so it's just about the traveling schedule.
How much of that decision was in your hands rather than the organization's?
I think it's like 50/50. If we really want to play something then they're going to try to make that happen. It's just a partnership where we're always telling them what we want to do and they're going to try to make that happen.