ropz: "We are proving that Katowice was not just a fluke run"
After making his second grand final in a row, Robin "ropz" Kool took a moment to give HLTV an in-depth interview.
FaZe have made a blistering start to the year, cruising through their BLAST Premier Spring group, winning IEM Katowice with a stand-in and now making their second grand final in a row.
Congratulations! How does it feel to be in the grand final?
I think it feels even more satisfying now that we got to a final with the actual lineup, all credit to jks still, but we are proving that Katowice was not just a fluke run. We can start consistently tearing stuff up, bringing down top teams, and we are ready to get revenge on ENCE for sure.
Let’s talk about the game – FURIA put up a great CT side on Inferno, getting 10 rounds, why do you think you struggled to break it?
Well on Inferno we lost both pistol rounds first of all. I think we couldn’t really get our banana control properly, and then we lost some early duels and we were consistently in disadvantaged situations.
The FURIA style on Inferno is annoying for us to play against; they are really good at threading the needle on every part of the map and getting gimmick picks, entry frags, all over the map every round. It’s hard to play against if you play a team like FURIA who are so good at it, and I think that was also the issue in the group stage on Inferno, but this time we managed to come back on CT.
Before you did stage that comeback, they won the pistol and got to 13 rounds; is there any part of you that thinks “this is probably over” at that point?
Not really, it’s just the pistol round still, it is obviously very likely that the match is going to go their way, but we’re still professionals and we always play the percentage game. We kept our heads in the game and I think that’s what won us the game in the end, the mentality of the team coming back on both maps. I think it was 13-5, so it was very satisfying to win that match and shut FURIA down.
Moving on to talk about Mirage, you had a strong start getting out to a 6-2 lead, but they grew into the half – how do you think they were able to rescue their T side?
We got off to a very good start indeed, I feel like we had good reads all the time, some of the rounds we just got a bit unlucky I would say. I think we had info almost every round and we had a good estimation of where they would go, but I guess the rounds fell apart because we lost some duels.
Overall I think our CT side was very strong today, even if we lost a 7-8 half, it maybe should have been more rounds for us still.
The start of the second half was a bit wild, you lost the pistol but won a full eco – could you talk to me through that, it seemed like you had a good plan, going mid together?
We actually didn’t have a plan (smiles). The round started out, we called the full eco, I had enough money to buy a deagle, so I said ‘okay guys, I’m buying a single deagle’ (laughs).
At the start I just wanted to rush mid, but they countered a bit flashing over from A and they got mid control. Mid-round we just got out mid from underground and top mid, and they gave us the picks; I think it was more their mistake probably, but we got the picks, got the trades and then closed it out.
It must be so frustrating to then lost the following round?
The next round was kind of special, in the sense that we did mid control and I was the one going first, so we tried to play off our own tendencies; I kill one or I might die, and they will call that I am the A lurk, and our guys on A might find a gap. I actually got into a really powerful position in window, but I just failed on a guy and lost my duel.
I think it was just a very chaotic round after I died, we definitely had chances to win that round (laughs) but we just lost our duels, and we didn’t react properly. By the time we did, it was already too late.
Is it maybe tough also to get involved in those kind of rounds with FURIA, a team that seems to play for that kind of chaos?
Yeah they definitely thrive off of the chaotic playstyle, and they get a lot of energy if they win a round like this. I think it’s just the FURIA style, that I guess is annoying for us to play against sometimes.
It seemed once you got over the economic damage of losing that round, you were never going to lose – you won 11 of the last 14 rounds to close it – how did it feel in the game?
Towards the end, it definitely felt like we were going to close it out, but when we started out we took it round by round. I think it’s a lot of credit to karrigan, all of us trust him a lot with his calls so I think that’s the most important factor in coming back; we really trust each other as teammates.
When it was 13-13 towards the end, we felt like ‘okay we are going to win this, we are just rolling over them by now and karrigan is on fire with his calls’. We just really didn’t see how we could lose.
I just want to take a step back and ask a few questions about you as a player; coming into a team like FaZe with more firepower than your previous teams, did you have to adjust your style at all?
I didn’t have to change much, comparing my game to MOUZ specifically, the roles are basically one-to-one and there’s not much change. I think it’s more of a mentality change, that I don’t have to go for so many hero plays and I just need to let my teammates get the hang of it sometimes.
I think in the lurk role it definitely depends on if your team gets to a site or an opening, it’s all about the mid round, so if we lose the mid round then my efforts are kind of worthless. Definitely having a team like FaZe and the players we have helps my game, because we can get more mid rounds and put me in better situations, and we just close out the rounds more often.
Another aspect of you as a player I am intrigued by is all of the crazy smokes that you seem to find; is this something you do for the competitive edge, or because you are just so interested by the game?
The first smoke I found on Dust2, which is the fast xbox smoke, I actually found quite randomly. I was testing some stuff on Dust2 and I noticed a decoy got stuck in xbox (smiles), so I figured out a way we could throw it from T spawn and it pops extremely fast; I would say it’s a bit of a meta-changing smoke.
I’m still interested in how far you can push the limits in CS:GO, I’m always very keen on that and it’s extremely exciting to find new stuff even after all these years that people have played the game. You’ve played Mirage for 10 years, and I still run around the map like 20 times and try to find something new in some corner or something like that. Yeah, definitely both.
You’ve done some secondary AWPing throughout your career, and have continued that trend on FaZe. Is this because you enjoy it, or because the team needs it?
I think both again.
In MOUZ, that was the time where the team needed it, but it’s evolved into I also enjoy it, and we’ve kind of just kept it that way and it’s worked for us. Back in MOUZ chrisJ was doing the secondary AWPing and I was playing bombsites with him, so I had a good way to learn from him, and coming into FaZe I just kept the role.
It’s working out so far, obviously if it doesn’t work out then we always have a guy like karrigan or Twistzz who can pick it up. Maybe not rain (laughs) because he’s obviously not known for having it.
Looking forward to the grand final against ENCE, what are your thoughts?
I guess ENCE will be the final boss so to say of this tournament (laughs). We actually played our first match against them and now we play the final match against then, so that’s quite a funny storyline, but we all want revenge for the group stage match and it would be sweet.
It’s going to be a best-of-five so it’s going to be a long one, I don’t think ENCE have really been tested in best-of-fives…
I think they played one at IEM Fall, but certainly not much experience.
I think best-of-five is definitely going in our favour because in general we play all maps extremely well, besides Vertigo; we’ve basically beaten all the top teams on all of the maps. I think that fact will give us an advantage, and we’re going to be extremely hyped to take them down, we’re really bitter from that loss in the group stage.
We also want to prove that we can win with our full lineup with rain!
Just one last question! You have now beaten NAVI, made back-to-back grand finals, and may make it two tournament wins in a row; are you potentially the best team in the world right now?
I think it’s…. yeah. I would say you could call us the best team in the world, I actually personally have never been on the number one spot in HLTV, after this tournament we will see what happens. I think I was close two times in MOUZ, second two times, so I don’t want to make it three times in FaZe (laughs), so hopefully we claim that spot.
We had a very tough bracket coming into the playoffs, we beat NAVI, and I definitely think we are at least worthy of claiming it.