karrigan: "Winning a Major is just a part of my goals, not my only goal"
FaZe came into the European RMR as heavy favorites to make the Major, and they were one step away from it following their two victories over Eternal Fire and Vitality. A match against BIG was all that stood between karrigan and the Major, but despite coming in as the underdogs, the Germans were able to upset the best team in the world 2-0, putting a wrench in their plans to claim a spot in the Legends stage.
FaZe's second qualification match saw them line up against MOUZ, and it did not take long for karrigan's men to put the doubters to rest, sweeping the European mix and punching their tickets to Antwerp. We sat down with the Danish in-game leader to talk about all the pressure of being on top and the current work of FaZe's coaching staff.
You made it through to the Major, still pending if as Legends or not, but how are you feeling at least making it through the RMR?
We came into this after winning back to back events, so there's obviously a lot of pressure, as we've seen in previous RMRs and qualifying occasions to Majors, it's a bit different. But I was happy we got the fast 2-0 in best-of-ones. Then we played BIG and they had a great game, I felt like we had many chances on Mirage, but in the end they were the better team and they won.
I also told the team after, that we're going to lose at some point, some stupid games where we feel like we have it and we can't always come back as we've done lately. So yeah, I just told the guys to show a strong mentality today and that's what we did against MOUZ. We played a great game, I feel, even if it got a bit close at the end on Inferno.
You touched on feeling some pressure. Now you're favorites to win, the top ranked teamed in the world, all of these things that come with the results you've been getting. How is it affecting you guys and how is getting into the mode of being favorites?
I don't think it has affected us too much, I haven't seen a game where it has affected us. I always try to analyze what went wrong when we lost, like in ESL Pro League, but it wasn't really pressure at all. We were just not there. Here in the BIG game I don't feel like we lost to ourselves, we just lost to a better team on that day. If you're 5% off individually and 5% off on team play, then you lose. That's how it is.
Right now I feel like people are handling it really well, the most important thing is that even if we lose, we don't lose to ourselves, because that's when the pressure comes in. So far I think we've handled it perfectly. We also showed it today because if we lost we would have had a lot of pressure on the next day, so the way we won against MOUZ shows that we're good at handling it.
So, FaZe showing "budget FaZe" who's boss?
MOUZ has a different budget and philosophy, but I think they have great potential with the players they have and I hope they qualify for the Major because I'm really good friends with frozen and I want the best for him.
What is it like without RobbaN here?
He's working remotely with our analyst right now, trying to support us the best way he can by being on TeamSpeak with us and playing retakes at night, making sure people play CS. But being here without him, and we'll be without him at the Major, it's really tough for the whole team. He creates a very positive environment and makes sure people grind CS and are on the same page, laughing and having fun.
He also has a special way of talking to me and keeping me on track if I'm not calling a great game or have a bad individual game, trying to help in that way. So yeah, he does what he can remotely but not having him in these tense moments, when he sees something and makes sure we're doing the right things, it's bad. But we do our best without him and we try to make him happy at home.
Your analyst is also working remotely, innersh1ne, who was behind you guys at the PGL Major in Stockholm. What was the decision to not bring him out?
A lot of stuff is obviously happening in the world and he's relocating his whole family. I also wanted to make sure that we have the remote work we've had in some of the other tournaments so that it feels like normal. Bringing him in as the coach could change the dynamic of the team.
innersh1ne is doing a great job as an analyst and we could have brought him on but we thought we'd be with our manager who is also a positive guy. So yeah, it was a decision made by the team to have RobbaN and our analyst work remote.
You're one of the older guys in the circuit these days, and I gather winning a Major must be one of your goals now. How do you feel about that?
Yeah, every players has goals, right? And everyone has winning a Major as a goal. I think that for me, it's important to point out that it's just a part of my goals, not my only goal. If I win a Major people think I'm stopping, but that's not what it is, it's part of my goals just like IEM Katowice and IEM Cologne, that are also huge legendary trophies. A Major is just one of them.
I also always try to remind myself that it's just another tournament, I've been in a Major final before and I've grown a lot as a person even though I was already experienced back then. But I think I improve every day, how to handle that pressure, and at this point if you go that deep you have to win the Major, but it's not something that I'm saying 'this is the Major, it's my final time' or anything like that. I don't know when I'll be done, but I am getting older and winning Katowice gave me a lot of energy and motivation.
Winning Katowice also gave me confidence, and I think that I'm one of the dangerous callers in the world when I'm confident. So we need to keep that in mind and when we go to the Major I know I'll have a great team behind me that will support every call I make or whatever I say.
We can tie this into the last question that I have, which is whether you think FaZe will be able to make it to the Major at your peak.
I think it's always tough to know if you're going to hit peak performance at a Major or not. I've always said that a team that wins the Major final, when you go that deep and you win the Major, it's the team that peaked the highest at the right time. So I don't know, obviously we're peaking right now. We haven't lost many best-of-threes with this lineup and we won back-to-back tournaments. So yeah, our goal is to try and peak.
Now we'll take some time to rest before an intensive bootcamp before the Major, but I also know that since RobbaN won't be with us at the Major we will lose some of the percentage points he adds to make us a better team. We'll do our best and this is why I've said in other interviews that my main goal is that we need to be 100% at our peak performance in the next Major, when RobbaN is back in the team. Right now, with the results we have, we have to be favorites to win the Major, but it's a long circle and we just got started.