rain: "This is one of the best crowds I've played in front of"
FaZe have secured a spot in the grand final of PGL Major Antwerp, but it didn't come easy as Spirit gave them a run for their money in an intense semi-final series. After a hard-fought Mirage where Finn "karrigan" Andersen's side only narrowly emerged victorious, Dust2 saw three overtimes unfold, an intense back-and-forth filled with clutches and thrilling moments of Counter-Strike.
Following the end of the match, HLTV.org caught up with rain, who has been having an stellar tournament overall, the best performing player on FaZe at the moment with a 1.19 rating across 11 maps and the player with the best opening kill rating in the event, sitting on a 1.46 rating.
The Norwegian spoke about his renewed motivation playing on stage and also to play up to the level of the young talent on the lineup, saying that them grinding the game has inspired him to show he has still got it at his age. He also touched on some of the highlight moments of the match against Spirit, and gave his thoughts on how it feels to be in the best position to claim a Major title since Boston 2018.
Congrats rain, that was an insane series you just went through, incredible overtime battle on Dust2 where Spirit almost took it over the line a few times. Tell me what's going through your head right now.
It feels really good, especially after that overtime win on Dust2 and especially after throwing that one on four versus magixx. I just remember right when it was one on four, I was just like, 'you guys, just please play the f-... play the bomb,' and then everybody was like, '1, 2, 3, 4!' and everybody was peeking and dying one by one, and I was like, 'oh no, not like this.' But I'm so happy that we managed to close that out. If we didn't and it went to Nuke, I would be very upset about that round.
This Spirit lineup are a team you hadn't played yet until this match. Going up against them after the run they've had at this Major, what were you all expecting going into this?
We knew they were going to come in guns blazing, right? They've been playing really confident CS, the youngsters are popping off, and we knew there was going to be a lot of duels and we were going to need to win those duels or else they're going to punish us hard.
Coming into Mirage, we had a game plan to go a little bit faster, not play as slow Counter-Strike against them and try to punish them and play on their rotations, and it worked out perfectly. karrigan did a great job calling versus them, and it made it a lot easier for us.
You individually have been having an excellent event. When I spoke to ropz he said that you're really motivated by playing on stage, having missed the playoffs in Katowice, so what has it been like playing there finally and riling up the crowd?
It feels so good. If you get a one tap you just hear the roar, and whenever you do something, you do something good, you can feel the crowd, you get some extra energy from the crowd. The atmosphere is amazing, and this is one of the best crowds I've played in front of. It's such a motivation boost and energy boost to play on the stage.
Is there anything that changed in the team to for you to be playing so well individually, or are you just motivated right now with the desire to play on stage?
I think it's motivation and looking at the young kids on the team, like broky, Russ [Twistzz], and Robin [ropz]. They're playing so much and I want to keep up with them and show them that even though I'm a little bit older, I can still play as much as them and do it. That's a big part of why I'm getting back to my old self, I would say. I have so many hours in the past two weeks, I'm playing a lot and I'm learning from the kids, and it's such a good environment in the team.
The last time you were in this kind of form at a Major was at Boston 2018, and obviously one of the biggest storylines of this Major is FaZe coming in, karrigan, you, aiming to finally take the crown this time. Has that pressure been building for you?
It's been normal, I don't think we've felt too much pressure. Maybe in our opening game versus ENCE, but the nerves kind of fell away pretty fast. Now, the goal is to win, and we're preparing every single day until 2, 3 AM, just prepping for every team we're playing against. So now, there's no nerves for us in that way, but even if there are any, it benefits us more than it hurts us.
Does this event feel more special to you given the form the team has been in, knowing it's your best chance to win the Major since Boston?
It feels a little bit different, the team composition feels different, the way we play is different as well. I think this is overall a better team in the way that we have all the roles set, and karrigan knows how to utilize everybody to their maximum. So it's kinda the same feeling, but also I feel more confident now than what I did.
You're through to the grand final now, one of ENCE or NAVI are going to be up against you. That is a match that has a lot of eyes on it, most people are projecting a FaZe-NAVI final. What're your thoughts on that, how do you see yourself facing up against either of those teams?
ENCE-NAVI is going to be a really special matchup. They're both playing really good so far, and ENCE this year has been really surprising. They've found really good form and Spinx is playing like a real superstar in his team, I don't think I've seen him have a bad game this entire year it feels like.
They're definitely coming in very hot for this game, but then again you have NAVI with electronic popping off, like old times, it was sick to watch. It's going to be a really good game, I think it's going to be three maps, and it's going to be nail-biter games, all of them. Snappi has a good understanding of how to play with the guys he has in ENCE as well, so it's going to be a really good game.
Is there a team between the two who would give you more trouble if you got them in the final?
No, I think they're pretty equal. We've lost to both of them in the past, and it's going to be a really good final no matter who we play against. NAVI of course have a little bit more experience on stage so they're probably going to be the tougher opponent in that way, but the way ENCE is playing now, they're playing with so much confidence and they're shooting hard, so it's going to be a hard game no matter who we play.