karrigan: "I don't think the old team would have survived some of the rounds we threw at the Major"
FaZe's in-game leader joined HLTV Confirmed to discuss the team's journey heading into, during, and after their Major-winning run in Belgium.
Finn "karrigan" Andersen joined HLTV confirmed on Tuesday to share his thoughts on FaZe's experiences during the PGL Major Antwerp, which also marked his team becoming the first international roster in the game's history to become Major winners.
Kicking off the segment saw karrigan give an insight on the team's confidence going into the Major and his own personal mindset, the Dane having previously led his team to back-to-back victories to start the year at IEM Katowice and ESL Pro League.
"I think we had a good feeling going into the Major, very careful to not be overconfident. We had a strange first few months with the team like winning IEM Katowice with a stand-in, and down 0-2 at EPL to grinding our way to 3-2, eventually winning Pro League," karrigan said when asked about the team's confidence heading into the PGL Major. "The thing with Majors is it's not how you start the tournament, but how you end the tournament, every time. We were not overconfident, but confident enough to take the win."
Having always competed at the highest level of CS:GO and achieving numerous victories at Big Events, the elusive Major crown was the only thing missing from karrigan's decorated career. When asked about how he dealt with his status being one of the greatest to never win a Major, the FaZe IGL explained how a change of mindset and better mental focus helped him in the long run.
"For me personally, I kind of told myself two years ago that I might never get a Major. By telling myself I might never get a Major it just made me realize that I can win all the other tournaments and just make them as important as a Major," karrigan stated, while also admitting that a mistake he had made early in his career was think that winning a Major was the only way one could become the greatest.
"By changing my mindset, it kind of released some of the pressure I had during the previous tournaments, and I think that was the best thing I changed by just accepting that and reading about other professional players and professional sports, so that was very healthy for me."
karrigan also mentioned that FaZe opted not to bring their analyst, Viacheslav "innersh1ne" Britvin, to the tournament, reasoning that it would be better for the squad to have both their analyst and their coach, Robert "RobbaN" Dahlström, working on the same page from home. Inspired by the team's manager stepping in and being a great morale booster during the Major, karrigan also stated the importance of not forgetting to have fun even as a pro player.
"You are so focused on winning, winning, winning, that you forget to enjoy the moment and have fun. People that watched our voice comms from the Major, we were laughing in the first round of the Major final because someone's microphone wasn't working. Normally that could be tilting, but we made something fun out of it"
The Danish in-game leader made comparisons to his previous FaZe lineups, and what learnings the team has applied since then. "I don't think the old [FaZe 2018] team would have survived some of the rounds we threw at the Major. With the old lineup, we were overthinking stuff, and that’s something that RobbaN and I learned from those losses. It's a key difference from this team to the other one, and maybe it also came down to the younger players showing a little more hunger."
Even though FaZe emerged as overall champions of the PGL Major, they still encountered some obstacles along the way, with karrigan admitting that their matches against Ninjas in Pyjamas, Spirit, and Natus Vincere in the playoffs were all a different challenge respective of where they were in the competition.
"The hardest game mentally was against Spirit and the one I was most scared of was against Ninjas in Pyjamas on the third map. Against Natus Vincere we just played at a higher level as compared to the previous opponents, stepped up our game in the final along with a good game plan, and their Nuke veto gave us a confidence boost as well."
As IEM Dallas grew closer, karrigan revealed that he felt mentally drained and the rest of the FaZe members weren't able to fully prepare for the upcoming tournament given the team's schedule, with Andersen telling the squad to just do their best despite not being at 100%. Although disappointed at their loss to Cloud9, karrigan promised that the result will be fuel to what is hopefully a more successful outing at the BLAST Spring Final.
Straying a bit away from talking about his own team's performance, karrigan took time to commend Cloud9's approach to their quarter-final series at IEM Dallas. ”They clearly had a good plan on how to counter us, and it's tough when you beat a team three or four times in a row then they have to constantly adapt and learn from their mistakes. It's hard to always stay on top of how others adapt or react to us.”
The Danish in-game leader also addressed Danny "zonic" Sørensen's comments about the language differences being a possible hindrance to international teams' communication and reaching the same levels of success as compared to those with a lineup of players from the same country, agreeing that the statement made sense, but also shared his own view on how his role as the captain and shotcaller allows him to handle an international roster.
"If I have four individual players that see the game a little different, but I can connect those pieces and make them mesh together, that's where I feel international teams are really, really dangerous. Everybody plays their own style, but has a bigger voice that leads the team into how we want to play the map."
The rest of the episode touched more on various moments from IEM Dallas, such as ENCE's grand final run with Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski as a stand-in, Vladislav "nafany" Gorshkov's Cloud9 roster finally succeeding on the arena stage, and some teams' post-Major roster shakeups.