FASHR: "When fnatic reached out to me to join I was surprised"
fnatic finally put to bed a long-running curse here in Malta by qualifying for the IEM Rio Major, their first since Katowice 2019. They did so in impressive fashion, recovering from a disappointing loss to B8 to confidently sweep Eternal Fire and 1WIN in series play.
All of this was accomplished with a relatively fresh roster, the team being rounded out with FASHR as recently as August, and with only two members of the squad who failed to make it through the PGL RMR.
With his first Major appearance now on the horizon FASHR set some time aside to speak to HLTV about his team's play, the key moment that turned a 1-2 record into qualification, and the details of settling in at his new home.
How does it feel to get fnatic to their first major in a very long time?
It feels amazing, I have never been to a Major myself so to contribute to it and help them reach the Major obviously feels amazing.
Talking about the run in general it seemed from the outside a bit up and down, you ran FaZe very close, then lost to B8 where you were the heavy favourites. How was it from your perspective?
Well we started off pretty dominant against Aurora, like 16-4, and we had a great mindset. After that we played FaZe and everyone wanted to win, the mindset was great again, we made some small mistakes, including myself, to make it to overtime and lose in the end. I mean they are the number one team in the world so…
You can't be too hard on yourself.
Yeah, it’s okay right? Then against B8 our mindset was just wrong, completely wrong. We thought maybe it was going to be a run over, a free 2-1, then we got punished for it, we did so many individual and team mistakes, the communication was not there, no one was hyped.
We had a talk after, we said if we want to make it to the Major we need to change something, and then the game against Eternal Fire was just a completely different world. Everyone was hyped, everyone wanted to win, and I think today was the same.
What did you say in that talk, what was the key thing that allowed you to shift that mindset and come back in the right fashion?
Obviously we watched the game back a little bit, but that wasn’t the main issue, it was literally our mindset and the way… there was just no hype, no one was saying “nice clutch!” or whatever. We did that really well in the qualifiers and in Pro League even, everyone was hyped up, so we knew we could do it, we just had to do it. That’s what we brought up with Andreas [fnatic's manager], he brought up some good points, and we just said we are going to do it. From the first round against Eternal Fire, everyone was in that fight mode to win.
Talking more generally about the team, you are obviously still a relatively new roster, how is the team coming together? Pro League looked promising, and you succeeded here at the RMR.
I think the team has great chemistry together, we are five individuals who are really open to everything, we are pretty social as well, we laugh and talk, and we can transfer that into the game.
For me personally it is a little bit harder because I am switching nearly every role I had, I am a quite similar player to roeJ. When they reached out to me to join I was surprised because me and roeJ are so similar, but obviously we had some great talks and I got picked up.
I have to learn a lot still, but with Krimz, roeJ, they have so much experience, and even keita the coach, they help me a lot with the new positions. I’m getting better, not there yet, but when I get comfortable we’re gonna play really well. Even though we are playing pretty well already, it’s going to be a level above.
What is that new role for you, because on ECSTATIC you were a very aggressive player?
So for example now, if you saw the Ancient game, I’m doing the mid nades, I’m the one grouping on T side when usually I was like roeJ, taking space in cave, B long, getting the entries. I’m pretty aggressive myself so I have to find the balance with it, but some CT roles are still the same, for example Nuke on the A site, I am feeling really comfortable. Even on Ancient B site, that’s my old role so that’s no problem for me. It’s just finding the balance between the aggressiveness, because I can still do it on some maps, but on others I have to be a bit more passive and support the team.
So would you say it’s T side where you have had more changes?
Yeah I think so. Like Overpass CT I am playing on B and I can still go out short, that’s still aggressive, so that doesn’t really matter. It’s more on T side, on Overpass again for example I am playing underground so I have to get in sync with the mid guys, get the control and then group towards A or towards B, you know?
Why do you think those role switches came about? Why were you picked even if you were doing the same things as roeJ before?
I think obviously they analysed pretty much everything I did in ECSTATIC and probably they thought I was good enough to have a role switch, otherwise they wouldn’t do it. I played a few trial games that went pretty okay, even though I felt completely clueless what I was doing (laughs) they could see through it, see the potential and improvement. I’m really happy because I am making a Major now, I would do anything, if I have to drop my guns or do support I don’t care, as long as I win it’s fine. They still know the fragging potential is there, I can pop off still.
We definitely saw some examples here!
What are the other differences for you, not just in your roles, but playing in tier-one versus tier-two?
The best example was against FaZe, they punish every mistake you do. I made a big mistake on 15-13, and yeah you just get punished for it and lose the game, you know? That’s the biggest difference, and I think the biggest difference for me watching my teammates is… for example Krimz playing clutches, I’ve never seen it before. So chill, so calm, knows exactly what he’s doing, and you learn a lot from watching it.
Last question as I am sure you want to go and celebrate a bit; what are the goals, or the ceiling for this team?
Basically when we first started as a team we had a bootcamp in London and we made some goals, one of the goals was making Pro League playoffs which we achieved. The other goal was… uh… I don’t remember if was making the Major or just making the RMR… I can’t remember to be honest (laughs)…
Either way you achieved it (laughs).
Yeah, we achieved it! Obviously we built short term goals, mid term goals and long term goals, and we are achieving the goals already after two months. Let’s say in half a year, what can we do and what can we achieve? We don’t know ourselves yet because if we play this well already, we can only improve.