FaNg: "I'm working more on the mental side [of my game]"
Complexity joined Fluxo, paiN, and FURIA among the list of teams to qualify for the BLAST.tv Paris Major through the Americas RMR, becoming the first North American team to secure a spot in the final CS:GO Major.
The roster has been making strong strides to contend at top-tier events since adding Håkon "hallzerk" Fjærli in July 2022, often putting up strong performances against tier-one teams, but falling just short of either making the playoffs of tournaments or faltering early on in the bracket stage.
After FURIA and Liquid, Complexity were one of the top candidates to make the Major, and did so in style in a tournament path that saw them defeat Solid, Imperial, and MIBR, with the latter two teams falling to the North American side in series play. The victory over Imperial was especially sweet for Complexity as Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo's men had eliminated them from the IEM Road to Rio Americas RMR in the final deciding matchup, with Johnny "JT" Theodosiou and company managing to claim revenge over the Brazilian roster this time around before easing past MIBR.
HLTV caught up with Justin "FaNg" Coakley after Complexity qualified for the Major to get his perspective on his team's run through the event, claiming revenge over Imperial, and his own individual form in recent months as the team now turn their attention to the Paris Major.
FaNg, congratulations, you're qualified for the Major. You're sitting here and you look a little overwhelmed, how are you feeling right now?
I'm super hyped man. I think just coming into this event and leading up to it, all the work that we put in, a lot of sacrifices that we made, myself, everyone, the rest of the team, it really showed today and I'm just really happy that we could bring it across the line and make the Major, make the last CS:GO Major.
You started this event off with a win and then you lost to paiN. What was the mentality like after those initial two matches?
The mentality was pretty much the same. Coming into it we just made sure we prepped hard, we knew the teams we were playing. Obviously Team Solid, we didn't really know them as well or they didn't have as many maps and stuff, but we did the same prep and it worked out.
paiN game, we prepped well against them, I think there was just a little bit of miscommunication, some individual mistakes we made that we just had to tighten up, it wasn't anything too out of control. Coming into our review, we reviewed that match, even the Solid game too, just to make sure that coming into our next games we were full focused and fully understanding of what we needed to do, and that helped propel us over the line.
Then yesterday you beat Imperial, a huge win for you, 2-0, and good revenge after they knocked you out of the last RMR as well. How did that feel, walk me through that match and the emotions afterward.
Yeah that game was honestly... I was telling the guys before that this was our time, you know we've kinda had a rivalry against them lately and obviously them knocking us out of the last RMR, we had to persevere there. Coming into each map we were just really prepared, obviously they have so much experience but playing them, we know what we're capable of and we showed it on the server.
Once we beat them I was even telling Grim that we had this, and actually taking over the game and just showing that we really sent FalleN packing there which was just insane to even think about, that you can knock out one of the best CS players of all time, a public figure and role model for players like us, so it was insane.
The one loss you had means that you weren't eligible for the Legends spot. Does that mean much to you at all, or are you just happy to qualify in the first place?
I'm just happy with qualifying. I'm just proud of everyone on the team, just ourselves staying composed. A Legends spot could have been nice and all, but at the end of the day we're trying to make the Major, we're trying to play well at the Major and just continue where we left off last time and get better result, continue to improve.
Coming into this event your results have been a bit up and down, you had a good performance in Katowice, but then you had an early exit in EPL and you lost the BLAST Showdown. First of all, did that shake your confidence at all, and secondly, what was missing from the team in those that you found here?
I'm only speaking for myself, but my confidence personally wasn't shaken at all due to the missed couple of events and those poor performances. A lot of those events did occur online though, so it was a little bit hard for us especially with hallzerk being in Norway still with 150 ping, it just made everything super hard.
I tried putting it in perspective for everybody and just recognizing that our circumstances aren't the greatest right now, but we just need to come together, play the best we can play, and when we get back into a LAN environment — especially when our next event was the RMR — so coming into that, putting our all into that, and showing that Complexity is here to play and our true potential as a team.
Individually your form has been a bit off in the last couple of months, you've not been quite the player you were when you made the big step up to this level. You just said your confidence wasn't shaken, and in terms of your own individual level you played pretty well in this game and on Overpass against Imperial, but how have you felt about your level?
For my individual level I've just been focusing a lot on stuff outside the game, mainly just the stress and to get myself comfortable in the game, outside of the game so that I can feel the game a lot more and not overthink stuff. I think a lot of that was due to a lot of the travel and having to deal with a lot of situations I've never tried before, whether it's travel or practices, different things like that.
When I used to feel like I was struggling I would play a lot, and I think with the circumstances I'm in now it's not the best for me because it makes me overthink and kinda just not feel myself, not have as much fun playing the game. Now I'm working more on my mental side, feeling the game, not overthinking stuff, and playing to be the best player I can be, best teammate I can be, and best person outside the server and it's showing so I'm happy with the growth that I've been seeing recently.
As I said earlier, you've had a couple of early exits at events. Now that you've qualified for Paris, is this where you take a step up and break through that barrier of getting some playoffs appearances and wins?
Yeah, I think so. Right now for us, with the practice and stuff we've gotten over the past year and just dealing with last year, losing a lot, playing on par with a lot of tier one teams and getting that experience, I think now we're getting to a point where we can start looking at having playoff runs and having just deep runs at tournaments. It's something that is still going to take a little time to progress, like maybe we'll have one here and there, but overall getting to that level by the end of year is my own personal goal for our team.
It's the last CS:GO Major, it's been talked about quite a bit. How does it feel to be going into Paris, into your second Major, and wrapping up this chapter of Counter-Strike?
It feels surreal. I don't really have too many words to express it. Just coming into the last CS:GO Major I just think back to when I started playing the game, and everything that's happened leading up to this point.
All the losses, all the sacrifices, all the great moments that you make playing the game. Taking that all in and realizing you're playing the last CS:GO Major in Paris, a place I've never been, an environment where you're with your team, you're seeing that progression and you just want to win, it's just surreal. I don't have too many words to express it, but taking all that in and just realizing it, it's just an awesome feeling.