FalleN: "Bringing in Stewie opens up the door for the future"
First off, what has been the process for integrating Stewie into the team? What were the biggest challenges and the biggest changes the team had to make to adapt?
Bringing another player always presents the same challenges. First you have to try to let him play some of the things he likes, and of course some of them might not mix well with some of the other roles within the team. For example maybe he likes to play something that I already play, stuff like that. So you always have to try to figure out, like, which one we can give to him, which one he’ll have to learn otherwise. It’s been mostly that so far. The obvious difference when bringing in Stewie was that we were not speaking english, so of course, there’s a new challenge to learn it, get used to process the information that comes into the round in a faster way, so we can make the right play in times in order to make the team succeed. Those are the two things I can point out as to what were the challenges when bringing in another player and especially Stewie.
Would you say switching the comms has been very challenging and affected your play?
I think it’s definitely challenging but I don’t think it has affected our play that much. If you look at our latest results with TACO, we had just exited two group stages as well. We were seeing no progress whatsoever so that’s why we decided to make the change. With Stewie we feel we’re progressing, every time we go to a tournament we are feeling better. This tournament we reached playoffs, we were almost able to take some maps off the first and second best teams in the world ranking wise. So the team is getting better, we see the progress and that’s what’s important for us.
Over these past few months, SK seemed to have had relative ease dispatching lesser teams, but you’re still struggling with the top teams. What do you think needs to change or improve specifically for the team to get back to the top?
We definitely need all the players to step up a little bit more, including myself. We really need to all have more impact. We need more time, just to get more comfortable with the english language, in order to get confident in ourselves again. And of course work on the strategies and pull ahead of the meta again. We always have to be one step ahead of everyone if we want to be the best in the world. So a bit of everything. I feel we have all the pieces to make this team work. Everyone is committed, everyone has the right mindset. With time I think we can achieve that.
I understand that coldzera has recently taken over some of the IGL tasks. Can you briefly describe what inspired that change and how things have been different since you made that switch? Do you like it? Do you think you’ll go back to you making the calls?
I think that trying something new is always good. With coldzera in-game leading we all have a different mindset with how we approach the game. That could work, I think we saw that improvement already. There are maps where I call, maps where he calls and I think it went pretty well. I think I still can deliver a bit more, I’m practicing individual-wise, I’m trying to put a little more effort in to get back to my level that I was at the last years. I think as soon as I can achieve this we’re going to be better. So I like the fact that coldzera is in-game leading, he has always been helping me in the last years so we kind of think likewise. It’s not that he’s a whole different beast when he’s calling, it’s pretty much the same as I did, but the pieces are a little bit different. I like it, have a little bit more freedom, and it’s been great so far.
So you will keep that for the next tournaments to try it out longer?
Exactly we have a couple tournaments coming up, the next one is in Kiev, Ukraine, and it’s going to be the same process. We’re going to make some changes, in a few maps, where we had some struggles, but in-game leading is going to be the same.
Following on that, what do you think are the biggest benefits for you when cold is calling? Do you think that having him call gives you more confidence on the T side, gives you sort of a break?
I think the most beneficial aspect is the fact that it’s different mind. When people look for SK they have been looking at the way I called and the way I played, the way the team has played for the last two or three years. Now with a new in-game leader we can always bring something new to the table that teams are not expecting. But of course it comes with flaws with it as well. Of course cold got a bit nervous on the first match, just as I did in the beginning. There is some struggles as well. As soon as we fix these struggles, it’s going to be better and better.
SK looks to be in one of its most dire situations right now, with what’s look like a very long term move, bringing Stewie in and having to change the comms. Was that out of a lack of option in the brazilian scene? That all the other possibilities had been depleted?
We have many many good players in Brazil. The most prestigious ones kind of already played for us, if you look at felps, we had fnx, we had TACO. We had all these players filling in for us, in a certain timeframe of the team. Of course there was other options, but we felt that none of them would be a guaranteed pickup. It would be more about developing a new talent, not knowing how good he’s going to be. So we decided to go for someone that we know is solid. We decided to take this new challenge of speaking english because we think it’s going to be great for our lives. Everyone now in the team is starting to be fluent in english, which is something great.
Bringing in Stewie opens up the door for the future as well. If someone wants to play on another team in their career, they’ll be able to speak another language. If we want to bring in another player, maybe when I retire they can bring another AWPer that speaks english. So I know the opportunities are bigger when you speak the language that everyone does. It was a little bit of everything, we saw with Stewie and with other players as well the opportunity to get a good player that could help us become the best in the world again, and we’re very satisfied with Stewie, we think he’s a very capable player, he can do many things in the game and he’s very committed, so it’s been great so far.
Photo credit: ESL