karrigan: "olof makes so much sense the way I want to play"
Can your first walk us through what happened in the semis against Astralis? How much of this was due to them being on fire and how much about FaZe slumping?
I think it’s a bit of both. They played really really well, they had good communications, their skill was really on point, while we were not into the game at all. I think we were good in the first two gun rounds on Mirage, after that we kind of felt that we were outside of our comfort zone, and they are good at pushing us outside of it. So I think it’s both things combined into one and that’s why you saw the result you saw.
Going off that, the semis seems a little bit lopsided, given that you had just beaten them in Sydney. Do you think there was a big difference between what happened in Sydney compared to what happened here, in terms of their approach or the approach that you took?
I don’t think that was different. It was two different maps to begin with, Mirage and Inferno. And we didn’t play those maps in Sydney, as we played Cache, Overpass and Train. You could have seen a different result in Sydney as well if there had been those maps in the pool. But when you look at the result, I don’t think it was a different approach. Like I said, they played maybe five times better than they did in Sydney, and we played really bad compared to Sydney. I think that’s just a mixup of both things.
What do you think of the rivalry that you developed with Astralis in general?
We had a good rivalry when I joined FaZe, there was two different playstyles, I’m the former captain of Astralis and we couldn’t agree on how to play CS. They have shown when I left that that way of playing CS worked, and when they dropped off we’ve shown with FaZe that the way I like to call and the way we play also work for a team. So I think the rivalry comes from two different ways of how to approach CS. Also they’re my former teammates, and during one whole year they couldn’t really beat us in a best-of-three or best-of-five series.That’s why there’s a good rivalry and now we have to step it up and still make it a rivalry after all.
Given that you’re the former captain of that team, do you still feel that you put extra weight on your match when you go up against them? Do you get nervous or add any pressure?
Not at all, I don’t think there’s any extra pressure. I know them good and they know me good so I’m just trying to focus on my game and how I want to call, and what flaws I’ve seen in their game lately. Other than that I might play 5% better because I’m into the game and I really want to beat those guys. But with that said, I don’t change my approach, I don’t get nervous. I actually feel comfortable playing Astralis, even though the series we had yesterday was not good. All in all, I like to play them because I know what to expect from them. They probably also know what to expect from FaZe.
I want to talk a little bit about the loss of olof and the addition of Xizt. What changes did you have to make to integrate Xizt into the team?
We didn’t have to change much. We just put him in the role of olof since he’s a stand-in helping us out for the period of time during which olof is absent. We slightly changed some spots in maps where it makes sense, like for example on Nuke. But other than that it’s just straight up olof’s role, the same tactics, the same things, we haven’t really renewed anything since we had Xizt. We just want to play, and play in our comfort zone and avoid having anyone outside of their own comfort zone. We just try to grind some tournaments and that’s what we have done with Xizt. He was the one adapting to us since he’s been in-game leading before, and now he’s playing kind of a lurk role, a lurk support role.
What do you think are the major differences between what olof brings to the table and what Xizt brought?
I think one thing they have in common is their calmness. They try to calm the whole team down, as well as the communications. So they’re both very good at that. Obviously olof is a more highly skilled player, and maybe goes for more plays than Xizt does. Xizt is a more passive player, and I think that is what gives also some space sometimes. A lot of players know they can take five to ten percent more duels because they know that someone else besides me is playing a bit more passive. That’s a thing that Xizt brings, playing a little more passive than olof. But that’s it, and olof has been playing fantastic for us as well so it’s a mix of both things. Xizt is more passive, olof is more a playmaker once he get into the role.
Let’s talk about Sydney. You were able to beat Astralis in the world, and they’re one of the top teams in the world. But at the same time you lost to Renegades in the bracket. Can you tell us how the team deals with such results?
Obviously we had a lot of frustration going into Sydney. The first match was really frustrating for us. We played ORDER and then against Renegades and they really played with their hearts out. The same with Grayhound, those were matches where we had to grind our way back. Right after the Grayhound match, actually before the Cloud9 match we gathered the team to get the frustration out, it had been negative in the chat because our communications were bad, playing bad off each other. So we let off the frustration out, right before the Cloud9 game and we went to play the rest of the tournament losing just one map, against TyLoo. We played Cloud9 2-0, Fnatic 2-0, and Astralis 3-0. All in all the first two days in Sydney were quite due to maybe a bit of jet lag, and frustration, but in the end we found our playstyle and found our comfort zone in the tournament.
It was just about getting your mindset right as the tournament goes on?
Yeah we had a bad mindset coming into the games, maybe thinking it would be an easy road to the playoffs. But instead of that we had to grind our way back and that’s sometimes good to get a slap in the face, especially in group stages where we have a second chance to make it out of groups. It’s just grinding through and having the right mindset.
There seemed to be some uncertainty in the CS scene in terms of which team is the best and we’ve not really had an era where a team really dominated since SK in 2016. Can you shed a bit of light on why it’s so hard for any team to maintain their spot at the top and what do you think are the reasons for that?
The reason it was so hard for any of us, SK and FaZe, to make an era in the last year, was because all the time one tournament was one by one team and the next by the other team. I think us and SK, we won like ten tournaments together, they won seven we won, like, three. We had a lot of finals with both teams. You couldn’t really say the team was superior, they were a bit better against us but they couldn’t win all tournaments. Having an era is really hard because there’s many teams improving all the time, the meta is constantly evolving. Right now Astralis have a big chance to make their era because other teams are really really struggling. I think we are the only team right now which gives them a fight every day. Some teams can compete with them on a good day, but on a bad day you don’t have a chance against Astralis because they don’t have bad days.
Last question, just for fun. Given FaZe’s history, picking up top players left and right such as kioShiMa, then Olof, then GuardiaN, I just have to ask, when are you guys going to pick up S1mple?
I think it’s going to be hard to fit in more star players in the lineup, maybe they’re going to take me out at some point [laughs]. I don’t know, you have to look at how the synergy in the team is. You just don’t pick up the best player in the world everytime I’m or we’re about to pick up a player. It has to make sense in my way of how I want to utilize the player, because I can have the four best players in the world but if they all want to play the same role I cannot make them play a role they’re not used to. That’s why many didn’t understand the olof pickup. But olof makes so much sense the way I want to play, and he’s playing his role very good. That’s what we have to do, somebody has to sacrifice and do less for himself but more for the team. That’s an issue with having S1mple, NiKo and GuardiaN in one team, who all like to go for the star role and repeek a lot.
Would you say that having the right chemistry is more important than just having a bunch of stars?
I wouldn’t say chemistry but more the synergy and how I want to play. I’m still the captain so I still need to make sure that every time we do a default, everybody isn’t going for their kills and they die, one by one by one. That’s an issue we had before and we try to minimize those things so we would not end up with playmakers in four different places on the map, because everybody in our team is going to make plays, if I’m not going to call anything.
Photo credit: ESL