Back in 2013 you parted ways with Epsilon after playing at DreamHack Summer. What did your prospects look like at the time?
We didn’t have many options when Epsilon disbanded and we had just picked up MODDII from Fnatic. We kinda knew that we wanted to join Fnatic and while we hadn’t really been in touch at that point, we left Epsilon in hopes of getting picked up by them. MODDII thought it was very possible because the old Danish lineup had to split up and go their separate ways. In fact, we didn’t have any other offers at the time.
Later that year you landed pronax who replaced MODDII and you went on to win DreamHack Winter 2013 with just under a month of practice with that squad. That’s a feat in-of-itself since roster changes can be hectic. How did you and the team adapt to each other and the individual playstyles?
I think we were able get the results we did because of pronax. Before, we had the individual skill but pronax’s style of play calling is not typical — his style is very reactive. He assesses exactly what the opponent is doing and makes a call based on that in the moment. Mid-round he will just start saying “you go there!” to each player which means his calling doesn’t need much time to adapt to and I feel like he was the main reason for our success there to be honest. You could say he was the missing puzzle piece in that roster.
That type of quick success isn’t very normal, so you would say that pronax was the only reason you guys saw such fast success or were there other factors?
I wouldn’t say it’s normal either, but I knew we had it in us. We had been monsters online but we hadn’t really showed that on LAN. With the help of pronax, we kind of pulled that strength out of us and it showed that we had something special within the team.
After DreamHack Winter 2013 you guys had a bit of decline. When did you realize it was time for another roster change?
After that there was another event — I can’t remember exactly which one — but I think it may have been DreamHack Stockholm Invitational where we ended up placing 3rd or 4th. I’m not entirely sure, but we started to doubt ourselves a little bit and we had some problems such as not taking practice 100% seriously; some people would just go silent during an entire practice. We kept trying and after that we had a really long boot camp going into DreamHack Summer 2014. In the main tournament we just bombed out 0-2, while we went on to win the Swedish Mastership. At that point I didn’t want to kick anyone because there was no single person that deserved to be kicked over anyone else, so I said that we obviously couldn’t continue like this. I told them that, if they wanted, I would step down because we needed to do something.
Afterwards, Devilwalk took me aside and told me that I shouldn’t step down. He said that he believed in me, and that he wanted to put himself into a coaching role and remove Schneider with him. At that point, we were all such good friends — and we of course didn’t want to kick him — but we ended up doing it and it was a very big change. Thankfully, we at least we kept everyone close to the team. pronax was very, very impressed by Olof so we both agreed on that but we were still pretty unsure of our 5th. Flusha and I wanted a Norwegian player called CENTRYZ, however Olof said, “KRiMZ is really good, we should get him” and the rest is history!
That iteration of the team was up and down. They would be somewhat of a juggernaut one event and then would underperform at the next, what do you attribute that to?
I think we had to build from scratch and start over, you know, similar to what we did with pronax. However, when we lost Olof, the biggest thing we lacked was leadership, which was a pretty obvious problem I’d imagine. Flusha was leading and he’s not a bad in-game leader; I’d say he’s one of the best when it comes to the momentum and he has his flow, but when things go bad he basically says, “go just do whatever you want because what I’m saying isn’t working.” He’s not giving up, per say, but he can run out of answers sometimes. With G0LDEN we have a true in-game leader, someone who wants to lead. He’s always thinking about the team and always is thinking of a plan for the game, maybe changing it when he needs to. Prior to that we wouldn’t go in with a plan — we would just go in standard and see what we could do.
Speaking of G0LDEN, how much does the main Fnatic CSGO team interact with the Academy team?
I would be lying if I said G0LDEN was our first pick because obviously there are more established in-game leaders in Sweden. We spoke as a team and actually came to the conclusion that G0LDEN might be a great choice and then cArn (Fnatic Chief Gaming Officer and ex-CS:GO player https://www.monsterenergy.com/news/1v1-with-carn-at-the-international-2017) brought it up more seriously; when we thought about it we knew it was a gamble or, at best, taking a small risk with an extremely high reward. Comparing him to other in-game leaders in Sweden, he still hasn’t reached his peak, while I think others in-game leaders like pronax have likely hit their peak. So we’re taking a risk, but when we all sat down and discussed it, the line-up made sense. Speaking of interacting with them we don’t scrim them very much. I think we may have once? If I remember right it was 29-1! [laughs]
Going back a bit, specifically to August of 2016, you moved over to help form GODSENT. What was the decision behind that?
The decision behind that was that we had such an easy time winning that we got blinded and forgot how and why we play CS:GO. We thought when we finished 2nd that it just wasn’t going to work [with Fnatic]. Even though they would have been good results for other teams, we felt they were bad results. It was a spiral and it went very fast and there were a lot of emotions. For me personally, I had been thinking about leaving the team and doing something else. I felt like I was dragging them down and I was in quite a big slump. Once the change happened, it ended up being a rollercoaster for many of the players involved. To sound a bit cliché, everything happens for a reason and I think this line-up today wouldn’t have happened if GODSENT didn’t happen; it’s something I feel we can really build on moving forward. I’m not very satisfied with how the past year has been for me, but I’m hopeful for the future.
What’s next for the Fnatic roster?
To keep practicing and keep playing together! Every day we get better when we practice together. Prior to DreamHack Malmo 2017, we had a few things delaying us like negotiations and whatnot so we’ve had less than ideal time to plan for this tournament, so we’ll go home and grind hard. In two weeks we go to ELEAGUE so before and after that, we just need to keep grinding. We just need to keep improving because I know we can go really really far if we just have our heads high.
Anything you want to say to the JW and Fnatic fans?
First and foremost, I want to apologize for some hasty and unwise decisions and I just want to thank them for all the support they keep showing us, even though we may have let them down lately. Just know that it helps us when you support us and we’re trying our best to come back!