FaZe Allu: Pre-ECS interview
We sat down with the AWP master to talk London, life and CounterStrike ahead of this weekend’s event
We sat down with the AWP master to talk London, life and CounterStrike ahead of this weekend’s event in London. FaZe, rated as one of the best teams in the world, are set to face some of the best players out there in their quest to take the title, and their Finnish sniper will be a crucial part of that ambition. The interview was conducted by CS section lead Alexei Louchnikov.
Glad to welcome you to London. How are you feeling? How was the flight?
“Flight was fine, it was only three hours so I’m happy.”
We’re sitting in the SSE Arena. What do you think of it as a change of location? Usually we see ESL One: Cologne at the LAXNESS Arena, IEM Katowice at the Spodek Arena and the Elmia Centre for DreamHack. Is it a fresh location for you?
“I mean yeah, obviously. We have never played here before, so it’s a fresh change, as you said. It’s always nice to play in different arenas to see how the feeling is inside the stadiums.”
The most recent LAN performance for you was back in May, IEM Sydney. Have you been hitting the servers hard since then?
“Yeah, we’ve been practicing a lot and trying to implement new stuff to our gameplay, making us harder to read. Focusing on our mistakes, communication, everything and just trying to be a better team every day since we came back from Sydney. If everything goes well we should be ready for this tournament.”
So you guys feel confident and adequately prepared?
Group A, widely considered the toughest group of the tournament. You got SK Gaming, you guys, G2 Esports and Optic Gaming. How have you guys prepared for it? How have you adjusted in terms of preparation/mental approach?
“We don’t have any special approach. Our group is obviously really tough, we have three latest tournament winners in SK, FaZe and G2, and a dark horse in OpTic, which can never be underestimated. We are just going to play, and consider every game in this group a final. Regardless, I fully expect us to go through.”
I wanted to ask you about the rivalry with Astralis in particular. In Katowice you guys got knocked out by the Danes 2:1 in the grand final, but then you came back in StarLadder Season 3 and crushed them 2:1. Is there a special sense of competition with them, or are they just another team you are approaching?
“I mean, kind of and kind of not. Obviously Finn (karrigan) used to play for them and was removed from that team, so he has a special tie to this match-up, but for us it was more like they were considered the best team in the world at the time, so obviously you will have a bigger drive and bigger everything to beat those guys. Now they have fallen off a bit, I don’t mean to say they are necessarily worse than they were, but we see SK as our biggest threat now.”
Allu aces Astralis in Katowice earlier this year
FaZe as a team is multicultural. You have five different nationalities within the team, do you ever experience communication issues within the team?
“No, not really. I don’t think it’s the language that matters, every one of us speaks decent English and can understand English and has spoken English for a very long time, so no, we don’t. I think it’s a kind of classic excuse that international teams have worse communication. In some sense that’s true, as in your first language you have these little words you can use better than in your second language, which would be English but we don’t. Our communication problems are more to do with people forgetting to relay what they see, what grenades go where and who is dead and similar stuff. It has nothing to do with English in particular. “
Back to the composition of FaZe – you guys are, for lack of a better term, composed of “outcasts”, as you mentioned, karrigan, for example, was removed from Astralis, at the time you were removed from NiP. Do you feel that this situation gives the team more drive and more motivation to perform?
“Well, obviously yes, but I mean it just proves that even though some of our players didn’t work in a different team, it didn’t mean that we are bad players and that we could work in a proper system, given the chance. We are proving that here in FaZe Clan, we are five really talented and good players. It’s no surprise that we are where we are.”
Looking at individuals within the team, NiKo has been with you guys just over four months. Could you talk a little bit about the impact he has had on the team from an individual perspective?
“NiKo is one of the best players in the world, 100%. Probably even the best, I don’t take comment on that. For our team he is really important, he has a lot of ideas on how to play, he’s a good fragger, good clutcher, he can do basically everything in the game. Communication is on point, sometimes :). Comparing him to aizy, aizy was more calculating and maybe a bit more of a guy who likes to fall back a bit. NiKo on the other hand, is a guy who thrives as the star, he wants the stardom and I think our team needed that. That’s about it.”
Another important person within your roster is RobbaN, 1.6 legend with a bunch of titles under his belt. How has his coaching impacted the team since he joined?
“I think RobbaN has tremendous impact on our team. He doesn’t have so much impact from a tactical point of view anymore, as karrigan is doing most of that. He is keeping us together all the time, pointing out little mistakes to individuals and he is handling it really well. I think he is kind of gluing us together more or less, as sometimes we are a tight group, so obviously you will have arguments inside the team from time to time. He’s a good mental coach in that sense.”
Back to ECS, you guys are facing OpTic Gaming tomorrow. What’s the outlook on that match? Are you guys prepared for OpTic?
“Not OpTic necessarily, we’ve prepared for this tournament as a whole. We don’t like to specifically prepare for a team, we just trust that out game plan and our performance will win us the game.”
Thank you very much for the interview, would you like to do any shout-outs?
“No thank you.”
Alright man, take care and have a good tournament.