"I think that’s what Valve wanted to do, meaning to make things more unpredictable."
I’d like to start with EPICENTER where FaZe, obviously, won with a very strong showing. Before this, you had struggled a bit with you and NiKo switching in-game leading roles, so do you think that tournament brought back some new energy to the team and revitalized it?
karrigan: I think what we needed the most was confidence and as we played a lot of online games, we lost a lot of it I would say. What happened was when we won EPICENTER we kinda felt in the zone, which is something that we’ve been missing since [olofmeister] came back - the zone we had at the end of last year and the beginning of this year at the major. So I think that bringing him back we have finally found it in EPICENTER and that’s why it was so convincing.
Coming into Chicago, you guys have beaten LDLC, made it past MiBR in the best-of-three, and then 2-0 Astralis, which was obviously an impressive performance. So, what were your guys thoughts on the Group Stage,
karrigan: Yeah, I felt like these past three weeks have been quite good results. Obviously the loss against Liquid yesterday was a tough one, we didn’t show up and they played amazingly. During the tournament, I feel like MiBR was kind of an important game for us because it was really a struggle to win that game. On the other side we played Astralis, which wasn’t that big of a struggle. Yes, they came back, but in the MiBR game we had to fight back and deny a comeback on the first map I think it was, so that Train game where we were down 10-5 on CT side was definitely a huge boost for us and that’s why we won so convincingly against Astralis.
Going into your stats, we’ve been seeing you a lot using the SG and the AUG a lot and that seemed to bring up your stats as you’ve been looking better. What is it about these that make them so much more preferable to an AK or an M4?
karrigan: I think the SG I haven’t really found a good solution because I’m rushing a lot and the SG is not a good weapon to jump through a smoke, so I’m trying to avoid it for now on specific maps. When it comes to the AUG, I’m playing these kind of mid to long range duels, especially on Mirage where I’ve been using it effectively, and on Cache in mid as well where I have these kind of duels in a long range against AK that can be really hard. Since we already have double AWP setups in the team where I’m not included, it’s a good thing for me to play different angles. Instead of jumping Mirage every round and throwing a molotov from the car, I can now take an off angle and take the first kill and try to get a second, so it has given me another way of approaching my CT side from where I’m holding and I’m trying to work it into more maps where it makes sense and see if it’s viable in the future.
Continuing with the AUG and SG, we’ve been seeing more people using it since its recent update. EliGE was using it a lot against you yesterday, and then today as well Magisk here and there and device using it in their match. Do you think at some point we might see teams with designated scoped-riflers that can work into these positions you were talking about the longer ranged angles?
karrigan: I don’t think you’ll get a person who’s playing it every round and I think it’s more like the mood of it, the situation. Like I said, on T side when it comes to me rushing, I don’t take it, and if you’re exploding out A apartments on Inferno it’s not a fun weapon to jump out onto the first guy, so when NiKo calls out things I have to let him know that I have that weapon or if he wants to call me to buy an AK in those situations. Are you’re going to have a designated player to that? I don’t think so, but I think that players playing the harder roles like B on Mirage, Long on Dust II - all these things come to mind with these AWP duels where you have to play alone and I think that makes sense that this guy is trading out the weapon, but, again, I think the AUG is more viable in close combat spraying and the long duel compared to the SG, which people will start to realize the more they use the SG.
So you were talking about when NiKo was making these calls, going back to that again, have you had to reinvent the team and change a lot inside or is he still calling some of the same things you were calling before?
karrigan: Basically, he has added one or two things on specific maps. We are playing the same roles, doing the same things, but I am doing all the sacrifices like dropping weapons and playing off utility. He still plays those out of position spots - Mirage comes to mind where he’s playing A. If he says that we’re taking mid then I make sure we know how to take connector and smoke so everyone knows and all that kind of stuff that I help him with. In the end, it’s kind of the same way but with different mid-round calling I would say, unless I sometimes take over if I have a read or not.
So continuing with these updates, we have seen the AUG and SG were affected a lot, but the economy is one that might be the biggest. How do you think these changes to economy have affected in how the teams play in terms of buying second or third round and throughout the game?
karrigan: I think it adds more excitement in regards to the fact that you can have different approaches. Right now, I still say it’s very T side heavy because if you lose the pistol on the T side it doesn’t really make sense to buy because if you have a P250 or Deagle and you kill one or two of the CTs, you have a better economy if you get a plant in one of those rounds, so it makes sense not to buy. On CT side, I still feel like it’s viable to buy the second round because you always need a lot of utility, with Inferno coming to mind where you can’t really hold banana without a smoke and a flash. I think what we’re seeing now is people trying to be unpredictable with it, like buying Scouts, some pistols and doing different stuff. I think that’s what Valve wanted to do, meaning to make things more unpredictable. In the old update, every time you lost pistol you would forcebuy, you didn’t really save unless you had a result of say 12-3 - you wanted a good buy CT on the fourth round. I think it’s adding a lot of decision making to the game and that is an important aspect that you cannot undervalue.
Going forward, what are your personal goals and the team’s goals reaching the end of this year and going into next year?
karrigan: I think we want to end the year on a good term. It has been a rocky year since [olofmeister] left the lineup in Bucharest and we have been crashing out of group stages, winning some tournaments with different standins, going out in the major 0-2 and coming back, so I think we want to end the season with a good result like winning a tournament just to finish up, but at least it’s shown the consistency we have had the last three weeks in winning EPICENTER, top four BLAST and top four here in Chicago, which means we are back on the map where we can contend for titles. Then we have the next year which we are looking forward to. But in the end it’s just to end the year on a good note, whether that’s winning a tournament or just going far.