Karrigan and Zywoo discuss player changes, M4A1-S and AWP nerfs, etc. In exclusive interview with Esports.gg
At the beginning of the year, Vitality and FaZe's roster changes were touted as superteams being assembled. While the Karrigan led squad made a single move in adding ropz, Vitality blew the old roster apart to surround Zywoo with a trio of legends. FaZe Clan found immense success throughout the year, while for Vitality, more roster changes eventually brought some success but mixed results overall.
Both teams have something to prove in the BLAST Premier World Finals. For FaZe, it is the chance to cap the year with one last trophy, while for Vitality, it is a chance to show everyone that they can still keep up with the best.
We sat down with FaZe Clan's mastermind IGL Karrigan, and Vitality's prodigal AWPer Zywoo to get their thoughts on the recent CSGO updates and their preparation for the World Finals.
Karrigan and Zywoo on the M4A1
Arnav "xL" Shukla: Let's start off with the recent Counter-Strike update. What are your thoughts on the M4A1 changes?
Karrigan: "I think the M4 changes are necessary. I think we all agree that it was too overpowered to play with the silencer. I think now we are going to see people try to evaluate when it makes sense to have it, maybe some specific maps. But just looking forward to having that discussion again - What weapon you are going to take?
I think the AWP update is ... maybe it's not a huge thing, but it's going to make the AWP less wall bang and take more shots. It's not often that I have seen an AWP reload during a pro match. I think we are going to see that now.
And obviously, Anubis, I think it's great to add that map into the map pool."
Actually, it was a bit weird to play the AWP with 5 bullets. I was wall-banging everything and then I had one bullet left, and I was like, "OMG, I have to reload already".
Zywoo: "Actually, it was a bit weird to play the AWP with 5 bullets. I was wall-banging everything and then I had one bullet left, and I was like, "OMG, I have to reload already".
Actually, it's also good to have these changes because I think we need them. For the M4 I think this is really good because I didn't like enough of the M4A4 and we didn't use it. Now we can use both of them and we have to think about what map this is going to be strong on and more.
I think on Nuke, the silenced M4 is very bad because on the outside we have to use four or five bullets to get a kill. And Anubis, I don't know much about this map because we need to play it, and nobody plays us on this map - we only have matchmaking practice."
xL: Have you guys switched to the M4A4 now?
Karrigan: "Yeah, I switched to the M4A4 before Copenhagen, but when we played the old patch, it was just within one game that I switched back to the silencer. So yeah I'm just getting used to it. It feels fine but when we get to play an official game it might feel different.
For me, in the spots I play, it makes sense to play without silencers. But yeah, sometimes it also makes sense to buy an AWP now for me at least because it can add a bit more firepower and damage. So yeah, for me I would change."
xL: Do you think it would bring more of a T/CT side balance to the game now that the M4A1 isn't as overpowered?
KarrigaN: "Yeah, for sure; earlier we used to get two kills with the silencer, and we would hide and reload. And it takes 4-5 bullets to kill a T. That means the T has at least two extra bullets against the CT guy shooting at him. For sure, I think it's going to change a lot. We're going to see some teams swap. Especially on the T side, the rifles are going to have more confidence in taking the duels and not die without knowing where they died from."
Zywoo: "I think the silencer creates some terror because it was crazy to use it. You can kill two guys really easily. I think these were some good changes. Now you can see how people are going to play with the M4A4. Also, the CT meta is going to be good because we are going to see people playing with every weapon, so it is going to be good."
We brought in Spinx because he has more firepower than misutaaa. But also to evolve as a team. Something was wrong before, and when we added
FaZe and looking ahead to the BLAST World Finals
xL: So talking about your teams now. Both of your teams made key changes this year. At the beginning of the year, FaZe brought in Ropz. And Vitality brought in Spinx. On the surface, that one change looks like you've cut a low-fragging player for a high-fragging player. I think the impact that has had on the roles in the team was more significant. Could you shed some light on that?
Zywoo: "For us, we brought in Spinx because he has more firepower than misutaaa. But also to evolve as a team. Something was wrong before, and when we added Spinx, we changed up a lot. Dupreeh and Magisk now have a better role so everyone was feeling better. So just about that, we feel like we have more confidence, and we are enjoying how we are playing right now. Spinx has brought a lot to the team."
Karrigan: "For us, obviously it was an upgrade in role and firepower. Olof was a great guy - we had to get back to stability after Coldzera. But yeah for sure, I knew what ropz would bring to the team. He knows what I bring to the team. It was a perfect match. For me, it was pretty much the same synergy issues like when they brought in Spinx to fix some of the role issues, and suddenly everybody gets better on the team and it works more naturally. That's the most important thing - everybody feels natural in their role, and they knew what Spinx, what he likes to do and we had the same thing with Ropz. That's why it's been so easy for both teams to integrate the new player."
xL: So, for FaZe Clan, you've previously been on the hunt for an Intel Grand Slam back in 2017. You were on three points and one point away from winning the Grand Slam. Now you're again at 3 points and you've lost the previous two events. Are there any thoughts going through your mind about what if you don't win it again or something like that? I think you have 5-6 events you can win one more.
KarrigaN: "I think we have four chances more. But I think in 2017, we won one with Olof, one with Xizt and one with Cromen. Back then it was not easy to win those tournaments. This is a different team. So yeah, it was rough back then. But also a lot of teams - I think Astralis had 2-3 points. But right now - we have nobody with 2 points. So I don't think of this as pressure or anything.
But next year, it's a new year. Katowice is where we started our grand slam run this year. So now, I don't think about it but obviously, if there are two chances left then maybe you start thinking about it. But I mean it's four out of six or three out of five tournaments, we have won. So for now, I'm not stressed at all."
xL: Talking about the World Finals. What are your expectations for the event and is there any set goal you have set for the team or for yourself?
Zywoo: "Actually, I am going to talk about myself. I don't think we have any expectations from this tournament. We're just going to enjoy the moment and this is also the last tournament of the season, so everyone is tired. We are also going to play against good teams, so we cannot say we are going to beat them easily or something like that. Or we are going to be in the semifinal because anything can happen? We are just going to enjoy the moment and try to play on stage."
Rio was rough but we made a comeback at Copenhagen so trying to keep that up and just stay in the Top 3 or Top 4 before the year ends.
KarrigaN: "For us, it is just keeping the trajectory we have been on. Rio was rough but we made a comeback at Copenhagen so trying to keep that up and just stay in the Top 3 or Top 4 before the year ends. So when you start off the year it's not going to look too rough. So yeah, play some good CS, and see some improvement from the last 2-3 months. Then I'm going to be happy if it's enough to win the tournament, if not, then it is what it is. And we know what to work on for next year.
Also sometimes it's important to have something to work on when you end the year. When you end the year as No. 1, it's very hard to meet up in January and know exactly what to work on. So yeah, being shaky and hopefully, you're shaky to the good end and come up with a huge performance to end the year. Anything can happen here, it's only eight teams. So whatever game you play it's going to be rough."
xL: Speaking of the year as a whole, do you think your performance has been to the level that we expect off Zywoo being a top-two player year after year so far?
Zywoo: "I can do better. I know myself and I did not play the best I can. I know I can do better. Every new year I start slow, and every time I go up later.
So I know what I need to work on the next year and I'm just going to work hard and work on it individually. I'm going to give it everything in the beginning and try to give it my all throughout the season."
Zywoo and Karrigan on next season
xL: The Paris Major will be a huge deal for you guys. Is that your main goal for next season?
Zywoo: "Of course, it is going to be the main goal. But for now, I'm not thinking about the Major in Paris. Because that's still five months away so I have time to think about it. Of course, I have more pressure because it's going to be in France. Everyone is going to cheer for us."
xL: I'd like to get your thoughts on the Cloud9 rumors that they might be removing Interz. That's a team that you have matched up pretty well against. So do you have any thoughts on that move?
KarrigaN: "I think it's been a rough game stage against Cloud9. But yeah, I don't know. It's hard to be in such a team. From the outside, it looks like they are not winning the right games so they don't show up when they have to show up.
And if that's something psychological in the team or something else. Because in my opinion, they don't need more firepower, they have Ax1le, Sh1ro and Hobbit. I think they just need more time. I don't give teams as much time as I've given Cloud9. But seeing them play so well at Rio Major with that comeback and then they don't finish off that bracket that was kind of disappointing.
They don't need more firepower, they have Ax1le, Sh1ro and Hobbit. I think they just need more time. I don't give teams as much time as I've given Cloud9. But seeing them play so well at Rio Major with that comeback and then they don't finish off that bracket that was kind of disappointing.
So I don't know what's wrong there but I think changing a player, when you've played on the same team for nearly two years is a huge deal. So I hope they know what they're doing because I like the guys and I want them to succeed as they've always been humble since they came during the COVID online era. They've always been humble and stayed on track as a team. So I'm kind of disappointed but also interested in seeing what they bring us."
xL: For me, that team has always given me TSM vibes from the 2015 lineup. And their coach has similarly been very strong. Do you get a similar feeling that they will go on to become a great roster in the future but they need something else right now.
KarrigaN: "I think it's very hard to say. I'm not inside the team I see some frustrations in the players sometimes but also know they have huge pressure on them. But I think it's up to them to work on this internally. They are still very young. They have only Hobbit as the experienced players. I think Nafany as a leader has to learn all the time. For me, it's like a benchmark for the team. Are we going to change now to see if we get better or if the change is going to make us worse but maybe in one year we are going to be better than we were? So it's a huge decision. I also think that's why they're testing out players. Not sure what they're doing. Because I think Interz did a great job for the team. It's an not easy role."
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