With ropz being out of action, Faze will once again be using a stand-in. Will JKS be the key for the team to go Faze
FaZe Clan was the continuation of the first-ever International roster. Throughout the years they made some of the biggest roster moves like NiKo, Coldzera, and Twistzz and were inches away from becoming the first-ever international team to win the major. Now in 2022, when International teams are rising up against the CIS dominance, will FaZe be the best?
In the lead-up to IEM Katowice, we talked to FaZe Clan about their stand-in situation and their goals for the event and the year. FaZe take on Sprout in their opening matchup in the IEM Katowice Play-Ins.
Q: In CS:GO history, we have seen international teams having trouble getting success. Why do you think this FaZe lineup would be able to do that?
Karrigan: I think many international teams have been at the top but do not have an era, right? I mean, we were close to having that, if we won the Boston major. But I think it's always tough to keep consistency.
I also think with COVID now, for nearly two years, it's been even harder for a lot of teams to kind of keep up with chemistry and do a lot of boot camps. So I think that is kind of a step back.
I think the pressure of being in Faze and the pressure of being me, I just think I have to be number one no matter what.
But we are looking into a future where there are more and more international teams. So I'm not worried about it being a bad situation or anything. As an international team, it just all depends on how we work and everybody has to be on the same page. That can be the difference with international teams compared to national teams where the culture of where you grew up is kind of the same. Also, many of the national teams like Navi have a lot of firepower lately, right. So it all depends.
Q: FaZe has a lot of firepower in Broky, Twistzz and Rain, and now also Ropz. Does that make you feel a bit pressured that FaZe has to succeed?
Karrigan: No, not really. I think the pressure of being in FaZe and the pressure of being me, I just think I have to be number one no matter what.
It doesn't matter what team you're in. Obviously, we have a dream team now on paper that looks really good. I don't think the pressure has changed. I knew that it was tough to be number one with the older lineup. So having an upgrade now gives bigger chance.
But I wouldn't say it adds more pressure. I still have my own pressure and also FaZe Clan wants to be number one, right. So it doesn't really matter who's in the team. There's always pressure.
Q: SPUNJ was talking about how you (JKS) were not actively playing CS:GO every day for a while because of personal reasons. How has it been coming back into the flow of the game?
JKS: Yeah, it's really fun. Once you take a break off for a while, you kind of miss it. So it's nice to know that I still have the passion to play and stuff. It's still just as fun as before and obviously really fun in this team because it's a pretty chill environment and understanding so there's not much pressure.
So it has been really fun so far and just looking forward to playing again on LAN as well. Online CS is pretty repetitive.
Q: FaZe has historically had to deal with a lot of stand-ins over the many years, but you guys have won multiple trophies with players like Xizt and Cromen in the past. What is the target for this event now that ropz isn't here, at least for the play-in? Still, looking at the playoffs as the goal?
Karrigan: Yeah, for sure. Everything can happen when you have a stand-in right? I think especially me and Rain have been in this situation before. So yeah, it was part of the game. The pressure is off. We do our best and take it game by game and improve.
And the good thing about here is we took a stand in JKS who really wants to prove himself and also had some roles he can take over one to one and I think that's the most important thing that he feels comfortable and we feel comfortable. So it's all about adapting to each other, right. So I think the main thing is that we've done it before and we know we can do it again but we always need some luck when we have a stand-in.
We have done it before, and we know we can do it again, but we always need some luck when we have a stand-in.
Q: Your first match in the playing is against Sprout. They have lost faveN to BIG but still look like a decent tier-two team with their international pickups. What are your thoughts going into that match? Just play your own game or focus on their weaknesses a bit too?
Karrigan: I think we're just going to focus on our game. We can anti-strat them, they can't really anti-strat us. But yeah, it's a best of one, so we need to just be on fire from round one. But overall we just take it game by game and see how the maps turn out.
I think most important thing is that we just feel comfortable as possible and we just have to play well individually if we want to make it deep.
Q: What did you (JKS) do after the Complexity lineup? Do you play a lot, do you watch CS?
JKS: Yes, I just pretty much played CS after I got benched, and then obviously I took a break for the player break because I haven't had a break in quite a while. I've just been staying in Denmark and just watching CS for a bit and spending time with my girlfriend and stuff.
I haven't really had access to a computer due to my Visa and a bunch of other issues. But it's mostly just watching CS. Like, I watched all the Blast games and have just had a break.
Q: Do you feel this pressure if we think this tournament is the opportunity for you to show yourself to maybe get a team after some teams watch you play?
JKS: In a way, I think the bigger pressure is just performing for these guys and making sure that they go far in the tournament and not just lose. So I think that's probably like the bigger pressure.
I don't really have too much pressure on myself to get a team and stuff like that. I feel like most people will know what to expect from me and of course, I want to play well and prove myself. But, I'm kind of just focusing on making sure that I fit into the system and this team as best as I can to help them progress through this event.
Q: What made you decide to bring in JKS?
Karrigan: We were under some time pressure and I put five names ahead and we put a priority on JKS, but since JKS is contracted to Complexity, it could lead to some problems, right? So we couldn't put all the eggs in one basket. But the second it turned out to be fine between FaZe and Complexity, it was the obvious choice.
It just comes down to what I said earlier like one to one role changed. Also, as I said, JKS wants to play well here and do everything he can. The times I've talked to him, he's been a chill dude. I think that's the most important thing is that we bring in someone where everybody thinks that he contributes to the team or he fits in our culture and the personality of the team. So, for me, it just made sense to get JKS.
Q: It's been four months since your last official and three months since you were transfer-listed by Complexity. How patient are you regarding finding a new team in terms of waiting for the right opportunity but also wanting to get back to playing soon?
JKS: Yeah, over the break I was looking for a team, and teams were also asking me. But nothing really came to, no solid offers or anything like that. Obviously, there are issues of Complexity talking to those teams and stuff, so it's a little bit hard. But right now, all the tier one teams have a full lineup, so it is even more difficult.
I don't really have any option other than to wait unless I go home and join an Australian team which is kind of risky. It was just a big-time off, like probably the most I've ever had. Definitely makes you get that passion back for CS in a way because you haven't played in so long. It was a good break for me actually.
I feel like it's a bit of a risk going back home. The organizations aren't as big, the contracts aren't as good, and the level of CS back there isn't very good.
Q: Have you been tempted to return to your home and sign with an Australian team?
JKS: Yeah, for sure. But it'd have to be with the best team that I could possibly make. I feel like it's a bit of a risk going back home. The organizations aren't as big, the contracts aren't as good, and the level of CS back there isn't very good. So it's a big risk, but I think it would probably be something that I have to consider down the line. But it has to be the right team and the right organization.
Q: What is your goal in 2022 and how do you think about the major?
Twistzz: With goals, it's kind of set back now because obviously not having Robin [ropz] for this event or potentially missing the whole event is hindering our practice because obviously, the tournaments would be used as practice as well. I think our goals are still the same for the major though. Of course, this should be the year where an international team could take the major home, and hopefully, it can be FaZe.
FaZe with face off against Sprout in their opening game of the Play-Ins. The star duo of Twistzz and Broky will be the key to FaZe's success, but with their raw firepower, they should be able to make it to the group stage. Will it be enough to make it to the playoffs? Or will Robin "ropz" Kool return when Batman needs him the most?