What is it that made you choose Fnatic as your team?
In the beginning it wasn’t that something drew me to Fnatic, I just had an opportunity to play with them at Dreamhack in 2012 and it sort of just happened - it wasn’t something that I planned or strove for. After that most people, including myself, would put me in the same sentence as Fnatic, so when I left the team back in the beginning of 2015 and tried my way on a different team - on Elements - it didn’t feel the same because I’ve always felt comfortable on Fnatic. I always knew what to expect from their side, and they knew what to expect from my side, so it was a good work relationship to have. I’ve never questioned it since, and it’s one of the reasons I signed a three-year contract.
What are the criteria you’d look at when moving to a new organization or team?
I think if you’re a new player the thing you’d look at the most is performance in general, so you’re probably looking for the coaching staff and you’re not necessarily looking at how big the brand is to begin with. You’re focused more on which players they have, what coaching staff do they have, and how well can we perform together. Meanwhile, I think if you’re a more established player you are also taking into account how well established the organization is. I think that’s one of the reasons why I fit in so well with Fnatic, because our brands align with one another. It’s just like me enabling them, and them enabling me, so it works out really well in the end.
When it comes to building a team, what do you think is the most important thing to consider?
I think when we rebuilt the team in 2016 we didn’t take into account how well we would work together - we just looked at which players were the best in their respective roles that we were able to pick up at the time. Back then we weren’t aware that Huni, Reignover, and YellowStar would all be leaving at the same time, so we panicked and threw together a roster that wasn’t very planned out to begin with. We learned our lesson back then, and we did it in a much better way this year around. Obviously, we focused on going for a full European roster, but one of the reasons why we did that was because we really wanted team synergy to be the strong emblem of the team, so we really kept that in mind when we built the roster. It didn’t necessarily work out as well as we’d hoped for, but I think we do still have that synergy and it’s something we can build on.
Generally when it comes to building a roster, for any team, do you think team synergy is the top priority?
For the most part when you’re building a roster you’re just trying to get the best players, you’re not focusing so much on who works well with whom, because after all eSports careers are relatively short and it’s a lot about short term success. So people don’t typically put as much focus on the long term goal like we did this year.
Which roster swap was the hardest for you?
Actually, it’s kind of weird, but the first roster swap that triggered some kind of “red flag” was bringing YellowStar back for Summer Split last year. We had started things out with Noxiak and we ended up swapping him out for Klaj because things weren’t working out. After that we performed better, we were pretty good at IEM where we finished second, and we ended the split having moved up from almost the bottom to third place, and we even beat H2K in a best of five series in Rotterdam at the Spring Finals. After that we ended up changing and bringing YellowStar back, which wasn’t bad by any means but it did mean we had to start over again from zero when we had just built up all this synergy together. Even though we still had a lot of success in early Summer Split it still meant we were a step behind other teams. I think that was the first time that I realized roster swaps aren’t always a thing that leads to success, though obviously bringing YellowStar back was really good from the individual side of things.
At what point do you know a player doesn’t work with an organization and you need to swap them out?
As soon as there is some sort of tension inside training - people aren’t comfortable talking to each other for example - you should address it immediately. If it doesn’t get solved from there you should consider swapping out the players, because as I mentioned before it’s so much about short term success and if you aren’t able to work with the guy next to you it’s just something that has to happen. It doesn’t necessarily have to be swapping them out, it can be some other kind of solution, because if you’re falling behind in the standings it means you’re probably missing out on Playoffs, and Playoffs is the line where good teams and bad teams are separated.