FaZe's karrigan: 'We decided to go with [NiKo] instead of ScreaM'

by Dennis Gonzales Feb 16 2017
Thumbnail image courtesy of ELEAGUE

Finn "karrigan" Andersen is the in-game leader for FaZe Clan and an important figure in Danish Counter-Strike. His team made headlines when they acquired former mousesports star Nikola "NiKo" Kovač on Feb. 9, though he unfortunately won't be with the team until after DreamHack Masters Las Vegas.

Ahead of his games in Vegas, theScore esports caught up with karrigan and asked him about his year with Astralis, looking ahead with FaZe and choosing between NiKo and Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom.

2016 had a few historic moments for you as you were a founding member of Astralis, an important player-owned organization. But it was also the same year in which you ended your partnership with the Danish core (ex-Dig, ex-TSM, ex-?). How would you sum up the year?

2016 with Astralis was a hard year, for both the team and me.

After winning five tournaments in 2015, we went into 2016 with high expectations, but we never delivered. We changed one player over that time as well, but we never got back to a winning form. That's why we decided to part ways with each other, they needed a new in-game leader and I needed new surroundings.

In the end of the year I started to feel better with FaZe. It was a much needed change for me, so I could find my old form. I'm excited for 2017 with FaZe.

Now as part of FaZe, there are no doubts that you’ve brought major improvements to the team, as shown in FaZe’s first Legend status at the ELEAGUE Major. However, the team that you departed was also the same team that won that same Major. Is that something that bothers you? Are you satisfied with your results from the Major?

I think it would bother me a lot if I came to FaZe and that team did worse.

I'm very happy for Astralis and Danish esports that they finally broke the curse and won a Major championship. I feel good where I am, so that's why I'm not thinking about negative stuff, like that I was the reason Astralis never won, etc.

They changed a lot when they brought in gla1ve [Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander] and you often do that with new blood. For the results in FaZe, I would say I'm satisfied, but I wanna do better and I think we will do a lot better in 2017.

You guys have already made one of the biggest moves of the year by acquiring NiKo from mousesports. Was he a player that you’ve sought out since joining FaZe? Was trading Philip "aizy" Aistrup to North an easier prospect knowing that you’d be picking up NiKo, or were the two transactions not connected?

We had some long days of negotiating and we knew aizy was going to North, so we had to find a proper or better replacement, since that was very important for me.

One thing that's important to a team is that you feel everyone is on the same page and believe we can be the best in world, aizy really wanted to change, so that had to happen.

NiKo is a player I always wanted to play with. I had talks with him when I was benched in Astralis and had thoughts about going to join up with him then. Now I'm happy that he is coming to FaZe and he is the best replacement we could get and that was a dream come true.

So when we knew aizy wanted to leave, we had to look for a new player, that is how it was connected if you can say that.

Another player reportedly in talks with FaZe was ScreaM, however his negotiations reportedly fell through. Can you speak further on this situation? Was it a case of FaZe deciding against ScreaM, or was it ScreaM who had the change of heart?

We had two options for the lineup, that was ScreaM and NiKo. Scream was without a contract and NiKo was in mouz, so we decided to try to get NiKo first, but those negotiations took a long time, more than few days.

Since many deadlines were coming to an end we looked at other options. We tried playing one day with ScreaM, not that it really mattered, but somehow we got NiKo the last day and we decided to go with him instead of ScreaM.

ScreaM is an amazing player, but I feel the way we had replaced aizy's role, NiKo was the obvious choice for us.

You won’t have NiKo in the lineup until after DreamHack Master Las Vegas, so how do you plan to integrate him into the lineup? If you’ve played practice matches with him already, what are your first impressions of him?

We haven't played practice matches with him yet. Looking at the schedule we only have four days with him for Katowice, so we are going to do the best we can.

I have watched a lot demos of him while the transaction was going through, to have an idea how I would put him in our lineup. However, one thing is what you see, but another thing is how it feels when we play.

NiKo and I already talked about positions and roles, so I think he feels good coming into FaZe. One thing is sure, I have high expectations of him and I bet he will deliver even beyond that.

DHM Vegas will be the first LAN event to use the new Active Duty map group with Inferno instead of Dust II. What are your thoughts on the reworked Inferno? How will this affect the map pool?

I think it's good it's implemented as fast as possible.

I really liked the old Inferno, but I still think limited skyboxes are bad on all maps. I like the dimension of doing different pushes as CT and fakes as T. Hopefully some things will change over the weeks, but all in all I'm happy Inferno is back and I felt Dust II was getting to boring to play.

Some teams will gain from this change, some not and that is how it will affect the map pool to begin with.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah.You can follow him on Twitter.