Following Team SoloMid's 2-1 victory over Cloud9 at IEM San Jose, theScore eSports spoke with Finn "karrigan" Andersen about his team's performance, his confidence going into tomorrow and TSM's results at the previous Major.
How has your team used your time since DreamHack Cluj-Napoca? Have you made any changes since then as your team was eliminated much earlier than anyone expected?
First of all, in our mind, the DreamHack setup wasn’t that good. It wasn’t that fitting and I know everyone said bad things about the tournament.
I felt like we played well up until DreamHack, and up until that match against NiP. Basically when I saw the match I said that it was just one of those games where you just don't have a chance and their just hitting all their shots. And when I saw NiP play the other day I just knew they had one of those games where you couldn't do anything.
Based on that I said that there is nothing to change, and we planned a vacation. I just came back from vacation, we just have to keep on grinding some wins to gain some momentum after the small break.
The match against Cloud9 just proved we have some ways to go back to the level we were at before DreamHack. We haven’t changed our approach at all. We just just didn’t play that well on that one day, and when you don’t play well at an event like that, you don’t advance.
Coincidently, Cloud9 are also a team that has struggled to really put together an ideal run in a Major. Do you think there is something special about those events that increases the pressure?
I think the thing is that there is a big amount of pressure to perform that day because once you get out of your group you secure a spot at the next Major by getting into the Top 8. And you also have stuff like one best-of-one in the first match to get through. So I think that always adds that extra layer of pressure with Majors.
I don’t think that pressure went to us, but I feel like it did to other teams in the group stage who could actually perform better but didn't. All eight of the teams that came out of the group stage were the same ones as the Major before that. I don’t have anything else to say other than that we didn’t play that well at the event.
I think also for Cloud9, they had a tough group as they came out of the qualifier, having Titan and then also two legendary teams from the last Major’s Top 8 as well.
You had a close first half in the opening game, only taking eight rounds on CT. What was Cloud9 doing that gave you a hard time?
I think we lost some clutch rounds that we shouldn’t have lost, which forced us to take more eco-rounds. Also we haven't played a LAN since DreamHack, so we have to get back into it. Online games are never the same so we have to find our own game style. They played good in the first half and found some mistakes we made, which we tried to fix along the way.
In the end we got eight rounds, which was okay. We could have gotten 10 or 11 if you ask me, but I was confident on T-side as I had looked at their CT-side in a demo and knew we could outplay them. I think we did a great job, even though we gave up some rounds we shouldn’t have.
Going into the second game, on Cache, did you think the game was going to be as close as it was since Cloud9 are well known for their play on that map?
I knew before the series that we had to ban either Cobble or Cache. We chose to ban Cobble because they're not as good on Cache and in FACEIT, when they had a good run, we won against them 16-14 on Cache. So to win the series they had to win both Cache and the third map. I felt we could win on either Inferno or Dust2 if it went to the third map, so I didn’t take our loss that badly because I knew we could have problems against teams like Cloud9 on Cache.
I feel we played badly. I also had some bad calls on T-side, which we only got 5 rounds on. We were very close to making a comeback, but I wasn’t that surprised. I knew that map was going to be a close.
Your comeback was stopped short when you failed to clutch in Round 29. After you died you looked pretty upset, what was going through your head at that time?
Nothing went through it really. I feel like I should have had that kill at the end, not that I had the round won before that, but he came through the smoke and we both shot once and he just randomly shot me right in the head. It was a very important round because it was a 15-14 round. Of course it was a hard round, but in the end we shouldn’t have won that round at all because I shouldn’t have outplayed them like that. I was more concerned with our T-side than that one round, but it was good to gain some confidence going into Dust2.
Game 3 took place on Dust2, which you already mentioned you were confident about. What do you personally think makes that map so good for your team?
I feel like I am able to unleash some of our players like device and dupreeh on that map. We have cajunb on the AWP on A and the rotation of Xyp9x. It just fits our team and the way we want to play the game.
We want to play a little passive, let our enemies come and then we want to retake or play on the angles we want, like the AWP on A for example. For a year now everyone has known how we play on Dust2, but no one has come up with one counter that can beat us every time. Of course we’re going to lose some maps here and there, cause you cannot win every time on Dust2. It is literally impossible.
When our players play their A-game I think we are unbeatable on Dust2. It just fits our team and lets us play exactly how we want to compared to other maps.
How did you feel about your team’s play in the match in general? Is there anything specific you think you need to work on for your match tomorrow?
I'm pretty sure we're going to play Cache tomorrow, cause G2 Esports is going to pick it. So we need to fix some of the mistakes we made today, including some of my calling on T-side.
I still feel like we have some work to get back from our vacation. Some teamplay and bad communication hurt us on Cache. But basically in the other two games I feel like we played flawlessly minus our start on CT-side of Overpass.
With Team EnVyUs’ withdrawal from the event, how do you feel about your chances of winning this weekend?
Everybody said we are the favorites, so based on that of course we feel like we have to win the tournament. But still you have to be able to beat teams like G2, Na`Vi and VP. G2 is a good team at the moment. They got to the semifinal of the Major so we have to focus on that matchup. I think we have a good matchup against them. They don’t like to play against us, and I don’t feel like they can win against us, so hopefully we can continue our streak against them. But yeah, of course we are always here to win even when EnVyUs and Fnatic are here, and that is why we feel like we can win this tournament, and all tournaments.
Paul Park is a writer for theScore eSports. You can follow Paul Park on Twitter.
Jacob Juillet writes about Counter-Strike for theScore eSports. Follow him on Twitter.
Kelsey Moser is a staff writer for theScore eSports. You can follow her on Twitter for LPL memes and Sivir rants.
This interview was edited and condensed for clarity