Fnatic's JW: 'We feel like we still haven't peaked at all'

by Dennis Gonzales Mar 27 2016
Thumbnail image courtesy of Helena Kristiansson / ESL

Fnatic are in the midst of a massive six tournament winning streak and look to the upcoming MLG Major Championship: Columbus to extend that streak to seven. Leading up to the Major, Robin "Flusha" Rönnquist, Dennis “dennis” Edman, Jesper "JW" Wecksell, Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer and Freddy "KRiMZ" Johansson spoke to theScore esports, about their recent success and ironing out their kinks ahead of the Major.

Flusha, in an interview with theScore esports, you said that Luminosity Gaming are currently one of Fnatic’s biggest rivals. Can you expand on that? What have you guys learned after facing them in the Grand Finals at IEM Katowice?

Flusha: Luminosity has a great mixture of individual skill and tactical foundation. They have a wide set of maps with a lot of different ways of playing them so they're always somewhat unpredictable to play against.

I still feel like they have a lot to work on to finalize their map pool against us. In a best-of-five, they simply don't have the tools yet to beat us.

Outside of LG, what else did the team learn during Katowice?

Flusha: I don't know if we learned anything in particular at Katowice. We simply evolve for every event we go to and we made small progresses on a lot of areas during our stay in Poland.

What’s your opinion on your other rivals, Ninjas in Pyjamas? They’ve given you guys a bit of trouble in your recent matches. Have they shaken off their slump and will they be a threat at the Major?

Flusha: Since the addition of [Björn "THREAT" Pers], NiP has just showed better and better results for each day passed; it is obvious how much impact he has had. They play completely different now than they did before and it seems to fit the new meta as well as the players in the team.

They will for sure be one of the biggest threats at the Major solely because of this; they are in great form and still have a lot of aces up their sleeve.

Ninjas in Pyjamas during IEM Season X World Championship Katowice. Though they didn't place well there, the team's performance has been increasing since the addition of Björn "THREAT" Pers

You guys won your sixth title in a row, but in interviews it doesn’t seem like you guys have pinpointed why you’ve found so much success recently. What is known is that it started with the acquisition of dennis. What did he bring to the lineup that allowed it to excel? What other factors are at play in Fnatic’s success?

Flusha: I think our biggest change has been the way we play rather than just a single player swap. Dennis contributes a lot of skill sets that we might have lacked before, but we now play in a way that suits our players better and feel more comfortable with. Along with that, the atmosphere in the team is great and we have a lot of fun which makes everything much easier.

dennis, what do you have to say about Fnatic’s recent success? They’ve always been a successful team, but what do you think you brought to Fnatic when you first joined? How did it compare playing for your previous team, G2?

dennis: Not in my wildest fantasies did I believe that we would go on to dominate in the way we had since I joined. I thought that with time, we would be a contender at all events but it has really excelled to a level where we are undoubtable favorites, which is both awesome but also weird.

What differs most from previous teams I played with is how comfortable everyone is in every single situation. They have so much routine and experience that no situation surprises anymore, we can find an answer for everything that we encounter.

JW, in an interview with you said that you guys haven’t even put dennis 100 percent into the team. Why do you feel this way? Is there more potential Fnatic could unlock so to speak?

JW: It takes a lot of time and practice to integrate a player in a team to a 100 percent level. Along with that, we've changed a lot of our own basics, so for everyone to find their role immediately would be too much to ask.

Dennis is still adapting to playing on the very highest level and he is doing a great job at it. We feel like we still haven't peaked at all, during practice we still feel a lot of room for improvements but we’re getting there.

KRiMZ, you were teammates with dennis on LGB eSports and TEAMGLOBAL. Are there any differences between dennis from back then and dennis now?

KRiMZ: He's the same numb nut he was back then.

He has always been an extremely positive and funny guy to play with and he helps keep a great atmosphere within the team. Skill wise, he of course has raised his level, as all of us have.

You guys are probably asked this a lot, but what goes on during Fnatic’s tactical pauses? Can you be specific? What circumstances bring up the need for a tactical pause?

KRiMZ: [Viktor "vuggo" Jendeby] is usually the one that decides when we need a pause and there's a lot of different scenarios during every situation needed for a pause. It can be motivational, tactical, mentality and a lot of other different factors.

Sometimes he has a lot to say, but he can also just openly state, “guys, what makes us lose?” Forcing us to have a breather and think for ourselves what needs to be done. No pause discussion is like the other.

olofmeister, in an interview with theScore esports, you said that you have a tendency of talking too much and talking over Flusha. Why do you feel this way? Is it better if Flusha leads the conversation?

olofmeister: We can sometimes, during games, be too excited and hyped — coming up with all types of ideas — and we end up doing everything at the same time, causing chaos. In those situations we usually take a pause and just settle our nerves and just say, “take it slow, let Flusha do the talking and we're fine.”

Flusha, in an interview with theScore esports, you said that you’re not the type of leader that’s motivational. How would you describe your leadership style? How does it compare to others style of leadership, say, pronax’s style of leadership?

Flusha: [Markus "pronax" Wallsten] was a very calm and methodical leader, while I see myself as a more situational caller. I also feel that I am a way more emotional player than pronax was. I think we help each other now with the motivational part, both the players and vuggo.

Markus "pronax" Wallsten during ESL One: Katowice 2015, when he was still on the team

How have the preparations been going so far ahead of the Major? Have you guys been trying anything new?

dennis: We've tried to fix our mistakes from previous matches, not changing too much but still be more prepared for different situations and problems that can arise. We've extended our map pool even further and I can honestly say that we feel comfortable playing all maps now and it will help us a lot with vetoes against all different teams.

How does the team feel about their group, with FaZe Clan, Splyce and Team Liquid? Is there any threat there?

dennis: I think that if we only play how we're supposed to we will have a smooth ride to the playoffs, but they are all capable of upsets if our game does not click from the beginning.

Beyond the groups, what are some of the teams you guys feel are a threat at the Major? What are your expectations overall for the Major?

dennis: NiP has been playing great lately and LG is always a threat. Other than that we feel quite comfortable playing everyone, especially in a best-of-three.

What are your plans for the future?

dennis: Play as much as possible, win as much as possible!

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, Dungeon & Dragons and first-picking Timbersaw Windranger Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90. You can follow him on Twitter.