We interviewed Robin "ropz" Kool after FaZe Clan's massive triumph over Natus Vincere to win the PGL Major Antwerp 2022, marking the first-ever Major trophy for FaZe and their players.
Q: Inferno, I would say on the T side some really perfect rounds, especially the three flashes out of balcony where you only had like three flashes and some tec-9s and stuff like that, but then on the CT side, you were crumbling. What was in your guys' heads to reset and go to overtime?
ropz: I think starting on the T side, it was just a masterclass by karrigan, talking about the round you mentioned, the round when we went out apts, it's just about believing in the IGL, and at that moment we had all the support between each other, and it goes a long way if you all trust each other, but on the CT side obviously, I think we played well; personally I probably had a few whiffs, and so forth, I could've had more impact, definitely. It was 13-15 when we decided, that's it, we're putting a f***ing stop to this. Yeah, we just had to play with a bit more confidence. They were winning good duels, and credit to them, they also played well on coming back. After the map, we made some funny jokes that we're doing the "Anti-Boston" like we're coming back. This is how we break the mentality of NaVi.
Q: I wanted to ask, was there at some point looming about karrigan and rain that they're going to do another Boston choke?
ropz: For them, it was the second major, I think kinda hard to say; I don't think we ever thought about that or them either. We talk about this a lot, the mindset we have, we always stay in the game, we don't really break even if we're down on the ground, we did it at Katowice, we did it now, we are so good at coming back and just having the mental resilience to perform in those moments.
Q: I think it's your third tournament with FaZe and your third win. What is the difference now between this international line-up with karrigan and FaZe and the international line-up with karrigan and MOUZ
ropz: For sure, the biggest difference is obviously this is more of a super-star line-up, you have all the key pieces you want to become the best team, and you kinda expect this line-up to be the best team in the world, so that's the difference, with MOUZ we were the underdogs most of the time but we had the potential, but this team, it is expected from us to be so good, and that's the biggest thing, and maybe even the relationships between the players in this team, I feel like I'm really clicking well with them, we have really good chemistry, and it's showing in every match.
Q: When you said that this is a super-star line-up, is there a certain pressure you feel going into every match as the favorites? Because when you were at MOUZ, you were this "budget FaZe" team, the underdogs; you weren't expected to win, some had you on their paper, but on FaZe, every tournament, especially this one, this was yours to win.
ropz: I think most of the time, the pressure kinda plays into our favor. I guess if you play against us right now, we probably won't have so much pressure; we're gonna have probably more and more, but we're just a really experienced team, and karrigan, rain, even me and Twistzz are extremely stage-proven, we've won many big tournaments, and now broky's also coming up like that, so I think we just fuel ourselves from all the energy, especially the stage matches with the crowd, it just makes us perform better, we love being in pressure situations, and that's where we play the best CS.
Q: Was rain the old dog leading the pack? He had a stellar performance; when all of the guys like you, Twistzz, and broky, it was quite surprising that rain was in such stellar form. Were you aware that rain played such a good tournament, rating wise and did you also put him in positions so he could explode like this?
ropz: Yeah, absolutely mental performance from rain; I think most of it is just vintage rain, he's just playing the same positions, but he's doing it with triple the confidence, triple everything, the duels he's taking, the peeks he's taking are just out of this world, and so much credit goes to him, people have been doubting him, and I think that also ignited a fire in him, and yeah he's such a well-rounded player, and he's also motivating the team sometimes, and I'm just glad to be his teammate.
Q: The last question, you're the first international roster to win a major. I don't think you're far away from the Intel Grand Slam. I think two wins. Is this your next goal? Or is it something you don't talk about but take it event by event?
ropz: Of course, we all want to win a grand slam; Twistzz has already done it; we wanna make him the two-time grand slam champion, but speaking of it directly, then we still take it event by event, obviously right now, we're in a really good spot, we have won two out of two, and we have a lot of room to play with, but still yeah, we take it event by event, and then we take a look at the bigger picture.