Interview with DIG CS:GO coach, Fifflaren



Fri 5th Jun 2020 - 11:57pm

After qualifying for BLAST Showdown and competing at ESL One: Road to Rio, we reached out to Robin "Fifflaren" Johansson, the team’s coach, to know more about his thoughts on said tournaments, as well as his evolution as a coach.

Hi Robin! You’ve been having some mixed results. Tell me about the good ones first, namely the qualification for the BLAST Showdown.

Fifflaren: Absolutely, our results definitely have been somewhat shaky. I think it's just very clear if you look at to how we started, qualifying for the Minor and the teams that we played there, heading into FLASHPOINT and not using the full roster, but then coming back and having the chance to play with hallzerk again, the comparison versus Road to Rio or Elisa (BLAST Showdown qualifier)..

I would say the difference between these results is that the teams were probably a bit worse compared to the ones we played in Road to Rio. But what's nice to see, at least on my end, when we look back at everything, even despite the shaky results, it’s that we are making progress and we are getting better, it just takes time. But it's nice to see the good results in the Elisa Invitational versus teams like North, Heroic... we lost against ENCE yes, but these are good teams, top 30 teams. We are definitely able to compete against the top 15 to top 30, with the team as it currently is right now.

How are you preparing for that event in particular, on a coaching perspective?

Fifflaren: The BLAST Showdown is going down early June and we are, of course, taking it very seriously! I think that we learned a lot after Elisa and Road to Rio, all the stuff that we need to work on. The BLAST event that is taking place also has a lot of good tier 1 teams, so the preparation for us and especially for me goes deep into the map pool. I think that we have some maps where are really strong on, that we feel comfortable in... even if we don't win them every time, we still have those comfortable picks for us. We used to be really good on Nuke and Inferno, and we need to get our groove back on those maps.

We really need to deepen our map pool, it became very clear in Road to Rio that if we had a stronger map pool the vetoes would have gone much smoother in some games. We were still very much forced into situations where we couldn't play the most comfortable maps for us... it's definitely a lot of work coming up into the BLAST event, especially for me and Richard (Xizt), just making sure that things are in order and what maps we want to play.

Like you were saying, some of those games in Road to Rio were closer than the final result led to believe. What went wrong besides not having a map pool as good as you wanted?

Fifflaren: I think that's when it really showed that we could've done better. I also think that we played really good CS at those Road to Rio matches, even though we lost a lot of them 0-2. These are games that we could have potentially won, or at least get them to the 3rd map. The games that you mentioned, for example, they're very similar in the sense that when we went to our map, we made it close, maybe even overtime... but that was the map we needed to win. We knew that we were heavily against the odds on their map pick, especially against these top 3 teams that we were playing against, so we knew we had to win our map pick to get to a 3rd, and we generally felt very comfortable on that one. So, I think that, in most cases, these games that you saw going 0-2, at least in my opinion, had we won one of those maps, I'm sure we would have won more matches than we did.

Now that you’re already getting comfortable in the coach position, how are you liking it so far and what would you change?

Fifflaren: I think I definitely started this coaching role at a weird time, because if this had not been at a pandemic situation, FLASHPOINT would have happened entirely as planned and, as you know, coaches are not allowed to talk except during practice and timeouts... since we're still playing online, coaches are allowed to talk all the time. There are pro and cons in my opinion - of course, it's good that we can talk freely right now, but one of my focuses right now is making sure that once we go back to being able to attend events we have everything in order, because I think that we're a team that excels at offline events.

I don't want to have a "cheap" win now to have a heavy loss later, I would rather have the "bad" losses now and get that nice win later because we've prepared for it. But outside of that, I’m definitely enjoying it, it is a different perspective for sure. It’s like when I started doing talent work, you don't really know what's coming, it's a lot of work and it's a very different perspective of CS. Because you get so much information all the time, one of the things you pick up really quickly is that communication is the key and that's one of the main focuses of the team as well. Communication is just so important, and that's one of the things that I've been finding really interesting as I develop as a coach.

You've also added vENdetta as an analyst a few months ago. How is that working so far?

Fifflaren: I honestly thing vENdetta is fantastic! He's super smart, he knows what he's talking about, he comes with a lot of great ideas. One of the changes that we're making right now is that we're trying to incorporate vENdetta even more, getting him to join some practice games, making him come up with even more ideas and just try to get him even closer to the team, I think he's really needed and super smart. Super excited about that!

Do you want to give any shoutouts?

Fifflaren: I just want to thank all the sponsors and all the fans that are tuning in and cheering for us! It means a lot to the guys and at the end of the day we still find this very fun - yeah, it's a comeback, but we are here to win! We definitely see the progression, we definitely see that we are making steps forward, but we are not stopping. We want to do better, we're hoping to get even better heading into BLAST Showdown, we're excited about it and hopefully, we'll see some amazing games!

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