Copenhagen Flames got off to a dream start at the PGL Major in Antwerp as they won 2-0 in their first best-of-one matches against Bad News Eagles and ENCE, beating both teams on Ancient. That leaves the Danes just a best-of-three away from qualifying for the tournament’s playoffs, having progressed straight to the Major’s Legends stage after a first place finish in Group B of the European RMR.
roeJ spoke openly about the team’s disappointment when the Complexity deal fell through
28-year-old Copenhagen Flames shooter Fredrik “roeJ” Jørgensen took some time after his opening day games to talk about the team’s good start on the LAN in Antwerp, how they did it and where the two early wins left him and his teammates, and an insight into the difficulties faced give that comes with playing on the biggest stage for a smaller organization.
They got straight to the Legends stage and played against two teams that had already warmed up in the Challengers stage and still went 2-0. What was it like jumping right in?
I didn’t think about that at all, I came later than the other guys. I’ve seen it somewhere, people have written about it and of course it can have an impact, but I just think we focused on going into the best-of-ones. I don’t know why, but it seems like we never lose best-of-ones. I think LAN has about 13-1 in the top tier tournaments. We are so happy playing this, we thrive in it and it works for us. We were happy to go into it and I think this format suits us very well. Our actual test will now be the best-of-three, which will be exciting.
Will you be just as strong going into the best of threes?
Perhaps? I think it depends on which team we’re playing against. We have a clear view of our weaknesses, we have some weaknesses against certain teams, so there are some teams that we really don’t want to face. But we’re not that scared of so many, we’re pretty confident. Jabbi and Nicoodoz usually play really well on LAN and in general we kind of play really well on LAN. I don’t know why because we are a very inexperienced team. It doesn’t really make sense, but we just go along with it.
How come you guys are such a LAN team?
I don’t know, really, it feels so strange because we don’t have any experience. We have three young people who have hardly played LANs. I’m not that experienced either and I’m the most experienced guy. That says a lot, so I’m actually not sure. It’s just a different feeling when we go into LAN games. I can easily feel the difference.
There will always be some [nerves]but I don’t think it will ever be like last time against NIP
Everyone is just totally focused and it’s a completely different environment. Somehow it just suits the players on this team. Of course, like all teams, we make some mistakes under pressure, but compared to other teams I have the feeling that we generally make fewer mistakes. We’re actually very calm in the late laps too, which is really good for us.
Speaking of pressure and making mistakes, now it’s on to the qualifying game. Will you be just as calm and ready or do you think there might be some nervousness involved?
There will always be some [nerves], but I don’t think it will ever be like last time against NIP because we never had a sticker in the game that all players dreamed of. In that particular Major, you only got stickers if you made the playoffs, and the 2-2 Legends stage match was about getting your sticker and playing on stage. There was so much to play and I don’t think we’ll ever feel that pressure again.
There’s still some pressure but we’re 2-0 up so we’ll at least have a little less pressure in that regard and we got our badge too. Of course we want to play on stage and go as far as possible and we’re pretty optimistic too. We’re just going to go in and do our best, but that takes a bit of the nerve and pressure off because there’s not that much at stake. We are already satisfied with our performance so far and will only benefit from it.
They started against the Bad News Eagles in a close game against a team with a wild playstyle. How do you prepare for a team that might be difficult to prepare against?
We played them online a few times when they were BLINK. We lost every time, they beat us individually, played so aggressively and fought tackles. We fought a little too many duels and we lost so many of them. It’s so easy to lose momentum against them when they hit their shots. Ancient was a really good card for us and we have some really good ideas on what to do about it.
We checked out their demos and got some really good answers and a good plan for the game. Even though their style might be a bit aggressive, they still have tendencies and weaknesses that we can exploit. I think we found these, especially on the T side, and that helped us a lot. The preparation for these two games has been really good and Ancient as a card is really good for us because we get good answers when we see how people are playing.
They then played ENCE, a top 3 team in the world, against another Ancient. You got a big win in your opening round, but you put in a great performance and won 16-8. How did you manage that so well?
They’re playing really well right now, and again, Ancient is really good for us. They play it a little differently than the Bad News Eagles guys, but the last time we faced them I had a lot of ideas and felt like we should have played more rounds. I can easily remember what to fix and what to do differently, and I think we did.
We don’t play on LAN all the time so it’s hard to pigeonhole with the great teams
ENCE kind of played the same as last time while we fixed a lot of things and talked about a lot of things to try and fix all the things that weren’t working. That showed today that they did the same things and we were ready for that, we had a good plan of what to do. We did really well, played well in the late rounds and it was actually just really good preparation from us.
Where do you see yourself now compared to the other teams in the Major?
I’m actually not sure yet. I feel like we’re a completely different team on LAN, but it’s difficult because we don’t play on LAN all the time, so it’s difficult to pigeonhole with the great teams. I see our team as good, we can definitely upset the good teams, they have to respect us and prepare for us. They won’t roll over us. If they make mistakes and stuff like that, we will definitely punish them.
Our strength is that we can make decisions on our own and not be afraid, take risks and just play the game and make individual decisions, which is so important in LAN. It’s so good for us because the playstyle we have right now fits the LAN environment really well. It’s working for us right now and it’s why we’re doing so well. I think we will be up there and people have to be scared of us because if they have a bad day we will definitely punish them.
Since you had that extra week after the RMR, how did you go about preparing?
We played the closed qualifier for IEM Dallas and stuff like that, which was important too, but the whole schedule for the major was building up. We knew it was coming and it’s the most important tournament in all of Counter-Strike, so we adjusted our schedule around it in terms of hours, what we want to practice, what cards we want finished.
Early on we had a really good idea of how we wanted to do things as a team, we set the schedule together and I think we worked really hard. Everyone’s played so much too, we’ve been grinding so hard as players over the last two weeks because we have to give it our all here and show what we can do. It may be a chance we’ll never get again. We may never make Legends again, you never know, so we just have to take the opportunity when it arises.
In a smaller organization, how important is it to get a big result here to make sure players don’t get poached? do you think about it at all
Yes of course. We’re in a pretty strange situation because we’ve been consistently in the top 20 for six months now and we’re still in Copenhagen Flames. They don’t really have the same budget as the top tier organizations so of course it can be tricky with contract length and all. It’s a pretty chaotic situation to be honest and the players were pretty sad that the Complexity deal didn’t go through because they have a spot in the ESL Pro League, and all those spots, and if we were there , they would make it a lot easier for us to stick together, wouldn’t it?
It’s just pretty hard and most players think about it, they always think about the future. But every event and every match is important for every player because you have to prove what you can do every time. When an opportunity arises it is very important to play well because then you will be a name on the list. It’s something that’s on our minds all the time because we’re in a situation where we’re not getting that much salary and all that stuff, so it’s a little weird, especially since it’s taking so long. But it is what it is.