One of the greatest to pick up the AWP, and indeed touch the game overall, we spoke with Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács after FaZe’s unfortunate exit from IEM Sydney about their progress through the event, and how the team had handled the situation with their fifth player.
It’s a little bit hard to take much from an event like this with the circumstances that were out of your control with NiKo (Nikola Kova?). What can the team take away from an event with only four players and having to have YNK (Janko Paunovi?) stand-in?
GuardiaN: I would say there’s not much to take from this. I think in other circumstances we might not have come. We decided to wait to see if Niko can get his visa and we will do our best to make it as far as we can. It didn’t work out, so nothing we can do about it. We tried our best, some of us were not as good as we as we could have been. Obviously YNK tried his best. He had some insane plays but, as I said that’s all we could do.
At the moment if we had been in form earlier, we could probably at least beat some of the teams. I think we had a good shot against NRG, but we failed in some crucial rounds. I mean it was an experience. We don’t have to be mad or sad or anything or frustrated. That’s how it is, and it’ll be always like this to play with a stand-in.
Looking back over the roster changes that ended up with AdreN (Dauren Kystaubayev) coming in, you won Blast Miami and you’ve had a 3-win streak in your Pro League matches. Does the squad – excluding this tournament and the visa issues – feel like it’s finally settled down and you can get back to your dominant best?
GuardiaN: It’s hard to say because at the moment AdreN is still standing in so it’s not like we have a stable line-up, so we are doing our best. At Blast, I don’t know what happened but from day to day we started to play amazing CS and that’s how we won the tournament.
We came to EPL group stage and I think we have Devils.One which is not a top 10 team and then we had Heroic which is also not a top 10 team. So, we are expected to beat teams like that. Obviously, we cannot underestimate them, but we are expected to win teams like that. I don’t remember the third team…
GuardiaN: NIP, yeah. So we just played amazing CS. It’s hard to say why. We communicated well we hit our shots and so we played good. But at the same time, I think if Niko would be here, I think we would keep playing good because it just it just started working really well and everyone’s communicating playing (well).
I think we would be at least in the semi-final at this tournament and sadly we are not. I don’t really know why we suddenly started playing it again just probably guessed it. The communication has started to be on. We started to understand each other as a team and I think that’s why we are playing good, or were playing good.
There isn’t much on for you guys until Dream Masters in Dallas. Is this a chance for you guys to take a break? Or possibly start up a heavier prac schedule to consolidate the run you were on before this event.
GuardiaN: For sure will take off some days I mean it’s needed because we have been on the road for the past two months, since blast in Brazil earlier and we’ve had only like four days between the events. We’ve had Brazil, then we were four days at home and then we were in Shanghai and straight from Shanghai to Miami. Then straight from Miami to the EPL group stage and then we had again four or five days at home and we came here to Sydney which is an insane amount of travel time.
I am pretty sure as least like four or five days and then we’ll figure out what to do with the lineup if we keep AdreN for some time more or we’ll look for some IGL or other player. So, I’m sure we’ll sit down and first we will relax and then we’ll figure out what to do. But it’s really needed and hopefully we will be able reset ourselves.
[Gesturing to his wedding ring] It must be a little bit difficult having such a busy travel schedule having the family as well.
GuardiaN: Of course, it’s insanely difficult.
You’ve been one of – if I may say so – one of, if not the best AWP’ers in the game for a very long time. You’ve seen a lot of eras and different styles of playing the AWP over your career. Some famous soccer players like Lionel Messi have been at the top of their game for over 10 years, and you’re kind of like that with an AWP. Do you ever think about how long you’ve been at the top and how hard you’ve worked for it?
I’ve never really thought about stuff like this. I play CS to help my team to win tournaments and that’s my main goal, to win tournaments. If I’m good, I’m happy to be good and I’ll do my best to be on the top as long as I can. I mean I’m turning 28 I’m getting older and older.
So, I’ll still do my best and as long as I will play CS I will I’ll try to be the best with the gun I’m playing with and I chose to be a sniper so I will do my best to keep it up.
It’s more something you can look back on when it’s all said and done rather than while you’re still playing?
And lastly, assuming you’re the best for purposes of this question, who’s going to be the next “best in the world” after you?
GuardiaN: There’s many good young snipers. I would say woxic (Özgür Eker) and ZywOo (Mathieu Herbaut). I think it might be one of those two. ZywOo is really good. You can see on the statistics and how he helps his team. So maybe he’s not as flashy as for example KennyS (Kenny Schrub) but he’s pretty accurate and he’s playing really good.
I would say ZywOo or woxic but there are a lot of years to go, so it’s hard to say that but I’m sure they’ll be good.
Thank you so much for your time.
With the fifth member situation now moving forward since this interview with the addition of NEO as a stand-in, FaZe Clan and GuardiaN will have their first event with the new In-Game Leader at DreamHack Masters in Dallas next week.
Photo credit: ESL | Jennika Ojala & Bart Oerbekke