After Heroic’s elimination from IEM Chicago, VPEsports sat down with Adam “friberg” Friberg for an interview.
The Swedish veteran discussed his path from NiP to OpTic and now Heroic, the roster changes, the teams recent form, his motivation, and more.
VPEsports: It’s been an interesting 2 years for you. You went from Ninjas in Pyjamas where you guys had an amazing run at the start of CS:GO, then you went to OpTic and things didn’t really turn out, and now you’re with Heroic where you’ve had some rough patches as well. Now you guys are hitting your stride, so what’s this been like for you?
friberg: It’s been a wild ride for sure. I think in the beginning of CS:GO, it was a bit easier back then. We were super good and we were ahead of many other teams. Even after that we still managed to be very competitive at the top level when I played with NiP.
Eventually we just didn’t work out anymore and it came to the point where we needed to make changes and I felt it as well. A new environment could be refreshing. I remember it was very refreshing for me when I joined OpTic because it was a new team and I got a lot more motivation with that environment change.
Obviously we didn’t end up being the international team that we wanted to be. I think we needed more time and perhaps some roster changes to make that team work out. Now obviously with Heroic we started off and have now done a lot of changes now. I think we’re definitely on the right path, we’ve gradually become better and better over the past two to three months. We’ve made progress almost every tournament and it’s a great feeling when every practice and official shows you’re getting better.
It helps motivate you to play even more and even better because you feel like it’s working. You hope soon you’ll make playoffs and play on the big stage. If we can beat top teams in the group stage, why wouldn’t we be able to do it on the stage? Even though we have some inexperienced players, it would be a great experience for them. That’s one of our goals coming into these tournaments, and we’ve been super close. I’m still happy with the results.
VPEsports: You guys have been playing ENCE and Vitality very close, even winning maps like against Vitality in the opener. You guys are currently ranked just outside of the top 10 but competing with the cream of the crop – do you think the numbers are off or you’re right where you’re supposed to be?
friberg: The rankings will always be weird in the sense that, against Vitality for example, we have a good map pool against them. So when we play them it’s obviously going to be a close game, but then again we are a bit too inconsistent to call ourselves a top tier team I’d say.
We’re still struggling when playing against top 25 to 30 teams. We can still drop maps and lose against them so we definitely need a better foundation to be able to comfortably beat those teams and take maps off the top teams.
I don’t know how the rankings will look after this event but I think we’re closing in on top 10.
VPEsports: With the new lineup it seems your form has improved – especially at this event. Is this due to a restructuring of how you guys play or is it just individual improvement?
friberg: After MODDII left the team I got a new role again. I’m the lurker and a bit of a support player so obviously I don’t have the best roles in the team to be like a star player or anything like that. Then again, the more I’m playing in my role the more comfortable I’m getting. Now I’ve almost played every role except AWPer in teams so I’m gaining a lot of experience playing. Even though I’ve been around for a long time, getting into a new role still requires time to get comfortable and figure out what you can or can’t do.
I think it has something to do with that and that we’ve been playing a lot. We’ve been to a lot of tournaments, preparing, and playing. I feel like I’m getting back there and hopefully I can continue at this level even after the summer. I’m super happy to be playing at these big tournaments, it’s what motivates me.
Obviously I love the game, but if we were never playing big events I’d probably lose my motivation. I wouldn’t think it was worth it. I’ve already been at the top, so this is what I love. I feel so happy and motivated to play whenever we’re playing these games against the very best.
VPEsports: You have a lot of fresh talent on your team – do they look to you for suggestions as the veteran?
friberg: I’d say yes and no. BlameF is the in-game leader and I’d maybe say I’m secondary in-game leader in the sense that I’m not calling from spawn, but I may come in with a suggestion and I’m more involved with mid-round calling. Getting information on the other side of the map is super vital to the team and what we’re going to do. In that regard I’m mid-round calling a lot and I’m trying to help out the team.
Also, outside of the game I’m trying to take more of a (laughs) of a dad position. Since I’ve been around, I’ve done these tournaments before and all that but it’s not too much. Even though we have young players i think they’re doing well and don’t need too much guidance. I wouldn’t say there’s too much of that.
VPEsports: Since you guys found this recent bit of success, would you say some of the new players may have been that missing piece for you guys? You’ve tried different players and a coach, but things seemed to change pretty quick soon as you made some changes.
friberg: I think both BlameF and Stavn have given us a lot more firepower. They are both super young and inexperienced played who will certainly have great careers in the future as well.
I’m happy to be able to play with those players. It’s really nice to have a player who always gets those double or triple kills to win you an important round and both of them have proven to be those players. Especially BlameF doing the IGL as well. I’m super happy to play with them.