FNATIC coach mini talks Sentinels, atmosphere and mixed backgrounds

posted by jacpaka,
After a strong showing by FNATIC and many 2-0 performances in the first cross-regional VCT event Masters 2, we sat down with their coach mini to discuss the team's experiences in iceland. In Masters 2, FNATIC continued their blazing hot run which started during the Challengers in EU. Several dominant performances led the British team to an epic finale against Sentinels. Fnatic tasted defeat against the American favourites, who ended their unbeaten run in first place, only being contested by Fnatic along the way. Especially in the finals, many were struck positively by how closely the games were contested. With two overtimes, FNATIC came closer to winning against the undefeated team than any of their opponents. Head coach Jacob "mini" Harris talks about the experiences and atmosphere in his team.

How did you prepare for the finals against Sentinels after losing to them in round 2?

For the finals Boaster decided to do the gameplans and antistrats which involved him watching our previous series and then watching their Split, as we presumed they would pick that against us early (they thought we were still gunna be running triple duelists!). He did a good job – it felt he had a decent read throughout the series. I wanted to focus on improving on things. I had seen us struggle from the day before so I spent the day of the finals VOD reviewing the previous day with the boys and showing some key mistakes we were making that had to be fixed.

How do you think the boys handled the atmosphere between the maps in the final?

Our team is filled with young and hungry players who will do what they need to do to win. Part of that is knowing to move past a loss quickly and to focus on the next match. We go outside for some air, we get a Boaster patented speech, and then we talk about the preparation for the next map. Specifically against Sentinels, we knew to frame the loss on Split as a "well, we nearly beat them on our worst map so we're looking okay!". Of course losing on Bind after that sucked, but we just had to remind ourselves where we were: the Grand Finals of the first international LAN in VALORANT history, which was enough to keep our motivation up for the next game.

What are the main parts you’ll have to work on with your team before the next Challengers and Masters events start?

There's certainly going to be some kind of meta shift coming back from Iceland, so we will have to see where we want to go with our compositions and strategy. There's also Breeze to consider. I see "fundamentals" as a current weakness of the team i.e. positioning, timings, communication etc. due to our players' lack of experience in tactical shooters.

The process between me and Boaster is always changing and evolving, but right now I can see a situation in which Boaster will take on more of the creative side of the strategic approach with my input, and then I'll focus more on fundamentals, which will involve a lot of VOD reviewing and server time.

Your team has a really mixed background. Boaster and Derke played Counter-Strike, Doma and Mistic played Fortnite and Magnum played Rust, how did you and your team glue these experiences into a second place in Masters 2?

I think a lot of our success stems from the strategic structure me and Boaster have created within the team. We are quite aware of the advantages (open to critique, lack of bad habits) and disadvantages (inexperience, fundamentals) of having players that have come from games that weren't tactical FPSes. So we build strategy and gameplans that work around these advantages and disadvantages. We do still want to push our players to open up more strategic advantages, but we also don't expect them to play perfectly yet.

We already know that there are similarities between CS:GO and VALORANT mechanisms, but how do you think do the experiences in Fortnite and maybe also Rust possibly helped the players to get into VALORANT?

I don't know too much about either game so take my answer with a grain of salt, I F10'd out of Fortnite when I realised I had to make little buildings and I just like playing the guitar in Rust... But seriously I think only the aim mechanics are a big deal in the transition from those games to VALORANT. CS is the obvious game to transition from for an advantage, but something me and Boaster have been wary of through this whole process was that we didn't want to play with CS players if they were just aimers that had picked up bad habits.

The opportunity of working with players from other games is that they have the mechanics already there, but they're fresh slates that don't need to untrain bad habits and are more open to being pushed by me and Boaster.

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Photo credit: Riot Games

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