rain: "Right now, it's the best team of players I've ever had"
FaZe, the number one team in the world, have won the PGL Antwerp Major. Defeating NAVI in two maps, they etch themselves into the history books of Counter-Strike. Despite not being the fan favorite to top frag the server, Håvard "rain" Nygaard showed up in spades at the playoffs. Attaining the covered HLTV Major MVP award, rain was a pivotal part in FaZe's path to the top, an achievement that won't be soon forgotten.
Dust2's Liam Slevin caught up with rain just moments after he lifted the trophy to ask him about his six-year long journey in FaZe to finally reach the pinnacle of Counter-Strike.
Just off the back of winning the Major, first off, how do you feel?
I feel really good, feel very relieved that we managed to close it out. It would’ve been a tough day tomorrow if we lost inferno especially after that T-side, so it feels really good.
James Banks said to Karrigan onstage about having Inferno flashbacks. You’re obviously the other player who was there for that. Were you feeling it?
Not really. I knew that if we just got it to overtime we would be fine. They were doing a really good comeback on the T-side so we just had to figure out a way to stop them. They took advantage of our weakness and we didn’t really put our balls on the table like we should have.
You changed the veto. You seemed to be comfortable on Nuke and I think a lot of people going into it were unsure which way it would go. How did you feel when the veto came in, when NAVI picked Nuke?
It was a big shock to me at least. We were doing really well on it, we beat a lot of good Nuke teams, we beat ENCE and Heroic. We beat all the good Nuke teams. So it was a little bit of a shock picking it against us. I don’t know what kind of anti they had prepared. It was really weird.
Obviously you have three youngsters that haven’t played in a Major final before, you have that experience. Compared to the previous final you played, did you see any of the nerves that you experienced in your first Major final?
Not really. I think they’re pretty good. It didn’t feel like they had any nerves, or anything. They were ready to fight. They played good Counter-Strike and they saved us on Inferno.
You talked in an HLTV interview yesterday about the motivation to play more because of those three young players that push you onwards. How does it feel getting that MVP after this tournament when you consider the talent that those three have around you?
It feels really good of course. I think in the past as well, I shine more when I play with good players. Right now, it’s the best team of players I’ve ever had. That and the way we’ve been grinding for this Major, we’re playing constantly, non-stop, no breaks in the practice room at all. I just knew from the start of the tournament that we were gonna win.
This brings us to the Intel Grand Slam. Is that the next step to say you’ve accomplished everything?
For sure. The Grand Slam is my next goal for sure.
One last question, are we now in the FaZe era officially?
I don’t think I’m gonna jinx it yet, but I will say we had a really good start to this year and to this season. Hopefully we can keep it up and not let it go if there’s no reason to.
FaZe, already the top rated team prior to the Major, find themselves on top of the world. As rain said, there's only one more height to reach, the mythical Intel Grand Slam. FaZe already sit on 2 of 4 of the required victories for the prize with victories at IEM Katowice 2022 and ESL Pro League 15. Their next chance to walk one step closer comes across the Atlantic as they face off against the world's best contenders again in IEM Dallas on May 30th.