FaNg: "Anyone on the right day can win"
It's the last event of the season down in Washington D.C., where BLAST is hosting the BLAST Premier Spring Finals. For Complexity, they were lucky to even make it to the event, having replaced Natus Vincere who saw issues entering the United States and thus, pulled out of IEM Dallas as well. Complexity earned their berth to this event as they were eliminated by Natus Vincere for one of the last spots at the Finals during Spring Groups.
For Justin "FaNg" Coakly, this event is an opportunity for the squad to finish out an up-and-down season in a strong way. For a squad that has seen success in reaching the Top 8 at IEM Katowice 2023, they have ridden that high, but have also seen the lows, such as going out 1-3 at the 2023 BLAST Paris Major in the Challengers Stage. In speaking with Dust2.us' Samuel "Draik04" Popkes, FaNg spoke about their season in review, the potential matchups ahead of them, and the state of the game.
Let's start with Dallas first. Keeping in mind that you had a stand-in, do you think you guys met your expectations for the event?
It definitely could have gone better for us. I think playing with a stand-in, Sonic, we played with him before in the past, our objective was to not bomb out of the tournament, so us getting a win definitely helped. With our own expectations as a team and with ourselves as players too, especially after getting that win against EG, we definitely wanted to go further, so obviously it was a little bit upsetting losing to C9 in the fashion we did.
What has it been like working with Sonic again?
It's been good. Haven't seen him for a while, so it's been nice getting back into the swing of things, just having some fun with him and stuff. He's a pretty serious player, comes into it with a good attitude and good mentality, and stuff like that. It's a good atmosphere to have with him back in the team, and nice seeing him again.
You guys weren't originally supposed to play at this event, coming in to replace NAVI. When did you find out about that?
We had an idea, or at least a possibility a few weeks ago, just due to the fact that the event is in the US and obviously the visa situation for NAVI. We knew there was a possibility, and then coming to the event was definitely something that we're excited to be at. For myself, it's definitely another good opportunity to perform and have a chance to perform as a team, but also just recognizing too that it was definitely a last-minute chance thrown at us that we're gonna take every time, being thankful that we got the spot.
By this point were you already aware that hallzerk might not be able to attend?
Yeah, we were at the time, and also just realizing that as the event was progressing and the days started to get closer, there's obviously a way higher chance that hallzerk won't be here, so figuring out how we wanted to go from there.
Knowing all that, what are the expectations for this event?
Definitely just want to perform; perform individually, perform as a team, just mainly focus on ourselves, especially coming in there playing with Sonic, just being in the moment of the game and doing our thing the best we can. Just not fully dropping out of the event, have a good showing.
Speaking with Sonic at Dallas, he said that you guys only managed to squeeze in one full day of practice with him. Have you been able to get more in since then?
Yeah, we've practiced every single day. I'm not too sure exactly when we started practicing with Sonic in terms of coming into the event, but ever since we've gotten back to playing we've played every single day. It's been something where coming into it we feel we practiced a good amount to where... obviously he's playing as a stand-in and he's not gonna know everything and we're gonna have to play a little bit differently as a team, but coming in at the point where we have a decent foundation where we have a good expectation of playing at a high level.
Your opening matchup is against Heroic; daunting, but you played them closely at Katowice. How are you feeling about that match?
Heroic is definitely a top team right now, 100%. Going into it, I'm excited to play them. I'd say we definitely have a good shot against them if some things are going our way in terms of how we're starting off. Not necessarily preparation, but mainly mentality, coming into the game and making sure that we're playing at a good energy level and focused. From there, seeing how the game goes. How Counter-Strike is right now, I feel like anyone on the right day can win at any time, so just coming into the game with confidence.
Win or lose, you'll play either Astralis or FaZe. With those prospective matchups, what do you feel like your chances are of making it to the arena?
I honestly think we have a good shot. It comes down to energy level mainly, focusing on ourselves. Astralis just had a good showing at Dallas, and there's so many other top teams here as well, so it's like coming into it all the teams here are really good, so you've just got to be able to match the same energy, especially the same focus in-game, and string round-by-round and then hopefully get that win on the board. From there, making it into the arena would be awesome. Never played in front of an NA crowd, so it'd be an awesome experience, and bringing that for the NA fans but also just ourselves as a team, and also myself, it would be a dope experience.
You guys have been on the road a lot this year, going to Melbourne, Mexico, Paris, Dallas, and DC in the last two months. Is fatigue a concern for you guys?
With our travel, it's definitely been a huge process to say the least, in terms of just managing traveling from event to event to event, and from that, continent to continent to continent, time zones, constantly changing hotels, not staying in one spot for more than a week or two at a time. That can be a lot for players to manage, and for me personally, it's definitely been a big learning process for me. I think at this point now, the past few months I've definitely been good at managing it. It comes with a certain point where you understand what time you need to make for yourself, but also for your teammates, and managing that, because you don't have a lot of time to spend with family, friends, and stuff like that. It's not like you can just go back home or find a place to unwind, you've gotta find it in different ways. That's definitely something I've been working on, and also just understanding when you're gonna have time for your family and stuff like that, so you just do your best to lock in and focus on the task at hand, and from there, full focus on CS.
How would you rate the team's performance for the first half of the year?
I'm not sure, to be honest. I wouldn't necessarily go about rating us. I think we've definitely had our ups and downs. We've had a few highs for sure, but I also think we had really low lows, so it's a little bit of a balance. I can't really say I'm too happy with some of the results we've had, but at the same time we're still learning, growing as a team, and we also have to deal with a few external factors and things a little bit outside of our control that we try to manage and deal with. I don't really dwell on that kinda stuff or think too much about it, just taking it event by event. Overall, a little bit of a mix.
In the opposite direction, do you guys have any plans or goals for the second half of the year?
I can't really say too many goals. In terms of focusing right now, definitely just playing good this event, 100% our main goal. From there, not sure what's going to happen with CS2, but depending on how that's going to release it's gonna change the whole environment for CS drastically, so that's gonna be a big change. From there, taking it event by event and seeing what's gonna happen after.
Finally, any plans for the player break?
Definitely some relaxing for sure. I know I'm still gonna be playing CS, but just mainly focusing on my mental and getting to see some family and old friends and stuff like that, and managing my time to come back best prepared for 2023.
FaNg and his Complexity teammates will be facing off against Heroic at 04:00PM tomorrow.