"First place is our goal": Mini on Fnatic's victory against SuperMassive Blaze at VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers

Fnatic's head coach Mini comments on their performance at the VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers Group Stage Image via Sportskeeda)
Fnatic's head coach Mini comments on their performance at the VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers Group Stage Image via Sportskeeda)
Adarsh J Kumar

The much-anticipated Super Week of VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers witnessed some of the region's best teams play multiple fixtures over the weekend.

In their first outing of the week, European powerhouse Fnatic took on the Turkish side SuperMassive Blaze in an enthralling Bo3 combat that ended in a clean victory for the former. Fnatic ousted their opponents in straight maps, earning a 13-9 victory in Icebox and a 13-4 sweep in Ascent.

After enjoying a 4-match win-streak at the VCT 2022 EMEA Challengers Group Stage, Fnatic firmly hold the #1 spot in Group B. Despite their attempts, SuperMassive Blaze bid farewell after being hit with their fifth consecutive defeat of the tournament, pushing them to the last spot on the leaderboard.

Fnatic head coach Mini shares his thoughts on recent Agent changes, player transfer and the team's performance at the VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers

In a conversation with Sportskeeda Esports' Adarsh J Kumar, Fnatic's head coach Jacob "Mini" Harris commented on the team's performance throughout the tournament, detailing their expectations for the VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers playoffs.

Q: The victory against SuperMassive Blaze marks Fnatic's third straight win in the VCT Stage 1 EMEA Challengers. How do you feel about the team's performance in this matchup?

Mini: I have very high expectations for our team. So, despite such a win, I will be looking at our mistakes. I think we had a pretty average Icebox performance to our standards, but I think Ascent was extremely good. We still have stuff to learn.

One of the main objectives for our team is to focus on our discipline; we throw away a lot of rounds, which we shouldn't. I think that was happening quite often in Icebox, which of all the maps should have been easier than how we made it seem.

Q: This was Fnatic's first official encounter against SuperMassive Blaze in an official tournament. How do you think they performed against your team in this VCT Challengers matchup?

Mini: SuperMassive Blaze performed at the level I expected them to. I think they are in an awkward spot where they have lost all of their games till now. They are still a good team. They have decent players with good aim. I spent a lot of time preparing for them with Boaster.

They have good strategies. Turkey seems to have evolved now to not just be able to aim but also implement good ideas. However, since they took so long to catch up with macro-strategies, some of it feels a bit basic at times, or easy to read. There were some big rounds in the game where you can see Fnatic just anti-stratting them.

Q: Icebox has been one of Fnatic's strongest map picks in recent times. What do you think about the changes to the map that came about in Patch 4.04, and how do you think it will affect your gameplan on the map?

Mini: It's going to change the map completely, I imagine. We haven't practiced on the new map at all for obvious reasons (VCT EMEA Challengers runs on Patch 4.02).

Boaster and I are busy focusing on the present, but we are going to have to think about that quite soon. It's a bit of an upsetting situation. Our best map is going to be completely changed, but we are not sure how it will play out for us.

Q: As the team's coach, what is your take on the Controller changes that came in Patch 4.04. Can we expect to see Boaster back on Brimstone, or maybe Mistic picking up Omen in the near future?

Mini: We won't be changing our roles. Boaster will still be playing the flash Agent with Mistic on smokes. Both have been incredible with Brimstone in the past, but right now it's just about Mistic learning Brimstone. He was an incredible Omen before, but I think Brimstone will be a more popular Agent (in the new meta).

Astra might still be good on some maps. Maybe people are underestimating her efficiency. She might still be viable on a few maps, but it's hard to comment on them without practicing on the new patch.

Q: Fnatic recently acquired Tom "otom" Hart as a substitute. Can you tell us what led to the transfer and how has he been adjusting to the squad so far in the middle of your VCT 2022 campaign?

Mini: For a while, it was a running joke that I would have to sub in if we had any issues within the team. Obviously, that's not an ideal situation. I am good, but having someone who is good in the game and has played at a good level is definitely going to get better.

We had a few things going on in the team and we just needed to have someone there, just in case. As you can see, we have more things to consider now since there is more stuff happening in the world. So, it's just good to have an extra man around.

I like Tom a lot. He can play as a flash Agent while filling in for our Duelist needs as well. He's an underrated player. Since returning to university, he has stopped playing properly. He is in a good position to be a substitute right now.

Q: Guild Esports will be Fnatic's final opponent in the Group Stage of VCT 2022 Stage 1 EMEA Challengers. What are your thoughts on the matchup?

Mini: They look really strong. Similar to us, they have a situation where they have a Russian player (trexx) on their team, which is a subject that has a lot of tension around it right now.

Trexx has been incredible for them; a really good roster move by them. We have always known that Sayf and Leo have been great for the team. They have now upgraded their firepower and brought in a new IGL. It appears that koldamenta's system has been gelling well with the team.

Q: Currently, Fnatic lead the Group B leaderboard with zero losses to their account. How confident are you in maintaining the current form and cruising into the VCT Stage 1 EMEA Challengers playoffs in 1st place?

Mini: First place is our goal. We didn't come here to finish third in the group, we came here to finish first. We have got easy games out of our way and will enter the remaining matches with a bit more confidence.

We will see how that plays out. It may work out if we play the match with nothing to lose. I think that can be good for us and it gives me the confidence to say that we can finish the Group Stage in the first place.

Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul


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