Devilwalk about ESL One - and Fnatics new lineup

The new team aiming for victory at ESL Cologne after successful debut run at Gfinity

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Mere weeks after winning the Swedish Championships, Fnatic announced major changes in their lineup.

With ESL One on the horizon, Jonathan ”Devilwalk” Lundberg now talks about the reason behind his and Schneiders departure from the team – and about his new role as coach.

– We got to a point when we'd been trying for a long time with the same group of players, we started feeling as if we had a mountain on our shoulders.

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Fnatics CS:GO-team gave the community quite a surprise when they won Dreamhack Winter after a major upset in the finals against Ninjas in Pyjamas. But since that glorious night, the results haven't exactly gone their way. Despite winning the Swedish Championships in june, the team announced major changes in it's lineup shortly after Dreamhack Summer.

The beloved profile Jonathan ”Devilwalk” Lundberg and trusty fragger Andreas ”Schneider” Lindberg got sent off the linup and replaced by former Teamglobal players Olof ”Olofm” Kajbjer and Freddy ”Krimz” Johansson. Last weekend, the team got a dream start when they placed 3/4 at Gfinity in London. Now, they're looking forward to the major ESL One even in Cologne, with a first prize of $100k, equal to the bounty they claimed at Dreamhack Winter.

”Different, but very fun”

And by their side, in a completely new role as coach, they have their friend Devilwalk who's already gotten used to his new assignment.

– It was a bit different but at the same time very fun, he says about the experience at Gfinity.

– I was almost more nervous and psyched during the games now than I was while playing myself. I miss the shooting but still feel as a part of the team and that's the feeling I need. For me, the transition has been smooth. Since I made the decision myself it was easy, I knew what I was getting into.

What really happened that led you to drastically change your lineup?

– We got to a point where we'd been trying and trying for a long time with the same group of players. We're all good friends but in the end we had so many issues that it felt like we had a mountain on our shoulders. The only solution I could think of was to get a fresh start, to get rid of all our problems. And I didn't feel like changing one player would cut it, so I decided it had to be this way.

The problems you mention, were they outside the game or strictly in-game?

– It was more focused on in-game. We always had a blast outside of playing but sometimes that's not enough. You always need to see the progress towards becoming the greatest team in the world, and we just didn't see it. We lost a lot of focus while practicing and it turned into a downward spiral.

As a part of the lineup overhaul, Devilwalk decided that his friend Schneider no longer had a place in the team. In the official press statement, Schneider expresses his wish to keep playing with Fnatic, so the split was far from consensual.

– Andreas is a funny and great person that I've played with my whole life, so that was really tough. But at the same time it was something I felt had to be done.

In retrospect, the decision seems like the right one. The new team is already showing great potential and Devilwalk is pleased with his new recruits, both in-game and outside.

– I think that we've gotten a boost and I see greater potential now than we had before. In such short time the team has already reached results the old team had trouble getting to. Performance wise Krimz has surprised me the most, he's been the best player of the whole team statistically. Plus, they're really great guys as well. Their personalities fit and this is a long term team that's gonna stick together for a long time and just keep getting better.

”Of course we want to win ESL”

This thursday, Fnatic will face their biggest challenge yet when the tournament at ESL One in Cologne kicks off. One of this years greatest tournaments. And the new lineup will be thrown into harms way right off the bat, entering a group with Gfinity- and Katowice champions Virtus Pro as well as american team Ibuypower and russin Dat Team. Devilwalk stresses that his guys have had such a short time to prepare that he doesn't wanna put any pressure on them, but he's hoping to reach a similar result as at Gfinity, third or fourth place.

– Of course we wanna win, but it's a new lineup so I'm just hoping that they will be pleased with whatever result they accomplish.

Tell us a bit about your new role at a LAN, what kind of things do you do?

– My role is kind of the same as when I was a played. You might call it being a father figure or whatever. I keep track of things so that they work. Plus, I help Markus "pronax" Wallsten with some tactical issues and give him my opinions to take some of the load off him.

”We've got to find the right balance”

Speaking of tactics. Since your win at Dreamhack Winter, a lot of people have talked about your rush tactic and that the other teams might have seen through it and that has made you predictable. Is that something you've taken into consideration?

– That's one piece in our performance where we need to find some sort of balance. I understand that it might get predictable at times but it's still one of the strenghts in the team. We need to use our rush tactics but we also have to find some other aspects to develop so we can utilize different tactics against different opponents.

Who are your favourites to win in Cologne?

– I think Dignitas and Virtus Pro are the biggest threats. But the tournament will see the top 16 teams in the world so the competition is unbelievable. For the past six months the gap between teams has narrowed considerably, so anyone can win really. Any given game can go either way.

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