refrezh “we [Fragsters] don’t challenge the top teams tactically and usually when we lose it is as a team”
We talked to Ismail “refrezh” Ali about Fragsters and what the plan is for the young Danish team going forward.
Following a lengthy trial period, Ismail “refrezh” Ali officially joined Fragsters in February of this year. Within just a couple of months, the Danish roster began to make waves offline, beating out seasoned sides in Virtus.pro and Gambit on their way to scoring a very respectable 3rd place at Bets.net Masters Season 1.
More recently Fragsters finished 3/4th in attendance of two DreamHack Open stops held in Austin and Valencia where despite the youth of the side refrezh and company have established themselves as well beyond capable in an offline setting. Showcasing a coherent style alongside promising talents, Fragsters are definitely a team on the rise and refrezh will be a vital part to that success.
In your semi-final defeat versus North at DreamHack Valencia you guys made considerably more individual mistakes than during the event’s group stage, do you think this a recurring issue, and do you think this occurs due to the youth of the team and will subsequently improve as you gain more experience?
I would lie if I said we had a whole book filled up with strats, we have been playing CS on a high level, but only invested part-time into the work as a team. The reasoning behind this is stavn just finished school and is about to go full time on CS, which means we have a lot more time on the theory side of CS, which we didn’t prioritize with the limited amount of time each day. I think that is one of the reasons we sometimes cannot win semi-finals on LAN. The other reason is of course this is a new atmosphere for us, 8 months ago we thought online CS would be the peak of this year, but we eventually made it to decent LANs. So yes we do make more mistakes in high pressure matches, but it is eventually getting better over time and practice.
In general do you think that your currently limited playbook – relative to the top teams – is the main thing holding Fragsters back from reaching a higher level, and against better teams do you find it especially difficult to adapt when your comfortable rounds are not working?
Yes, I think that is one of the main things holding us back, we don’t challenge the top teams tactically and usually when we lose it is as a team. At DreamHack Valencia we lost the semi-final against North, when we lost that match we just felt totally outplayed, we had no answers to their game.
The ability to be able to adapt in the middle of a game is something that comes with experience and a good fundamental understanding how to approach the game when something is not working. If we take NaVi as an example it is mostly s1mple and electronic who makes an aggressive move which they necessary haven’t tried before, but Zeus know how to support them whilst they make a play on the get go.
From watching your matches clearly a sizable amount of your Counter-Terrorist variation originates from dragonfly, how important do you think his variation and mobility is to your team’s success on the CT side, and do you think it significantly hampers your team’s ability to play a diverse CT half when he is having off games?
Dragonfly is very aggressive awper who has an enormous amount of skill, which is why he is so successful in getting opening kills. When he is on fire the game is just so smooth and the rounds becomes much easier, but of course when he doesn’t have the best game it becomes less easy and the rest of us has to pick up the load. It doesn’t limit our CT side at all, we are really dynamic in that sense and can adapt if someone has a off game.
Across the map pool Fragsters vary up who the secondary AWPer is, do you believe it is better to pass the AWP between players as you do currently, or in the future would you rather commit to a single secondary AWPer and change some CT spots?
For our team it is best to vary up the secondary AWPer on the CT side because we’re all good at different spots, we have 3 capable secondary AWPers, me, Bubski and stavn. Depending on the spot and which map we’re all different, some of us like to play AWP on certain maps and sometimes it is more efficient to hand the AWP over to another player if he is used to playing that spot more with an AWP. Ideally it would be best to have one secondary AWPer, but in our case it suits the team better to have different AWPers because we’re all capable pulling it off.
Touching a little on your individual play, across CT and T the style of positions you play varies over the map pool, do you think these spots best suit your skill set, and are there any top players that play similarly to yourself or that you use for inspiration?
I have played a lot of different spots and roles and I really don’t know what is best for me. I just have the mindset of doing what’s best for the team and if that means taking a spot I don’t feel comfortable with, but benefits the team, then I’ll do it without complaint. But right now I do enjoy my spots and roles, it is a learning process so I’m just learning more from day to day.
I really like watching fer, rain, Xyp9x and flusha. The first two are of course more aggressive and takes a lot of duels, they are showing no mercy and doesn’t respect the opponents. I think that is very important to be able to do that, have confidence to do crazy stuff. It is more the mentality and how they approach the game I have learned from them, of course they have a few plays and angles that I stole from them, but I think the mentality is the key here. Also being super aggressive as CT isn’t the way most players think about playing as CT. I like to push and get info for my team as well as mess up the T’s plan, which is a win/win for me.
When it comes to Xyp9x and flusha, they are more passive and thoughtful, all they do is calculated and really smart. They are very patient players who is Gods with utility, they can show you how a single grenade can change the outcome of a whole round. And the best part is the way they do it, it is so fluent, it’s like watching Stephen Curry in basketball. You can’t talk about Xyp9x and flusha without mentioning the ability to clutch and have a plan how to approach a 1vX from the get go. It is so easy to watch them clutch rounds and they make it seem like nothing.
What does the upcoming calendar of events look like for Fragsters, and are there any aspects individually or as a team you are specifically looking to improve upon in the coming months?
Right now the only thing we have secured in the calendar is StarSeries i-League Season 6 in October, the rest of it is empty for now. When you aren’t a top 10-20 team in the world, you are not getting direct invite to LANs, which means we have to earn by qualifiers. But our calendar will have a lot of practice and some bootcamps in it that’s for sure. We will work on the depth of our game plan and personally I will work on increasing my own level, I have always put the team before myself which I don’t regret because it has given me a perspective how to be a good teammate. But I know I can do better individually and I will work hard for it.
Thanks for reading, follow and tweet me @LynxxCS, and another thanks to refrezh for the interview, give him a follow @refrezhCS