SYDNEY --- Having played at the top level for many years, Jesper 'JW' Wecksell has seen the rise and fall of dynasties, metas and superstars. Recently, in-spite of his IGL Golden allegedly being replaced, Fnatic has found success deploying a loose style in a scene lacking top contenders. With a victory at IEM Katowice and WESG, and top four at Dreamhack Marseille, Fnatic and JW's approach has been put in the spotlight. While the loss in the quarterfinals of IEM Sydney 2018 to FaZe might signal a slowing-down of its individually focused pace, JW remains optimistic.
ESPN talked styles, metas, rising AWPers, and Astralis with the Swedish cowboy.
ESPN: When we look around the top end of the scene, structured teams like Na`Vi and Astralis seem to be the most dominant. In contrast to Fnatic's more loose, default and mid-round style, how do you think you compare?
JW: I don't think there's a correct answer to what style is the 'best' style. I feel like our style has always been you have to adapt. I feel like Astralis' style has always been maybe something more like a League of Legends team set-up. It's very structured and you always get a feeling that 'this' is going to happen at 'this' time. But our intention with this team has always been that anything can happen at any time. Let's say, that round in Marseille with f0rest on the pistol round, I mean, even if we play that gain and 100% correct, f0rest gets on fire and gets those insane kills. It's CS.
I think that's the main thing with our style. We always adapt. But of course, our biggest struggle is against teams like Astralis. Astralis' style is very anti-stratting versus very individual move heavy. The prior era has always been about the individual moves, but I think we're going to fade over now to more like Astralis but more like a combination maybe? But I definitely think our style is very good. And so is Astralis'. It's a matter of time now to see what style will be the best as it shifts.
The upcoming events in the Summer period will probably shift the styles.
ESPN: Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth, in an interview that you guys were the most frustrating to play in that period when Golden was planned to be removed because he said you played with a "screw it" mentality. Is there any truth or meat to that?
JW: On the outside I can understand why people feel that way. But at the same time, inside the team we have so many micro moves, it's not really extremely planned but it's something we've done plenty of times. It's small, small stuff and we're bringing it forward in situations when we need it. In saying that though, I'd say we are at our best when we have that "screw it" mentality. Because our struggle right now is when we're afraid of the opponents.
For example, against FaZe in the quarterfinals of IEM Sydney we played very scared. We were afraid. But when they reached 15 rounds, I said, we can't play like this, screw it, take duels and we come back 15-14. You should always have respect for the opponents but you can't let them think they're better than you. You have to think you're the best.
ESPN: What has been the shift in Fnatic's T-side away from you picking up the AWP? Have you finally convinced the team you're a rifler?
JW: I would say right now we have some issues with roles in the team. Because when I AWP, we don't really get any map control because I'm the most aggressive player and I can't really take forward map control with the AWP. But when I have the AK I'm the guy forward getting the map control and getting forward on the map.
It's like, getting mid on Mirage, with an AK I can rush underground and get it that way whereas with an AWP I have to rotate through top mid clear conn, window and short. There are more risks, but it's easier with the AK. I think we can maybe have someone go underground but we don't anyone that really wants to. And I naturally have it in me to play spots like that, taking aggressive peeks and map control. I want to AWP a lot more, but at the same time when you want something and you get it you don't really want it as much. When I can't really AWP that much I really want to.
ESPN: When you talk about how it's harder to take map control aggressively and the risk associated with it, what do you make of the up and coming breed of aggressive AWPer like Woxic, JUGi, Mertz? Aren't they sort-of taking after you in a way?
JW: The thing is with them is that they have what I had three years ago. They have this advantage of people not knowing everything about them. I've been playing on the top level for five years straight and played every single player in the top four. They know all the moves I like to do, all the things they want to do. But people like Özgür "woxic" Eker who have only been in the scene for maybe a year, he can still surprise people with his moves. I can't really do that anymore because I need to be three levels above the rest because I have already done what they have done.
It's good for me in a sense because to be above them but it's also hard. Right now, you get not necessarily burnt out, but you get very little time to fix new stuff and experiment. You don't really get new stuff in one-off tournaments -- it's a tough combination.