Blaze 'Draulon' Lengyel, March 7, 2017

In the Crossfire: IEM Katowice 2017 with kioShiMa

Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey is the only French player in the European all-star team known as FaZe. After adding former mouz player and superstar NiKo, everyone had high expectations for FaZe at their first tournament with the Bosnian player: IEM Katowice 2017. Sure enough, FaZe topped their group and were only stopped by Astralis in the grand finals. I sat down with kioShiMa at Katowice to discuss the roster change and some of their international opponents.

Draulon: So you have managed to make the playoffs! How do you feel about your tournament performance so far?

kioShiMa: The tournament so far has been good, we haven’t had much issues, even the match we lost was on a lot of clutches. It was like 16-6 or 16-8 but it shouldn’t be, cause we lost like 7 clutches in a row. It just doesn’t reflect what we can actually do against Astralis.

Draulon: The format of this tournament has received some criticism online. How do you feel about it? Do you think there is an optimal format for CS:GO tournaments?

kioShiMa: There is no optimal format for CS:GO for now. Personally I like this one because even though it’s BO1, you need to do a lot of mistakes to not pass the group stages. Three teams go on out of six, so you need to fight at least half of the teams in your group to go through, so you need to make a lot of mistakes to not make it to the playoffs.

Draulon: The biggest change to the roster is the addition of NiKo and the departure of Aizy. What is the biggest difference between the two iterations of the roster?

kioShiMa: Every player is unique, and Aizy brought us less “initiative” than NiKo. So for example NiKo isn’t afraid to take the initiative, or call something. Even if it is not needed, he is just going to try to because he feels like he needs to for example.That is what Aizy didn’t do for example, or at least he was still doing it but not as much as NiKo. As a role player, NiKo brings more stuff than Aizy…

Draulon: So he is more versatile so to speak.

kioShiMa: Yeah. He can take the AWP, do anything we ask him to do.

Draulon: Would you say the team has taken up a more aggressive approach to the game now that you have the frag power to pull off such risky decisions?

kioShiMa: We try to have a versatile playstyle so we can do anything we want. We have this structured playstyle and we switch to a more loose one when we feel like it.

Draulon: How were you impacted by this roster change? Did it affect the spots/roles you play?

kioShiMa: So on CT and T I changed some roles to make NiKo feel more comfortable in his role, we gave him some freedom that he can use. We changed some stuff but we are still practicing, trying new things. Nothing is permanent for now. We are still looking for some things that will fit us as a team. Personally I am content with my roles right now.

Draulon: Let’s shift the focus to other teams, more specifically to your fellow countrymen. A few new teams have assembled, such as the so called “superteam” G2 Esports, and EnVyUs which is the underdog right now. Which team do you think will do better in the near future?

kioShiMa: You always need to give time to a team to achieve something. A team forming then becoming the best in a matter of days just doesn’t happen. It would be too easy if that happened, you need to work for it in this game. G2 on paper is the perfect team, because you have players who are the best at their role, while EnVy is just the leftovers from the old teams, so they just made this team together. What is funny is that when we made LDLC with shox and Happy, we were the leftovers as well and we won everything, while Titan didn’t really win anything. It would be funny if history would repeat itself again.

Draulon: Some of your old adversaries have made a return in the form of the current Fnatic roster. Do you think they can return to their number one spot again? Their first tournament didn’t end too well however we have seen some improvements on their part here at Katowice.

kioShiMa: The old Fnatic always played with confidence and good communication. They play such a loose style that no one has so they need to hit their shots, they need to be perfect communication wise. When they were so good back then, it was because they were perfect all the time. They need to be perfect again and the scene is evolving so much that some teams now don’t allow you to make any mistakes they can take advantage of. I don’t know if they are going to be as good as before, I don’t think so.

Image credits: DreamHack | Adela Sznajder
Interview edited for clarity.

Blaze 'Draulon' Lengyel

Blaze is a student who currently lives in Europe and has a great interest in Counter Strike and competitive games. He spends his time hitting the gym or working on various game dev projects where he has a role in management or 3D graphics. You can follow him on twitter @draulon