Arkadiusz “ifan” Dabkowski was recently announced as the replacement for Richard “zulu” Wood, rounding out the fifth spot on dripmen’s roster, ending his 6 month search for a team. The squad have seen some good success in ESEA Advanced, and look to bolster their firepower with the addition of the Polish rifler. ifan has deep roots within the UK scene, previously playing for other teams like CeX and Temperate.
3F2F came second in their group, falling to Coalesce 16-14 for the honours of being crowned first in Group C. After losing to Viperio 2-1 on Friday night the mix team battled it out against KeH, who upset shushgg and knocked them out in a 2-1 fashion during the first round of playoffs in the lower bracket.
UKCSGO’s Matthew Godsell had some time to talk with ifan between games and spoke about the expectations for himself and his team at EPIC.LAN 38, his new place on the dripmen roster, and what his thoughts are on 3F2F’s upcoming games.
*This interview was conducted before 3F2F played Vitalize, where ifan and company were eliminated from the tournament after a swift 2-0.
You’ve just come off of a victory against Keep em Honest, did you expect to win 2-0?
Yeah. They’ve obviously beat shushgg, which was quite a surprising result. I didn’t expect them to go out 13th-16th so I actually expected to play shoobie today. That would’ve been a great game, playing against shoobie and cryths. As far as it goes for KeH, it was definitely a lot easier on paper. To be fair to them, they gave us a good game – it was 16-14 on the first map.
Do you think that was because your team performed badly or is it because KeH played well?
No, they certainly played decent. I mean, Nuke is a hard map for mixes anyway because you don’t really have stuff for it… maps like Nuke or Anubis you need to have stuff to fall back on, like rotations, reactions and stuff. It was a hard map, but the second map was 16-6 and was a lot easier for us because it was Overpass. We have a lot more experience on the map, I think we’ve played it like 8 times already this LAN? It was definitely a big help.
Does this confidence in Overpass come from feeling good on the map the first time, or is it just due to the direction vetoes have taken?
Nah, it’s just because of the way the vetoes worked out because they picked it on our best-of-three. They clearly feel comfortable on [Nuke], and to be fair to them they played really well. That’s how it was so close, but as Overpass was our map pick, it was a different ball game.
Let’s talk about your group stage yesterday morning. You guys had really easy wins against almost every other team, the only tough game you had was your loss against Coalesce. You were up 14-10 and the final score was 16-14, tell me more about that.
There’s not really much to say. They’re obviously an amazing team, right? They’re unreal, and because they play literally like all day every day, they have a lot more experience in those situations where they just need to grind those games out. As a team when you’re at that level, that’s just what you’ve got to do. You’re obviously expected to win like every game 16-5 versus noobs and mixes or whatever, but that’s how it is. The reality is that all of the good teams at some point will have to grind out those wins, and that’s what separates good teams from bad teams. To be fair to them, they didn’t get upset because they never got flustered even while 14-10 down. They won two 1v2s, and then from there on out, the game just slipped from us and we lost our focus and ideas, I guess. They just grinded the rest of that game out. It wasn’t necessarily our fault or anything, they just played insanely well.
The reality is that all of the good teams at some point will have to grind out those wins, and that’s what separates good teams from bad teams.
As a result of that, you were seeded second in your group going into playoffs. You played Viperio in the upper bracket quarterfinals, which was a 2-1 result. What were your expectations heading into this game?
The result was exactly as could be expected, looking at the veto. Obviously as I said previously, maps like Nuke or Anubis, unless you have a lot of experience and stuff already down for that map, it’ll be extremely hard to play against teams on those maps. They have stuff and they have reactions to what you do, and you just kinda run out of ideas. They have a ton of ideas to counter your team’s lack of ideas, right? So we’ve gone on HLTV and they’ve got a bad winrate on Inferno, so we thought we could take it and see how it goes on the next two maps. That’s pretty much exactly how it went. We won in first OT 19-17 on Inferno, they played well. I think we played well also, it just came down to who hit their shots more, which is kinda what maps like Inferno and Mirage are. We took that, but going into Nuke obviously it was in the back of our heads that it’s going to be an uphill battle. That’s how it was, we lost like 16-5 and then with Anubis… on one side of the coin it’s extremely aim based, like there’s fights everywhere right? But at the same time, unless you know what to do and how to react, you will not have the chance to take any fair fights. Not to sound unconfident in ourselves, but it went exactly how we expected it to go. The scoreline was close, 16-12, but it didn’t really feel close. I also played pretty poorly, I was 3-12 or whatever which didn’t really help.
Do you think when you play against teams as a mix, do you focus on what your individuals are good at, or more on what the other team are bad at?
Nah, I think our focus is to get maps that we’re comfortable on first and foremost. With Viperio, it was different. That was our first best-of-three in the tournament, and we’ve seen an opportunity to go for Inferno which we’ve not played at LAN yet. It was quite risky, but it paid off and we took the map, which is fair enough. We just want to play what we’re comfortable on, and obviously when you have three players that play in a team and two who don’t, it’s going to be much easier to play maps which are more aim focused and based on loose playstyles.
On the topic of your teammates, let’s talk about AwaykeN. What’s it like playing with him, how is he settling in at his first UK LAN?
He’s amazing to play with, honestly. I’m not just saying that for the sake of saying it [laughs]. I’ve only played a couple of pugs with him before, so I kinda knew what to expect playing with him. I didn’t know how it would go on LAN, and especially what would happen if we started losing or the games started to get grind-y or anything like that. And to be fair, everyone on the team has been amazing. There’s not been a single issue this LAN so far with anyone being tilted or anything… I mean I just played a game where in 8 rounds, I got knifed twice from the same position and by the same player [laughs]. All you can do is laugh, you can’t do anything else right? That might not have been the case at previous LANs, but now it’s different. But to go back to AwaykeN, he’s an unreal AWPer, he’s good at calling and understanding the game, what to do in certain situations, and he’s a pleasure to play with.
Let’s bring the focus back to you. You’ve just been picked up by dripmen which is your first official team in over six months, what are your thoughts on the opportunity?
I’d say it’s an amazing opportunity, one that I didn’t expect to come so soon. When you’re away from the game for so long, and if you think about it, it wasn’t like I was at the top of the scene when I played before. I was still kinda in the matrix in Main, in that middle ground. So yeah, it was an uphill battle and to be fair to frazehh and everyone else in the team, I picked up a couple of stand-in appearances and I guess I impressed them enough to look at me… I’m really grateful for the opportunity, we’ve played a couple of pracs and it’s went really well. We’ve had some good results like beating Iron Branch, it’s looking good.
I’m confident enough in my flexibility, and I believe I can do well. I don’t think I need to be in star roles to perform.
A lot of the roles you’ve played before are typically “star” roles. Will there be role changes now that you’ve joined?
See, with that there’s a lot of flexibility. I get some of my positions, but some of them I don’t, which isn’t the end of the world because I’m flexible enough to learn. Also, I feel comfortable enough in my ability to pick up new positions. For example, I used to play ramp on Nuke, and I have for my entire life. Now I’m playing A site, it’s not much different when one is a more rotate position and the other is more anchoring, you’re holding the same thing almost and the principle is the same. The only thing that’s different is the reactions, and how you act towards what the other team is doing and what your teammates are doing. That comes with experience, and I’ve played the game enough to know what’s going on in most roles. I’m confident enough in my flexibility, and I believe I can do well. I don’t think I need to be in star roles to perform.
Your next game is against Vitalize, what do you expect the result to be in this game?
It’s hard to say, they’re all really good at the game. I’ve heard there was some tilt in their team yesterday, but obviously playing against my IGL frazehh… he’s unreal, so it’ll be a hard game definitely. It’ll depend on who turns up for the game more and who shoots back better, they’ve got ReegaN and frazehh, Rhys… all of them are good players, so it’ll be a good game definitely. We’re feeling confident, but I won’t give a prediction [laughs].
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’d like to give a shout-out to my mix, this LAN I think it’s been really great. Probably the best experience I’ve had at a LAN unless we go back to 2019, the old LANs and the good days.