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kioShiMa on being benched, rejoining FaZe and keeping a strong mindset

Slingshot’s Vince Nairn caught up with FaZe Clan’s Fabien “kioShiMa” Fiey before Wednesday’s ELEAGUE Season 2 quarterfinals to talk about his eventful year, rejoining FaZe after being benched and keeping a strong personal mentality.

Vince Nairn: What do you make of your matchup this week against

Fabien “kioShiMa” Fiey: We like to play VP because that’s kind of a matchup we manage to play well against. When we play against them it’s a bit weird. I guess we’re really confident going into it.

VN: You have had an eventful year, to say the least. You’re here now with FaZe. How would you sum up everything that has happened with you this year?

FF: It was a bit like a roller coaster. I came from Envy, who were winning everything and then starting to lose everything. It was a bit hard at that point. And then some internal problems started to grow in the teams, and they decided to get rid of me. Straight up, since I didn’t have any vacation for a long time, I decided to relax a bit and took three weeks to think about what I was going to do. I was talking about (playing) with other teams, and then FaZe came up. So I joined them, and I gave everything I could give to them.

VN: Yeah, how did that entire situation play out, getting replaced and then asked to come back? Was there any awkwardness at all?

FF: I’m not going to call it an awkward situation because I knew what I was going through. They told me what was probably going to happen. So it wasn’t really awkward for me. I just knew I had to focus on my individual game.

VN: What’s been different since you came back, especially playing with Karrigan now?

FF: Before Karrigan, we didn’t have that much structure because we didn’t have an in-game leader or no one really wanted to do it. Now that we have Karrigan, everything is much better and works well. He knows how to take care of the players. There was something to it. He’s been really good to have.

VN: You’ve been in a handful of situations this year where things just haven’t gone your way. Was there ever a point it was difficult to have the right mindset going forward?

FF: It’s never been difficult for me. In CS, I came from nowhere to a really good team, so I kind of know the ups and downs. So that wasn’t really that hard for me to be in a good mindset. That can happen. Ups and downs happen in every sport. If things are getting bad, you have to work hard to do better. It was a bit — not hard. I had to question myself a lot to get better again.

VN: It seems like for whatever reason — probably pressure, mainly — that ability to be level headed is at times difficult in CSGO. How have you been able to adopt that mentality?

FF: I definitely think that it’s from your personal life. You grow up. Most of the new players now, they come in CS and they’re 15 and pro gaming and they don’t know anything about life, so they don’t know how to react in certain situations. When you come in the pro situation at 19, you learn more about your personal life. You’ve lived more things. You mature, so you know how to react. You don’t cry in your corner.

VN: You mention taking a vacation earlier in the year and it’s interesting because of all the discussion going on about the number of tournaments and leagues right now. What do you think about all of them? And what solutions could there be?

FF: The thing is, as I said, when we became NV, we didn’t have a vacation for probably a year and a half. Never had time for yourself, for your own life. At some point you just burn out of playing. You need to find something else. You need to find activities. You need to get your mind out of CS for a little bit, at least. In the future, we should have timed vacation. Maybe from like Aug. 1-15, and all of the tournaments should agree about it. Because it’s better for the tournament and it’s better for the players because you should want your players to be in top form.

Cover photo by Adela Sznajder/DreamHack