Interview with KOI player Oskar "PHYRN" Palmqvist
Carriço: The first question would be how did you get into esports?
Oskar: My journey into Esports begone when I was quite young. I was ten or eleven years old, I was playing 1.6, and I would be joining HLTV bots to watch games back then. It was a very primitive way of watching it, but that's how it all started.
Carriço: Why did you choose to become a professional player?
Oskar: I think I kinda always wanted it. I always played a competitive game no matter what, so I played like Counter-Strike, League of Legends, or Call Of Duty. I always played something competitively and then I played CS: GO for like four or five years, and then when Valorant came out I just jumped on the train immediately and felt like “ okay I can actually do some damage here”, it was really fun so I just kinda stuck with it.
Carriço: Why did you switch from CS:GO to Valorant that quickly?
Oskar: I think I was just a bit fed up with Counter-Strike at the time. So when I got my beta key I was like let's try this out, and I kinda fell in love with it immediately so it was like yeah I'm sticking with this.
Carriço: Can you talk a little bit about your path in VALORANT before joining KOI?
Oskar: It started out in the beta I was just joking around with friends, like just having fun. Eventually, we won form tournaments, and from that, I joined FABRIKEN, with LATEKS and shrew.
That kinda led to SKADE singing us, but at that time I also had school so I was kinda debating back and forth on what to do, and I decide okay I will take a break from Valorant for right now at least, and just focus on school for this semester and just try to get everything done.
So I kinda took a break from professional even though it was a very short time. Then I came back with UCAM. I was doing my internship in Germany and I had a lot of free time it was a lockdown and I had nothing to due during the evenings. So shrew came up to me and asked me if I wanted to play for UCAM and I just felt like, yeah I get to play with my friends and have fun so yeah sure.
Carriço: You currently play as a Sentinel, what are some things that make a good Sentinel at the pro level?
Oskar: It's kinda hard to pinpoint one thing but in like common terms it would be timing I think, and that doesn't just come immediately it’s a lot of just individual reads on your opponents.
Every player has to do individual reads, but for Sentinel mains, it's kind of extra important. Obviously just for setups, but also when you are lurking or anchoring a site, knowing how to pick and when to pick is pretty much the key to playing a Sentinel efficiently at least.
Carriço: Would you say Sentinel players don't get the recognition they deserve?
Oskar: Yeah to some extent for sure. I mean obviously, like nAts he gets some recognition and he deserves it for sure. But yeah it's not a flashy job, you might only be getting one kill per round but that might be an impact frag, and you might win the round just based on that. That doesn't really show up on stats and so many people are just engulfed into stats, and looking at that only, and numbers and whatever.
So it is a little might under-appreciated, but I mean it's a support role so you should be expecting that as well when you are playing it.
Cariço: How is it to work with these groups of players at KOI?
Oskar: I love it. I mean obviously, with Sacake and shrew I've played with them for i think we are closing in on a year, maybe ten months or something. I love those guys. I knew shrew form years before as well in Counter-Strike.
Sacake although I didn't knew him before I love Sacake. When H1ber and starkk joined I felt it was really fun, and we are always doing stuff that at least I haven't done before, and i know Sacake hasn't either.
Just going down and we boot camp just trying to bond with each other, and I love them all and I think it's super fun to play with them.
Carriço: What are some of the things/intangibles each player brings that are very important for the team?
Oskar: I think we are all, and this goes for everyone, we are open to criticism. We never flame each other of course, it's kinda like “ Hey you should work on this. But I do this normally because of this. Okay, but you can only do that in these situations.
It's just like minor details every time and they just kinda build on. I think our game plan or gameplay isn't really or issue anyway. I think we kind of evolved that bit for bit kinda successfully.
Carriço: How would you evaluate the season so far for you?
Oskar: I mean it obviously had its ups and downs. I think just in the regular season going up with three losses we weren't really happy with that either. Even though the first loss was our first game, it was like “okay”, it was probably a game we should have won, but fine we can take a loss there.
Losing to Giants was kinda annoying as well because we wanted to win and we had that game as well. I think Movistar is the game where I don't know what happened. But outside of that, I think it's fine. I think both in the playoffs and in the regular season, the reason we lost is the same. It’s a mental issue where we are anxious about ending the game, we want to finish the game, and it just ends up with us losing.
It’s something we really have to work on because that anxiousness it gets us to over pick, everyone is playing hero and it doesn't work.
Carriço: How would you describe the playstyle of KOI?
Oskar: It’s kinda difficult to tell. The joke is H1ber go kill, but I think it's deeper than that. The core has been together for a long time and every time we have our fifth it's always them go kill. Clearly, we are just basing around these defaults to allow players to get picks and kinda rotate on the base of that.
A lot of it is just PHYRN go lurk that's kind more of the game style.
Carriço: What are some of the things you think you guys as a team need to fix or improve?
Oskar: I think it's mainly mentally. Our mental issues handicap us a lot, it's not just being a hero, there are some jokes that we do on the server on officials that we don't usually do in practice either which is kinda annoying.
Some of us thrive on officials others dont. It’s just a mental issue at this point. The gameplay will evolve no matter what, it just evolves with time so the mental is actually where you have to put the focus anyway. The easiest way to get that up is to grind officials, so we are just kinda waiting for hopefully some tournaments to come out and allow us to play.
Carriço: Is it harder for you to play against more structured teams or teams that adapt more on the fly?
Oskar: I think the structured teams are in general easier for us Just because we kinda know what to expect. It will always be like logical. at least for me, I prefer that 100%, because then I know kinda how their movements are anyway.
It’s like “ okay you are going to do this, and if you have to abort it you are probably going to leave one person here or whatever”. I kinda keep track of it
The teams that are really good at adapting like Acend maybe, they are super super fucking difficult to play versus them. They rotate around and you feel like there is no logic in it but it kinda is. But it’s all based on game feel, so if they feel you are like playing slowly they are going to pounce on you, and I think that's a lot more annoying to play versus.
Carriço: How would you describe KOI as an organization?
Oskar: I think the main difference is the support we get, both from fans and the organization itself. We get messages from like Ibai and others just before games cheering for us, he dm’s us if there is something going on, and that's kinda rare to see at our level, he is a very busy man.
Ibai is very invested in the team, and obviously him co-streaming and focusing on Valorant as well, even if we are not in the gaming house, but we are still sitting at home and receiving the support. You always feel encouraged to play and that's a pretty big difference because we were left alone in UCAM, we had some support obviously but it was a different type of resource and different levels of it as well.
Carriço: What are the main goals for KOI this year?
Oskar: I mean the goal was to go into VCT but I guess we have to start with the league. We kinda just want to reach the tier 1 ceiling. We are not there yet but if we work on our mistakes I think it's possible, not even possible, we should be able to get up there. So it's just a matter of we can work out our mental issues and like grind officials and we should be good.
Carriço: For you as a player what are your main goals?
Oskar: nAts 2.0. It’s kinda difficult, I personally just want to reach, even though the VLR ranking doesn't matter anymore since everyone is just playing leagues, I do wanna reach the top 10 just because we never really got there with UCAM, we ended at 15 at highest, and obviously changing roster sets you back a bit. I really want to reach that top ten.
Carriço: Is there anything else you want to say to the KOI fans?
Oskar: Just a huge massive thank you to every KOI fan. I’ve gotten DMS on Twitter, Instagram, and everywhere, supporting me whether we play well or we lose and play bad. It’s clear that everyone just wants the best for us, so a huge thank you to everyone. I love you all.
Carriço: Oskar thank you a lot for agreeing to do the interview, it was a great interview, it was really good to talk with you, and I wish you the best o luck in your future tournaments.
Oskar: Thank you very much.