Full Interview with SauKKi
PUBG Global Championship begins on November 8: PUBG Global Championship 2019 - 32 of the best teams in the world and a prize pool of $2,000,000!

And our guys would not be able to get the right to go to PGC 2019 if it wasn't for such a cool coach Saul "SauKKi" Klemola.

We decided to have a heart-to-heart chat with Saul and share the resulting interview with you - without any official or pathos:

First of all, tell me about yourself, Saul. To let the audience know what person you are.

How long you want this to be?

Well, I think it'll be a mid-long interview.

I think nobody is interested in my childhood example :)

What was the beginning of your career?

First of all, thank you for inviting me to this interview. When I started playing PUBG, I was still a semi-professional athlete in normal sports studying in sports high school. That time I played only for fun, but I always had a competitive mindset. I got interested in the competitive part of the game and started watching all the tournaments. Shortly after I started my military service and had to stop my career in normal sports. In military service, I used all the free time to watch the tournaments and analyse every game to satisfy my competitive drive. The service ended at the end of 2018, and I wanted to try to make the dream come true in esports.

That time I didn't have experience from any real qualifier or big tournament and had only 1000h in PUBG. I found 3 Finnish guys to play the PUBG Contender League qualifiers with me. None of us was a good shooter nor experienced, but I knew "everything" of the game after thousands of analyzed games. For example, I knew already at that time how Miramar circle land ratio worked, which has come to publicity not until recently. With that knowledge and wise plays, we qualified to PCL which was a real cinderella story. The dream came true.

We played the PCL, but the wise plays weren't enough anymore and we dropped out of the league. I left the team and started to look for new opportunities. Because of the team's previous bad results, I didn't get to try out to any good team. I got an offer to coach the PCL team and wanted to try that career. And after a couple of teams and couple freelancer analyst jobs, I got an offer from CrowCrowd. It was a new dream come true, and next week I flew here in Berlin.

What sports were you into? When you were studying in a high school.

I was into orienteering. Running in a forest with a map looking for controls. The sport had a lot of the same elements as PUBG which I love. For example, "surviving", navigation and every time the course is different the same as the circle in PUBG. I was one of the best in Finland. I was once Finnish champion in junior class but never get into national team and world championships.

I studied 3 years in high school 2015-2018 and went to army straight after.

You can't believe it but I was into orienteering in school, too! About a year, as I remember. And on a very amateur level: nothing bigger than a few tournaments in my hometown, but still. What a fun coincidence!

So, I understand why you do like PUBG this much :)

What about the other Battle Royale games: Fortnite, Apex Legends, something else? Haven't you ever thought about making a career in those games?


I have tried both games, but they are not my thing. They are missing the tactical part entirely. I like PUBG because of navigation, surviving and the tactical part overall. I don't get the same excitement in other games

And nice coincidence :)

Do you play PUBG for yourself? Besides coaching, in spare time?

I don't have a lot of time besides coaching, analysing games, managing and cooking. But when I do have spare time I would like to play, but I have the only a laptop here so it is enjoyable to play with it so I rather do something else. My stats playing on a laptop are around 1/5 of what it would be on a good computer.

Let's jump to the fun part: If you are to compare the CrowCrowd team to an animal, what animal would it be? Jokes: ON

Wolverine. Wise beast. Is capable of taking down animals 10 bigger than it.

Wow! That's a real fierce animal! Do wolverines live in Finland?

Yes, they do. And they are one of the biggest troublemakers in Finland.

What do they do exactly? How can they spoil the commoner's life?

They kill thousands of reindeers every year. The problem with that one is that the government has to pay millions for the consequences.

This is a hell of a fact about Finland! Never thought of wolverines as of such brats.

But even the most dangerous beasts have their strong and weak sides. What are the strongest and the weakest sides of the CrowCrowd PUBG team?

Both must have something to do with being Finnish. The strength is having Finnish sisu. It means something like the strength of will, determination and perseverance. The weakness is being too lazy like most Finns are.

I haven't thought that being Finnish may somehow affect performance :D

You've been a trainer not for one day — from your experience, players of what nationality are the best warriors out there?

Of course, I have to say Finns are the best warriors. I have also coached Australian, South-African and Danish teams, but what I've seen is Finns still have the best fighting spirit.

You mentioned the intriguing word 'sisu' — can you explain this a little further? Maybe a bit of origin?

I might be the wrong person to answer that. It helps us to not give up even if the mission feels impossible. We use it to describe our national character. It has always been in Finnish glossary, but the first time it was commonly used when we had the greatest long-distance runners in the world in the early 20th century. And in the Winter War, it was internationally used to describe all Finns.

This is an amazing fact about Finland and your team in particular! I think 'sisu' also have something in common with 'endurance' and 'to bear'.

By the way, what is your favourite game? The one you love to play and truly relax? And If it's not a computer game than what? Do you play board games or street football? Maybe something like D&D?

PUBG with friends, of course. I don't really play other computer games, but what I really enjoy playing sometimes is mobile game Clash of clans. I've played it already like 6 years on and off. Fun fact is that Clash of clans is actually made in Finland.

So, you say you play Clash of Clans? No prejudice about mobile gaming?

No prejudice. Mobile games can be as fun and competitive as computer games. But the best thing about mobile games is that you can play them anywhere, at any time.

And what do you think about PUBG Mobile?

I don't play or watch PUBG mobile myself, but I think it's great for PUBG franchise. It brings more audience to PUBG esports and makes PUBG more popular. It's shame, that they even have some features that we don't have on PC; like team deathmatch and better skins.

Also, can you please open the mysterious curtain of a coach a bit and tell us how your usual workday goes?

I don't play or watch PUBG mobile myself, but I think it's great for PUBG franchise. It brings more audience to PUBG esports and makes PUBG more popular. It's shame, that they even have some features that we don't have on PC; like team deathmatch and better skins.

Every day as a coach is different, which I love in this job. As the newest part of the team, I am still looking for new ways to help the players on an everyday basis. Normal days consist of doing some outdoor activity together, watching vods, making a meal, spectating scrims and going through the games.

A bit more about coaching: what do you think bad should happen to blame the coach, not the players?

In our team, we don't blame anyone for mistakes, but of course, you need to carry responsibility if you do something stupid.

You have to try new things to improve. Some things work and others not. You learn from mistakes.

I mean, in what exact situations people should know that that it's coach's fault, not players.

In my coaching philosophy, it doesn't work like that. We try new things in and outside the game. If something doesn't work we learn from it and don't do it again, and whatever works we add it to our routine/playbook. After all that I carry the responsibility of the end result.

I got your point. By the way, from your point of view what are the advantages of a team with a coach before the team without one?

There are countless advantages to having a coach. Everything differs from the type of coach. There are mental, analytic, physical and strategy coaches, but some things are common in all of them. The training sessions and scrims get more effective when there is someone to help you focus on the right things. There is someone to bring in other perspectives/options in different situations, which helps to adapt and learn new things. Help make the training environment optimal, so that players focus can be 100% on training. Notices mistakes that you or the team have become blind to. Those are just the basic and major ones. Other advantages differ between each team and coach.

And what about you: how do you behave yourself with the players: like a father-like figure or like Sergeant Hartman from Full Metal Jacket?

Of those two options, I think it's mostly father-like, but I would describe myself more as a mentor-like. I don't force anyone to do anything, but I tell what is best for them and help them do that.

And the players — they accept your advice and critics with no arguing?

Of course, they argue sometimes. They do the discussions for themselves. I tell them facts and if they don't want to do them I won't force them.

We all know that Sanhok was added in the PEL Phase 3 map pool — was it difficult for you to adapt to this 'new' map?

Exactly.

Adapting to Sanhok as the map as easy as it is quite small and compound heavy. The harder part was to learn the other PEL teams as we didn't have any demos to watch their tactics from. So we used the time to learn the circles and best ways to fight from. Unfortunately, we have had to change almost all of the strategies over the phase, because of people doing the same things in front of us.

I hope now you feel better?

About Sanhok?

About the strategies you had to reinvent.

I am more confident that the reinvented ones work better in current meta. The old ones would have been too risky with the PEL teams but could have brought more points if they worked. So you could say I feel better with the new ones, but I still would have wanted the old ones to work.

Do you think all the other teams are using the updated strategies made exclusively for Phase 3 and not the old ones, from Phase 2 and earlier?

Sanhok is completely new to everyone. In Erangel and Miramar the strategies and the playstyle of every team is still basically the same.

Imagine, that you have a free day. What will you do?

Mondays are basically free days for me also. Only thing I do as a job is making one meal for the guys. Normally I like to take some time off by resting or going to run by myself, but if guys have some good idea to do together like going to see the city — I usually join them. I am up to anything as long as it is something else than sitting in front of the monitor.

Do you like Berlin? Is it a city worth visiting?

I like it. Good transport, food, clean and cheap. I'm not that interested in attractions or shopping, so I can't say if it's good for tourists.

What are the three most memorable places in Berlin you've visited?

I have only been here a couple of weeks and been to the city 3 times, so I have not seen a lot. The nicest places so far have been CS major venue, zoo park and mini-golf course next to our house.

It's really good to know you like this place.

In what light do you see the future of PUBG esports scene? In colour.


Violet.

Why so?

Violet is a mix of red and blue. I don't know the meanings of colours, but I feel like red describes glory and potentiality when as blue describes stability and relating.

Some say that purple/violet is the colour of kings.

And the last question: what else do you want to add for our readers?

Already last one? ;D

Tune-up and cheer the boys to LA (PUBG Global Championship)!

24 Oct 2019
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