In 2022, Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz wants to return BIG to the heights they reached in 2020. Armed with a new rifler in Josef “faveN” Baumann, the German in-game leader believes he has what it takes to lead his team back to the top, beginning with the BLAST Premier: Spring Groups.
“I feel very comfortable with [faveN] being on the team,” tabseN said of the former Sprout player. “He’s giving a lot of good information about what he’s doing, what he wants to do, how he sees the game.”
The team has been performing well in practice, with faveN in particular displaying the signature firepower that helped him shred through the Tier 2 scene on Sprout. Now it’s time to start replicating that success in officials.
“I think we will see one of the best faveN’s we’ve ever seen before,” tabseN said. “When we had [İsmailсan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş] on the team, he brought firepower that no one in Germany could have brought for us. Now faveN is able to do that for sure.”
It’s true that even at their lowest points, BIG rarely lacked in the strategic department. They have strong team play, utility usage and game plans. What they’ve often lacked, especially when their star AWPer Florian “syrsoN” Rische is in a slump, is pure fragging potential. That’s where their newest recruit comes in.
Nagging illness marred faveN’s BIG debut at the Funspark ULTI finals, meaning BLAST Spring Groups will be his time to truly make a Tier 1 entrance.
BLAST Spring Groups
As the BLAST Spring Groups kick into gear on Friday, many are excited to see the 2022 debut of their favorite Counter-Strike team. Except some, like BIG, already played through the Funspark ULTI finals. BIG placed third at the event, losing out to Entropiq in the semi finals.
“For the first tournament?” tabseN said. “We were really satisfied, for sure.”
Individually, tabseN had a strong performance in their first event of the year. He ended the Funspark ULTI finals with a 1.13 rating, a commendable finish for an IGL.
“I’m looking forward it if I’m able to continue this kind of performance,” tabseN said. “Hopefully I will do even a little bit better.”
But the caliber of competition at the Spring Groups is one notch up and if BIG want to book their slot in the Spring Finals, they will have to bring something special. That all starts in their first match against the Ninjas in Pyjamas at 10:00 a.m. ET on Friday.
“I’m looking forward to playing against [NiP],” tabseN said. “Now that dev1ce is unfortunately out for them, I think we have the upper hand.”
TabseN also had good things to say about the other two teams in Group A, G2 Esports and Complexity Gaming. Both are bringing revamped rosters and are riding a lot of hype. Outside of his group though, tabseN’s eyes are on FaZe Clan, who recently brought on Robin “ropz” Kool from MOUZ to replace Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer Gustafsson.
“Nothing against [olofmeister], he’s a legend of the game, but ropz is one of the top 10 players in the world in my eyes,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how [Finn “karrigan” Andersen] can unleash the beast.”
The action all begins with the BLAST Spring Groups — and that’s where BIG are focusing their attention — but tabseN is still thinking about the end goal. In the offseason, BIG didn’t just add faveN, they brought in more coaches and support staff to help elevate the team in and out of the server. With that kind of investment, tabseN believes they will soon see the returns.
“Personally it’s always game by game, tournament by tournament, but I see myself and I see BIG at the end of the year back to top five,” the German IGL said. “We have the structure to do that now.”