As a team, you probably didn’t get the result you wanted in Cologne, but were there positives for you to take from beating a team like MIBR, even if they have had their own struggles?
When we came to the tournament, it was clear that we are not favourites or whatever while MIBR were underdogs, I would say. We knew it was going to be really hard to go to the arena. We expected to play Overpass better in general but we played it pretty bad.
As you said, MIBR was a good win, especially how we came back on Train. That is the main positive to take away because in practice, our CT side wasn’t that good but now suddenly we managed to climb back up the ladder for thirteen rounds or so I think it was that we won so it was pretty good. There are some things to improve on but in general, we are mostly disappointed.
Is that disappointment linked more to BIG’s historical run last year at the Lanxess or missing out on a chance to play in front of a legendary ‘home crowd’ Was there pressure from living up to ‘old BIG’?
I would say at the moment the team is in a bit of an identity crisis because they kicked [smooya] the AWPer back then, and took on XANTARES, so I am now playing the AWP. I was never a main AWPer but I just do it because at the moment, that’s the best for the team. TabseN was one of the best players in the world when he just ran in front and played together with gob b on the T side, so we just said that right now, it’s probably best that I take over the AWP.
In practice, I actually played really well with it, but this tournament was maybe just a bad one for me. The matches and tournaments before Cologne, I played good to kinda okay. We need to see because I don’t really have experience as a main AWP and suddenly I have to play against the likes of FalleN. It’s pretty hard if I don’t have experience to fall back on and that’s why it was a bit harder for me this tournament. I will try to improve, give my best and after the summer, we will see if I stay with main AWP or someone else takes the AWP. We will see what happens on the team, but for now, that is the plan for the Minor in Berlin.
So if things go well, you’ll stick to AWPing, but the team hasn’t ruled out picking up an AWPer later or a different IGL if tabseN doesn’t work out?
Yeah, it’s no secret that at some point gob b will stop playing and retire, so we have to see if tabseN really does it or we need something else in the team, maybe consider full German again or maybe even take an AWPer for me *laughs*. We don’t know what we will do yet and will see after the summer. We also have to see which players are on the market because it’s not so easy to just get in a good AWPer, which was a previous problem for [BIG].
Smooya is on the bench and I don’t want to say too much about it, but it seems like some people in the team have some different opinions with him. I don’t know if he will be an option again or if he will not. Other than that, I don’t know many good AWPers beyond syrsoN, who is good on Sprout, but he is still contracted and we don’t know if he would even want to join us. We didn’t talk with him, we didn’t ask him.
Match notifications, latest esports news, and more. Get the Upcomer app now.
That’s the thing with contracts and stuff. People always think that it’s really easy to just take and sign the best AWPer in the world to a team, but it doesn’t work like that and we just have to see what options we have and we will work with what we have.
You mentioned smooya on the bench and XANTARES has not been an easy quick fit on the team. You’re the latest addition to the roster, so has your experience been easier than for the international players to fit into the BIG ‘culture’?
I played with gob b at the beginning of my career in 2015 so I kinda knew how he was calling, but we have now changed the IGL to tabseN because with XANATRES coming in, the communication is a bit harder in English as he doesn’t know English that well. Gob b was always a caller who calls for everyone and everything but if XANTARES doesn’t understand some stuff and gob b’s English isn’t the most fluent either, it’s a bit harder for him if people don’t understand what they need to do.
At the beginning, I needed some time to find my place in the team. Right now, as main AWP, I can basically also often do what I want, so I watch demos, try to improve on my stuff and practice in general. Practice went really good so we expected to do better because of that but obviously a tournament situation is always different. We will have to see what we can do in the Minor as there are also some big teams there like Fnatic, North and mousesports. We’ll just try to give our best and try to play like we do in practice.
You also mention miscommunication in English. Is the plan to continue to teach XANTARES English to keep international options open or to keep giving him German lessons?
At the moment, XANTARES is taking German lessons. It will take some time for him to even understand and I don’t think he will ever be able to speak it fluently, but it will be enough for him to understand us. It’s completely different languages, Turkish and German, in how they are written and spoken, so we will see how that works.
Other than that, he is improving his English and we will just have to see how that goes in a few months.
Do you think ESL One Cologne should be a Major again?
If it becomes a Major, it will be better for sure. It definitely deserves the Major and it was a Major from 2014 to 2016. When I first walked in in 2015, it was mind-blowing and insane what was going on here.
Even if it doesn’t become a Major, people see it as the third unofficial Major so I think the prestige will always be there and people will always see it as one of, or maybe the top event of the year. It doesn’t really need to be a Major, but it will definitely help because this crowd, this occasion deserves it. Hopefully in the future, it will become one again.