Year 2020. has been pretty different for all of us, how did it affect you personally?
Tarik 'Tarik' Celik:
Yeah, it's been way different than usual, not being able to travel to all these events we usually go to. Just being home a lot more often than we normally are. It's been pretty strange because, when events are going on, we are traveling almost every other weekend. It kind sucked we didn't get to travel and play against the best teams in the world, we have been missing out in that sense for a while now, but hopefully things will go back to the way they normally were.
Wilton 'Zeus' Prado (coach):
Personally, I was quite affected by it because I changed teams, from MIBR to team EG in late March when all this craziness was starting. I was living in US and had to move to Brazil, bring my entire life to Brazil. I had to get myself a house, find everything out in the middle of this craziness with Covid-19 and besides that keep working with my new team. This boot camp is actually the first time I've seen these guys (players) since March. This year has definitely been a little bit crazy!
You said it yourself, you usually travel all over the world, do you actually keep count of how many different countries you visited over the years?
T: I haven't actually kept count, but it's a lot, probably at least 15 to 20 different countries at this point.
W: I normally don't but I did recently because there was this Twitter thing where everyone was naming countries they visited. My count was at 29 or 30. I have visited 29 countries because of Counter Strike.I normally don't but I did recently because there was this Twitter thing where everyone was naming countries they visited. My count was at 29 or 30. I have visited 29 countries because of Counter Strike.
It is actually your second time here in Belgrade, Serbia. You've been here in 2016. for The World Championship, have you noticed any changes around here?
T: Belgrade? Well, last time I was here we got to do more stuff outside the game itself. This time we are practicing a lot, but we are hoping to get one or two days where we actually get to go out and see the city a little bit more. Haven't gotten to do it yet, but hopefully we do.
Your teammate ceRq is from Bulgaria, you worked with YNk (Janko Paunovic) in your previous team MIBR, you yourself have roots from Turkey and it's all pretty close to here, do you feel in any way close to home here?
T: Yeah, very close to Turkey, like a 2 hour plane ride to Turkey. My dad actually still lives there, he invited me to come over, but I told him I couldn't. It's all in the same region and I do feel kind the same vibes here, it's nice it's that close (to home).
Like you said earlier, there was no traveling this year and previously, a lot of CSGO pro players were complaining about being burnout from all the traveling, was this 2020. in that sense good for you?
T: Yeah, it was kind nice to be home, it's a change of pace. But looking back it's a lot more than we expected, I don't think anyone expected to be home for 8 months. It was nice at first, like "oh cool, we get to be home for 3 months" but it got to the point where I was ready to go travel again, to wherever and play versus the best teams in the world. It took a long time to get to that point.
W: It was good, but it changed for us. Playing in US we have limited competition, we play the same teams over and over again. In the last 7 months we played versus Liquid, Furia, Cloud9, 100 Thieves, all the same. In the beginning it was easy, but then we got burnout because it's hard to keep your motivation high when it is all the same all the time.
While everything else in the world stopped, esports just continued going online. What is the biggest difference for you between LAN and online tournaments?
T: There is a big difference between online and LAN, especially the atmosphere and all the fans. Just the feeling, being on a stage and playing in front of a crowd. It's a different experience and I think most professional players thrive to be in that kind of environment, playing in front of the crowd, on the stage, versus the best teams and players in the world. Really sucks when you can't do that. Being stuck in US, with no events, not as much competition takes away a lot.
W: Online it's way easier, you are at home, drinking your Monster Energy and it's all very chill. While LAN is what I love, you get the opportunity to play in front of a 15,000-20,000 people and you know everyone is watching. It's the hype, not the chants or the sound of the crowd, you don't get that in the heat of the moment, but the emotion is much higher and I miss LAN tournaments so much.
Pretty much this whole season was played online, so how do you rate your results this year?
T: The beginning of the year was a bit bumpy, but once we got Zeus (coach) I think we won 3 events in a row. We started picking up our form, but as of recently we haven't had the greatest performance here in Europe, but it was our first boot camp versus EU teams. We will have another trip coming back to EU in the next few weeks, so hopefully when we come back we will have a better showing, so we are going to look at this just as a warmup or a pre-game (for what's to come).
W: After joining EG our results were amazing. We won three tournaments in a row, we were winning everything, but like I said, with repetition other teams caught up on our style of playing. Lately we didn't perform as good as we wanted, we haven't shown what we are capable of. Here in Europe, we didn't get the result we wanted in Blast Fall tournament, but now in practice we are beating all the best teams. It took as a bit more time here in Europe, but I know we will be able to show those good performances. All in all, this year has been 50/50, 50% amazing, 50% disappointing.
Throughout 2020 we had a bunch of different teams in Europe already started going into the next question, while all the different teams are winning trophies in EU, in US it's only couple of teams fighting, why is that?
W: There are more teams in EU. It's not necessarily better, but the talent pool is deeper and so you get more variety. You get to practice more, it's not always the same, there is always something new to learn. USis the same regarding the style of play, while here every different region has its own flare or way to play the game. I personally would prefer for us to play here in Europe it's so much more fun.
T: I think there is a couple of factors. Valorant (different game) coming out, a lot of players switched to that game. Also, a lot of our tier2 teams stopped progressing as much and it definitely hurt our scene (US) a lot. But even besides that, I always felt like we lacked in the talent department in US, in the upcoming teams, especially now. It's actually pretty bad, there is only 3 or 4 teams you can get good practice against and once you play those teams all the time it just becomes repetitive.
You are now in Europe, Belgrade, Serbia. You play the game all the time, not just official matches but also FPL (FaceIT Pro League). In your opinion, what is the biggest difference between EU and US playstyle wise?
T: The game in EU is definitely more team oriented, maybe not in FPL, but in the way teams play, you can tell they are always trying to work together, while upcoming USA teams are more reliant on individual plays. You can have a lot of skill, but if you can't put the pieces of the puzzle together, then it's not going to be any good. Team play wise EU is much better.
W: Depends on a team, if you're facing G2, they are pretty tactical but at the same time very skilled. If you are playing against some CIS (Commonwealth Independent States) team, they are a little less tactical, a little more running around but it's the way they actually play the game, not like they are trying to troll. Each area has its own playstyle. Then again you have BiG or Heroic who are very tactical. So, all in all, you get more variety, you get to learn how to play against different playstyles and you get a new outlook on how you should play.
That brings you here to Belgrade, Serbia. How do you like it here?
W: I love it here. I have been here before, not for work but for Janko's birthday (YNk, Janko Paunovic) party after Cologne (tournament in Germany) and I love it here. The food reminds me of Brazil, it's very good, the people are friendly, weather is nice, I just like everything here.
Unfortunately, your participation in the Blast Fall tournament didn't last as you expected, what went wrong in games versus NiP and OG?
T: We had close loses in both series (BO3 - best of three matches). Versus OG we had a chance, we won one map and we lost on the last one 16-14. Against NiP on Overpass (map in CSGO), that was probably, personally one of my worst showings. That definitely hurt us in that map. Second map we came back, but we lost in overtime. It sucks, it's pretty disappointing by us because we practiced hard. I would say it's just a bump in the road and not take it too hard on ourselves, because we still have a good chance to qualify to the actual main event. It was a first time we played these EU teams in a very long time, so we are still getting used to it. When we come back next time it will be a different result.
W: Their (OG) map pick, mirage, we had (control) but we messed up a 4v2 situation where we knew they were going B and it all snowballed out of our control. The other map it was a 0.019 defuse of the bomb at 14:12 score line. A bunch of small details and mistakes that could've changed everything around. Versus NiP if only we won just one more T round we could've won, because we turned it around as CT's but then again we lose the crucial round at 15:14 and we lose in overtime. Even though the results are not satisfying, the matches were very close and we showed that it was very competitive.
Even though the game is played 5v5, we see more and more teams adding a 6th player to the squad, have you considered that move?
W: We are not considering making that move right now, but I do see the value in it. Especially with player burnouts, somebody wants a vacation you have someone else to fill in. But right now it's not in the cards for us.
A lot of different teams are now adding a 6th player to their roster, Zeus mentioned it's not something you as a team considered, but personally how do you look at it?
T: There's a couple of teams that are trying to make that happen, so based of of how they do more teams might try and do the same. For an example if teams like Astralis or Vitality which added the 6th player make it successful, then I can see it become more common amongst other teams. In my opinion it's going to be hard for them to make it work but I do think it is possible. We will have to keep a close eye on it in the upcoming time.
In terms of conditions here, how would you rate your boot camp here at Relog? What are the chances we get to see EG again in Belgrade again?
T: The boot camp has been great, the PC's are goodhe rooms are good. Accommodation is great, the stuff is very nice. It's easy to order food or a taxi, going back to our hotel is not a problem. Relog has been treating us real good and I'm happy we are here.
W: Definitely, from what I saw in our schedule there is going to be a lot of European tournaments so there is a high chance we are going to be here. This boot camp was really good for us, we enjoyed it.
Nowadays, there are all these different factors, adjustable chairs, tables, etc.. different players have different rituals before the game. What's yours?
T: Having Monster Energy is always nice to have. I know some players really like to have hand warmers. Having an adjustable table is unique, you can set it up just the way you play at home. Apart from that, a good PC and a monitor is the most important.
What are the plans for EG in the upcoming months?
W: We are heading back to US, we are going to play IEM Beijing online, then we come back to Europe for Blast Showdown, Dreamhack Masters and hopefully IEM Global Challenge tournament on LAN.
Guys, thank you for your time, anything you want to say to your fans around the globe?
T: Shutout to everyone supporting us, it sucks that we didn't have the result we wanted in the most recent tournament, but I'm sure it's going to be better next time. Keep supporting us and the results will come.
W: Thanks everyone for supporting us and for my Brazilian fans I love you guys!