kuben says goodbye
We sat down with former ESC Gaming Jakub "kuben" Gurczynski to find out more about what happened in the Polish team these last few months.
Gurczynski was cut from the team last month, together with Mariusz "Loord" Cybulski, bringing an end to the so-called 'Golden Five', one of the most successful lineups in the history of Counter-Strike.
It was a sudden decision and a shock to the fans, who remained loyal to the team even during all the hardships - and they were quite a few.
In this interview, Gurczynski confirms that he is indeed retiring from gaming but expressed his desire to remain involved in eSports in some way. He also shed some light into the problems that the team faced and lamented that the players are still owed more than $50,000 in tournament winnings.
There was not really any announcement about your exit from ESC Gaming, just a “thank you” note from TaZ. Would you have liked to have a proper goodbye? One final tournament?
I didn’t want to write about retirement that fast, hoping that the things would change after this tough decision from Neo and TaZ. Then a small scandal was created because the truth had never been told.
A proper goodbye for me would be a movie where we can watch all of our victories, the kind of things I want to remember in the future. For some of us, gamers, viewers, tournament owners, we were an example of how a team should look like, and I think we deserve some material that shows that. If there is someone out there who would like to do this, I would really appreciate it
Neo wrote that the team decided to remove you and Loord. Before this, had you already been thinking about retiring? Why didn’t you join another team?
I had never thought about retiring. Being a professional gamer was my life for about seven years. I started playing with these guys when I was 18, and all my adult life was spent doing this. After all these years I will not play anymore. For me, it was playing with them or not playing at all.
I would like to stay involved in eSports, but I have no idea how that could happen. I am sure I have a decent knowledge about some things, and maybe someone would like to use my expertise.
What was your reaction when you knew that you were being cut? Did you expect it?
When we sat down after StarSeries, I still believed we would just pick another fifth player (since pasha was going to become inactive because of his wedding) and we continued playing, but then I heard that Neo and TaZ wanted to either move to LoL or play CS:GO but with someone else. I felt terrible. I had never thought that we could split up. I mean, I can understand changing one player, I had been replaced in the past, but I would rather quit CS:GO as a team than split up the legendary Golden Five.
kuben always in a good mood
In an interview with SK Gaming, you said that, when you were kicked from the team in late 2008, you knew they had made a mistake. Do you feel the same way now?
Back then the problems were not as deep as they were this time. I know I still had the potential to play, I still had the motivation and I believed we were on the right track to become a top team again, but suddenly everything fell apart.
Can you walk us through these last months in the team? How were the relations between the players?
I do not want to reveal all the problems we had, because what happens inside the team stays inside the team. If I had to choos one problem, it would be the money,
There were some serious money issues in the team going all the way back to January. Were they ever solved? Did it play a role in the team’s results?
Of course it had an adverse effect on our performances back then. It was a job for us, we are not that young and most of us are no longer living with our parents. We reached a pretty good level at the end of 2012 and we could not gain a lot of money back then. Going to the tournament with the mindset of "either we win or we will not have any money to live" was not something we liked.
Besides, we never got paid for CPL Dallas (about $13,000), KODE5 Finals in Russia 2009 (about $5,000) and ESWC Finals in San Jose 2008 ($40,000), but from what I read on Twitter and from what I was told the ESWC will pay all prizes before this season starts.
In his statement, Loord criticized the way the team treated him during these last few years. What do you feel about this?
The truth always lies somewhere in the middle.
Many thought that after so many years together, you guys had become very good friends, but Loord’s comments raised some questions about that. Were you friends at all?
I was never a guy who cared about it ingame. We were friends for a specific reason, for sure, but spending time together five days a week on Teamspeak and going together to tournaments for seven years is tiring, believe me. We also spent a lot of time together outside the game, which was also nice, and we had so much fun together. In the future I will remember it in a good way.
kuben lifts the IEM6 World Championship trophy
Looking back, is there something you regret?
Yes, I regret joining MYM instead of staying in PGS and creating our own trademark. We talked to our former managers about it and they lamented it too, but we were too young and stupid back then.
From all the tournaments you won, is there one that is the most special to you? If so, why?
Every event was special, every event was a new challenge for me, even if I got used to it. The one I remember the most is for sure WCG 2006. It was our first World Championship.
Thank you for your time. Is there something you would like to add?
Since I will not play anymore and this is definitely the end of my gaming career, I would like to thank all my team-mates from my previous teams. I will always admire TaZ and Neo for being at the top for about 12 years. I had always wanted to play with them since I started playing in an Internet Cafe, and thanks to my hard work it happened. I would like to thank pasha for those three-and-a-half years and I will especially miss Loord. We have been biggest friends and then enemies for several times, but we played together competitively since 2003.
I would also like to thank our fans for cheering for us during our good times, but also during our many bad times, and the players from other teams for the competition and the fun after the tournaments.
Special thanks goes to QPAD for holding us in the scene for more than three years. Without you, we could have split up even earlier!
Thank you everyone,