TaZ: "We haven't reached our peak"

We continue our series of pre-ESL One Cologne by sitting down with Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas, fresh off Virtus.pro's gold at G3.

The Polish giants have been in a rich vein of form since the start of the year and clinched the G3 title last weekend after winning EMS One Katowice back in March.

Virtus.pro got off on the wrong foot in London and finished third in their group but then turned up the heat and moved past London Conspiracy, dignitas and Titan to get their hands on the $20,000 cheque and the spot at the ESWC finals.

For ESL One Cologne, Virtus.pro have been drawn in the same group as iBUYPOWER, dAT Team and fnatic, with the Polish side due to take on the Russian/Ukrainian mixture in the first round. Find out what Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas has to say about his team's triumph in London, their preparations for ESL One Cologne and much more by reading the interview below.

TaZ thrilled with G3 victory 

How have you prepared for ESL One Cologne so far? Do you have a bootcamp planned for the final days leading up to the event? Do you feel adequately prepared?

Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas: We are actually bootcamping right now. We had a hard decision to make before G3, because going straight to bootcamp from a LAN is not always the best idea, but we decided to give it a try. With that being said, I am not feeling that we are near a good preparation, we still have tons of work to do, especially with the new maps. With the new veto system, we need to have five strong maps for the group stage and six for the playoffs. I bet that many teams will struggle to achieve that, and I do not want our team to be one of them.

After a long hiatus from international competition, G3 took place last weekend. What do you make of the results? Were you surprised by anyone? What comes to mind when thinking about the event?

Wiktor "TaZ" WojtasI do not think there were any surprises for us. We knew that NiP had taken a break, just like us, so these two teams were not favoured to win, and you could see that in the group stage. I might even say that we were a little bit lucky with the team we got in the quarter-finals. I believe the game against London Conspiracy woke us up, and our experience gave us the edge on the last map. For me, the teams that did well were Titan, dignitas and fnatic, and their confidence will be boosted for ESL Cologne. The same can be said about NiP, who will be eager to get back on track. There were some really nice things about the event: the players' lounge had food/coffee, the stage was really nice and the whole staff was kind to the players. But there were also some disappointing things: short warmup time, the monitors and head-to-head not being the decisive factor in the group stage. Last, but not least, we are damn happy to have won the event. We did not prepare for it in a great manner, but when we got bashed by some teams we were able to get back as a unit, talk about our problems ingame and solve them. That is the one thing I am most proud of, in the events before G3 we were not able to do that.

At ESL One you’ve been placed in group C together with fnatic, iBUYPOWER and dAT. Can you go through each team one at a time, and tell us what you think about them, and your chances against them?

Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas: It is a crazy group. I know that all of these teams are practicing Cobblestone and Overpass, which makes it even harder for us, given the small time to prepare for the event, but we are on it. I feel like all teams can advance because of the new veto system, where there will be a draw with the maps remaining. It seems like the team that is more flexible and lucky will advance.

I do not know exactly how dAt Team play, but they are capable of causing upsets, they already showed that in the qualifier, so that will not be an easy game for us. fnatic have a new lineup, which on paper looks very strong, but I feel they will need some time to adapt the mentality of some players. You could see that olofm has not been at his best since joining fnatic, and I think there might be a reason for that, even though I do not know it. I just hope they will not solve their issues before ESL One Cologne. iBUYPOWER are a team we want to beat, we lost to them at the ESEA Finals, and now we want to exact revenge. I would love if this game were to be played in the winners' round. Everything will come down to the maps.

What are your expectations going into the event? I realize everyone will say they are in it to win it regardless of stature, but would you be happy with a quarter-finals exit? Top four? A spot in the grand finals?

Wiktor "TaZ" WojtasI want to win, I will never be happy with an early exit. There was a time when I would say top eight was not that bad, considering how my team were playing or what our peak was. With this team I think we have not yet reached our peak, we are still growing. I do not believe all this bullsh*t about age and getting worse after every year. I know that Neo can dominate CS:GO games, and I can do it as well, just like byali, Snax and Pasha can. Our main goal now is to actually use all five players to their fullest. What I wonder is how people cannot see the sacrifices that have been made so that our team can win now. I doubt that f0rest or GeT_RiGhT had to learn new team roles during their career. That being said, we had a similar situation in 1.6, and we will find a way to unleash the beast, sooner or later.

TaZ thinks Virtus.pro can continue to grow 

Do you have a clause in your contracts regarding the sticker money that will be coming in from ESL One? Is that something you had added later on specifically with Cologne in mind, or did it exist in the first place?

Wiktor "TaZ" WojtasWe never had a clause regarding sticker money coming from ESL One Cologne. To my knowledge, it is the same thing as winning a tournament, people buy stickers because they want to support players in certain organisations. Still, I feel like Virtus.pro are a great company and if  some issue with sticker money comes up, I am certain that we will find a solution.

It’s now been weeks since ESL announced the new map pool, featuring de_cobblestone and de_overpass. Now that you’ve had a chance to practice them, what do you think about them? What do you think about the new map veto system? Do you think these changes will work for or against you?

Wiktor "TaZ" WojtasI feel like Overpass is a fun map, but Cobblestone is a bit too big. Still, in our team we like both of them, and we are willing to practice them with same approach we had towards de_season and de_cache. The new veto system will be painful, as you will have 1/3 chance to get the map you would like to play on. With eight days to prepare it is hard to say what effect it will have on us, but well... soon you will find out.

At both of the previous majors we saw a new team win a title (fnatic, Virtus.pro), propelled by new players rising to stardom (flusha, schneider, byali, Snax) . Do you expect another new team to rise up this time and if so, who could it be?

Wiktor "TaZ" WojtasThere are currently around 10 teams that can win the whole event: LDLC, fnatic, Virtus.pro, NiP, iBUYPOWER, Titan, Epsilon, Dignitas, LC, NaVi and Cloud9. I have a feeling about one player that will rise during ESL One Cologne, but you will have to wait for it... I really do not know which new players can shine, maybe fxy0 or someone from London Conspiracy. 

According to you, you struggled due to preparing well for SLTV Finals, DreamHack Summer and ESEA. Now you won G3 with poor preparation, and get to bootcamp until ESL One. Is there any reason we should not consider yourselves favorites to defend your title?

Wiktor "TaZ" WojtasThe veto system in the group stage will make it very hard to predict which teams will advance, also the faster we forget about winning G3, the bigger our chance to defend our title from Katowice will be. We are bootcamping in order to get hungry, to feel that we put up tons of effort on preparations, so that we feel we need to win no matter what. Let's see if we will succeed!

Is it true you became the team’s in-game leader before G3? You’ve previously led the team in CS 1.6, but never before in CS:GO if I’m correct. How is it working out? What was the reason to change from Neo?

Wiktor "TaZ" WojtasThat's true in both cases. G3 was first event for me as a in-game leader in CS:GO. I have no idea why Neo decided to step down, probably he got tired of the role, as all in-game leaders do at some point. I do not know how good my in-game leading will be, or if it was a good idea. I am trying my best, I am not the best "in round" caller, but I like to lead and take difficult decisions, I do not mind the pressure. I learned a lot from Kuben, Neo and Snax, but not really from a game knowledge perspective. It's more about their perception of it, of how to call, or talk to people. I was a really stubborn person, now I try to be more open.

More pre-ESL One Cologne interviews:

Norway Pål "Polly" Kammen"We are here to stay"
Denmark Henrik "FeTiSh" Christensen"There is no I in team"
Sweden Jesper "JW" Wecksell"We can surprise a lot of teams"
United States iBUYPOWER: "Too many mistakes"
United States Spencer "Hiko" Martin"You are in for a treat"
Poland Wiktor 'TaZ' Wojtas
Wiktor 'TaZ' Wojtas
No team
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
United States Spencer 'Hiko' Martin
Spencer 'Hiko' Martin
No team
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
Sweden Jesper 'JW' Wecksell
Jesper 'JW' Wecksell
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
Denmark Henrik 'FeTiSh' Christensen
Henrik 'FeTiSh' Christensen
No team
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
Norway Pål 'Polly' Kammen
Pål 'Polly' Kammen
No team
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
2014-08-10 00:42
Poland yaD' 
we believe
2014-08-10 00:42
Sweden DIOdorant 
TaZ the bear!
2014-08-10 00:43
AZK | 
United States Dood 
He's right, LC could win
2014-08-10 00:47
Indeed, they could, but obviously they wont. gl LC
2014-08-10 10:13
gl vp
2014-08-10 00:47
2014-08-10 00:47
want to see virtus.pro dominate once again!
2014-08-10 00:47
2014-08-10 00:48
2014-08-10 00:49
still waiting for the real NEO to shine
2014-08-10 00:49
Greece cNbt 
+1 trillion
2014-08-10 02:03
+3 trillions
2014-08-10 02:17
Yeah, we want Neo to come back <3
2014-08-10 06:12
2014-08-10 15:53
It is always fantastic to see how confident TaZ is. His goal is always to win. And when he respond to the match vs NiP, he said they would crash NiP and they did. Hope this lovely badass basterd would always be in the CS scene, it is always awesome to read and watch his interview.
2014-08-10 00:51
Remember your words, NiP will eat everyone at ESL Cologne.
2014-08-11 03:19
Spain akproxx 
Poor HellRaisers, taz dont belive in they #RiPHellRaisers
2014-08-10 00:53
"I just hope they will not solve their issues before ESL One Cologne" Lol, that is really honest :-D Great interview! I wish them good luck, it's a very nice team with very nice players.
2014-08-10 00:54
ahaha it must be mistake :d
2014-08-10 01:18
They want to win, why should it be a mistake? :)
2014-08-10 03:00
ahaha well i still believe it is a mistake :d
2014-08-10 14:02
2014-08-10 00:55
This isn't even my final form!
2014-08-10 01:02
2014-08-10 01:03
kuben <3 we miss you!
2014-08-10 01:10
Cheers :)
2014-08-10 12:25
2014-08-10 14:04
Sweden Snipatore 
2014-08-10 14:27
2014-08-10 14:40
yo man, nice to see you again ;)
2014-08-11 18:23
one of the favorites :)
2014-08-10 01:18
Europe Ark- 
"I have a feeling about one player that will rise during ESL One Cologne, but you will have to wait for it" take your bets.
2014-08-10 01:19
2014-08-10 05:36
2014-08-10 01:20
2014-08-10 01:21
mason | 
Tunisia mason~ 
2014-08-10 01:24
TaZ aswell as FetiSh talking real talk , nice to see some non biased answers hope u boys do good
2014-08-10 01:28
I'm curious who he thinks will "rise" during the event. A followup afterwards would be interesting! Really great interview though, probably one of the best so far.
2014-08-10 01:30
Im guessing neo, maybe taz thinks he's in good form. He also talks about disagreeing with age affecting gameplay and how he dont think any newcomers will rise. Neo definitely hasnt hit his peak
2014-08-10 05:39
I suppose he could mean Neo. Neo's form has seemed to be pretty decent from what little I've seen of it recently. So who knows. I agree Neo hasn't hit his peak, but he's shown signs of it at times. Also are you the motive from ESEA who knows Jay and them?
2014-08-10 05:44
Poland venomstw 
i think he had seized on mind
2014-08-10 15:01
Latvia Senotajs 
Is there a video interview of all of these interviews?If yes please send me a link where can I watch them all, thanks!
2014-08-10 01:39
All ok, but this shit maps..
2014-08-10 01:42
Greece her-1g 
i believe that virtus.pro will reach top4. I doubt that titan will perform like they did in G3. one of the americans might be in the semis but both teams have tough groups. NiP and fnatic will be in top4 as the latter is on fire and you cant count out nip. Last team to round up the top4 will be one of the danish powerhouses. maybe cph wolves because their playstyle is currently unknown to the majority of the teams. the funny thing about this major is that every group is so damn strong!
2014-08-10 01:47
vp will reach at least top 2.
2014-08-10 01:51
"We did not prepare for it in a great manner, but when he got bashed by some teams we were able to get back as a unit." a small typo when we* not he
2014-08-10 01:55
It's going to be pretty scary for other teams when they find a way to 'unleash the beast'.
2014-08-10 01:56
France ssps 
Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas: I have a feeling about one player that will rise during ESL One Cologne, but you will have to wait for it... WHo do you think he is talking about ? TaZ get mysterious ... hh
2014-08-10 01:57
Hungary lemusz 
Because it is himself. :D
2014-08-10 02:08
he wouldnt say something like that about him 100%
2014-08-10 02:50
2014-08-10 02:50
Germany Bongskie 
2014-08-10 10:19
2014-08-10 02:59
2014-08-10 05:28
France ssps 
Maybe shroud from cloud9 even if it will be his first big csgo event
2014-08-10 02:00
how about esea lan?
2014-08-10 14:09
yes, you did
2014-08-10 02:36
India h8or 
VP is love, VP is lyfe
2014-08-10 03:24
neoo... I got a feeling man. I HAD A DREAM. go bro, step up once again the way you can :) Now when TaZ is IGL there is nothing to stop it.
2014-08-10 03:54
Ummm ya you have taz. Neo is 27. Your what 28? Pasha is up there. Late 20s is old for gaming. Enjoy what you have done now because this will be the last year with this lineup things get done
2014-08-10 04:24
Summer | 
Korea dafNaY 
they just won the last big lan, your words dont make any sense <.<
2014-08-10 04:34
"Enjoy what you have done now because this will be the last year with this lineup things get done" You know.. incase it didn't load the entire comment, I'm here to help.
2014-08-10 06:57
every year there is someone like him saying that he should retire because of this and that, and still they come and win events, so if their motivation stays high i cant see why they cant stay a top3 team.
2014-08-10 12:33
hearing these kind of bullshit since 2012, kids!
2014-08-11 18:28
I want to see a NiP interview :)
2014-08-10 04:27
neo is doing fine for the team, but i would not expect more from him. he doesnt fit the game as he does in 1.6. the balcance control of crosshair and movement is very limited. in csgo, its amost all abt crosshair, he cant go wild like he wants in 1.6
2014-08-10 04:33
i wanna see taz shit talk on stage again
2014-08-10 04:56
" There are currently around 10 teams that can win the whole event: LDLC, fnatic, Virtus.pro, NiP, iBUYPOWER, Titan, Epsilon, Dignitas, LC, NaVi and Cloud9 " Really Taz, really? .....
2014-08-10 05:02
LC are kings of inferno And if they practice cobble or overpass, they could upset in bo3s lmfao inferno+cobble/underpass
2014-08-10 05:19
that's why adding new maps right before a major is dumb as fuck. It rewards randomness, instead of preparation.
2014-08-10 05:54
Good teams should be able to perform on New Maps too. So ur Point?
2014-08-10 14:29
really what? Epsilon did pretty well at g3, if you consider how bad their best player played. They should of been out of group, they beat NIP ect. If shoxie can play his normal level and fxy0 can play well again, then maybe the rest step it up a tiny tiny bit, they can easily be seen winning the event.
2014-08-10 06:58
2014-08-10 19:35
So you claim teams like Na'Vi, fnatic, iBP & C9 have chance but teams like LDLC and Epsilon don't? Get real mate. Sooner or later, that one match with both shox & fxy0 performing will happen, and then everyone will have nothing to do but run for their lives. And I don't need to even explain why you're a moron for underestimating LDLC.
2014-08-10 07:02
plz pasha interview no no fear my frend wi lil gona win esl lan no problem:(
2014-08-10 08:42
AHAHA, read it in his voice.
2014-08-10 09:57
2014-08-10 10:16
pasha is alpha pasha is omega
2014-08-10 09:04
pasha is biceps pasha is lyf
2014-08-10 10:31
"pasha is triceps pasha is lyfe" fixed
2014-08-10 11:46
Poland kRAMERO 
pasha is biceps biceps is pasha
2014-08-10 13:47
Finally someone that addresses how much impact the veto system can have on the matches. Just shows the different approach top tier teams have compared to mid tier teams such as LC. (based on the interview with polly)
2014-08-10 09:43
Latvia Ke]R[4u 
because veto system favours underdogs :)
2014-08-10 17:11
Theoretically yes due to it adding randomness and the map pool that consists of maps that aren't played much, but in reality the top teams will simply masteries more maps and come more prepared than the underdogs. When I read that polly stated that they plan on vetoing one out of the two new maps I was pretty dissapointed since in my opinion their only decent chance against top teams is on inferno, cobble and overpass.
2014-08-10 18:30
method | 
United States f0xes` 
Very honest and humble interview as always by TaZ. The guy sets a good example for up and coming players. I'm sure VP will be in contention until the very end.
2014-08-10 10:09
Good read!
2014-08-10 10:26
"about one player that will rise during ESL One Cologne, but you will have to wait for it..." Hmm... either Taz himself or... Neo? #thedarkknightrises
2014-08-10 10:33
Silly taz he forgot to mention Vox in his top 10 teams
2014-08-10 10:42
Vox is against Dignitas first round. A) AZR is a complete asshole and I'd love to see his shit get kicked in, B) they rely entirely on their top two players, they dot have particularly strong strats or anything of the kind. Dignitas should roll over them.
2014-08-11 01:38
f0rest | 
Poland ksk111 
Nice as always with taz
2014-08-10 10:49
hes right the age on esport no matter !:D
2014-08-10 10:52
"There are currently around 10 teams that can win the whole event: LDLC, fnatic, Virtus.pro, NiP, iBUYPOWER, Titan, Epsilon, Dignitas, LC, NaVi and Cloud9." He doenst believe in HR :(
2014-08-10 11:23
HR is team which you pass in quarter-finals :) They are not good enough to be in finals
2014-08-10 12:10
but Epsilon, LC and IBP are? But nevermind, he just forgot HR twitter.com/g5taz/status/498379982083985..
2014-08-10 12:15
Epsilon is dark horse in this tournament. For me LC was good surprise but I don't feel they will go through group stage. IBP is a mystery. They are playing bad in EU, good in home soil. We will see them in Cologne. For me, 1st place will take somebody from this formation: NaVi/VP/Dignitas/Titan
2014-08-10 14:54
@g5taz ~ twitter obviously I forgot about @HRcsgo -_- knew that some bastards are missing in my head! :D
2014-08-10 15:09
so, when will be viewers guide?
2014-08-10 12:16
n1 interview
2014-08-10 13:10
VP i believe <3 rip train :(
2014-08-10 13:58
2014-08-10 14:26
World cobrastrike 
is all polish look like taz upload.ee/image/4201160/is_all_polish_lo..
2014-08-10 14:40
2014-08-10 17:14
biceps is pasha biceps is life I still will be waiting for neo to shine at some major event. Also TaZ steping up will be a great thing.
2014-08-10 17:22
TaZ: "We have reached our peak" fixed
2014-08-11 00:38
Na'Vi or VP will win this.
2014-08-11 10:14
Of course they haven't reached their peak in CS:GO yet. There was once a game called CS 1.6 that they fucking owned in.
2014-08-11 11:21
2014-08-12 14:02
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