TaZ: "Minimum placing is top two"
We sat down with Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas to talk about Virtus.pro at ESL One Katowice coming up in a few days and various other topics.
Our next pre-interview prior to ESL One Katowice is with Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas, whose Virtus.pro were among the teams securing the spot at the major from DreamHack Winter 2014.
Last year, Virtus.pro were coming into the tournament as underdogs and managed to win the whole tournament, only losing a single map throughout.
Virtus.pro are working hard on their preparation
This time, a similar feat will most likely be tougher than ever before due to the intense competition. Virtus.pro have been drawn into group D alongside TSM, Cloud9 and 3DMAX.
Read through the following interview to see what the Polish veteran had to say about a number of topics surrounding ESL One Katowice, as well as some questions unrelated to this week's major.
In case you missed our previous pre-interviews leading up to ESL One Katowice, check the table below:
How confident do you feel with your preparation going into ESL One Katowice? Are you having a bootcamp or only practicing online? Is there something you focused on in particular?
We were practicing online starting at 16:00 CET for three weeks, now we are bootcamping, and we will stay here for total of 7 days. We are playing atleast 10 hours a day, making new tactics, playing aim maps and deathmatch. We are confident, we are putting in a lot of work and we expect results. Anything outside of the final will be a failure for us. Still we are not putting all our chips on one event, we are preparing for upcoming 1.5 months of tournaments. We want to be consistent, and we want to win.
What do you think about your group? Can you go through each team and tell us how you think you match-up against them? Which two teams should be advancing to playoffs out of TSM, Cloud9, 3DMAX and yourselves?
Our group is the hardest. We have TSM, who want to prove that the acqusition of karrigan will give them the first final at a major event. 3DMAX is the first Finnish team to attend a major, just after a lineup change, they will be hungry to show their power without allu. Cloud9 decided to travel to Europe one week earlier so they can bootcamp and throw some heavy punches. We like to play against all these teams, if we do our homework properly, we will be ready to face any team. Second place will most likely be between TSM/C9, I wonder how will 3DMAX perform. I'd like 3DMAX/C9 to advance over TSM, and us from first place. Time will show if hard work pays off.
What is the minimum placing your team will be satisfied with in Katowice? Do you feel any pressure to succeed, will you be extremely frustrated if you fail to reach your minimum goal?
Minimum placing is top two. I wouldn't call it pressure, there will be thousands of people cheering for us, hoping for a final with Virtus.pro, we don't want to let them down. I don't care about money you can win at that event, or fame, I want to win it for Poland. We will be frustrated if we fail, that is why we are putting a strong effort into preparations.
The professional scene has probably never been as competitive as it is now going into this major, but who do you think will end up in the top four? And who do you see as the most likely surprise, whether to win it all or get out of the groups ahead of some big favorites?
Teams I see in the final four: VP, fnatic, NiP, EnVyUs. I think that PENTA might suprise some teams, and I wouldn't count Titan out, I guess in Group B anything can happen, LGB seems like a strong team, but they tend to underperform for some reason... I'd love to see LGB/PENTA to advance from Group B.
Is there a player or two in your team who you will hope to make the biggest impact in order for the team to achieve its goal?
I think that fragging and AWPing is important for all the players, if we want to succeed, all players will have to add numbers. Still I think biggest impact will come from our tactical side - Kuben and Neo, if their calls are clear and on point, we should be able to execute them. If we stay focused and think only about winning, we will succeed.
ESL One Katowice will be kuben's first tournament as a coach
How much is kuben involved in the team's preparation? Can you see a difference already? Will we see him calling mid-round similarly to B1ad3 in HellRaisers at DHW?
I think that he can have a big impact. When u are only five players, it is often hard to give advice, or point out mistakes to each other. Kuben has no problem with that, we listen to what he says, we know that his only interest is the team's success. I also like the open dialogue, it's not like all he says is holy, we are having discussions, not arguments. There is a big difference in how we practise, we don't waste time, each game is a step forward. I don't know how it will look during ESL One, but if Kuben is able to take some pressure off Neo in calling, it will be a huge boost. I can already see that during our bootcamp.
Have you been as motivated to practice and prepare this year as much as last year? How much time have you put in compared to then?
We are more motivated this year than last year. We are putting alot of time into preparations, it looks better than last year from a tactical side, but we are playing a little less because of that. We are starting at 12:00 and we finish at around 1:00 AM, go figure if we are motivated. Most important part, you don't feel burned out after all these hours, you feel improvement, and that is a good feeling.
There has been an increasingly high number of online leagues and cups lately. How did participating in them affect your team, do you think it helped in preparation or damaged you somehow? And how does it affect the scene in general in your opinion?
I guess it helps us more, we were starting our training from 16:00 CET, just to be able to fix some tactics, and prepare better for the upcoming frenzy of tournaments. We love to play official games. I would like to have less online games, but higher stakes. I understand ESEA/FACEIT/StarLadder/PGL, but at some point teams won't attend all events, because there will be no time for it, it is already hard, but I LOVE IT.
What does your team think about the changes to Overpass and Cobblestone? Are the changes for the better or worse? Have you practiced them?
Overpass didn't really need many changes, and beside A, it's not that big of a change. As for Cobblestone, I like the changes they made for A alot, but the changes to "drop spot" made this map very random. I'd guess it's a 50-50 score with changes, we play both maps and we like them alot.
Do you like the current state of the pistols, Tec-9 and CZ-75 in particular? Would you make any changes to them or are they all finally balanced enough for competitive play?
I wouldn't make changes to pistols, even if they are overpowered, it is good for spectators and competition. Teams have to prepare for 15 rounds, not 10, each round is hard and unpredictable. You get less free frags, you need to think.
kuben might be able to get some pressure off Neo, TaZ reckons
Reportedly the sticker money from the previous major, DHW, was split according to how many of each team's stickers were sold. Which way would you prefer it this time, an even split between all legends/challengers or distribution per selling amount? Or perhaps you would like to see a part of it added to prizemoney?
I trust Valve and VP team leaders in what they are doing. It is hard to have it fair for all teams, on one side you want to split it equally, but then some teams put more effort into promotion/training/have better results. If you win events, achieve good placements, you will have a bigger fanbase. I believe that hard work should bring you financial backing.
What is your stance on the current tournament system in the majors? Ever since DreamHack Winter 2013, the system has remained the same with a BO1 group stage, as well as a playoff spot securing a place in the next major. Would you change it in some way or keep it the same going forward?
I would love to have same system but with BO3s. I think that nowadays there is a huge possibility to upset a better prepered team on one map.
Since the start of 2015 the prize money in most tournaments started rising fast. Although no single tournament "outweighs" the majors yet, do you think that time will come? ESL One Katowice will be a huge event nevertheless - do you expect the viewership record will be broken? How many do you estimate will watch the grand final this time?
I know that the viewership record will be broken. CS:GO players are crazy and dedicated, they love to watch teams, bet on winners, learn new things. I'm confident that we will get a huge event like The International soon, players deserve it and viewers deserve it. Valve will deliver, I love these guys who travel to each major, they are always open to a talk, and not only want the best for Valve, but also for players. It is obvious that your own life and your company has always a front run, but they love CS:GO and they were working on it from the start, and it will not stop here.
One more pre-interview with TSM's Finn "karrigan" Andersen will be released later today, and you can also expect HLTV.org's Tomi "lurppis" Kovanen's preview of the event as well.
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