MAJ3R: "For me, [the win over SK] is not a surprise, to be honest"
After Space Soldiers managed a massive win in the first round of the group stage, taking down SK, we talked to Engin "MAJ3R" Küpeli to hear his thoughts on ESL One Cologne and his team's unsuccessful Minor qualifier campaign.
The Turkish side that got to the event through the European Qualifier took down the highest ranked team in the world, SK, in their first match in Germany, after an impressive Terrorist side on Cache.
To hear about Space Soldiers finally playing a premier LAN, their 6th player situation and what the team's manager, Canpolat "hardstyle" Yıldıran, has done for the team, we talked to Engin "MAJ3R" Küpeli.
Changing ngiN and despe as the 6th man, tell me a bit about how it works and when you actually made the swap?
The changing betwen ngiN and despe, if I can say it honestly, we have a manager, not a just a manager, like a father in the team—hardstyle. He is chosing the players that will play. We already put that out, it was on HLTV like three months ago, that we are six players in the team. despe is actually on the lineup, if the tournament would say that we could play with despe it would be the manager deciding who will play. hardstyle told me to show both of them the tactics, everything, I did it and he chose the lineup. There is no big reason. He is the main reason that we changed players.
The qualifier you had for Cologne, that you won, with that you secured the first premier tournament for Space Soldiers. They've been playing a lot, and in a lot of qualifiers coming close to qualifying. Tell me a bit about the atmosphere in the team after you qualified for Cologne?
It was a great feeling. Personally, for me, it's not my first time on an event like this, but for my teammates it is, playing good teams like this on LAN. Everybody was super happy but we knew it would be difficult, we needed to work more because we have a gap to bridge, a lot of players without experience in this kind of a situation. We kept our feet on the ground and we worked and we worked and today the result was positive.
What did you do in the meantime, preparing for this, what did you focus on the most?
The main focus was the CT side, like what happened today, we have some problems on CT. We need to be more calm, more focused, the communication is wrong in very high-pressure situations. We need to work on that and that is what we are working on the last month, but it's not something you can fix in a month or two. For me, it's something you can figure out with a lot of time and I hope this kind of match, that we played today against SK, will improve the team in that way.
To be honest, that match, that situation, three months ago we wouldn't be able to finish this match. It would be overtime and maybe we would lose the game. Today, we stepped up like a team, and not against a lower team, but against the best team in the world. That is the only positive thing I can take from this, and the T side was also good. But we lack a lot on CT, we need to work on that. After the second match today we are going to go to the hotel and watch and try to improve more.
You looked very prepared on the T side, you had some nice executes on B, was anything prepared specially for SK or was it just you playing your own game?
No, no, I was planning to play Mirage or Cobblestone. I watched a lot of demos of them on Mirage and I really thought they would ban Cache and they would leave me the choice between Cobblestone and Mirage, or I would let them the same choice, and they would pick Mirage.
My focus was only on Mirage for the past week or two and when I got the choice between Cache and Mirage I didn't hesitate because Cache is one of my favorite maps on T side, I know how strong we are on T side and even if they have the best AWP on the world I know what my boys are capable when they face an AWPer, they can kill him. So, to answer your question, we didn't prepare Cache, we just played our game.
Before the interview, you said that even though you came here, a big tournament, you also really wanted to go to the Minor and the Major qualifier. How did not making it there affect the team and the atmosphere coming here?
The problem is always the same with us, of course, we want to go to the Minor and the Major but all the qualification is on the internet, and I will say it again, we just have too many problems with the internet in Turkey. We play with loss, etc... it's not an excuse, but now people try to make it an excuse... But if we have a better condition I think we would do it. Some people also say that we should move to Europe but they don't know about the visa problem in Turkey, you cannot move for more than a limited number of days...
The objective is to go to the Major, we need to do something. I don't know what, we will talk, but I hope that one day you will see us in the Major, because this is the main goal we have.
You already took a big scalp here, and as you said, you don't get that many opportunities, invites and stuff. What are you hoping to do here looking forward? Is the goal to make a bigger name for Space Soldiers and then get more opportunities in the future?
I don't want to be arrogant but I know what my team is capable of. I've been playing with them for three months, we've been playing the best teams in practice, on the internet, I know what they are capable of, but like I said, CS online and CS on LAN are two different things. I wasn't sure completely about what my team can do against a team like this on LAN. I trusted them and I think we are playing the same on internet and here.
The difference is the communication, it's more stressful, we cry, we need to fix that. When we fix that, I think we will step up. I think if we keep working, something like this is not a surprise. A lot of people say "Oh, what a surprise, they beat SK". For me, SK is an example. They are the best team in the world but when I watch my team play I can say to them, as the leader: "We can beat them". Because it's just CS, if you do your job you will win. It's not so complicated in CS. So I really trust my teammates and my team and for me it's not a surprise, to be honest.
About the part before, you said that despe is the 6th man, is he with you right now?
Yeah, he is here. To say more about this, it's the manager, hardstyle, he created a team with really good synergy. We are all brothers, maybe you can't find something like this in other teams, a 6th player accepting he is a 6th player, helping the 5th player to play better. Because despe showed a lot of stuff and taught ngiN, he helped him to adapt to the team faster. This team, this structure, it's all created by hardstyle. This guy is like a magician, creating good spirit in a team. I'm very proud of him, that he could put that in my hands so I can use it. I'm very grateful. ngiN also played very well today, everything is good. But it's not over, it's just one match. We are happy but we will keep working.