tarik: "I have a very good understanding of what [my teammates] want"
After OpTic managed another upset at ESL One Cologne, defeating FaZe to qualify for the playoffs in the LANXESS Arena, we talked to Tarik "tarik" Celik about him taking over in-game leading and the issues they faced as a team.
The North American side OpTic is surely the biggest surprise of the tournament, as the team that went 0-3 in the PGL Krakow Major Main Qualifier took down North, Space Soldiers and FaZe to reach the top eight at ESL One Cologne.
The past two weeks didn't feature that good results for you, first at ECS that maybe wasn't so big for you, and then the Major Qualifier, where you went 0-3 as one of the favorites. Tell me a bit about that, especially the Major qualifier and the feeling there.
The Major qualifier was... Honestly, it was surprising but it was also disappointing because I feel like a lot of matchups we had, we had a very good chance of beating those team that we played. I don't think we played to our potential, not even a little bit. I don't think we were comfortable and I think it wasn't a good representation of how good our team is. It's disappointing, but all we can do is learn from it, it's sort of a wake-up call. We just have to make sure that it doesn't happen again, basically.
How do you plan to do that, do you know what the issues were and if so, what do you do to counter them?
I think everyone on our team is very skilled, a very good player. We have good teamwork, it just comes down to making everyone comfortable and making sure that they get put into positions that they want to play. I think, lately, we've been doing a better job at that. I've played with all these guys on OpTic for a year and I've played with James ( James "hazed" Cobb ) for a very long time, so I have a very good idea of how everyone wants to play as an individual. Then it just comes to putting it together into a team-based environment. Because we have the skill, we have the potential, it just comes down to putting the pieces together basically.
One of the players that was maybe the most vocal about being unhappy, not about his positions on the team, but just in general and with the results, was mixwell. You could see it on the server as well, not being close to what he was at the end of last year. So, what do you think were his issues in particular?
I think it has been a problem for all of us, where we've had a problem of motivation and drive and keeping ourselves from getting complacent. Because we've been in this funk where we haven't had a fifth for a very long time, a set five. It's really hurt us a lot, we've gone through so many players, I think it's time that we set our five and we stick to it and we just practice. Because we haven't had a chance to just say: "This is our five, this five we are going to play with and practice with", it's just been constant roster changes, so we had a hard time staying motivated because of that. Once we do find that set five I think it will be a lot easier for us.
Let's talk about you taking over the in-game leading, that happened between the last two tournaments. How did it come to it, what were your ideas when picking up the role?
It started right after the Major qualifier. I asked them, I said I wanted to do it. Everything was mutual, they said that if I wanted to do it I can do it. I felt the reason I wanted it was not only that I have a lot of ideas but I just know what kind of players we have on the team and how they want to play, who is aggressive, who is passive, who needs this done for them and who needs that done for them. So I have a very good understanding of what they want, and it's just making everyone comfortable.
Like I said before, we have the skill, it's just pieces of the puzzle together and making everyone work together. I'm pretty happy with the results we had, I think we scrimmed like three times after the Major qualifier with me calling. So it's very little practice coming into this tournament with me as an IGL. It's a learning process but I'm pretty confident and I think everyone is playing well so I'm happy about how we are doing.
As you said, you just practiced a bit, and here you faced North, right from the start dominating them. Were you yourself surprised with how well you played there?
I'd say it is definitely a surprise because people didn't necessarily expect us to beat North at all. I think everyone predicted us to lose actually. But from our standpoint, it's not a team we have no chance against, I know what we are capable of. I didn't expect it to be a blowout in any sense, I do think that we were more dominating than I expected. I guess everything worked quicker than expected for us in a sense that, I didn't think that me IGLing would instantly give us results basically.
So I think everyone is pleased and from here on it's just working on it and improving stuff. I make a lot of mistakes still. I know versus Liquid there is a couple of bad calls I can learn from now, but those are kinds of things I could've learned before if we had practice with me IGLing. Way it is now, we are in a tournament and I'm trying to learn from it while I'm playing. I think moving forward it could be good.
Touching on a Liquid game, was that a bit special game for you, considering the local rivalry and stanislaw, who left and went to Liquid. How were you going into that match, how was the mentality?
I think the mentality overall was good, we were confident. There were like stupid rounds, I made mistakes, we won the pistol 1v1, and the round right after we got eco'd. And I think that he game would've gone completely differently if we hadn't got eco'd. That was one of the rounds I made a bad call.
But just going into the game, I felt like we were all confident, Liquid is a team we play a lot and we know their playstyle. We were ready for it and it was just a bad game by us, honestly. I think our comms were also bad, we weren't being positive towards each other, it just sorta spiraled downhill, and we lost the grip of the game.
Before that, there was a another game that was for you a bit special, I guess, against Space Soldiers. You said that you didn't want to meet them. Playing them now, seeing them here at a big tournament, what are your thoughts on the Turks?
I think it's really awesome to see them here, there is actually a good amount of support in the Turkish scene, there is a lot of Turkish players in the Counter-Strike scene and I want them to sort of lead the path because they do have a Turkish team. Unfortunately, it would be ideal for me if I could play on a Turkish team one day I feel like that would be cool.
But I just hope for the best of them and I hope they keep up fighting. I feel like they are a team that learns from their mistakes. So from this tournament, there is stuff they can look over and learn from it and I feel like this is a team that, in the future, will do a lot of damage actually.
Let's just touch on this last game that was probably the biggest surprise you managed here, beating FaZe on Train, one of their arguably better maps, yours as well, though. Tell me how it went so well?
We were ready for Train, I'm sure they were as well, the vetos were pretty clean cut. Our T side was a lot better than expected, we lost pistol actually and we ended the half winning 12-3. That made it a lot easier for us on CT side. And honestly, I can give myself a little bit credit, but everyone was playing really well, we had a lot of mid-rounds where we won 2v4's, clutches and everyone was just on their game.
That's when we are scary, when everyone is everyone is playing their game, we are all together, we can do anything. So it is a surprise, but at the same time, I think it's not out of the question for us to beat a team like FaZe.