Starting from scratch - the making of PENTA

From scratch to the Major in less than four months — such is the inspiring story of PENTA, who put their new European squad together in March and went on to qualify for the PGL Major in June against all odds, plowing through all four stages of qualification. With the help of the man who was there since the beginning, in-game leader Kevin "kRYSTAL" Amend, we delve into the making of PENTA and their meteoric rise.

The story began in late 2016, when the previous PENTA iteration — who fielded Christian "loWel" Garcia Antoran, David "Kairi" de Miguel, Mike "mikeS" Tuns, Tahsin "tahsiN" Broschk, and Kevin "kRYSTAL" Amend — fell apart, piece by piece, until just kRYSTAL stayed, tasked with creating an entirely new European roster. 

The first player to come into the fold was Miikka "suNny" Kemppi, the team's would-be star whose ENCE fell apart in December. The Finn soon started trying out for PENTA side-by-side with other prospects, but he was the only one to get signed come January, joining kRYSTAL in his task. At the time, Stefan "stfN" Seier was part of the team as well, but as he was unable to go full-time, they decided to go another way.

"The whole process of putting together a new lineup was very, very stressful. The whole idea started with Miikka (suNny) and me. kakafu (now coach of BIG) approached Miikka if he was interested to build an international team with us and after a few weeks Miikka decided he wanted to do it. Miikka and me both wanted to go full-time, because we thought it is just something you need nowadays to reach the top, and our goal was to get into the major."

- kRYSTAL

kRYSTAL and suNny were put to the challenging task of building a lineup from scratch

The duo had a fair share of bad luck coming their way at the beginning, as Ricardo "fox" Pacheco was already set to join them but ended up getting the call from SK, who had released Lincoln "fnx" Lau and were in need of a stand-in. Perhaps it was those problems that made kRYSTAL doubt his ability to create a competitive lineup, as he was looking into his options in February.

However, he decided to stay after all and — with the help of suNny — came up with leftover players from Rogue and Kinguin, Kevin "HS" Tarn and Paweł "innocent" Mocek.

"Kevin (HS) had already played a lot of matches with me when he was standing in for someone, and I was very impressed by him the way he played the game. He is a very calm and focused player, yet still inexperienced. I wanted him to be on this lineup so we were three already. Miikka came up with Pawel (innocent), who I  had not noticed up until that point, but I trusted Miikka's decision. We started talking and decided we all want the same and we had the right mindset to achieve what we wanted. So, there were four of us."

Finding the fifth player was the hard part, kRYSTAL shared, as his role would have to change significantly depending on the type of player they could find. In the end, Jesse "zehN" Linjala became available after leaving iGame.com, which meant the German player would take up in-game leading as well as AWPing.

"Had we got a solid AWPer, I would have become a rifle caller, and had we got an experienced caller, I would have played the AWP only. This was actually a big problem for us, but it actually turned out that now I'm doing both.

"It was more like an emergency solution, but I believed I could do it and, more importantly, my team trusted me that I could do it. So we picked zehN as the last player. Miikka had played with him before, so he could give some insights on what he was capable of, and I also briefly knew him from the Minor one year ago, where we faced each other. We talked a lot about who would fit the best in our team and the players we already had, and we chose him over other players, like ropz."

With three months of tryouts and talks behind them and the final roster locked, PENTA clinched third place in the ESEA Premier Season 24 playoffs before their journey to the PGL Major kicked off. They took part in the first open qualifier for the Europe Minor, at the end of April, and powered through to the final after 11 maps, including three against then-Tricked.

Then it was time for the ESEA S24 Global Challenge. innocent and company traveled to Leicester as borderline favorites, likely to make semis but in most people's eyes a level below GODSENT and BIGPENTA went undefeated in their offline debut, leaving the Swedes in second place of their group to duke it out against Fatih "gob b" Dayik's team in the semi-finals, before taking down BIG themselves on two close maps in the grand final.

suNny shone in the UK with a 1.40 rating, surpassed only by Johannes "tabseN" Wodarz by the slightest of margins (1.43), with innocent proving himself as the squad's secondary star at 1.30 thanks to consistent showings across the board.

suNny led PENTA to their first title in their offline debut at the Global Challenge

ESEA Season 24 marked the beginning of the rivalry between PENTA and BIG, with the two teams going on to face each other several more times over the next two months. PENTA conceded a spot-deciding series against their new rivals in the ESL Pro League Season 5 Relegation, but their next encounter on the same day saw kRYSTAL's five triumph in the third round of the Europe Minor's closed qualifier, obtaining a 3-0 record and a spot in the next qualifying stage for the Major.

With a series loss to Gatekeepers that saw them eliminated in last place at GeForce Cup in Poland only two weeks before the Europe Minor, PENTA's road to the Bucharest event was far from encouraging, despite the addition of Niko "naSu" Kovanen as a coach. In all fairness, the Finnish veteran had not had enough time to make an impact on the team's play at that point, but as time went on, he proved instrumental in fixing smaller issues and analyzing opponents.

"naSu is a very experienced player, who competed on a top level back in his days, so he knows how to play the game and helps us to fix the small details that we are still doing wrong but that have a big impact, for example retakes. He helps everyone in general a lot, because he has an objective view of our game and tells people briefly after practice in the steam chat: 'Look, I think in this situation, you should have just made a quick plan and then play the 2vs2,' for example. He helps me personally a lot with analysing our enemies, which helps me with calling and setting up a game plan against our enemies."

With a bootcamp under their belt, the Global Challenge champions went 2-0 in the group stage at the Minor and proceeded to clinch a spot at the Main Qualifier over Envy, finishing second overall following a one-sided series against BIG in the end.

On to the last stage they went, their toughest challenge up to that point, facing favored sides such as OpTic and Liquid in the first two rounds of the Main Qualifier. Happy with the North American match-ups, suNny put on a show yet again as PENTA strolled to a 2-0 record, one map away from the Major. The Finn struggled to find the same impact versus mousesports, who got away with a 16-14 win, but PENTA were quickly back in action and celebrated a Challengers status after a comfortable Vega Squadron match-up.

PENTA played 28 maps on their long journey to the Major

kRYSTAL shared what his team's recipe for success was and pinpointed aligned goals, collective hunger to win, hard work, and openness to criticism:

"The first reason for our success was that we all had and still have the same goal. We all wanted to win. Get better and better. Rise as a team. See the progress until we can compete against teams that are playing at the Major. If you as a team have the same goal, you can start moving forward. You start putting 'yourself' below the 'team', because you know you can only reach your goal if you do so. We were just a few guys from all over the world that alone didn't find the success we all desired so much. This somehow made us into a team. It means very much to each and every one of us to win, and everyone in the team sacrificed a lot to win. We worked very hard on ourselves and spent a lot of time in order to get better and better.

"The second reason goes along with the first one. Because we all have the same goal and we don't want to just earn some money from a videogame, but truly achieve something, we are all very open minded to criticism. Without pointing out mistakes, you can't improve. Simple as that. We all can speak to each other about what we think someone did not do well, how we should approach certain things, how someone should behave in certain situations to create a better outcome of the round and so on. I really value this a lot about my team. We barely take something personally or the wrong way, and I think that is why we progress so much more efficiently that other teams.

"The are many more small things that made us what we are now, but I want to name one more. We all played different CS, in different teams and countries, before we all came together in one team. We all had different approaches to the game, different thinking about how we should play the game and most important of all - everyone had different experiences, also bad experiences. But those bad experiences made everyone clear in what they don't want to have in this new team - or in other words, how this team should work. Every one of us learned and is still learning so much from each other, it is amazing. Because of the fact everyone has different things they are good at, we are making each other better and better and, in the long term, the team itself profits from it.

"Compared to my old lineups, there was always someone only following personal goals or talking against criticism, pointing fingers at others so that no one could point them at him, while not understanding that this criticism was necessary to improve. If you can't take criticism, you are not a good player in my eyes. If you cannot see the big picture of what needs to be done in order to be successful, you just simply… won't be."

For many reasons, this is an inspiring story for all aspiring players and teams. Not only did PENTA make their way to a Major this quickly, they did so with a lineup full of leftover players (three of whom are now Major rookies) and in the hardest way possible — through all four stages of qualification. In fact, PENTA played 23 maps on their journey to the PGL Major — or 28, if you account for the two extra series at the Minor in which the spot was no longer at stake —, of which they needed to win 20 to qualify.

Even kRYSTAL, who was there since the beginning, wouldn't have believed it if someone had told him he was going to make it to the Major within four months of PENTA's existence.

"I would have laughed. I'm still surprised with how fast we are improving, it is insane. Normally, when a new team is formed, there is always that "hype-time" in the beginning, where everyone feels super-confident and the progress is very easily noticable, but then the progress slowly decreases. For us, we are still going forward and it is feeling great."

With less than a week left before the PGL Major Krakow begins, kRYSTAL's squad now find themselves up against the odds yet again. Can they pass their biggest test so far and attain Legends status, which the German organization lost to mousesports after ESL One Katowice 2015? If their improvement continues — and there's no indication to say otherwise — it doesn't seem like such a stretch.

Germany Fatih 'gob b' Dayik
Fatih 'gob b' Dayik
Age:
32
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.85
Maps played:
975
KPR:
0.56
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Spain David 'Kairi' de Miguel
David 'Kairi' de Miguel
Age:
31
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.97
Maps played:
387
KPR:
0.66
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.15
Poland Paweł 'innocent' Mocek
Paweł 'innocent' Mocek
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
1213
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.15
Spain Christian 'loWel' Garcia Antoran
Christian 'loWel' Garcia Antoran
Age:
22
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
833
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.14
Germany Stefan 'stfN' Seier
Stefan 'stfN' Seier
Age:
27
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
982
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Germany Johannes 'tabseN' Wodarz
Johannes 'tabseN' Wodarz
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
1302
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.15
Finland Jesse 'zehN' Linjala
Jesse 'zehN' Linjala
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.11
Maps played:
737
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.15
Estonia Kevin 'HS' Tarn
Kevin 'HS' Tarn
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
662
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.70
APR:
0.15
Finland Niko 'naSu' Kovanen
Niko 'naSu' Kovanen
Age:
29
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.90
Maps played:
220
KPR:
0.60
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.15
Germany Tahsin 'tahsiN' Broschk
Tahsin 'tahsiN' Broschk
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.96
Maps played:
560
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.14
Finland Miikka 'suNny' Kemppi
Miikka 'suNny' Kemppi
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
1043
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.15
Brazil Lincoln 'fnx' Lau
Lincoln 'fnx' Lau
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
504
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.17
Germany Kevin 'kRYSTAL' Amend
Kevin 'kRYSTAL' Amend
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.93
Maps played:
1454
KPR:
0.63
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Portugal Ricardo 'fox' Pacheco
Ricardo 'fox' Pacheco
Age:
33
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
805
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
Netherlands Mike 'mikeS' Tuns
Mike 'mikeS' Tuns
Age:
27
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
306
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.10
penta is good, but playing ducks bestest
2017-07-11 19:02
#6
 | 
Germany TheFerox_ 
i agree to your comment
2017-07-11 19:02
#24
 | 
Netherlands xAlpaka 
0/8
2017-07-11 19:29
#53
 | 
Germany TheFerox_ 
he edited the comment xd
2017-07-11 20:22
#55
 | 
Germany TheFerox_ 
jk
2017-07-11 20:23
#40
 | 
Lithuania Kyper69 
what? xddd
2017-07-11 19:55
#41
 | 
Lithuania Kyper69 
+1
2017-07-11 19:55
#57
 | 
Germany TheFerox_ 
england is my city
2017-07-11 20:25
#62
 | 
Guatemala feerzein21 
PEWDIEPIE IS NEXTTT
2017-07-11 20:47
#78
 | 
Turkey FeverSpeed 
SELLING LIKE GOD CHURCH
2017-07-11 23:15
BROOOOOOOO
2017-07-12 09:18
#66
 | 
Lithuania SuperSanic 
Lithuania is my city
2017-07-11 21:06
#95
 | 
United States TheSupaSaiyan 
Playing ducks is next
2017-07-12 02:58
#113
malta | 
Malta vfXy0 
England*
2017-07-12 14:06
nice
2017-07-11 19:01
#5
 | 
United Kingdom HarryBotter 
TOP 3 2018 1. SK 2. Mousesports 3. Penta
2017-07-11 19:02
#27
 | 
France LanaRhoades 
1.g2 *
2017-07-11 19:32
#48
 | 
Ukraine Delmin 
AHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHA RLY????
2017-07-11 20:03
#59
 | 
United Kingdom HarryBotter 
Yes. you watch
2017-07-11 20:36
#29
 | 
Slovakia SLAVak 
you forgot Otter and Miami Flamingos
2017-07-11 19:37
#60
 | 
United Kingdom HarryBotter 
I am serious
2017-07-11 20:36
ok: 1) playing ducks 2)miami flamingos 3) mouz
2017-07-11 20:58
#67
 | 
Slovakia SLAVak 
Ye could be but it's gonna be a hard battle between Otter and Mouz. Could go both ways.
2017-07-11 21:12
#8
 | 
United Kingdom Fizzhaz 
penta kek
2017-07-11 19:03
#9
Friis | 
Poland Austinn 
nice
2017-07-11 19:04
EZ4MIKKA
2017-07-11 19:04
#11
 | 
Europe BigDickStacy 
Penta top 10 soon :)
2017-07-11 19:04
#12
Aleksib | 
Russia ivanb_ 
ez 4 sungod
2017-07-11 19:04
good team
2017-07-11 19:05
#14
FalleN | 
United Kingdom NeonSky 
"We chose him over ropz" RIP
2017-07-11 19:05
#22
 | 
Georgia bazuking 
cuz of 4700 elo on faceit :D
2017-07-11 19:25
#108
 | 
United Kingdom FraserLK50 
Considering the score between the two teams was only 16-14 I wouldn't say it was a massive mistake
2017-07-12 10:20
That wasnt down to zehn tho, he looked out of his depth, and mousesports as a whole have much better placings with ropz being a top 2 player in the team
2017-07-12 13:28
#15
 | 
World MURDERS 
Nice read! GL to Penta in the future!
2017-07-11 19:07
#16
ZywOo | 
United States TeamSESH 
penta is looking really good, -krystal + ropz or something similar would be interesting but maybe krystal's experience is beneficial for them
2017-07-11 19:08
#30
suNny | 
Finland m1skaa 
Yeah well then the team's roles would get kind of fucked, since someone would have to take AWPing and IGLing
2017-07-11 19:37
innocent is igl in penta
2017-07-11 19:44
#44
 | 
Turkey Librasa 
wtf no. Krystal is igl and sunny calls 80% of midrounds
2017-07-11 19:57
#47
World B-eZ 
lmfao
2017-07-11 20:01
#90
 | 
Poland Kagor 
Dobre info xDDDD
2017-07-12 00:21
#17
kääbik | 
Estonia MeX7 
Penta best!
2017-07-11 19:10
#18
 | 
Australia SHAMALOV 
"...lost to mousesports after IEM Katowice 2015?" Not IEM, ESL One
2017-07-11 19:12
You're right
2017-07-11 19:28
Penta on Major 0-3
2017-07-11 19:20
vp too ;-D
2017-07-11 19:58
True, even penta has better chances than them
2017-07-12 09:21
#83
 | 
Australia CKS 
I'm calling 2-3 :)
2017-07-11 23:27
i call 3-3 im serious
2017-07-12 08:30
#20
 | 
Brazil BuddyINSANE 
congratz boys! We smart, we loyal, we friendly, we are from BRAZIL! Kreygasm
2017-07-11 19:20
#21
 | 
Spain Alser 
Good article, hypes up the major to hear the stories of the lesser known teams. On a side note, am I the only one who always forgets that zehn plays for penta?
2017-07-11 19:24
#33
 | 
CIS ShimonSS 
Same, don't know why, but I just can't get his name up when I'm thinking about the fifth player of penta.
2017-07-11 19:39
#69
 | 
Europe KappaKaako 
Hes a big onliner interesting to see if he can do anything at the major
2017-07-11 21:31
#87
sergej | 
Finland Morkou 
Zehn had a really good plays at offline quals
2017-07-11 23:44
#25
 | 
Finland kappaboi 
Go penta! There are still many things penta can improve so future looks bright
2017-07-11 19:29
#26
 | 
Germany mahuwi 
team is okayish but org is shit.
2017-07-11 19:31
#34
 | 
Poland kurwafa 
what makes you think the org is shit?
2017-07-11 19:41
It really feels good to have 7 German players in the major, it seems after all that egos have been put aside. Rooting for BIG and Penta.
2017-07-11 19:34
#51
 | 
Bulgaria AboveYall 
well i wouldn't call gob b and legija germans exactly.. ))
2017-07-11 20:07
What makes you think so? They speak German, live in Germany and both are German citizens.
2017-07-11 20:23
#56
 | 
Germany Cedrew 
I hate people who just watch flags from hltv. and so on, Legjia and Gob or at least Gob are/is defintly German, They live in germany, the feel like germans and also they already lived there most of their lifetime so they are surely Germans!
2017-07-11 20:23
And maybe Tabsen?
2017-07-11 23:19
#71
Puls3 | 
World bigb1rd 
It is good. Always positive to have more variation and less domination from the usual countries (Sweden, France etc). It's also awesome how FaZe (g2/Kinguin) have set a precedent and almost paved the way for other International mixed line-ups to follow. Before FaZe there had barely ever been successful mixed nationality teams in 1.6 or CSS and not at all in CSGO imo. It's great watching FaZe play Mouz and seeing 10 different Nationalities playing absolute top level CS on one server, didn't think that would ever happen in CSGO tbh after the initial dominance of Sweden/France/Poland etc. After Mouz and PENTA have imporved so much hopefully others might follow.
2017-07-11 21:47
#31
es3tag | 
Germany vipitis 
This Penta lineup is impressing me again, again and again - I really want to see them upset some in the Major against teams that have issues in BO1 games.
2017-07-11 19:39
Same here!
2017-07-12 09:28
I like these guys, GL at the major krystal <3
2017-07-11 19:49
#42
mir | 
El Salvador NotHotMan 
HF PENTA <3
2017-07-11 19:55
#46
 | 
India Gandhii4 
WE SMART WE LOYAL WE FRIENDLY, WE ARE PENTA ESPOETS
2017-07-11 20:00
+1
2017-07-11 23:52
#49
 | 
Chile pr0per 
gl penta
2017-07-11 20:03
#52
 | 
Moldova OptimusBlyad 
PENTA <3
2017-07-11 20:08
GL PENTA!
2017-07-11 20:29
good read n1 striker
2017-07-11 20:42
#63
 | 
China Kenn67 
Penta's playing style is quite aggressive on T side which is really nice to watch. GL to Penta on Major.
2017-07-11 20:51
never thought that Penta would make it to a major again, but they fucking did it.
2017-07-11 20:57
#68
f0rest | 
Germany Gloin 
gl in krakow
2017-07-11 21:28
#72
XeqtR | 
Hong Kong wqnxy1 
gl guys~
2017-07-11 22:02
#73
 | 
Japan Th3Koala 
Lets go penta!
2017-07-11 22:07
#74
 | 
Germany Kereka 
After the golden times of Penta in DHW 2014 and Kato 15 everyone lost faith in Penta. I did not. I always watched their matches, always was hyped for new player changes but for nearly 2 years nothing really happened in a positive way. Even Krystal was close to leave Penta Sports. Sunny joined and something happened there, the plot twist for Penta and Krystal. Im so happy they achieved to get a solid EU Lineup, they always wanted to stick with german lineups, but we saw what they had achieved - nothing. I hope now for the upcoming major they can upset on BO1 and secure a legend spot for the following majors. Penta will rise again and get to the HLTV Top 10 again as they did 2 years ago. AUF GEHTS PENTA! Edit: to the orgs: pls make a new penta jersey, current one sucks dick with the link adress on the bottom etc., when you do a good looking one like liquid or north i will buy one for sure!
2017-07-11 22:14
#86
 | 
Greece PentaGR 
Same I've been dedicated for so long they definetely can take the legend status 4 months and they have gone through 4 qualifiers for the major imagine if the lineup sticks together for 2-3 yeats
2017-07-11 23:38
#96
 | 
Germany andoRRR 
That's why they didn't try another German lineup... they can't stick together for more than 2 - 3 months if they're not winning every game. I'm not a big fan of PENTA, but I certainly hope they stay together cause their playstyle is pretty exciting to watch.
2017-07-12 04:33
#107
Aleksib | 
Finland Slyp3 
Gotta hope they will not leave Krystal and Penta again for another org :(
2017-07-12 10:07
#75
 | 
Sweden Froxez 
PENTA
2017-07-11 22:13
Really good article, impressing progress by Penta
2017-07-11 22:17
#77
 | 
Germany B4MBI 
Penta is rly good
2017-07-11 22:33
Innocent x god
2017-07-11 23:26
#84
 | 
Argentina w33nter 
GJ PENTA boys! lets show your potential at the major! GL GL
2017-07-11 23:28
#85
f0rest | 
Poland ksk111 
I am hoping they will only get better and better
2017-07-11 23:34
Resuming: Penta is good you didnt have to read this little article.
2017-07-12 00:43
#92
 | 
Brazil ituano_86 
GG izi FlipSid3
2017-07-12 01:40
#94
 | 
United States mGm0nster 
Penta to win the major
2017-07-12 02:48
#97
 | 
China LeBronGames 
not hating but Penta got the easiest oppoenents they could have gotten at each stage first round Optic (0-3), worst team in attendance next round Liquid, another middle tier team lost to Mousesports a legit Tier 1/2 team won against Vega a CIS team who can only play Cache or Inferno
2017-07-12 05:30
on paper optic and liquid were top 10
2017-07-12 08:34
Lost to mouz 14-16. Liquid and OpTic were both at quarter finals in Cologne. Envyus 1 - 2 Penta. So what teams do you mean? They do not deserve to go to a major after these wins?
2017-07-12 09:36
#102
 | 
Faroe Islands shubaNNN 
Penta to win the next major
2017-07-12 08:45
#109
 | 
Poland PLEWA 
penta online soo bad :(
2017-07-12 10:37
#114
 | 
Finland kAlluYT 
The major will be so ez for penta
2017-07-12 16:16
EZ winland major championship faze v penta final kek
2017-07-12 19:04
Great read, thank you for this. Really hope they have a good run at the major. BIG and Penta could both upset top10 teams
2017-07-12 20:18
#117
 | 
Finland ginbay 
Hs>ropzz
2017-07-13 08:18
yes
2017-07-13 18:04
#119
 | 
Lithuania Anatomys 
Playing ducks is still the best
2017-07-14 11:27
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