We caught up with Kevin "HS" Tarn ahead of his unveiling by OpTic to discuss the new challenge in his career and the choice to leave PENTA Sports.
The 20-year-old played an important role in PENTA's impressive run between May and July, when the team went through every possible qualifying stage to reach PGL Major Krakow and also won the ESEA Season 24 Global Challenge.
Read on as the young Estonian discusses matters concerning signing for OpTic, his expectations for the new team, the issues with PENTA after the Major, and more.
Only one month ago you were playing at your first Major, and now you find yourself on one of Europe’s most exciting young teams. Did you ever think that things would turn around like this so quickly for you?
It was really unexpected. Our PENTA team was in shambles after suNny had decided to join mousesports, we just had a lot of problems to deal with, overall. One day, I was approached by my new teammates out of the blue, and I was really happy to hear that I was the one they wanted to play with. From what I heard, during all the roster changes happening I was not the "first choice" for them, but in the end things worked out for me. It just makes me want to prove myself and to show everyone that I should indeed be playing amongst these legendary players with such an amazing organization behind us.
What is your opinion about your new teammates?
They are players who will try to shape me, the young gun, in a way that they believe will fit the team. It will be really interesting because we all come from different types of teams and will probably have different ideas/input about how to play the game. The most important thing is that we all have one single goal - to win. Nowadays, there are a lot of players who don’t play for that, but that is what is most crucial to me. I will always look for ways to improve myself and my teammates, and I think this is the perfect environment for me.
Have you already started practicing? If so, what are your first impressions of the team and also of friberg’s leadership?
We have not practiced yet due to me being contracted to PENTA until now, but I have discussed with friberg a lot about in-game details, and I think we will not have any problems with leadership. We have smart players with a lot of experience on a top level, and that will make it easier for Adam to lead.
This is obviously a major change for OpTic as well as they have gone from a North American team to a European lineup. Judging from the talks you have had with the organisation, what is the plan for the team and what are their goals for the remainder of the year?
We all know that we want to be the best, no discussions were needed to realise that. Still, becoming the best this year already might be a little bit too much to ask. Who knows, though, after what PENTA accomplished, coming out of nowhere and unexpectedly getting good results very fast?
The previous OpTic team had a gaming house in the United States, but you will be in Europe most of the time. How are you going to manage your practice routine? Do you consider moving in together or will you just bootcamp before events?
As of now, the plan is that we stay in our homes to practice and then, before important events, we will do bootcamps. For the upcoming events in North America [and ESL Pro League], we have the option to use the gaming house as much as we want.
There were some complications about your transfer from PENTA. Did you fear at some point that you would not be able to join OpTic? Did you have to force a transfer?
I wanted to join this team and the rest of my teammates wanted to play with me, but at one point it was not for us to decide. We did not want to force anything, but it was logical that PENTA would accept this transfer because it benefited both parties.
Ultimately, what made you decide to leave PENTA, a team that had grown so much in just a few months? Do you think that, after suNny’s departure, the team would struggle to get back on its feet?
We had some issues within the team, plans to make more changes and problems with things related to the organisation. It would be almost impossible to find a lineup as appealing as the one we had. There was no way I would feel like I could win as much as I believe I can win with this lineup with and OpTic behind us, so this only seemed natural to me.
Former PENTA manager Andreas "shadjEAh" Pullitzky recently told Slingshot Esports that he believed PENTA did not treat its players fairly. How was your experience with the organisation? Did it play any role in your decision to leave?
We had disagreements between the players and the organisation, as well as other problems. Both parties could have handled things much better. It played a role in my decision.
For several years, Estonia did not have any player competing on a top level. Now, it has two - ropz and yourself. What do you think about the rise of Estonian talent, and can you draw any parallels between your path and ropz’s?
I think ropz and I are two very different players in completely different roles. It is amazing how fast he got picked up, but I am not surprised. It is crazy how disciplined he is at making decisions at this point in his career and at his age, not to mention that his aim is top level. On the other hand, it took a while for me to start playing amongst top level teams, even though I had been fragging a lot in my previous teams. Sometimes I wish that my mindset was different and that I had learned to play CS:GO differently and focused on decision making, positioning and never doing mistakes instead of looking at the best players doing insane plays and trying to mimic them. In the future, there might be more Estonian players following me and ropz by example, looking to get into the international scene. There are some players with potential, but as of now, I do not see an Estonian team getting to the top.