MAJ3R: "I'm trying to create an identity [for Space Soldiers] without a star AWP player"
In the aftermath of Space Soldiers' victory over eXtatus, we sat down with Engin "MAJ3R" Küpeli to hear about the team's recent form, the AWPing situation, and visa issues.
Following that match and before they started setting up for their game against OpTic, we talked to the team's in-game leader Engin "MAJ3R" Küpeli, who revealed details about Space Soldiers' preparation, the favorites for the event and the Turkish star AWPer Özgür "woxic" Eker.
Considering the history of Space Soldiers never making it to the Major Qualifier, how was the whole team feeling coming into the Minor?
This time, this year, we feel very confident. By the way, it's my first time with them at a Minor, it's my first Minor, but in my point of view, we are growing month by month, we are playing better. We came here confident and I hope that this year we will succeed in getting to the Qualifier, that is the main objective.
How did you prepare for the event, what was the main thing? Were you looking at the teams that are in your group or were you maybe thinking more about the favorites for the event, such as OpTic and EnVyUs, that you will probably have to beat to go through?
The favorites for winning the qualifier are EnVyUs and OpTic, of course. But like I said, my team is focusing on themselves, I have my job as the leader so I watched some demos, of course, I watched demos of OpTic and EnVy, so in my head, I maybe know the map we are going to play and I know how to play against them.
But the most important thing is that in the past months, we had some problems with communication, with our CT side, with our team play. We were trying a lot of individual actions, individual moves, but we are now trying to play more like a team, we are trying to create some things. In my point of view, I think that we are playing better, we are doing a lot of mistakes, of course, but it's better and we were trying to focus on us, the communication etc. After that, it's my job to see the enemy, what they are doing and what they can do.
Before the eXtatus match, I saw you with the team giving them final instructions, how well did you know what eXtatus were going to do and what did you convey to the team before the match?
I prepared two maps against them, I prepared Train and Cobble. Before the match, I thought that they would pick Cobblestone, but they picked Train which was a little surprise for me. But I watched Train of them as well.
Like I said, I had my paper, I watched what they did, I didn't anti-strat, I just said to my team: "They can do that, they can do that, be careful of this". I checked four pistols of them and when we started the match, they did something new which I didn't expect. So it was kind of weird when the match started because I told my team: "Guys be careful of that because they are going to do it" and it ended up being the inverse. So after that, I stopped that but told my team not to forget that if two smokes come A, it can be fast B, just tell me and be careful, because I know that they have this tactic.
Mainly, we played our game, but in my head, I knew about little gaps in what they were doing.
DESPE was your main AWPer and you benched him a while back. Ever since then you've been trading around the AWP a bit, we see almost every player use it from time to time. So tell me a bit about the AWPing situation on the team, what do you make of it at the moment?
As everyone knows, we don't have a star player AWP, we have a lot of star rifle players though. So I'm trying to create something without an AWP, but it is important in CS. We talked as a team and we decided that, in some maps and some positions, if you feel that you want to take the AWP, take it. But I don't want to have two AWPs on some maps, so we are careful of that.
We are trying to do something, but it's hard. I'm trying to create an identity without an star AWP player, but it's different, in my career in 1.6 I always played with very good AWP players. I'm doing what I can with the cards I have in my hands.
What people were thinking about a lot, ever since you benched DESPE, is woxic, as a Turkish star AWPer. Tell me a bit about what you think about him as a player, have there at any point been any thoughts about having him join, was that maybe even tried?
Personally, I don't know woxic, we talked maybe a little. But I'm the kind of person, when I face a problem, the solution is not a kick. For me, the friendship is more important. When you play and you are struggling, I'm not giving up on a player that is struggling. I want him to give him the chance to show himself and give his best. For me, it's not a solution when the team is not going well to be like "Oh, kick this one, take this one because he is a better AWP" etc. This is not a solution for me. I prefer the friendship with players, I really want to win with these guys. I put my friendship before other things sometimes.
But, then I talk to my friends, we still play together, but you have to work harder; "You have a gap here, you are not playing well here". We are teammates, we can say things directly to each other if someone is playing badly. It's not a big problem. We are not kids so that if someone says that you are playing bad you go and make a sad face, "Why is he talking like that". If we have a problem, we face it like it men, we talk, we try to fix it and that's all. That's the point of view of the team Space Soldiers.
Another topic touching on Turkey is the visa issues, it didn't happen for you guys recently but woxic has been having some issues with visas. Can you, for the average viewer and people that don't know that much about the situation, tell us a bit about it, has it been harder for the past months? What is the status with you in the past months?
The visa problem in Turkey is very difficult, we are lucky that we have an organization like Space Soldiers, because with them it's easier to get a visa. Without that, for a solo person, it's very complicated to get a visa. Also, a lot of people are saying why don't we bootcamp in Europe, but when we bootcamp in Europe, with Turkish visa, they have a count of days that you can stay in Europe. I don't know the exact number, but with that limit, we cannot stay in Europe bootcamping for two months, because if we do, we won't have days left to go to LANs, so we are kinda blocked. It's a very hard situation for us.
Now we got visas for the United States, which is good news, but I'm not sure about the length and the details for all the players, I'd have to ask our manager.
I want to end on your outlook on the tournament, you are going to presumably face OpTic, how do you feel about all that?
We are feeling confident, we came here with good training, let's do our best. The main teams to beat here will be EnVyUs and OpTic, for me at least, but AGO is also a very talented team as I said before, I tweeted that they would beat GODSENT etc., I watched their demo and I feel like they are playing great as a team. So be careful of AGO, but the favorites are EnVyUs, OpTic and us, of course.