In our first interview from ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals, we asked Engin "MAJ3R" Küpeli about the visa issues that have plagued Space Soldiers, and their outlook at the $750,000 tournament.
Space Soldiers are at the ESL Pro League Finals with their backup player, Çağatay "DESPE" Sedef, instead of Buğra "Calyx" Arkın, who was denied entry to the United States shortly before the tournament.
Nonetheless, the Turks got off to a good start in Dallas with a great Terrorist side on Inferno against Renegades, clinching a convincing 16-7 victory in the end. After the match, we caught up with the in-game leader, Engin "MAJ3R" Küpeli, to ask about the visa issues and the Renegades matchup.
When did you first learn about Calyx not being able to make it here? Did you practice at all with DESPE or was it as last-minute as it looked?
Yeah, we knew on the last day, we waited until the last day for Calyx to get his visa. We hoped we could get his visa in time, but at the last moment, we learned that we were going to play with DESPE. At first, we thought about canceling it, but then we asked DESPE on the last day and he did everything he could to be here, so I want to thank him personally.
In terms of preparation, thanks to Na`Vi we played two maps (laughs), so it was good. But we already played with DESPE a long time ago, so it's not like it's new, but it's been a long time, the metagame also changed. We can practice today and let's see what we can do.
The visa issues have plagued you for a while now, recently you missed IEM Sydney as well, are there any steps you can take to prevent this in the future? Is there really anything you can do about it?
I was really optimistic before, 'OK, visa issues, let's do our best', but now it has become a little annoying. We try our best to be part of the best tournaments in CS:GO and sometimes visas are denied, it's very frustrating and annoying, but it's life, we need to deal with it.
I will not cry about the visa issues, we need to do our best, we came here and DESPE is a good player, he's been with us since the early beginnings, since the creation of the team, so we will do our best.
Has this in any way affected your goals for Pro League Finals?
We always aim for the playoffs, we always aim for the best we can. I tried to find some solutions about how to use DESPE in positive things, we thought about it a lot yesterday and two days ago in the plane, about how we can use him. We talked a lot with our manager and I think we found a solution, and the goal is obviously to go the furthest we can.
I'm sure you saw at least a little bit of Renegades' success at IEM Sydney, did you expect your first match against them to be this one-sided?
BO1 is always random, we started well, we won the pistol on the T side, we won some very important rounds, important clutches, so I don't think we are better than Renegades today, it was just a BO1, I'm pretty sure they will bounce back.
It was a good day for us, everything was in the green for us, but I know how BO1s are in CS, and I'm just happy that today we got to choose our side.