Coming off of a second place finish at DreamHack Open Tours, HellRaisers didn't have the best of performances at StarSeries i-League S5. The international squad beat Renegades, but suffered defeats to NiP, North and finally NRG to finish the tournament with a 12-14th placing.
After the event, we got in touch with woxic to hear about what has been troubling the team. The Turkish AWPer revealed that the atmosphere in HellRaisers had deteriorated recently, with visa issues and a forfeit in the ESL One Cologne qualifier only adding more frustration.
In an interview at StarSeries, bondik mentioned that you took a break from practice recently. What was the reason for the break, did you start getting burned out by practicing too much, were the relationships in the team become tough to handle?
In my opinion, you have to have fun while playing. And this isn't just about CS, it can apply to anything. When we have fun in the game we are playing better for sure. And most of the times I'm just saying some stupid things to have fun, I want to show my teammates that I'm ready, they can see I'm really confident when I can joke as well.
Those days we were having really bad practice games, maybe we played too much and got bored. We are also changing a lot of things and trying a lot of new different ideas, and this is can be hard sometimes. And for sure it felt like this there is no fun, the team atmosphere was really bad these days.
I'm not going to lie, I ruined some practices because I was not happy with the situation, I didn't really want to play. I was fine with playing individually until we get our old atmosphere in the team back, and I guess others agreed, so for a couple of days we practised only a bit and mostly played individually. Now, we are practising normally again.
Talk to me about the feelings after DreamHack Tours, which you attended instead of ESL Pro League Finals. How do you rate your performance in France, where you finished second?
Firstly, when I once again had visa issues, I was so tilted and, at the same time, I was so sad. Because, for an example, if I don't qualify or if I do not deserve to go a tournament, I will still be sad but not like this. I deserved it, my team deserved to go. We didn't attend because of me, it makes me so angry. And it was not the first time for us.
About Dreamhack Tours, we played very well, to be honest, and I liked our playstyle and the confidence we displayed. I was feeling that we were going to win this tournament, but North played better than us and they caught our mistakes. At this level, if you make mistakes your opponent will punish you, which is what they did.
Just shortly after that, you managed to get far in the ESL One Cologne qualifier, but lost to North and then forfeited to Gambit because ANGE1 couldn't play. How did you feel about that, was it something that could've been avoided by submitting a backup player for that qualifier?
I'm still so angry about this decision, the tournament organizers told us about using a stand-in: "You have to tell us before, you can't pick a stand-in right now." And I was up to play with our coach, but someone, I will not say any names, didn't want to play with our coach.
Maybe this is their way of protesting, but, anyway, it was not acceptable. You're giving your spot for free, without a fight. In my "life book", there is no surrender. I'll never surrender, if it happens again I'll be ready to play 1v5 if no one else wants to play. Because I don't want to feel like that again. I want to be able to tell myself if I lose: "You gave your best, but your opponent was better than you this time. You are going to work and you will show them who's better".
Based on your recent tweets, some fans got a sense that you are frustrated by your team after the losses that you had. Do you think there is any truth to that?
Everything was about forfeiting the game vs Gambit. It was my protest just for what happened that day.
Did you have big hopes from StarSeries i-League S5? For a couple of your teammates, it's a tournament in their hometown, did that add additional pressure to perform?
Of course we had big hopes, I didn't expect to lose in the group stage. I didn't feel that our guys had any additional pressure, though.
During his time in HellRaisers, ANGE1 has been getting players that no one else was ready to give a shot and made it work with them. s1mple, while he was ESL banned, was one of the first, then oskar, Zero and STYKO, now you and ISSAA. Is there something about ANGE1 that makes young players more confident, unlocks their potential? What has your experience with him been like?
In my opinion, he is one of the best captains in the world. That's because he knows everything about this game. For me, he saw my potential, he worked on it, he tried to improve me a lot. And it helped a lot.
Since the day I joined, I have felt that every day I'm playing with more confidence, playing better. And I can say that I'm at this level right now because of him.
How do you describe him as a leader? Does he excel more at controlling the emotions, motivating people in the team, or in tactics and strategy?
He's controlling everything like a dad. He is preparing tactics and motivating people in the team. And if you need, he's coming and talking to you one-on-one. When he says to me something along the lines of: "woxic, I need you in the game right now, not another time, but right now. Re-focus and help me.", I instantly feel so good.
And if I was mad or if I was feeling bad, he is also fixing this, not just for me, but for everyone. I can say that he is a good teacher and dad. (laughs)
You are a player with an extremely high sens-dpi combination, is it an issue for you at offline events when you are out of your comfort zone, when you get the LAN jitters? Do you prescribe to the idea that it's easier to be consistent with a lower sensitivity?
Nope. I don't want to change my sensitivity and I'm never thinking about this. I think I can control my screen more than anyone because of my sensitivity. A long time ago I tried to use a lower sens, but I saw that I could not play like that. Maybe sometime in the future I will try it again.
Even though some people had noticed you back in DarkPassage, you really broke out through FPL. Do you still play FPL a lot, what are your thoughts on playing in the PUG environment now that you are a professional player?
In FPL you can improve yourself a lot playing with other pro players. And it's giving you more confidence because when you face pro players in official games, you will have already played against a lot of them in FPL. For me, it makes me feel so confident, I know them, it's not my first time to see these guys, I can be ready for what's coming. Also, a lot of the times pros are doing the same moves, using the same nades etc., that they do in official games.
A topic that often pops up is your relationship to the Turkish scene and the current Space Soldiers. You stated that you would not be interested in joining that team as it is right now, but would you be open to returning to your country's scene at all? If in an ideal scenario, after your time in HellRaisers, you were able to pick whichever Turkish players and play with them under any organization, would that be interesting to you?
Of course, one day, why not. It doesn't matter, I can't talk about future for the Turkish scene, if it is going to be like it is right now, I would probably decide to not play. Right now, I'm very happy to play on an international roster.
Would you consider moving to NA, have you received any offers from this region?
Yes, one day. Why not?. And yes, I got two or three offers before HellRaisers, but I declined because of my current team.
You got through the first part of making it to the Minor, getting three confident wins in the qualifier. Are you happy about it, or is the sense of uncertainty about the visas the feeling that prevails, especially considering your team's visa history?
Of course, I was happy because we are qualified, but at the same time, I was thinking about how I was going to get my visa for the Minor. I really hope this time I'll get it.
Doing well at the Minor is, of course, one of your big priorities, but do you have any other goals that you want to reach now, either as a team or a player? What do you aim for at Moche XL?
As a team, we have to improve our games before the Minor. And we want to win the Moche XL tournament, so it can help us to improve before the Minor, it would also give us more confidence.