Local team BIG was the surprise package at ESL One Cologne, beating teams such as MIBR, G2 and FaZe on their way to the grand final. In the end, Fatih "gob b" Dayik's troops fell to Natus Vincere 3-1, placing second and earning a $50,000 prize.
As the interview was conducted shortly after the grand final, we spoke to an obviously disappointed tabseN about the placing they reached in Cologne, playing matches on the big stage and the changes to their practice and communication that allowed them to perform well at the event.
You weren't really highly ranked coming into the tournament, you got the invite as the local team. You managed to place pretty well in the end, how do you feel about how far you managed to go into the tournament?
It's so hard to say. Reaching the final and playing at a home-crowd tournament is something incredible, but losing in the final is always sh*t. Even though you accomplished something big, you still feel so lost.
The run you had here, the first big win you got was the MIBR one, and after that you beat G2 in the playoffs, which was the first match you played on the stage here and the second one this roster ever played on stage. How much did that win mean to you to get the confidence going forward?
Playing here, on this stage, is completely different, the crowd is behind us completely, they carried us, they cheered for every single frag, it was like playing for the whole of Germany. But playing in front of a different crowd is something else. Every crowd is unique with its own style, I would say. This crowd was totally behind us and we felt it, it was just amazing to play in front of them.
You have nex in the team, and in the past, he was someone who was criticized for not being to able to perform on the big stages, in the big matches. Here he was playing very well, what changed for him? Have you noticed any differences that made him play so well in the matches here?
I think that it is also that we have a practice area, thanks to ESL obviously, they provide everything, that we can play all the time. I think that he needs to feel very comfortable, which he did at this event. Other than that, we also changed our practice style, we changed our communication a lot as well. I think that he felt way more comfortable than he had in the matches and tournaments before. We knew that we needed to change something, and we changed something for this particular event, and it felt very good to play like that. I think for nex it was very good as well.
You mentioned you changed stuff in your practice, what in particular?
Well, we made simpler tactics, simpler callouts for them. We play kind of straight. Other than that, we have gob b, he is one of the best in-game leaders, he can change anything that he wants. Before this tournament we had very complicated stuff, we tried to fix that so we have only one word for a tactic, it worked out pretty well, everyone knows what they have to do for the most part, I would say, everyone felt way more comfortable.
Touching on the FaZe game, on Train there was that round in which cromen got the ace and broke your momentum it felt like, but you managed to instantly get back from that. Can you tell me about those two rounds, I think you won an eco after that, and coming back into that game?
I remember the cromen round pretty well, they made an A execute and I had a very good flank, I came from ivy behind them and I was screaming "I'm coming behind them, survive, guys", one of us had a Scout, I think it was smooya, he legged him even and he had 10 HP. I was behind cromen and I felt like I could kill him, I knew that I could kill him, but he went behind five train, killed the first guy, I hesitated a bit and then I tried to rush him, I knew he was low HP but that was my bad. I should've killed him easily but I made a mistake, I ran into his crosshair, he killed me and the last guy as well.
After that, we knew that we should've won the round easily because it was a very safe round for us, he just did sick shots. But we were not that disappointed that we had lost the round, we kept our heads high and we knew that every round counted even though we had a low buy, an eco round or something like that. We knew that even with a low buy, an eco round or something like that, we knew that we could win every single round because we are going through a very good period. Other than that, in the next round they came out on a B explode and two of our CZs made two kills, someone came from behind and smooya got the last kill onto karrigan after he had killed me from oil, it was very close but we managed to come back with that. It was an amazing feeling that we won that round, it was really important for us.
Tell me about tiziaN, how has it been for him, playing on the big stage at a big tournament with all of the best teams?
He has improved so much, I think he is one of the guys who has improved the most on our team. He has learned so much about his positions, he understands the game way more now. He is doing very well. I think it affected him a bit, that he was on the big stage, but after some good rounds, after some good matches, he felt way more comfortable and he believed in himself like everyone else did, and he also felt that the crowd was behind him. In some way, it affected him positively.
What's next for you guys?
We are doing a two-week break and, after that, we are going on holidays, all together, except for smooya. After that, we have a month of full preparations for the Major, we will bootcamp, talk about everything again, try to find new stuff, we will try to develop our game and make the best out of it.
Going on holidays as a team, that's something I don't know any other team does. What's the deal with that?
All of the Germans on the team, we are kind of a family, we also live together sometimes. We lived together for a while already. We feel like we are a big family and we just show everyone that friends in the game - friends out of the game. And everything has been working so far, I really like those guys.