ShahZam: "I'm speechless, I can't believe it; I won't lie, I went outside and cried"

We caught up with Shahzeb "⁠ShahZaM⁠" Khan after his team Complexity overcame Vega Squadron to qualify for the New Legends Stage.

After beating Space Soldiers, BIG and Vega Squadron, ShahZaM qualified for the FACEIT Major New Legends Stage, with his last Major top 16 placing dating back to 2015 and his stint in Cloud9.

A jubilant Shahzam hugging his teammates after the victory

In an interview with the American AWPer, we talked about facing Vega Squadron, a team he described as "coordinated chaos", his absence from the Majors and his teammate Jaccob "⁠yay⁠" Whiteaker.

Going into the match against Vega, they are a team that a lot of people can't understand how they play. What did you do to prepare for their game style and to get this win here?

It seems like the general consensus about Vega is that they are a very loose, unexpected-type of a team. That makes sense and we experienced that, we actually played them in practice during the bootcamp. They kind of ran around everywhere and ran all over us. Going into the match we were actually expecting to play Cache because it is a popular map for them, as well as for us. We thought we could kind of bait them into the pick by vetoing Mirage, which is also a map we are comfortable with, but a very strong map for them.

Unfortunately, all of our preparation for Cache kind of went out of the window when they went for Inferno, but regardless of preparation, we are still really confident on the map, we've only played Inferno throughout the whole first New Challenger Stage. We figured that because of that they would probably do a lot of anti-stratting because we only played Inferno and they picked it instead of going for Cache, it was unusual. So stanislaw had that in his mind when he was making the calls and, taking advantage of it, anti-stratting the anti-strat, if that makes sense. So that was the game plan going into the game.

So I guess that worked out with the CT side you had?

Yeah, we had a slow start, losing pistol, and we managed to win a lot of rounds straight. And on the T-side pistol the whole idea was great, we ended up in a 3v1 situation, which we blew because of some miscommunications. That was unfortunate, it gave them some momentum to get a string of rounds. It felt like in our early gun rounds, we were trying to make individual plays to just secure the match because we were so close, and it was just costing us rounds. As soon as we slowed down, reset, and found our rythm, things started going forward.

So you feel like the pressure to close the game, especially with a lot at stake?

Definitely, there was a round where we were 5v4 and I think stanislaw wanted us to fall off or just hold but we ended up trying to walk into B, I thought I would beat the spool guy's contact, so I peeked spawn where I shouldn't have and that cost the 4v4 reset. And you can't do those - which is a lesson learned obviously.

Just talking about Vega's style, unstructured and wild, can you draw any parallels to playing lower-tier NA teams, when you are playing open qualifiers or similar stuff? Are there any similarities between the two?

The thing, playing NA teams, people are going and individually making plays, but Vega Squadron is definitely a really good team. It is coordinated chaos, if that makes sense. That crazy play, that is unexpected, you can clearly see that they are communicating very well while they are doing it, they are working together, so I can't really compare it to NA teams. It is a style that works for them, luckily we came out on top today, but I still think very highly of them as a team.

Tell me how you feel about the group stage that you played here, the performances you put in as a team?

I'm very happy with our performance, to be completely honest, you know, our first matchup was against Astralis, the current best team in the world I think anyone would say. So we can't be too heartbroken over that defeat. We had to focus on what was ahead. It is super unfortunate about the Space Soldiers situation, but we still have to do what we have to do, regardless of that. Going into the BIG match was where we really showed what we were capable of, I think we were extreme underdogs in that match. Even going into it, I think all of the guys were confident that we were going to be the better team.

You made the Major for the first time since Cloud9, a lot of time passed, you went through a lot of teams; Conquest, OpTic, Echo Fox, Misfits... Do you feel like you found a stable home now in compLexity here?

Oh my god, of course. Someone like me, I've played for so many organizations, so many different rosters, it is all, honestly, a great experience that created the player I am today, I definitely learned a lot through the years. compLexity is an organization like no other I've never experienced, they truly treat me like they care about me, they make sure we have everything we need, it is like a big family, and honestly, I'd never want to go anywhere else. I hope I can retire under compLexity.

Tell me about the feeling of getting to the Major, adding your name to the list with your second attended, which is a big achievement for a lot of players?

It is been a looooong, hard work, I always felt like I got really screwed with Minors previously. Even though Echo Fox, and then going to TSM and Misfits, we would qualify for the Minor and then a roster change would go down and we would be able to go to the Minor. So I think three Minors in a row, for three different Majors, I didn't get to play in. And you know, I always felt like I was cursed, that I kept getting screwed, that I'm missing out on these Majors, I stay at home and I watch them... I love CS, I watch all the Majors, all the matches and with Misfits, with the last one we were so close, against Space Soldiers, our decider match was a 13-16 loss on Train. Being so close to that and losing was heartbreaking. Now, finally, I'm speechless, I can't believe it. I won't lie, I went outside and cried.

ShahZam is impressed by the commitment of compLexity's young gun yay

I wanted to ask you about your teammate yay, who is the youngster not many people know about. He's been playing for compLexity for a while, but outside of that, he didn't play a lot of international tournaments, this is his first Major and all of that. What can people expect from him in the next stage?

He is a phenomenal player, I don't think I've ever seen anyone dedicate as much individual time into their own mechanics and skill. He is super young and super committed, he's got that dedication and I love it, I love playing with him. I think that, in previous times, before I and stanislaw joined up, he and ANDROID didn't have any leadership to really guide them the right way. I think that is a big problem in the NA scene, you've got all of these talented players that have the work ethic, the mentality, but they don't really have the right leaders to guide them and really teach them how to play proper CS, how to be good teammates... It is shown, it is fortunate that stanislaw is good at doing that, we are really lucky to have him because otherwise players would be rotting away, not really reaching their full potential. We are very lucky to have stanislaw.

More interviews from the FACEIT Major New Challengers Stage:

Day 4
Germany gob b: "I'm looking forward to the fifth round, now we can show we're a really good team in the BO3s"
Ukraine bondik: "I enjoy when someone is showing emotions and I like to do the same"
Indonesia xccurate: "We changed so much on the T side of Inferno [after playing OpTic]"
Denmark gla1ve: "[As an IGL,] cadiaN is really good at the same things as FalleN"

Day 3
Sweden f0rest: "I'm not satisfied at all; I believe that we can go so much further"
Brazil TACO: "We knew Vega have a really aggressive style, but it was still hard to play against"

Day 2
Denmark cajunb: "I really want to win a Major, that's when I can retire and be happy"
Ukraine somedieyoung: "We pretty much knew everything North were going to do"
Kazakhstan AdreN: "It's me and Hobbit who are trying to make the mid-round calls"
Russia hutji: "During his 1v1, chopper said 'no worries, guys, I'm going to punch him'"

Day 1
Germany tiziaN: "I've actually practiced it 3 or 4 times, but I wasn't planning on doing that shot"
Canada Twistzz: "We knew that bootcamping was the way better option"
Indonesia BnTeT: "We're confident in our skill, but I'm not sure we're confident in our team play"
Sweden Lekr0: "I think I learned the most about [in-game leading] from pronax back in the day"

Media Day:
Canada stanislaw: "We have all the pieces to really do some damage"
Ukraine B1ad3: "We still haven't found the perfect in-game leader"
Ukraine crush: "We didn't play much [officially] because we wanted to find our game"
United States Hiko "American teams are dependent on the momentum they gain"
Poland NEO: "byali wanted changes even before Snax told us [he was leaving]"
Russia DavCost: "The main goal is to show who we are"

United States Jaccob 'yay' Whiteaker
Jaccob 'yay' Whiteaker
No team
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
United States Shahzeb 'ShahZaM' Khan
Shahzeb 'ShahZaM' Khan
No team
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
2018-09-09 01:21
Putin is like cry???
2018-09-09 01:24
I am like expected
2018-09-09 01:57
ShahZam crying? What a god! CoL win major?
2018-09-09 11:18
Serious question.. do shazam fans exist? Like does anyone actually try to get shazam stickers?
2018-09-09 07:03
his friends and family
2018-09-09 08:58
yeah, your mom
2018-09-09 10:19
Nice deflecting you bully. Next time you're on the Internet so us all a favor and dont. Kids like you just project so it's fine stay losing I'll hold my win
2018-09-09 14:06
Chill brotha
2018-09-09 15:06
mom and your sister, they went pretty wild with shazam last night
2018-09-09 15:31
You already lost why are you still projecting. Take your L you troll I'll hold my win kid
2018-09-09 16:15
whats with the letter L ?
2018-09-09 16:45
Lol I really think CoL will flop in BO3's. Maybe they have good 1 map games, but holy fuck they will be crushed in the long run.
2018-09-14 17:05
yeah, your mom
2018-09-19 01:34
0/8 I'll enjoy my win kid
2018-09-19 02:30
I've seen maybe 1 or 2 ShahZam fans on here over the years. Brown Paki guy with toxic behavior in the past, plus the C9/OpTic debacle certainly doesn't endear himself to HLTV users. I generally think he's a solid player. His game has matured a little, but still has a tendency to re-peek too much with the awp and take stupid battles. That being said, he's very capable with rifles, which is an asset.
2018-09-09 16:38
2018-09-09 07:45
United Kingdom Dimwit
My interview with Dephh was better :/
2018-09-09 01:22
2018-09-09 01:22
Poland Kobel_
Good for him
2018-09-09 01:22
Norway Phancy11
Retarded map veto by Vega, any other map they would destroy them ez af.
2018-09-09 01:22
Poland Crai9Xen
2018-09-09 01:22
Shahzy <3
2018-09-09 01:23
Canada kyzradaM
2018-09-09 01:23
Good for him #GLCOMPLEXITY
2018-09-09 01:23
2018-09-09 01:23
Ukraine ksay
emo :)
2018-09-09 01:23
Soyboy, lol
2018-09-09 09:00
best na awper for sure
2018-09-09 01:24
who is the youngster not many people now about NICE GRAMMAR
2018-09-09 01:25
United States Sillychubs
no grammar problems with that phrase.
2018-09-09 02:33
"not many people now about" or "not many people know about"?
2018-09-09 02:56
Brazil Mentecapto
probably a typo
2018-09-09 04:16
United States Sillychubs
not grammar, that's spelling
2018-09-09 07:03
U a linguist? Outside linguistics, the term grammar is often used in a rather different sense. In some respects, it may be used more broadly, including rules of spelling and punctuation, which linguists would not typically consider to form part of grammar, but rather as a part of orthography, the set of conventions used for writing a language.
2018-09-09 09:03
Portugal CRMN1
Ugh not to be the prick who disagrees with everything but orthography and grammar aren't really the same. As a native portuguese speaker at at very least, there's a wall between what we call "ortografia" and "gramática", this meaning that orthography is related to spelling specifically and grammar includes all the qualities of a well spoken language. EDIT: Wrong reply
2018-09-09 12:45
2018-09-09 01:26
Fuck it refreshed 😑, I was gonna say first but then it siad I was 16th
2018-09-09 01:27
Go outside and cry. (._.')
2018-09-09 02:13
+1 (._.')
2018-09-09 12:53
United States stotte
Don't worry you'll go outside and cry again when you go 0-3 in main stage dropping a massive 0.81 rating
2018-09-09 01:27
Still making it to the legends stage at least
2018-09-09 01:28
why would they cry ? they got what they wanted,everything else from now its a bonus mongoloid
2018-09-09 01:28
United States stotte
NA trash
2018-09-09 01:28
and u are fan of eUnited OMEGALUL "kick_tarik_ffs" lmao
2018-09-09 01:29
United States stotte
Ohh I'm a fan of a good team. Oh my me what will I ever do? Ohhh I want a shit player kicked? Whodathunkit?
2018-09-09 01:29
If eUnited is a good team CoL is a great team.
2018-09-09 01:42
United States stotte
LooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooL no
2018-09-09 01:43
CoL > eUnited either way
2018-09-09 01:44
United States stotte
Flag checks out
2018-09-09 01:45
Nice argument
2018-09-09 01:45
United States sxg
lmao you think eunited is better than coL ? your freaking stupid.
2018-09-09 07:54
United States stotte
Calling me stupid. Sewage2k fan. Jesus christ this world
2018-09-09 16:16
Nice 0-3 then WHY SO MAAAAD
2018-09-14 09:55
United States stotte
This tournament is shit and all of the good teams are playing like garbage. Winstrike would clean up coL three times over
2018-09-15 00:28
losing 16-4 vs astralis first match then win 3 straight matches who would've tought
2018-09-09 01:27
Look who they win against easiest way to legend stage
2018-09-09 02:44
Lithuania SiTyGas
Astralis got to the legend stage easier anyway.. They only fought NIP (that they lost to) from good teams..
2018-09-09 07:49
2018-09-09 01:32
stfu, he is happy
2018-09-09 01:33
ropz | 
Denmark SokScs
People from Kazakstan probably never tried that feeling before
2018-09-09 01:43
PGL Major?
2018-09-09 01:59
ropz | 
Denmark SokScs
I was talking about people generally in Kazakstan
2018-09-09 02:00
OH fuck lmao
2018-09-09 02:47
2018-09-09 02:53
Finland Smoonah
cry is free
2018-09-09 01:31
Peru cookiesA
GL shahzam
2018-09-09 01:37
Cry is free
2018-09-09 01:42
:( sad
2018-09-09 01:42
Denmark Zorrondo
crying for a videogame? what a fagg
2018-09-09 01:53
it's not just a video game for him. He makes a living off of it and it's his dream you insensitive cunt. suck a dick
2018-09-09 11:33
2018-09-12 15:09
Malaysia byaIi
im crying on every mm game :Z
2018-09-09 01:58
Indonesia Exodd
Is this his first ever major?
2018-09-09 02:01
I think his second, he played under Cloud9 during the Katowice 2015 major
2018-09-09 02:07
cry about a game lol
2018-09-09 02:04
For some of those people its not just a game. Its their job and it brings them success and recognition. I wouldn't be mistaken if I'd say that many would get emotional to the point of crying if effort pays off enough to make your dreams come true. (._.')
2018-09-09 02:11
Finland Jonzu95
What did you expect from romanian who doesn't know anything about fulfilling dreams.
2018-09-09 03:15
i am simona halep google me
2018-09-09 07:45
2018-09-09 09:59
2018-09-12 15:10
Exiting B don't kill me.
2018-09-09 02:13
Myanmar xdcc
he killed semphis career with that clip
2018-09-09 02:17
cry is free
2018-09-09 02:18
2018-09-09 02:29
United Kingdom Konzzz
shaz deserves better!
2018-09-09 02:38
one more wasted spot
2018-09-09 02:50
Lmao where is indian cs rn? Ntntnt streetshitter
2018-09-09 04:12
2018-09-09 08:56
Indian CS is actually on the rise but yes coL isn't a wasted spot
2018-09-09 11:34
Who gives a fuck about Indian cs? It gonna stay in dumpster for next 10 years. 2ndly Indian football is shit then why u people keep posting and reviewing shit about International football scene.
2018-09-09 14:43
uncle sam its wasted spot like c9 hahahahahhaha
2018-09-09 14:42
No scene means u cannot comment? lol Fat burger's brain on work. Watch col and c9 going out in the first round only hahahaha
2018-09-09 14:44
Denmark resolut
They say NA minor is a joke, one qualified They say CIS minor is a joke, BOTH could qualify They say asian minor is a joke, one could qualify regarding match w spirit They say EU minor is the best, potentially only one will qualify
2018-09-09 06:47
Well sir faggotalot, you will see how those minors actually work in the next major, 3rd team from eu against 3rd team from asia. Ence v Tainted Minds xd Now you see? Its not a problem having two decent teams in a region, like please asia has Tyloo and renegades and no one else. And btw europe most likely will take 5/8 spots in this major qualifier and you say eu is not the best region? Cis will have 0 teams, NA 1, Cis 1, EU 5 and Hellraisers dont count towards any region (2 eu, 2 cis, 1 asia)
2018-09-09 09:15
The funniest thing is that they qualified for the main event before optic who kicked them out
2018-09-09 03:10
vberg | 
North America Mang0
What a faggot Shahzam is
2018-09-09 04:51
Per0N | 
Venezuela 643
You can never go full retard; rain man retard? Sure, the guy was a genius, he counted cards
2018-09-09 05:03
Cry me a river
2018-09-09 06:04
nitr0 | 
Canada Surzz
at least he's honest
2018-09-09 07:10
2018-09-09 08:27
2018-09-09 08:55
2018-09-09 10:21
-Hey, swag, what's ur name? -Braxtooon! -Hahahhahahahhaha! PS: GL further, deserved
2018-09-09 10:43
And another team admits that Vega is really a good team. Welp, still hoping for Vega to advance and GGWP Complexity!
2018-09-09 11:18
2018-09-09 11:26
2018-09-09 12:44
Cry is free
2018-09-09 12:53
I'm happy for him.
2018-09-10 05:55
Russia TarNP
Nice job! Fast 0-3 on Major.
2018-09-10 18:00
NEO | 
Sweden Katane
2018-09-12 22:15
this aged well
2018-09-14 03:12
Russia TarNP
Did i said 0-3? I mean 3-0. Fuck you, punk
2018-09-16 18:04
Nice, i like it
2018-09-12 08:59
Netherlands @Deji
2018-09-13 22:04
Hes crying again. For sure. WP.
2018-09-14 17:00
He is an average curry bot gotta admit he is also very humble and down to earth.
2018-09-14 23:05
Brazil Feio91
2018-09-15 14:57
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