BIG's in-game leader Fatih "gob b" Dayik sat down with HLTV.org after being eliminated from their last event of the season, the ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals, to discuss the team's results among other topics.
BIG started out the tournament in Odense beating INTZ, but were then taken down by Liquid and Renegades en route to a group stage exit at their last event of the season. Now, BIG look forward to a lengthy preparation period ahead of the IEM Katowice Major.
In our chat with gob b we went over BIG's run in Odense, their match-up against Liquid, the team's evolution this season, reaching the goal of becoming a top 10 contender, how they have to play in order to counter more skill-based teams, and what is to come next season.
Let's start off talking about before landing in Denmark, what were your expectations going into the tournament?
We had high expectations, for sure, we knew that our energy level wasn't as high as it was around mid-season, but we said: "Hey, it's the last tournament, give everything one more time and we can go to the break with a good feeling." Unfortunately, it didn't go as planned, but yeah... it's really hard for us sometimes going to two events in a row. We came here from Malta, and we told ourselves we needed to be ready, and that's what we tried, but we had a few off days and that's why I think we got eliminated.
Walk me through what happened...
We played INTZ in the first game and felt totally off. Our communication was really bad, we just won because we hit our shots and had good individual performances. If it weren't for that we would have lost against them. Against Liquid, we felt like we learned a lot from the loss in Malta, but we were individually not good on that day. We couldn't play on their level. They played better, and even though we learned from the last match, we couldn't win.
Against Renegades I felt really confident, I felt like the maps were really good for us. We hadn't played Cache for a long time, and we knew we could struggle there, but after that we had two good maps coming up... we managed to win a close map on Overpass, but as I said, we've had a totally off tournament... Sometimes it's hard to play two tournaments in a row with the first one being the smaller tournament and the more important one after. It should be the other way around, getting the pressure tournament first and the no-pressure tournament after. But yeah, you can't choose it and that's part of the reason we came in motivated but without energy.
Maybe we should have skipped Malta to be more prepared here, but we didn't know if we were going to make the Pro League Finals when we accepted the Malta invite, which is something we may have to think about more next year. Other than that, we were very confident going into the Renegades match, but they just crushed us. What can I say?
Were you expecting Renegades to play well against you, or did they take you by surprise?
They definitely played better than I expected them to. They played very well individually, I think, but yeah... It was also very much about us not playing at all as well as we can. They played very well individually, they hit their shots, and they're now top 6 at this event and not for no reason, you can't deny that. I think we need to learn how to use our energy more efficiently.
If you see some of the other teams in this tournament, they also struggled with the same problem, I think. This is something the top 5-6 teams are doing better, they just attend the big tournaments and have more energy. For example, mousesports struggled when they played a lot of tournaments. I think the top 6-12 teams like NRG, North, us, maybe HellRaisers, we need to use our energy more efficiently, but the top 6 teams they are more used to how they attend events. This is something we need to learn to take the next step, that's why I'm very disappointed with this tournament, but I'm also looking to a brighter future, saying: "Hey, this is something we did wrong, if we do it better, I'm pretty sure we can beat Renegades or other teams." Or at least we can have closer matches like we always had against Liquid, and I think that's what we need to take away from this tournament.
If we look at the beginning of the season, you a good Major run, but after that you couldn't quite keep the same level. Why do you think that is? You show up at the big event but then coast through the rest of the season, or what is it that doesn't allow you to reach your full potential?
We used almost all of our energy at the Major, we wanted to make top 8 again and we needed to go through the qualifier and then play the Major stages... so we used a lot of energy there. We also wanted to do well online, during the Pro League season, and that also cost us a lot of energy and resources. The results weren't that great, but for us, or for me at least, it was important for us to figure out how to stay around the top 10. We didn't want to fall off in the ranking and I think we did it in this half of the year, we stayed there. We went some steps forward sometimes, some steps backward other times... Now we just have to learn how to get to the next step. We made a lot of playoffs, but we could have played much better.
Sometimes it's hard, though, In Chicago we played against fnatic, Na`Vi, and mousesports, and it was an event in which fnatic could have almost even won the event, they played so well. We beat Na`Vi, and lost to a really great team like mousesports. Sometimes you get hard teams on the road to the playoffs, so you can't always make it. Not in our stage, at the moment, which is why we're not top 6 or top 8, we're top 10-ish. Other than that, most of the time we lose against the winner of the tournament, or a team that goes really far, so if we work on that, I think we can make it to the next step, but what was important for me was to stay around where we are in the rankings, and I think we proved to ourselves that we can stay there in and around the top 10.
I talked to TACO after they beat you in the group stage, and he said you're a comfortable team to play against because they have you somewhat figured out. Do you think it's something to work on, perhaps? Being more unpredictable...
Yeah, sure, but when you watch that game, and when I analyzed it, I think they didn't figure us out that much. I know what he means, but I don't think we're that predictable in this case. Unfortunately, we make some mistakes in-game when we need to go fast. Individual players make bad decisions in certain cases, and that's why it may seem we're predictable, but I don't think it's as much about the system as the individual players making some bad decisions. We talked about it, and we're trying to learn, and of course, as it gets late in the season a lot of teams become more predictable because there's not as much time to create new stuff.
We're a team that needs more tricks than other teams, and we're working on that, but I do understand what he says and I feel like they have the upper hand against us. That's why I feel like he's kind of right, but if I rewatch the match, I feel like we should have won some rounds in which we had a lot of advantage. Like they'll make a jumping smoke kill against me on Dust2 and then they win a 2vs4 situation which changes the money totally, and if they wouldn't have won that then they wouldn't have been that great on that map. If you analyze it objectively you would see that they don't have the best reads against us even though they feel comfortable playing us because they beat us so many times, but if I go back and watch the match I don't feel like we're that predictable.
One thing you said is that you're a team that needs to have more tricks. Why is that?
We depend more on team play and that kind of stuff. Like Astralis, they also have a lot of little tricks, smoke tricks, and playing off of each other. That's how we play as well, whereas a team like Liquid needs to win those situations, the 2vs5s and 2vs4s because if they don't win those they can't beat better teams than them. Like against Astralis, they even lose the advantage situations. If they couldn't win the disadvantage situations against us, I think they also wouldn't beat us, so they depend on individual skill while we depend more on winning the advantageous situations, trading off of each other... our trading system is based on team play while theirs is based on individual skill, on making the double kills, and that's why we need the tricks to stop that from happening.
ESL Pro League Finals was the last event of the season for you. Have you already started to talk about next year? Goals, stuff like that?
Yeah, there's some stuff coming up right now that I can't talk about yet, but yeah... we have big expectations, we're at a stage in which we played a lot of tournaments, even if it was without perfect preparation, and we can go far or at least make playoffs. Next would be attending some big tournaments with high energy, not attending too many tournaments, and if we do attend smaller tournaments, to crush everyone... that's our goal for next year.
The first event is the Major, so all of our preparation now will be for that, and I think we'll be very ready like we were at the FACEIT Major. Our goal is that our map pool will be brighter, bigger, deeper, and our goal is to make it much further in tournaments. We need to work on our mistakes, I will make a practice plan, and I'm feeling very confident that we can make it to the next level.
You said there's something coming up that you can't talk about yet, can you give a hint?
You'll see it in the news in the next few weeks, that's all I can say.