MAJ3R: "We lost firepower but gained calmness and experience with yam"
We caught up with ex-Space Soldiers's in-game leader Engin "MAJ3R" Küpeli prior to the Europe Minor to discuss the departure of Ismailcan "XANTARES" Dörtkardeş, how Yaman "yam" Ergenekon fits into the team, and their chances in Katowice.
The Europe Minor in Katowice, Poland is about to kick off, where the Turkish team has been placed in Group B alongside ENCE, North, and Windigo.
Before the event begins, we chatted with MAJ3R to get his thoughts on XANTARES's transfer to BIG and his comments about his ex-teammates, why they went with yam, and what their goals are at the Minor.
Let's start with an obvious question. XANTARES left the team to join BIG after you guys earned a spot at the Minor. How did this affect the team and was it a surprise?
Of course it was a surprise that XANTARES left us for BIG. After the Major in London, and the situation we had with playing with our coach, we had a talk with the team to decide our future. We decided, at that time, to keep playing together. Then we decided to travel by car to Prague to play in better conditions in the closed qualifier for the Minor. We travelled 2,000 kilometers and spent two days on the road to play from there. hardstyle (our coach), Calyx, XANTARES, and I were on this trip but paz couldn't get his visa in time. We won the closed qualifier, came back to Turkey, and started practicing. Everything was normal.
Then the holiday period started. During that time, one evening XANTARES told us on TeamSpeak about his desire to leave the team. He didn't say anything about BIG. He just said that he wanted to leave because he was unhappy. Then when I dug into it a little bit, asking why he was unhappy and if he got an offer from another team, he told me that he had already been in talks for some time with BIG's manager and some of BIG's players (I learned after he left us that he was in contact with BIG since the FACEIT Major). And their offer was very good for him.
Later, I tried my best as the captain, telling him that he should not leave us when there is ten days until the Major roster locks. Or just give it a last try with us. But the offer from BIG was better for him, with their invite to the ELEAGUE tournament and the fact that they already had a Major spot. He also mentioned that the first reason that he left us was that he didn't feel our family vibe and that he can find this feeling on BIG, this family feeling. After two days of talking with him, he finaly decided to leave us and he went to Germany to join their bootcamp.
In the interview XANTARES did with us, he said that the other players didn't put in as much work as he did and they weren't as ambitious as him. What do you think about his comments?
I completely disagree with what he said and I already said that to him. He's a hard worker, that is true, but he is an individual worker. He always worked harder than everyone (for example he easily plays like more than 10 hours of CS:GO every day) so yes he's a worker, but for himself.
From my perspective, he didn't help the team improve. I wanted him to be my right hand as a captain and help the team improve. I wanted him to help our teammates learn faster or be more educational with them because he's more experienced. But he didn't do these things. He's a good player but, to answer your question from my perspective, no, he was not more motivated than us.
You will attend the Europe Minor with yam. How did you decide to go with him and were there other candidates? Additionally, how is his Turkish?
hardstyle and I were talking about who can fit in with us in that short period before the Major cycle. We knew that we had to take someone who could talk Turkish because in ten days it would have been completely impossible to switch our communication to English. yam is a good and experienced player, I think he fits in very well with us. He has been playing for a long time and attended a lot of big tournaments. We knew him from the Oceanian region and that he was good with the AWP. That was something we missed with Space Soldiers, so it's a win-win situation for both parties.
We practiced for seven days. It's not perfect because I changed a lot of stuff because of the new AWPer role, but in general, communication and team spirit are better. We have lost a big chunk of firepower but we gained calmness and experience with yam, from my point of view. I'm sure that yam can help us to be better. I trust him.
You currently don't have an organization. Did the lack of financial stability affect your preparation? How are the negotiations going?
I don't want to go into details, but yes, we are talking with people. We are just taking our time and trying to find the organization that has the same mindset that we do. We want a long partnership. We wish to work together with an organization that we can trust, and vice versa, that can trust us, because we'll give everything we have.
Let's talk about the Minor. What are your expectations here? Did you go through a bootcamp?
We practiced for seven days, like most teams, because of the holiday period. Our objective, of course, is to go to the Major. So yes we'll do everything we can to achieve that goal. There are strong teams like ENCE here but I trust my teammates and we'll do our best. At this Minor, every team has a chance to go the playoffs.