gob b: "Today I woke up, went back to DM and just grinded it out; I know how to come back, I've done it many times"
One of the Legends of the FACEIT London Major, BIG, was eliminated from IEM Katowice early- After suffering three straight defeats, BIG are heading for the Minors ahead the next Major, which will be held in the town they are based in, Berlin.
Losses to two French teams, Vitality and G2, as well as a best-of-three defeat to ENCE, who they seemingly had on the ropes, resulted in a surprisingly early elimination of the German team. In our exit interview with their leader, gob b, we discussed pressure, roles, metas, and more.
You had one night for the impressions to sink in, what is the feeling like after the New Legends Stage?
After our sad performance here I was really sad, especially because I felt like I threw some rounds I never throw, and I'm the guy that has to close out rounds. I felt like I made three mistakes which definitely would've won us Train, that is why I was individually really sad about my performance in that game, or in these rounds specifically, but it is just business, you need to think about the future, there are so many tournaments coming up, you can't be down too much.
And you know, yesterday I was really sad, I was almost crying, and today I woke up, went back to deathmatch and just grinded it out. I know how to come back, I've done it many times. I've never lost my motivation, I caught even more fire, and I hope to go further forward, lead the team in a better way, be a better player. I'm just more motivated now, after one day, and I hope it will be the same after one week. We have a one-week break now, then we will start again and I hope that we can show a better performance next tournament. So yeah, I was sad, but now I'm motivated again.
Going back to the whole lead-up to this, the Berlin Major was announced and you are obviously the Berlin International Gaming, you want to be there and you needed at least one win to secure that. So was there a lot of pressure on you, how were you feeling coming into the tournament?
We didn't talk about there being any special pressure, but if you watch our games, you cannot deny that we felt the pressure. It was in our bones, everywhere, we could feel it. That is why we made these mistakes in the game which cost us even in the first match [against Vitality] and the second match [against G2]. We could've won both games, they were close games, it could've gone either way, and I feel like this extra pressure hit us a lot. This is something we need to learn, to not get hit by it.
When we had our peeks in the past, the pressure was... we were laughing about that, we never felt it. In Cologne, even in the Majors years before, when we made it to the top eight the first time. We didn't feel pressure at all and we need to have this back. I feel like we need to make progress with the team so we get in a state where pressure can't hit us. If the pressure can't hit us and we play like in practice, then we are dangerous. This is something we need to learn, we need to work on our system as well, look at why XANTARES is not performing as he can, as he sometimes does online. It is not only on him, it is maybe also our fault that we use him wrong... it can be anything, that's what we need to work out and I hope we will do it. But, again, I'm really motivated that we will do it.
Where do you think the pressure comes from? It is not just you, we are seeing interviews with other teams like fnatic, NiP, MIBR, the big teams are also feeling the pressure here. Where do you think it comes from for you guys? Is it this Major specifically?
No, no, no, sometimes pressure hits us and it is not only the Major. I feel like teams which are coming from the New Challenger Stage have such a huge advantage. Last time, at the London Major, when we went through the New Challenger Stage, we felt nothing when we went on the server. I could play however I wanted, I played so well and the whole team played so well in that stage.
Another thing why some teams, maybe bigger names, are feeling the pressure more is because they have more to lose, that is for sure. But in the example of NiP, they keep playing better and better, they had some problems in the start, Vitality as well, but they are now grinding it out a little bit. So I think this is one part, and the second part is the expectations of everyone, it is the Major, the whole country is looking towards you, all the hopes are on you... and maybe it is your first tournament, one player is maybe not on point... You feel the pressure more because of the Major, that is just how it is.
How big of an issue was changing a player so recently? smooya leaving and nex coming in to play, how big of an impact did that have on your preparation and what you did here?
It had a big impact, of course, we had to figure out how to play some T sides without an AWP, when to pick up an AWP... Then you try to practice without an AWP, but sometimes you need it, so half of the time you practice with the AWP, half without an AWP... It was tricky, but I felt like we managed to have a good idea when to use what.
But it wasn't the same in the environment of a tournament, with pressure. If we can keep going in the right direction, with what the preparation showed, then I feel like we can be really good. Unfortunately, we weren't able to show what we are capable of or what we practiced, but I feel like if we have a better system, more safe rounds, more experience, we play with each other better, the communication is better, then even if the pressure hits us, the system is strong enough and it helps you to grind out rounds. That is what we needed against ENCE, I think, just to grind out rounds, close out rounds, without being afraid that we are not going to be in the Berlin Major and all this stuff. Maybe it was in the back of our heads, you know? You can never tell when you are playing, but from the outside, I would say that this pressure hits us then.
With smooya leaving, there was the whole thing about him not feeling like the main AWPer of the team. He was the AWPer, but he didn't have the freedom that he wanted, and tabseN was picking up the AWP even when smooya was in the team quite a lot for a secondary AWPer. What was the whole dynamic there, do you feel like tabseN can be the main AWPer of the team, like a GuardiaN, or do you want him to just be a hybrid player?
That is a really good question because we don't have the answer yet. For smooya, we tried to give him the positions tabseN is playing with the AWP, but he is not as good as tabseN at shutting down the enemy as CT because of his decisionmaking and positioning. That is why we changed his CT positions, but as T, he was always the main AWPer, it was up to him if he wanted to pick up the AWP or not. I feel like on some maps he did a really great job and on other maps the AWP wasn't making the difference for us too much. But I can see his point, that he wasn't really the main AWPer, he really wasn't.
I had an idea, because in our prime we played a lot of double AWPs as CT. I said, "Guys, maybe we should cut it down to one AWP and let smoo play the AWP on CT side and roam more". Because if you play double AWP, where can you roam? You can't be in the same position, you can't surprise the enemy because they will always expect you to have an AWP on either side. That's why he was struggling a little as well, because of the double AWP system. But that was also one thing that made us really strong, when smooya was on point and tabseN also played well with the AWP.
To the question if tabseN can play the AWP, I think he can, but I don't feel like he will ever be like kennyS or GuardiaN, that he always picks up the AWP. This is something we need to figure out, how to play it sometimes. Maybe he shouldn't play the AWP some times, maybe he needs to play it even more, I don't know yet. If someone knows, he can message me, give me a hint. (laughs) I try to listen to every voice, try to rethink and always be critical of myself, that maybe it was the system, maybe it was the pressure, we don't know yet exactly, we will figure it out. I'll watch the games when I come back home. We have one week off and I hope I will find the right answers, maybe I can give it to you the next time we talk.
We saw, for now at least, the peak of the AUG meta. People are really taking it in, we see CT sides being slightly stronger than before. Some people actually compared it to 1.6 because as a CT you can just hold an angle and get mutlikills which you usually couldn't do with just an M4. How did that affect you as a team and what do you think about how the CT sides are right now?
To be honest, after 7-8 days of really hard practice, we felt like it was an absolutely CT-sided meta and if you get six rounds as T you already won the game, to be honest. I feel like if we would've played like we played in practice as CTs, we could've crushed anyone. Even the best teams, Astralis and Liquid, they struggled sometimes with their T sides, and I feel like it is because of the AUG meta. Every team is getting better in using utility, you can't deny that, but there are some angles where you can get multikills now, you know, I can't tell XANTARES "go and find kills", he can't do that because there is an AUG or an AWP, and he can't kill these players. It doesn't matter if he has better aim, it is just a powerful gun. And he adapted to that.
But at the moment, you lose a lot of strategies—or you need to adapt them. You maybe played a lot of contact-style as T [which isn't viable now]. But I feel like it is cool, it is cool if the meta changes. Who says that the game needs to be balanced, that T side and CT side should be 8:7, 7:8. I don't know if that is more fun or if the comeback is more fun? You need to watch the viewers and the community. But the problem about the AUG is that I think it is really strong, you can change it here and there, you can change the weapon, but I think that you can just make the M4 a little bit cheaper, so maybe the M4 gets picked up a little bit more again. Because people say it is the "AUG meta", but the M4 is also strong, you can play with it pretty well in some positions.
So I don't know, we have to see how it develops. But I like that the game changes a little bit because now you don't see the double AWPs so much anymore. It was such a boring meta when mousesports were successful just because they put up double AWPs. Their rifles were hiding and they played with oskar and chrisJ: "Hey, kill them and we hide". I feel like that was boring, even when we played double AWP, I was waiting in a corner, relaxing, saving my equipment, letting the AWP play and then using my utility correctly in the end. So it was also a little bit boring. Now I can do so much more, I can take angles, duels... Yeah, we have more CT sided maps, but you need to always see both sides.
The last thing I wanted to ask you about is that, because you made the last-minute change with nex you couldn't have your coach behind you. You have two coaches, kakafu is mostly standing behind you these days. How did that affect you here and what are your thoughts on playing without a coach?
I won't put too much blame on it, but I feel that, especially against ENCE, it would've made a difference. We didn't lose because of tactics, we didn't lose because someone made mistakes, we just absolutely threw rounds. We tried to keep calm and say "Guys, it is ok, last round, let's refocus", but you could feel that it was always in the back of our heads, like "how could we lose that round?". We couldn't shake it off. If it wasn't even kakafu or LEGIJA behind us, if it was a random sixth person from the street, you pick him up, and he says something positive, makes you laugh—maybe we could've shaken it off then.
But you know, it is hard to blame it on that, it is kind of our own fault. I feel like you should have at least seven-man rosters these days because if someone is injured your coach needs to play and with seven-man rosters you will at least have another player playing, and then you have your coach behind you. I feel like this would not be a problem, you could've asked every other team if they agree and I feel like all the teams would have agreed. And if Valve would say it is ok, they could have used their coaches.
I wished I had kakafu behind me, at least we could feel the pain together if we lose (laughs). Now he is on the outside, he doesn't know what is happening... And he is also on the server with us all the time, practicing 12 hours a day, so he deserves to be behind us in this kind of a tournament and I would've been really happy if that would've been the case. I hope that we could've shaken it off against ENCE and then I would maybe not be doing this interview now, instead, we would be 1-2. But that is life, I'm not blaming the system, I would just be happier if the system was a little bit different.