The trials and tribulations of koosta

In this feature we take a look at Kenneth "koosta" Suen's career, the peaks and valleys experienced along the way and his current team, Ghost.

Twenty-two-year-old koosta has had a ride of a career over the course of the past four years - the player had gone from relative obscurity within the North American scene to being signed by several premium-tier organisations, at a certain point considered one of the hottest AWP prospects in his region.

His professional career kicked off on Tempo, a young roster that was hungry to achieve. Featuring a North American mix, the quintet struggled to produce substantial results over their ten-month tenure but showed grit and perseverance when progressing up the slippery ladder of North American CS:GO. Tempo was koosta’s first competitive roster, and over his four-month tenure, he played his role in assisting the squad in achieving results, albeit of mixed nature.

koosta sporting the Enemy colours at RGN Pro Series

On June 4 2015, the entire Tempo roster was signed by Enemy, a crucial transfer in the context of the American AWPer’s career. Results were maintained at a satisfactory level, with noteworthy achievements in qualification for the NA closed qualifier for ELEAGUE Road to Vegas and, most importantly, a first-place finish at the Americas Minor precursor to the MLG Columbus Major. This proved to be a pivotal achievement in koosta's career, as he was invited to represent one of his home region’s premium organisations, Liquid, in part thanks to his team’s showing at the preceding Americas Minor. Subsequently, on February 21 he replaced then-active Eric "adreN" Hoag on the starting roster of the Liquid squad. The AWPer enjoyed the new-found exposure, although the attention did bring criticism his way:

“I guess from an outsider's perspective, it looks pretty explosive, because I had been just playing in random online cups before that. I didn't think much of it at the time. I guess it's always nice to be hyped up on Reddit, so, there's always that. I was playing a LOT at the time, and I would always read like ESEA would have writers doing power rankings, and those were always nice to read. It's just nice to read about yourself, right until it turns negative."

Having joined Liquid, koosta was set to represent one of the most ambitious North American representatives at the MLG Columbus 2016 offline qualifier just six days after his addition. While this may have been the initial plan, a ruling from Valve meant that he was unable to do so, and the 22-year-old was forced to play the qualifier alongside some of his former teammates, who had formed Selfless after contracts with Enemy had run out. Unsurprisingly, the reunion was not fruitful in the least, contrary to Liquid’s semi-final run at the tournament, as Selfless fell through in Group A of the offline qualifier, conceding two consecutive best-of-one matches to FlipSid3 and ex-Tempo Storm. The offline qualifier for 2016’s first Major marked koosta’s final event with his previous squad, returning to Liquid’s starting roster upon its conclusion.

After koosta’s return, many expected the brand new North American roster to demonstrate unprecedented results with their new addition, at the very least in a regional context. But the squad was unable to live up to expectations, as the quintet consistently struggled against top-tier international competition and so did koosta, who described the trying times on Liquid:

“I remember, when I first joined that team, one thing that really pissed me off was the coach [James "GBJame^s" O'Connor]. Within 30 seconds of me signing, he was talking to me, and he said, 'Oh, you have a lot to learn, we have to get you up to speed with these other guys'. And I'm like, 'okay, I guess...' It just set a precedent as to how I thought the team was going to incorporate me. Like I wasn't on the same level as them. It was demotivating, especially since they had to practice for the Major, so I was benched. I played a couple of scrims with them, but they were really focused on the Major obviously, so I was working with the coach, GBJame^s. He would watch my demos and tell me what I was doing right and wrong, but, I think, for young players trying to break through, it's hard to tell them something so concrete.

"You have to know yourself as a player first, you can't have someone force you to play a certain way before you do that, or everything will go to shit. It puts seeds of doubt in your mind and you don't play how you know you can play. At that time, I was too inexperienced to realize that that was clearly not the right call. I didn't have that confidence in myself to defy these people that had a sick run at a Major and be like, 'oh, you're wrong, you're telling me not to flash and stuff", and I joined CLG and threw the same flash and everyone was like, 'yeah, nice flash, man!'”

As disappointing results persisted, the squad grew progressively more frustrated with the lack of success, able only to show up at local and smaller tournaments. The difficulties described by koosta above, in addition to a demotivated state, meant that his individual level was also impacted - he averaged a 1.05 rating across the nine events he played for Liquid. We learned from koosta that this was further exacerbated by an imposed cookie-cutter approach to AWPing, one that didn’t sit well with the American's understanding of how a young player should develop:

“I mean, I DID know how I wanted to play, like play for late rounds, but at the same time play really aggressively if I had a read on something. And I was being told to just post up on an angle, take a shot, and fall back, like very standard 'this is how you should AWP', like starting from the beginning of CS in 1999, that's how people AWP (laughs). It still works, but you just have to let young players learn for themselves, and if they make it, they make it on their own accord. You should obviously push them, but you shouldn't force their hand to have them become something that they're not.”

The volatile cocktail of individual underperformance and general team issues inevitably led to roster adjustments, and having spent just under four months with the organisation, koosta parted ways with Liquid, swapping squads with CLG's dedicated AWPer, Josh "jdm64" Marzano.

koosta’s time on CLG was another crucial chapter of his evolution, both in personal and in-game terms. Following a short and complicated tenure with Liquid, the player had finally found a home where he could hone his ability and focus on improving and developing some form of consistency. Furthermore, the dynamic in the team allowed for him to vocalise his contributions without inhibition, something that koosta notes as one of the main reasons he was able to improve over the course of his tenure with CLG:

“That [CLG] was obviously when I started to become more consistently good. And the biggest reason for that is that I was less scared of being assertive within the team environment. I was just as afraid to do things that I thought were correct. It helps a lot, even if you're not playing the game but watching a demo with your team, it helps a lot to not feel like, if you say something, you'll be judged for it – if you said something wrong. That's a big thing on Ghost, too, I feel like I can just present my ideas and it's not like, 'oh, that's fucking stupid'...”

Despite the apparently improved situation, koosta’s personal struggle to find his way persisted.

“I didn't know what the fuck to do. I remember, when I joined [CLG], we had to prepare for a Major, because they were legends. And at that bootcamp, I was still AWP'ing at the time, but we had pita standing in from the coach position, and at the camp, tarik and pita both told us that they were leaving the team. So we went to the Major and played as well as we could, and after that... going from Liquid and onto a CLG team that pretty much instantly disbanded, I really didn't know what to do, so for a while, I was thinking. On Liquid, for a while, I was asking them to just let me rifle, because AWP'ing wasn't working out, and we had s1mple, who can obviously AWP. I guess I wanted to take a step back and just re-learn how to play the game.

"For a while, I had no idea what to do, so I came to the realization that because I don't know what steps to take to actually become this player that I used to be, I had to just bring everything back to basics and try to forget everything. I think on Liquid, I was told a lot of contradictory situational information, and it's just not good, it wasn't helping me mentally.”

The transfer from Liquid to CLG was a stressful time for koosta

Come November 2017, koosta concluded his time on CLG after the entire male CS:GO division was let go, forced to remain inactive until he was either bought out or his contract ran out. While the run alongside CLG may not have cardinally changed his mentality and approach to the game, it apparently assisted him in unraveling some of the questions that had cropped up over the previous two years. A three-month-long hiatus followed, after which he joined ex-iBUYPOWER representatives in Torqued.

In joining Joshua "steel" Nissan and company, koosta finally found an optimal environment for growth and development. A committed quintet with ambitions would get together in a bid to better themselves day by day, taking things at a pace comfortable for the entire squad. This produced what was described by koosta as slow growth, whereby all members of the roster effectively started from a clean slate, but at the same time, it allowed for consistency to be developed, something he felt had specifically been missing during his time on the Liquid and CLG rosters.

“We [Torqued] showed up every day with the same five, played together, grew together. Those guys were out of the scene for a while, so we were pretty much all learning how to play the game again. There's just something about slow growth that makes me more consistent. Contrary to Liquid, where everything was just so overwhelming.

"Thinking back to that team, and I think that's just who I am as a person, I can sit here, and if this room we are in was burning down I could just sit here and be like 'yeah, this is fine', like the fucking dog with the coffee cup. But when you're all trying to get better, because you know you're bad (laughs) like, we knew we were bad on Torqued, so when you're all trying to come up like that it's a good bonding experience, and you have each other's backs, and that's what makes players unafraid to make mistakes and play the best CS you can play."

Similarly to some of koosta's previous teams, Torqued had issues of their own, and not long afterward the roster split, with koosta, steel, Matt "Pollo" Wilson and coach James "JamezIRL" Macaulay signing with Ghost to join Matthew "WARDELL" Yu and Yassine "Subroza" Taoufik.

The new squad set out to an ambitious start, tackling an internationally significant tournament in ESL One: Belo Horizonte 2018 as their debut event. Through Torqued’s core transferring to Ghost, the newly-assembled roster inherited a slot at the tournament, initially obtained by the former squad via a first-place finish at the North American qualifier for the event. Unsurprisingly, the quintet experienced difficulty in Belo Horizonte, bombing out in last place with a 0-2 record, having conceded best-of-3 series to the former versions of the Space Soldiers and SK rosters.

The ex-Torqued trio's first event with Ghost was ESL One Belo Horizonte

Before landing on their finalised roster, Ghost would still make some fine-tuning to the squad. This included the departure of original Torqued member Pollo. Only as recently as January 2019 did the squad finally stabilize, and they have sported the same five-man roster going on four months - the longest standing line-up for the organisation.

With the current iteration of the roster, featuring Ryan "freakazoid" Abadir as their newest member, Ghost saw success in the form of a semi-final run at iBUYPOWER Masters 2019, a tournament where they bested the likes of FaZe in a best-of-one setting on two separate occasions. After this success, the squad did their utmost in contending in North American qualifiers for international events, namely IEM Sydney and DreamHack Masters Dallas, but fell through in series in both tournaments, suggesting ample room for improvement.

koosta’s journey through North American CS:GO initially saw valleys, despite him being part of rosters that were considered some of the finest in the region. A sink-or-swim environment with an imposed mindset was not something that the player embraced, instead opting to develop gradually, creating a playstyle and approach of his own. This was true to his creed, creating a much more meaningful and wholesome development in the process. After the numerous trials and tribulations that koosta experienced earlier in his career, he has found himself on a squad that is aligned with his outlook on all the significant factors behind what constitutes a CS:GO team, and he can finally go into a server and enjoy himself.

United States Ryan 'freakazoid' Abadir
Ryan 'freakazoid' Abadir
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
783
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.15
Canada Matthew 'WARDELL' Yu
Matthew 'WARDELL' Yu
Age:
21
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
504
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.10
United States Matt 'Pollo' Wilson
Matt 'Pollo' Wilson
Age:
22
Rating 1.0:
0.98
Maps played:
309
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.15
United States Eric 'adreN' Hoag
Eric 'adreN' Hoag
Age:
29
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
600
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.15
Canada Joshua 'steel' Nissan
Joshua 'steel' Nissan
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
435
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.70
APR:
0.15
United States Josh 'jdm64' Marzano
Josh 'jdm64' Marzano
Age:
29
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
823
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.10
United States James 'JamezIRL' Macaulay
James 'JamezIRL' Macaulay
Age:
30
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.87
Maps played:
71
KPR:
0.60
DPR:
0.72
APR:
0.13
Canada Yassine 'Subroza' Taoufik
Yassine 'Subroza' Taoufik
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
528
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.70
APR:
0.15
United States Kenneth 'koosta' Suen
Kenneth 'koosta' Suen
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
816
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.11
Underrated
2019-04-16 23:04
#7
 | 
Philippines xxxhoshi 
+1
2019-04-16 23:05
I won several bets betting in Enemy. Really nice roster. :)
2019-04-16 23:50
koosta sometimes GOD sometimes BOT
2019-04-17 00:17
#55
jasonR | 
North America J_Nasty 
C9 koosta instead of canjunB
2019-04-17 00:58
#81
 | 
Indonesia lumayan 
Do u mean, c9 koosta instead of vice? Hehe
2019-04-18 09:09
#83
jasonR | 
North America J_Nasty 
True true
2019-04-18 19:49
#14
 | 
Sweden Unluko 
F5
2019-04-16 23:05
#27
 | 
United States Trump2020KAG 
Rip F5 #1
2019-04-16 23:14
bot
2019-04-16 23:41
#18
 | 
Poland F5_detector 
Your F5 is soo sad
2019-04-16 23:06
#3
kennyS | 
Hungary ERiKb09 
Nice
2019-04-16 23:04
#4
 | 
Afghanistan Yupmad 
Noice
2019-04-16 23:04
#5
 | 
Myanmar xdcc 
Overrated
2019-04-16 23:04
#20
 | 
Bangladesh drvken 
2019-04-16 23:08
#24
 | 
Myanmar xdcc 
Yes got hyped up by reddit and what happened next?
2019-04-16 23:09
#32
 | 
Bangladesh drvken 
good chance even in tier1 team
2019-04-16 23:21
OLD INFERNO, I MISS :(
2019-04-16 23:17
#31
 | 
Bangladesh drvken 
yeah ;c
2019-04-16 23:20
2019-04-17 14:04
#6
 | 
United States Sillychubs 
Never forget when he threw the molly
2019-04-16 23:05
FNS had a kit
2019-04-16 23:40
this moment ruined his careers
2019-04-17 00:30
WP
2019-04-16 23:05
i remember him not planting on time
2019-04-16 23:05
#10
 | 
Switzerland KICK_RPG_FFS 
ok
2019-04-16 23:05
#11
fer | 
United Kingdom horrors 
My boy
2019-04-16 23:05
SLITHER
2019-04-16 23:05
tier 9 player
2019-04-16 23:05
#15
 | 
CIS Ninja2k 
overrated noob.
2019-04-16 23:05
#17
 | 
Spain Holiwis 
a?????¿
2019-04-16 23:06
#19
 | 
Finland Vkims 
But why
2019-04-16 23:06
Why not
2019-04-16 23:09
I thought he died or something
2019-04-16 23:09
I thought he was arrested lmao
2019-04-16 23:09
#25
 | 
Qatar PrisMcsgo 
Has problems with the bomb
2019-04-16 23:11
#28
MINISE | 
Europe Cirro 
Nice gl koosta
2019-04-16 23:15
#33
 | 
Sweden Golden_shower 
god
2019-04-16 23:21
#35
 | 
Canada PwnNewb 
theres many trials but no tribulations
2019-04-16 23:35
DEFUSE caxaxxaxacaxaxaxxaxaxaxa MOLOTOV xaxaxxaxaxaxxaxaaaxaxxaxaxaxaxaxaxxaxaxax
2019-04-16 23:37
#40
 | 
Norway Warerks 
HAHAHAHAHHAAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎
2019-04-16 23:41
heheheheheheheheheheh
2019-04-16 23:44
#51
 | 
Canada _CTRL_ 
XD XD XD XD
2019-04-17 00:27
#37
 | 
United States stephcurry30 
great article. one of the most underrated and underappreciated players who had his career stalled cuz of a few unfortunate events. awping seemed to be his true calling and hopefully he can pick it up again w/ the confidence he had when he was on NME and CLG. gl GODKOOSTA
2019-04-16 23:37
#76
 | 
Poland misterr_ 
basically csgo isnt like football where you can learn how the team works (tactic, people) and go on a pitch for last 20 minutes every match as benched player, here, if u are new, young player you have to do 25 bombs every match and play immediatly how the team wants. it sucks
2019-04-17 12:48
#41
 | 
Norway Warerks 
DEFUSE caxaxxaxacaxaxaxxaxaxaxa MOLOTOV xaxaxxaxaxaxxaxaaaxaxxaxaxaxaxaxaxxaxaxax
2019-04-16 23:41
#42
 | 
World Beard43 
Great article. Definitely one of the most overrated players but it's nice to see he's found his way into a team that suits him.
2019-04-16 23:43
#43
rasec | 
Italy dfztt 
Hey hltv nothing more to do??? huh
2019-04-16 23:44
That's a yikes for me, dawg.
2019-04-17 00:05
#48
Azylu | 
New Zealand Azylu 
Finally an article for esea legend KennethSuen
2019-04-17 00:11
#50
 | 
Luxembourg fowkingell 
Honestly thought he retired
2019-04-17 00:20
#52
 | 
Canada _CTRL_ 
I loved the Torqued roster, I thought they would make it far together, ghost is the next best thing I guess. I hope their game against complexity tonight goes well
2019-04-17 00:28
#54
 | 
United States @FyreCS 
EZ for Koosta!
2019-04-17 00:35
Why such a big topic about koosta? What comes next: ptr?
2019-04-17 01:01
Ocean ofc
2019-04-17 01:34
#61
 | 
Norway SlimeThug 
As if ptr has been as relevant as Koosta the past years. Just stop.
2019-04-17 01:39
Koosta relevant? Please.
2019-04-17 02:12
#72
 | 
Norway SlimeThug 
He has been more relevant than Ptr was the whole point.
2019-04-17 11:21
frist
2019-04-17 01:10
Congrats
2019-04-17 01:25
#60
Per0N | 
Argentina Jiox 
Triads and Tribulations: GTA III
2019-04-17 01:37
Didn't know Stew joined Liquid since 2015
2019-04-17 02:06
nah man pretty sure it was autimatic
2019-04-17 13:29
#64
GuardiaN | 
Other Darge 
Nice stuff, I would gladly read more articles like this on HLTV. Good job! I really hope to see Koosta and steel succeed on Ghost.
2019-04-17 02:16
#65
 | 
United States Toothyca 
RESPECT KENNETH KOOSTA SUEN
2019-04-17 02:18
#66
 | 
Brazil hugoooo 
I always remember him as the guy with the worst notion of time CS has ever seen.
2019-04-17 03:41
#67
 | 
Europe TriHard_8R 
damn u really wrote his life story
2019-04-17 04:51
Nice write-up. That old Torqued team with him and the iBP guys is one of my favorite rosters of all-time.
2019-04-17 04:58
#70
Laz | 
Russia moorlize 
koosta omegalul
2019-04-17 06:06
TL:DR Koosta is a shit player.
2019-04-17 06:34
good read HLTV, quality stuff
2019-04-17 11:59
#74
 | 
Netherlands FNeverluCky 
Nice feature, enjoyed reading that
2019-04-17 12:43
great player, have played with him on faceit
2019-04-17 12:48
Godlike aim but a little bit braindead sometimes
2019-04-17 13:21
great article, always liked koosta. good luck against lazarus
2019-04-17 16:58
#82
 | 
Poland Ryunar 
who?
2019-04-18 09:15
only asian with low IQ
2019-04-22 20:50
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