gob b: "We will take every small bit of confidence we can get"
Playing with their coach Nikola "LEGIJA" Ninić instead of the Turkish star Ismailcan "XANTARES" Dörtkardeş, BIG managed to upset mousesports, taking a 16-14 win after struggling to close it out on the Terrorist side of Inferno.
In a post-match sitdown with gob b, we heard how the visa issues occurred last-minute, not allowing them a lot of time to figure out a replacement, and that beating mousesports was significant to many people within BIG.
I want to talk to you about the stand-in situation. Obviously, XANTARES couldn't come due to visa issues and he is not the only player with visa issues for this event. How did you move from there, was smooya an option before you found out about the rule, what was the process like?
Yeah, the problem was that we thought XANTARES would be able to play almost until we entered the plane. Everything was on short notice and we thought about what we could do. He had a chance to maybe play this event, but it was really, really unlikely that the visa would arrive in time so he would've had to fly the "short" flight to Sydney and then maybe go right back. We didn't want to risk that, for us or for him.
So we realized we needed a stand-in, we thought of smooya of course, but everything was in short notice and he couldn't play because he stood in for Renegades, there is some kind of a rule about that. So we decided to try and play with Niko (Nikola "LEGIJA" Ninić), we already had one practice with him because XANTARES needed to do something regarding his visa for Pro League, and that is pretty funny because it was against mousesports on Inferno as well. That's why we decided to go with LEGIJA, we didn't think about much more options, it was just smooya and if LEGIJA couldn't play, kakafu. The options were really limited.
With XANTARES being from Turkey, visa issues... he had visa issues for StarSeries as well, but he managed to get it done in the end. Is this something you are thinking about, how are you going to deal with this long-term?
I hope we don't have that many problems long-term, now we have kind of thought everything through, he has visas for most countries now, so I hope there won't be many problems anymore. But before we got XANTARES I also thought that everything would be easier. (laughs) It is unfortunately not that easy, and it is not like it was someones fault, we did everything right, he did everything right. I don't even know what happened exactly, but I don't think someone could have changed it, I just hope that now it will get better and we can just concentrate on Counter-Strike.
Unfortunately, other teams also have problems, at this tournament FaZe have AdreN who is coming tomorrow, but there is also NiKo... and they are the first seed. So in group B the first seed is losing almost two players, and then the groups are unbalanced. But that is no one's fault, it can happen, and I hope one day it will get easier and we will not talk about visa issues anymore.
What is your goal here, playing with your coach as a stand-in?
The goal is still the playoffs, I think. I know it is really hard, but we will try our best, we know that our playbook is really limited now, we have good communication going on, in German again. So playoffs are the goal, but we want to have fun, play as good as we can, not have big expectations, to be honest. But personally, I'd like to go to the playoffs and play in front of the crowd again. It has been a while, but this is my goal.
Usually, when a coach is standing-in for a player, analysts, casters, fans expect him to know all of the nades, the strats to not be an issue. Is it really like that, is it easy to just plug in LEGIJA into any XANTARES role and he will know all of the nades and the timings?
No, no, maybe if kakafu would've played, he would've known more, because he knows a lot of nades, really, almost everything, you can always ask him, he is like a library for that. LEGIJA is more like a motivational coach for us, obviously, he knows in-game things pretty well as well. We thought that on some maps he wouldn't play the exact role XANTARES played, we would've changed it up maybe, but on Inferno it was easier to fit him in. But it is definitely not as easy as the outsider would think, sometimes even if you know the nades outside of the game, in a match, in the pressure situation, 15-14, sometimes you forget some nades and it is harder for the coaches as well, during the match.
Talk to me about the mousesports game. You touched on it a bit, but on an organizational scale, BIG and mousesports are two big German orgs, all of you in BIG used to play on mousesports, if we include LEGIJA... So was it a grudge match?
I think so. For me, not that much anymore, but for LEGIJA, for example, it was, and our owner wants to win against mousesports, which is also his old team. For tabseN as well, I think it was really a relief to win against them again, or to play against them even. We haven't played them for so long I feel like, and also the new team, I think they are a really great team.
Obviously, for us, it is really good, and I also said it at Pro League, we will take every small bit of confidence we can get, it doesn't matter if we play with a stand-in and win just one BO1, we will take everything we can get at the moment to get back where we want to be, at the top10 at least. From an org perspective, it was a big win, but we need to be realistic, if we don't go to the playoffs it doesn't matter that much, to me at least.
I wanted to touch on the veto in the game against mouz, on paper it seemed like an obvious pick for them to go for Overpass in the end, but they banned it and it ended up on Inferno. Was that what you expected?
Yeah, Inferno was expected, we hoped for Dust2, and it could've also been Overpass. We prepared Overpass much more than Inferno, for Inferno we said that we have a good feeling at the moment, we will let tabseN dictate the game, do the moves he wants, and if he has a good feeling he can take over the game. So Inferno wasn't that big of a threat for us, we know that it is a really hard map to play in a BO1, because I feel like you could lose to almost any team—obviously if you are not Astralis and own the map—, but other than that, a lot of teams are on the same level. So that is why we said that we were OK with Inferno, Overpass we needed a little bit more preparation, that is what we did, and Dust2 we would've taken any time, but they had a good veto.
I want to finish it off by talking about the Vertigo addition, and more importantly for you guys, Cache going out. You were talking about it earlier and kakafu in earlier interviews, that you are not sure about your map pool, and now Vertigo coming in makes it even more weird. What is the thinking about it?
To be honest, Cache was, in the end, a boring map, even though I think it is not that unbalanced and that there are more boring maps. But it kinda felt a little bit boring, so I think it is ok that the map is out. And Vertigo is... we had a look at it, I watched some competitive games, it looks very unbalanced, also boring, I think, but at least it is something new. I feel like it is good, even though it might look boring at this stage, you don't know what is going to happen, maybe we come up with good ideas.
I'm happy that they keep changing the map pool I'd like to see Cobblestone in once again, in a better version than it was, I think that they made the right choice to put it in. Vertigo was a surprise to be honest, but I watched the first competitive games of it, it was mostly played at Copenhagen Games, and it looks a little bit repetitive, but we will see. If some team comes with an idea and gets the edge, others will copy it.