TaZ on being orgless: "It is not easy but it is a proving ground for us; it helps to build the spine of this team"
Having finished third of their group in the first EPL stage, the Polish team have returned to Leicester to take part in the second stage, kicking off on Tuesday, this time under the name Aristocracy after parting ways with devils.one.
The former Kinguin team had been playing under devils.one for approximately two months when they decided to part ways with the organisation after contract talks broke down beyond repair.
In this interview, the Polish veteran discusses the issues with devils.one, playing without the support of an organisation for the umpteenth time in his career, his expectations for Pro League and Paweł "dycha" Dycha's adaptation, among other topics.
When devils.one was announced, it was a revolutionary project on paper. Could you explain what made the team leave this organisation after just a few months?
The organisation did not see the same value in the team as the other players and I did. We had signed long-term contracts with Team Kinguin; devils.one was more of a fresh look, with some new faces and a new approach. I was supposed to have a leading role in the esports department, but then the organisation wanted to change the terms of the contract, not just the salary but the overall approach in terms of the location the players should play from, where they should live, etc. I did not have the same mindset, yet my opinion was not really taken into consideration, and that is not what I want to promote with my name. Esports are so young and fresh, and I believe that the approach towards players should be different from the one used in traditional sports. Take what is best from both worlds.
According to the first announcement, you and Loord were amongst devils.one’s shareholders. Was that really the case? If so, why could you not enforce the things you thought were necessary for it to be a successful relationship?
I was never a shareholder. I was offered a stake in the organisation, but in light of the situation with my players, I decided not to take it. I was supposed to be a co-owner in the organisation but I felt powerless when it came to finding solutions. I thought it was best for both parties if we went our separate ways. I did not like the idea of being used as the face of an organisation without a team and without feeling that I was actually building something special.
Many teams and players have spoken out against gaming houses. Why did devils.one try to enforce your team to move into one which would have to share with the League of Legends squad?
The idea was to move all players to Warsaw and play from EPC [Esports Performance Center], which I believe is a great place for a bootcamp. The problem is that CS:GO has a very different format from League of Legends. LCS/LEC teams in League of Legends have league games every week, the format is clear, you know who your opponent is going to be, etc. In CS:GO, events are planned very differently.
You will return to action this Tuesday in the second group stage of ESL Pro League. What are your expectations? What have you been focusing on since the first stage?
I really hope that we can advance to the Pro League finals. I feel that this team can be special, but we need to gain more confidence with this lineup. Our main focus has been on being confident on all maps. We had a six-day bootcamp just before the event. The players are happy and hyped, so it will be interesting to see how we will perform. The most beautiful thing is the kind of pressure we will have; we will be playing for our fans and country. I love this feeling.
You will compete in this stage under the name “Aristocracy”. Could you explain the meaning behind this new name?
The name goes way back, from the 1.6 times. It was the name of my first semi-professional organisation. When I posted on my fan page asking for ideas for temporary or future names, a few people came up with it. I have a lot of respect for the people who created that project, but also for the people who were cheering for us back then. I asked the person who had a leading role in the creation of the project for permission to use the name; we had not spoken in 17 years. He said that he would be happy to see us play under it. I am excited to bring it back, even if is just for a short period of time, to show how deep the history of Polish Counter-Strike is.
Throughout your career, you have won many tournaments without the support of an organisation, so this is not a new situation for you. How is the team handling this period of uncertainty? How has this affected the players?
Honestly, it is yet to be seen how the guys will handle the situation. I do feel that there is a lot of motivation and hunger to prove themselves. I have been in this situation many times before, but it is different every time. Life changes and you are in a different place every time it happens. It is not easy, but it definitely is something like a proving ground for us, you are under the microscope by fans, organisations and potential partners. For me, it is kind of a fun place to be in. Loord and I have learned that, if you want to succeed, most of the time you need to do things the hard way. No organisation and no free invites to jump back on track. Still, I believe that it is the best way, the healthiest way, it helps to build the spine of this team and of the players.
Have you been approached by organisations since leaving devils.one? If so, how come you have not struck a deal with one yet?
We are open for talks. We have been approached by a few interested parties, but we do not want to be too eager [to commit].
When you look at the current state of Polish CS, you have been the strongest team for a while now. Do you feel the pressure of representing your country at the highest level?
I am happy that rallen, minise and mouz have got the chance to prove how good they are. I really want our team to be the team in Poland. I believe we are on the right track, we just need to keep grinding and to stay hungry. I hoped that we would be better than Virtus.pro and AGO, but I do not want the best Polish team to be around the top 25 in the rankings, I want us to be in the top 10 at least. Only then can we feel good about being the best team in Poland.
Dycha has been with the team for four months now. He was relatively unknown prior to joining the team and some even accused him of cheating. How do you think that he has performed so far?
This is dycha's first professional team, and yet his performances have been really good. He is like a rough diamond. I strongly believe that he was the missing piece in our team and that we are all getting to a place where we can perform. He is a grinder. The main thing he needs to learn is how to deal with the pressure he puts on himself. He wants to be the best, I want this team to be among the best, and so do the other guys. I think we are on the same page, so it is time to work towards it.