tabseN: "gob b is not feeling so comfortable leading because we completely changed our style"
BIG finished ESL One Cologne 2019 in 9-12th place, unable to follow up on their historic run to the grand final from last year. After their elimination by the hands of Heroic, tabseN took to social media to announce that he took over the in-game leadership of the team.
In our interview, the 24-year-old player discussed the process of integrating Ismailcan "XANTARES" Dörtkardeş, the history he shares with Fatih "gob b" Dayik, and communication issues they are still working on.
Obvious question: you're the in-game leader now - why?
It's a good question. It's an obvious thing that Fatih (gob b) will at some point stop and retire, and become our coach. I was talking with him for a long time, and I told him that I only wanted to do it if he became our coach, because I know that he is a very important player and also an important guy to me. He started my career, he taught me about things I never thought about, and he made my career, I would say. That's how it goes - he's trying to make me an in-game leader that is capable of leading my team, and I feel like I can do it. Obviously, it will be a hard task, because the English-speaking barrier on top of it makes it hard for me. We'll see how it goes.
You touched on him helping you start your career. You played together at the beginning of CS:GO, and then you went on to represent NRG etc. What do you think was the key moment with you and gob b in your career?
The key moment was definitely NRG, when we were playing 12-15 hours a day, talking about Counter-Strike, going on the server, trying to make some moves and trying to understand the game and I was trying to understand his mind. Other than that, of course, I had the aim, but I was not the guy putting hours into the game outside of aiming. He taught me about grenades, movement, ways you can think about the game just to have an advantage for yourself and the whole team, of course. If I wouldn't have been in NRG at that time, I think I wouldn't be here now.
What was the point when you decided that you'll take on the in-game leading now? Because you could've done it six months ago, or six months into the future. Why exactly now?
We're having a rough time right now, and we were talking about having some changes. Fatih is not feeling so comfortable leading because we completely changed our style; of course, his style of calling is completely different from what it used to be. The team we have right now is not the team we had a long time ago. He was leading for everyone, no one had to think about anything, but this time it's completely different because we have players that are able to play for themselves. Of course, they are not that good sometimes in high-pressure situations, they make some mistakes, but other than that, the playstyle has changed a lot and I think his mindset is also that his calling style is not the best fit for the team right now. Calling in this team is nothing special, I would say, because we have tactics, we would call them, of course, some mid-round comms here and there, but other than that we have some certain rules that everyone is trying to think about and stick to them.
One of the players that you brought in, XANTARAS, has superstar potential and played very well before. He has had good games in BIG as well, but the consistency isn't there. Is the change in style done to bring out more from him?
Definitely. You need to remember that he played four years, maybe, with Space Soldiers and the first months with BIG he didn't know anything - like didn't know anything in terms of throwing grenades, didn't know how to position himself better for the team, and we had to try to remind him of that and teach him that he's a team player. Back in the day, he was a player the team played around, and nowadays he's in a team that plays for everyone. It's a really hard task for him to adapt, of course, because he has it in his blood that he needs to win every round by himself. He's a player that can easily do that, but we are trying to get more out of him.
Of course, he has had some good games, also some really bad games, I would say, but for us, it doesn't really matter because he is improving a lot lately, and he is improving day-by-day. He can't show it yet, I think, but in practice, online games and communication-wise, I see that he is getting there, for sure, and he needs to feel more comfortable with the style that we have. Also, the understanding - it's sometimes hard for him in spontaneous situations; other than that I think he will get there, I'm pretty sure.
Do you mean understanding in terms of communication or in terms of what is the right thing to do?
Both. Communication, of course, in hectic situations it's really hard to say: "You need to do this, bla bla bla...", and he needs to understand it directly. It's really hard for him to react to that. Other than that, he knows what to do in certain situations, but he needs to react faster and he needs to see the hole, see where the window is. Sometimes there is a window, and he is not taking it, because he didn't understand the communication. That, of course, is also our mistake, because our English is also not the best, just like his, but we are trying to get there, and I'm sure we will do it.
When you originally signed him, did you think that the adaptation process was going to be quicker and easier than it ended up being?
To be fair, yes. I felt like he is one of the best players in the world, I think he can adapt really good, but I think no one in the world has a playstyle like ours. We are trying to think about the team all the time, we are not looking at the individual. We are always looking at the team and I think for him it's really hard to realise that we are always trying to buy grenades when it's needed, we always try to help our teammates and I think it's really hard for everyone.
With gob b potentially moving to the coaching position somewhere down the line, do you have a replacement player that you're looking at to join the team later on?
To be honest, everyone is talking about syrsoN, like he's potentially a guy who might join us at some point, but right now he's not an option for us, because we are still playing the Minor, we have some tournaments still left to play. After that, we need to see what will happen, but I would say we will not sign anyone directly again, we will take our time, test the players and if they fit for us, we will see how far the player is for himself, and then we will make the right decision.
With this being said, earlier this year you took on the AWPing, now you're taking on the in-game leading. Some people say that you're trying to do too much by yourself, in a way. Do you feel like you're taking on too much responsibility? You could've maybe gone to another team and just been a star player in mousesports or FaZe type of a team, something like that.
Well, probably yeah, I could've done things in different ways, but I feel like I've put so much time and so much effort into this team, and also into the BIG organization. I will probably always stay in BIG because I feel like home here. They treat me the best, I think no one in the world can treat me like them, and I try to make them feel the same. I will always do the best for BIG, and if it's AWPing role or the in-game leader role; to me, it was not always my decision, it was always a team decision, to take the AWP role, for example.
Because I felt like I played some certain positions better than smooya, especially as CT, but as T he was always AWPing. I was never really a T AWP, I felt like I needed to be a rifle. But we needed an AWP, and I tried to take it because no one really wanted it, and I felt like we were not that bad, but someone was missing in my role. Trying to adapt to that was really hard, and other than that, as I said, the in-game leader role now - someone has to do it, and my team, Fatih and everyone else, think I can do it, and I hope that I will do it.
On a more positive note, you beat MIBR, which is kind of a grudge match going back to 2017 at the PGL Krakow Major. Tell me about that win - it may not have been the greatest achievement, as you didn't get to the playoffs, but what do you think about how you did at the tournament?
As you said, the games against MIBR are always something special. The games we had against them were always very close, they were very intense and the emotions are very high, both at PGL and the match we had against them last year at this event. Every game is like going into overtime, and I felt like, on Dust 2 especially, we were playing really good. It's hard to say because they were playing really good, and also they had a new player. Their playstyle changed a lot, and I think LUCAS1 is also a really good player, but the game against them is always intense and I like to play against them, it always feels really good. Beating them is, of course, a nice thing, but not being in the playoffs is something different.
Do you have anything to add before we end the interview?
Yeah, of course. It's always a rough time for the fans, friends, and everyone who is supporting us. The last few days we were out of the top thirty - for us, it's kind of a shock, but to me, personally, it's always like a motivation to grind back. I feel like I'm never stopping for someone, I want to be one of the best. I've shown it, and I will show it again that I will be up there with my team, and I will do anything for that.