MAJ3R on Wicadia: "My role will be like a father because we have maybe 12 years between us"
Eternal Fire have gone through an unprecedented number of roster changes in recent months as several players left the team only to rejoin a couple of months later. Despite all the struggles, however, their latest iteration seems to have finally given them a combination of players that can challenge the big dogs of tier-one CS.
Engin "MAJ3R" Küpeli and company failed to get a successful start in Malta as losses to Cloud9 and Virtus.pro meant they quickly found themselves in the Last Chance bracket. Once there, the Turkish squad rallied and secured two 2-0 victories against Cloud9 and Liquid to qualify for the EPL playoffs, where they beat a resurgent Astralis in the first round.
After their win against the Danes, the Turkish IGL sat down with HLTV to discuss their road at EPL so far, Ali "Wicadia" Haydar Yalçın's breakthrough tournament, and the upcoming release of CS2.
Congratulations on your victory. Vertigo was very close, and you called a fantastic T-side on Inferno. How was it from your perspective?
Vertigo was a much closer match. We came back from 10-14, and the key round was the Calyx B push. He killed three people with a Famas, and after that, we did the comeback. So Vertigo was really close. On Inferno, we closed an 8-7 CT side [Editor's note: it was a 9-6 CT side] and then won a lot of rounds on the T side. I had a plan in my mind about the T-side, and it went perfectly. So I'm very happy that everything went smoothly. We're very happy, and we will keep fighting.
Next up for you at EPL is BIG. They are XANTARES' previous team, and you are quite well-matched against them. How do you feel about your chances going into the game tomorrow?
BIG is a good team, and it will be a special match for XANTARES against them. Like every other match, we're going to prepare our match against them. I don't know when we will play, tomorrow or the day after.
You play the first game tomorrow.
Okay, that's not a lot of time (laughs). So I need to prepare tonight. We are excited and taking it match by match, we will do our best. BIG is a good team, and I hope both teams are going to show good CS.
I want to go back a bit to your group stage performance. You didn't start the best and dropped to the Last Chance bracket pretty soon, but then you beat C9 and Liquid to qualify. How did you turn around your performance?
I think we played decently generally in the group stage, and at the end, we beat C9 and Liquid 2-0. I'm very happy about our performance because I think that we showed that what we can do in practice, we can now show it in official matches here at ESL as well. It's important for me to play good CS.
It's not just about winning, but about winning with good CS. For me, it's very important. I think my teams play good CS. It's not only headshots and getting wins by chance or winning by enemy mistakes. I think we do great things and I'm proud of my team. I'm proud also of myself and I hope we will go as far as we can in this tournament. We will do our best.
I also want to touch on Wicadia, who is having a breakout tournament here in Malta. How has he adapted to playing higher-ranked opponents?
For Wicadia, it's his first big tournament, so I didn't know how he would react against such opponents. I'm really surprised about his performance, mentality, and attitude in the match. He's not making a lot of mistakes, and he's a very important card, which I have in my hand now. I'm very proud of what he's accomplishing here at ESL Pro League.
He's really young and has really big potential that everyone can see. So my role will be like a father because we have maybe twelve years between us. So I will try to keep his mind cool. To tell him that this is just the beginning and that he needs to work harder. Every day he needs to wake up and fix his mistakes, and he can become a really good player. I'm proud of him.
And just more on a general note, CS2 might be coming out tomorrow. How do you feel about the game? Do you feel it's ready for competitive play?
To be honest, I don't think it's ready for competitive play, but everyone will be in the same position. So just let's go, boys, let's fight!
There's also been some talk in the media that there was a vote here at EPL about transitioning to CS2. Can you say anything about that?
Oh, I didn't know. They didn't say anything to us. So I think we are not in the correct group, we are outside (laughs). So I don't know.