Cybersport.com spoke with BIG's in-game leader, Fatih "gob b" Dayik, after the team's victory against OpTic Gaming in the New Challengers stage, where we discussed the best-of-3 series, how he effectively used mid-round calls, the importance of LEGIJA and his thoughts on how far BIG has come since conception.
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Fatih, congratulations on making it into the New Legends. Let's look at the maps: Dust 2 saw an absolutely monstrous T side performance for you guys. What do you feel went wrong for OpTic on the defence that contributed to your halftime score?
It wasn't anything strategic, I think. We also didn't play that strategically, it's not like we like to play this map really loose. What we did was win every kind of clutch situation. That's what they did wrong, or we did good. They didn't have any momentum going on; Dust 2 is a map where we can snowball really well, and that's what we did on this map. If they won a few rounds in a row, they could have come back into the game, but then we still have a really strong CT half, even though they won a few rounds. Our CT half is really strong, so it would have been a tough match anyway, but I also think they didn't expect to win that map. Obviously they wanted to fight for it, but they still had two good maps coming up for them, so it was fine for them as well.
Dust 2 is a map where we can snowball really well, and that's what we did on this map.
Train was significantly closer, especially towards the end. We thought were looking at another overtime. How did you manage to close out in the end, considering they didn't do too bad?
We had really good timeouts with good calls, even though sometimes we lost rounds. We knew how to get opening frags against them in a few rounds after we took a timeout, and yeah, LEGIJA did a great job with that, really good calls. We were like: "What do we play?" and he had an idea, so I said: "Yeah, we do it exactly like this". Then I built on this idea and it worked, because it was a really close game. I think the will was there from us again, like in Cologne. It was nothing like we practiced, or any kind of strategy we had. It was good calls. We believed in ourselves and the calls — that's why I think we won in the end.
You mentioned the use of a more "on-the-fly", loose style, which is contrary to your more structured approach to the game. How did you make this work as an in-game leader?
We obviously had some stuff prepared, like set rounds, but in the end my team wanted mid round calls, because I have good feeling. As I said, if we anti-strat someone, we anti-strat the idea. I try to find out what their idea is, and I try to give that to my team and they try to understand it. If they understand it, they know what kind of information I need, or maybe I'd sometimes say: "I need this information, you need to do this, so give me information, try to peek him. I know it's risky sometimes, but he won't be there most of the time", and this kind of stuff. They wanted me to make a mid-round call, and that's why in the end we were going for peeks, but with an idea behind it, so we could react fast. Also, it gives me the chance to change the round in the end and make a mid-round call.
LEGIJA tries to have us on a cool level, but he motivates us in important parts, and everyone respects him for that.
You spoke about LEGIJA in your previous answer, you mentioned his importance in in-game decision-making. What makes Nikola such a great coach and, previously, a good player? What makes him a crucial part of BIG?
Yeah, he is family, he is our best friend, and for him it's important to have our emotions on one level. He is the guy who's pumping us up, but we need to stay calm, kind of. Sometimes it doesn't work, but also, in a positive way, you get pumped up sometimes. He tries to have us on a cool level, but he motivates us in important parts, and everyone respects him for that. Obviously, he understands the game very well, but the most important part of him is this motivation part. That's why we have always had the will in the last rounds: "Yeah, we can still make it, we can still win an eco round", or he motivates me and tells me: "Hey, good call, that was a good call, no problem, keep going". He holds me in line, and that's why he's important. Also we respect him a lot as a person.
Emotions. Plenty of them, from what we could see on the stream, you guys were absolutely pumped up. One of the younger players on your team, Owen [smooya], is very prone to it. He's very explosive, very animated, very emotional. I paid attention to the camera: he's sitting to the left of you, and you kind of help him gauge the emotions as well. Talk to me about the importance of leveling them. Do you ever get thrown off if you go overly explosive?
Yeah, for sure. For me, as well, because I always need to be analysing what is happening, I have no room for emotions. Obviously they will come out sometimes, sometimes I'm also motivating as well, so it's not only Niko [LEGIJA]. Owen, for example, is a very young player and he's really hard on himself. If he makes a mistake, misses a shot — it's not over, and that's what I try to tell him all the time. I give him a shoulder pump, say like: "Hey, it's all fine, you're a good player. It can happen. Just try to help the team with your good communication. If you are dead, you can still help them: you can coordinate, you can give positive vibes." That's what I try to tell the younger players, especially Owen, and I think he's doing a great job by it. Sometimes he's really harsh on himself, and then we try to get him in line, but yeah, Niko and I are doing a great job at that, I think.
I wanted to jump into the past for a second. After mousesports, you had a bumpy period, where you moved to NRG Esports, and towards the latter stages of the team the performances weren't the best. Now, in BIG, you guys are going into your third Major group stage. What were the preliminary projections you had for the project after leaving NRG for it? Do you feel you, as a team, have lived up to them?
I would start from the post-mousesports time. We had OK results in EPL with NRG, but on LAN we were really dogshit. This time was really good for me because we went to America and I just played a lot of CS. I learned a lot, I was focusing on my individual game. In CS, you can't become a good player in a day or two, you need to put in a lot of hours. I didn't have a lot of hours in mousesports, that's why I was catching up on NRG, to be honest. I was just playing a lot, trying to improve my individual level, trying to become a better leader, and that's what I did. Unfortunately, it didn't show in our results, but I felt like a much better player.
We can win a lot of games, and then the next stage would be to win tournaments, but we're not there yet. We'll go game by game, as I always say, and don't take anyone too easy.
Then, when we made the plan to make BIG, I knew exactly that if I have this player and this player, now I can also be really good. We can do some damage. Obviously at the start you don't know: it's a new team, you have eight days of practice, you can't have any expectations. But in the end, my expectation was to get into Pro League, to qualify for everything that is possible, like Majors and some of the bigger tournaments. Now, the next stage is becoming a top 10 team. Not all the time, but most of the time being a top 10 team contender, at least.
We can win a lot of games, and then the next stage would be to win tournaments, but we're not there yet. We'll go game by game, as I always say, and don't take anyone too easy. You see it in best-of-1s, it's so hard to play against some teams. I think step by step; it takes a lot of time, everyone out there wants to get better, it's not going to take one month, it's going to take years. Now I'm feeling much better individually, and that's why I think I have such high expectations from the team and from myself.
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New Challengers interviews
— JR: "Psychologically, it's a lot easier for us. We have nothing to lose."
— snatchie: "We were the least prepared team of all."
— stanislaw: "The T side really just confused the hell out of me, honestly."
— AdreN: "We recognise that it is absolutely crucial for us to be a more structured team."
— dupreeh: "We maybe prepared a little bit too much [vs. Rogue]."
— Bondik: "The main goal is to proceed into the next stage, the rest is irrelevant."
— NEO: "I've been nothing but happy and surprised how good snatchie is."
— Dosia: "B1ad3 is rearranging our in-game approach entirely, on all maps."
— Lekr0: "We can't underestimate VP even though they had a bad streak."
— Magisk: "I don't think that any team should be guaranteed a spot at the Major for being top 8."
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