s1n: "BIG is the home where I want to play for the next few years"
Following their upset win over fellow European team, Jeffrey "Mnmzzz" Moore sat down with BIG Academy's IGL Elias "s1n" Stein. The German upcomer discussed how it felt to beat the legendary names on Apeks, what it's like playing for the hometown-favorite BIG organization, and his expectations for the event with the biggest threat out of the way.
We have to talk about that match against Apeks. I think a lot of people expected Apeks to win this event outright, to run over everyone, but you've done the impossible in taking them down. Tell me how it feels to take down Apeks, such a legendary team with legendary players on it.
For example, I know STYKO because he's a long-time member of the scene and now he's taking over the IGL responsibility. They also brought in shox, one of the biggest French legends in the game and it obviously feels amazing to beat them at this tournament on LAN.
We talk about those legendary names, but obviously, there are some deficiencies in Apek’s game. Do you think your win comes down more to success from you guys or unforced errors from them?
It was late at night yesterday. We just sat down in our Airbnb and we watched some demos of them on Mirage and also on Ancient and Nuke. We just saw some tendencies in their play and I feel like I could really feel how they play the game and how they think about the game. That's why we managed to pull off such a great CT-side on Mirage, for example, because we really knew how they were playing, what they like to do and I think that extra preparation that we did made us win the game in the end.
It seems like you were ready for any contingencies in that match, especially looking towards Ancient, which ended up going to quintuple overtime. A lot of younger teams struggle to keep things together when the match drags on for a very long time. What was the team morale like as the match kept dragging on and Apeks kept coming back to force more overtimes?
At the start of the game, I just told everyone, "guys we won the first map, Mirage, that was our duty. Now we playing are playing Ancient as the underdog on their map pick. Let’s just give it all we got, keep hyping each other up, and just keep playing." Obviously, on Ancient, the CT-side is the more favorable side, so every time we got one round on T-side, we got really excited and that helped us in the end. Then coming onto the CT-side, on the fourth overtime, we eventually won three rounds in a row and that’s how we won in the end.
It seems you guys already have it all together, you're a very calm, mechanical team. Talking about FRAG in general, how have you guys enjoyed being at FRAG so far?
It's really cool seeing all these players and playing Counter-Strike and also obviously we hear ourselves in the microphone and then we also hear some American players hyping each other up, trash-talking and stuff. It's really funny and it's also really cool how much passion they have for the game.
Are German players like that at all, or are Germans more relaxed when it comes to LAN?
I would say in German teams, there are certain people who don't take themselves too seriously and they like to trash-talk a lot. But overall, everyone is a bit calmer, everyone is a bit more chill, and I think that's also a downside because you need to hype each other up. For example, we played 50 rounds of Ancient. If we didn't hype each other up after every round, I don’t think we would have won this game.
The big standout player from BIG Academy is Krimbo, who has now moved onto the main BIG roster. Was it always evident to you that Krimbo would move on to join the main squad just based on his mechanics?
Krimbo was a friend of mine I've known for five years already, I think even more. We started playing matchmaking a long time ago. At the start of the year, he was upsetting the German scene because he was playing, for example, in ALTERNATE aTTaX and cowana and he was really good. At the start of the year, he asked me to join his team because he was going to reform the BIG Academy team and I was like, "yeah, it's definitely the right choice." When he joined the team, I knew Krimbo would definitely be a BIG main team player in the future because of his work ethic, his overall skill in the game and just his attitude towards other players, his teammates, and how he just behaves himself in the game.
With that being a part of BIG, in North America, we have sort of appreciation for our top squads, our Liquids, our Cloud9s, our Complexitys, but I was kind of curious, what's it like playing for BIG as an organization?
After I joined BIG, we were bootcamping for two months in the BIG office and I also got to know gob B, tabseN, and everyone from the main team because they are also playing in the office. I just knew that this is the home where I want to play for the next few years. I can't think of another organization in Germany where I want to play CS. They do everything for the players, and they have the right attitude. They’re not an organization where they just pay you to get some results as a team, but they're just like a family.
A lot of people expected Apeks to win this event outright and I think for a lot of teams, yourself included, they're seen as a big threat to your own runs. But now that you've beat Apeks, are there any teams here that you're afraid of, or do you think it's just clear skies from here all the way to the final?
So obviously Apeks was the first team that came to my mind after I saw who was playing in this tournament. But now that we've beat them, Apeks can still come back in the main tournament and I think that will be really scary because the team that lost 2-0 will give everything they can to win the next time. Now we've just played some lower-tier NA teams and I’m really excited to play against, for example, ATK and see how they play because they're at a much higher level than the other teams we played, but they also have this NA style that we couldn't really figure out right now.
BIG Academy have continued their success so far in the main stage, quickly besting Argon. They are set to face off against Iron Blood to clinch a spot in playoffs at 03:00PM.