Interview : Taz


Virtus Pro are still reeling from their loss to Russia in the opening matches. HLTV posted an interview with Taz.


First of all, I’d like to ask about the ESL Pro League situation that happened between ESL One New York and WESG, as well as about the final being played on the same day as the semi-finals. Shouldn’t the WESA Player Council be able to help avoid situations like that? What do you make of ESL’s reply to your criticism?

The main thing is that WESA is a different thing than ESL, they’re two different parties, two different bodies. They are concerned about different things. About the council, it’s something like: players were always having doubts about how tournaments are run, about the quality and all things that are connected to a tournament. This is why WESA came up with the idea that they’d have a player council which will help players change things for the better.

Obviously you can’t change things for the better during the season. The thing is that ESL tried to make the best schedule for every team and they were flexible, but we’re still missing some more flexibility, because there’s a huge amount of tournaments. We need some more talks with ESL so that the scheduling in the future will have like a week or two weeks off from the finals so that teams can re-schedule their games if there’s a really bad situation like we had between New York and WESG.

So you think it’s just about more communication between you and the organizers?

ESL really did try to communicate, they tried to come up with ideas, but at the moment what we’ll do is that after every event, we’ll provide them with a list of things they messed up or things they did well. Starting from there, we’ll see if they change it for the better or not. This will happen with other tournaments, if we attend an event which is not providing players with good enough quality of anything connected to a tournament, then we’ll need to communicate with them as well, send them the list and fix their mistakes. That’s how it will work.

Now you can see players whining and screaming, even I’m writing on Twitter that I don’t like something, but this is just frustration behind it. We have people who also don’t play the game, but they mainly take care of the organization, like VP has managers, a CEO and stuff like that to contact bodies like ESL, or other organizers like DreamHack and others, and work with them for better conditions of the players.

You’ll always see some fuss when you make things bad, if ESL has problems with shuttles, players need to write it, they need to give their input. If we don’t say anything in public media, then organizers can keep making mistakes without being afraid. I’m not writing things if I go to like a three-star hotel even if there should be a four-star hotel, if that hotel has good internet and beds are good, then I don’t really mind. We agreed on four-star hotels, but players are not that greedy. We just want to be treated with respect and we want the standards to be good enough so that we can focus on the game.

Touching on this event, your showing on the first day obviously wasn’t up to your standards and even now you had a close game against the Serbians. Do you account that to the fact that you’ve only just travelled back from New York and aren’t in good shape?

Obviously, we’re not in our top shape after the New York event and flying around the world here to Kiev. But it’s not the only reason why we lost, we lost because we in a way underestimated our opponents. This is connected with how we’re performing, and add in Snax’s illness which struck us during this event, it’s not helping. When you give a team a bit of freedom at this level, you’ll have a lot of trouble.

But I heard that there was a funny interview with jkaem, who said he always likes to play against us and that he thinks we are tactical but we can’t really aim. Just a message for him – I think he should look at where FaZe is in the rankings, he should look at where FaZe is at the tournaments and he should pour a huge bucket of cold water over his head.

Okay then, a strong message. Talking about the rankings, you’ve recently emerged in first place of Thorin’s ranking and you’re very close in HLTV’s as well. Thoughts on being considered possibly the best team in the world?

It’s always nice to see you’re high in the rankings, but for me the main target is winning the big events, and we just failed to win one in New York. When we win big events, then I’ll be happy to see us in the number one spot and keep working on attaining the spot for a longer period. But for now, we’re not really looking at the rankings. We’re happy that people are seeing that we’re out of our slump, that we are doing a good job and we’re performing, and that’s the main thing for me. If I feel good in the team, the team is performing and we have fun playing and win big events, that’s all that matters for me.

The next big event is EPICENTER next week, which will include all three teams in contention for number one, will that determine who the best team in the world is in your eyes?

I think for many people, including HLTV’s ranking, it will be some inclination towards who’s the number one team. I don’t think it’s fair enough to take credit from SK. After fer’s operation he wasn’t 100%, and he still isn’t 100%, the operation was only for his nose, he still can’t hear well and he’s going to go through more procedures. Other than that, I’m just happy to play the next event, and it’ll be an extremely important one for us. I’m glad we will have five to six days to actually rest and come there in full strength. I think you’ll see us play our hearts out, I can’t promise you we’ll be number one or number two, but we’ll be there. This event is extremely important for our owner, and this is an extremely important event for us, so we’re going there with fire in our hearts, so let’s see how it’ll work.