Solaar: “I am a very strict coach, but fair”

Solaar: “I am a very strict coach, but fair”

Eight teams fight it out in the CIS Minor for $50,000 dollars and two slots in the preliminary stage of IEM Katowice Major 2019. Before the minor, we talked to Aset “Solaar” Sembiev, head coach of the Syman Gaming team.

The young team had mixed results on the first day of the competition. Syman overcame the heavy favorites Gambit Gaming in the opening match but followed up with a 2:0 defeat against Team Spirit. Their next match will be against the winners of Gambit/Nemiga match-up for the final ticket to the playoffs.

Before the event, we talked to Aset “Solaar” Sembiev, head coach of Syman Gaming about the preparation for the most important event of their careers.

Tell us a little about the preparation of the team, how long you trained, what did you change in the training process?

For Sayman this is the first minor. Preparation was 12 days after the New Year holidays. We were in Moscow, played in the Winstrike Arena. In the training process, nothing much changed, except for the regime.

What do you say about the group “A”, in which you fell, is it easier or more difficult than group “B”?

There are no lighter or stronger groups in this minor, as there are no walk-through teams, but it’s natural not to mention the absence of the Kenzor. We are very sympathetic to the Pro100. Perhaps this factor will affect the balance of power in group “B”. [The interview was taken before Kenzor had recovered]

 

What do you think, who from group “B” will move on?

From group “B”, I think it will be Avangar and Runtime will come out.

Are you still based in Minsk? You have a multinational team, is it easy to get together and train away from home, and how long are your bootcamps?

We were based in Minsk for 9 months. In November, we moved to Kiev, unfortunately, due to political events in Ukraine, we will most likely change our place of deployment. Usually, we are going for three months, after that — two weeks of rest.

Do you know where your next bootcamp will be?

Most likely Peter. [Saint Petersburg]

Many young players ask the question “how to get into a good team?”, as the director of the Syman Gaming organization, tell in a few words how to get into your team, or where are you looking for new players, if you need one?

I think you need to play all sorts of leagues, FPL-Challenger and CIS league, as well as constantly play all sorts of qualifications. If you show yourself well, you will definitely be noticed.

Recently the CIS League opened on Faceit, do you think it will help young talents to get into esports?

I think these have a very positive effect on the emergence of new talents in our scene.

Previously, you almost had a fully Kazakh squad, now it is a multinational team, do players of different nationalities get along easily with each other, and did you have a tough discipline that you talked about six months ago?

The guys responsibly relate to their work. With discipline, we are fine. I am a very strict coach, but fair. We are all from the CIS, once lived in one country, so there are no difficulties whatsoever.

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somedieyoung: “My goal was to find a professional team through the FPL”

somedieyoung: “My goal was to find a professional team through the FPL”

The young Ukrainian player made waves in the FaceIT Pro League playing against the world’s best players. His performance there landed him a spot in Team Spirit.

Since joining his first professional team, the 21-year-old player secured the first place at the St. Petersburg Cybersport Festival “Defender”, finished second at StarLadder & ImbaTV Invitational Chongqing 2018 and ESEA Season 27: Global Challenge, among other results. Team Spirit also successfully qualified for the FACEIT Major: London 2018, where they finished 17-19th.

Victor “somedieyoung” Orudzhev talked about becoming a professional player and his hopes for 2019.

Let’s start with the fact that you won the European Qualifier for StarSeries i-League S7. What do you remember the most from that qualifier? Which team in particular left the most vivid memory? 

Team Vitality. We couldn’t beat them in our latest official games. We defeated them in practice, but they are a very uncomfortable opponent. They have some really skilled guys who perform on a good level. Roughly speaking, we improved our aim before that match, thought our tactics through, and relied more on communication. You can say that they were our principal rivals who we had to beat. We won the final, and it felt great. We will attend such a big event, and everything is good for us.  

What do you think about the format of that qualifier? Don’t you think that it was too long?

Actually, there are a lot of online qualifiers like that one. They may last for two months, even three in some cases. Some of them are really lengthy, but it doesn’t affect us in any way. 

What kind of format do you prefer: short qualifiers for a few days or those like we had for StarSeries? 

When you play a lot of matches in a time period of two or three days, you get tired. If qualifiers are lengthy, you have more time to prepare for your opponents. Also, you play better because of that, as you are in a good shape when you are in a situation like that. 

You are one of the few players from CIS region who qualified to the FPL. Tell us about your way to this league. Was it your defined goal to make it to the FPL?

I’ve already talked a lot about this topic. I was the first player from CIS who qualified to the FPL. Then, after that, new guys showed up. At that moment, it was my goal to get there, so I could play with the best players, rank up in the ladder and, actually, find a good team. I’ve played a lot in the FPL-C qualifier, and as a result, I qualified to the main division. 

What was your priority back then: to grind your way through the FPL or to find a professional team?

Honestly, my goal was to find a professional team through the FPL. Back then, we were playing in different teams in parallel with the qualifiers to the FPL. At one point, we were going to play in a qualifier to an event. I informed my teammates that I decided to participate in the FPL qualifier instead of that. They tried to change my mind, but I refused. In the same day, I made it to the FPL. 

A short time ago, CS:GO received a new update which changed a model of the distribution to Free-to-Play and presented the Battle Royale mode. Let’s begin with BR: have you tried it out? If you have, what are your impressions? In which way, from your perspective, it might affect the growth of the game in general?

It’s an interesting mode, but it’s really casual. Speaking about me, as I’m a pro player, it’s easy for me to win every match in this mode. There, I can do more than 10 kills and so on. It’s boring. But for casual players, I believe, it’s more interesting. It brings new content into the game. That’s why I think it’s a good thing. If the devs update it, fix all the bugs, it will be great.

But don’t you think that Danger Zone came out being in quite a “raw” state? 

Yes, but as I said before, it has to be further developed. Let’s even bring PUBG into discussion. It had a lot of different bugs when it was released. Probably, the early version of PUBG was better [than Danger Zone], but still, it also had to be improved no matter what.

As we know, CS:GO is free now. In your opinion, is it good or bad for the game?

In theory, as far as I know, there are more cheaters now. It’s easy to understand that because the game is free, there are a lot of new accounts which use cheats. It’s bad. [Valve] need to update their anticheat, so there will be more bans and less cheaters. 

In fact, Free-to-Play is always great for a casual user who just wants to test the game. Such players can stay in the game after trying it out. That’s a plus, I think.

When was the last time you played the Valve’s matchmaking? If you did, how was it? 

I actually launched it recently, maybe a week ago. It seems to be normal. When I play the matchmaking, I always have like more than 40 kills, and I don’t see any cheaters. In the Prime MM, at least.

Who would you highlight from the list of participants for the next CIS Minor? Which teams will be your main rivals?  

Nemiga are playing great CS at the moment. Basically, Nemiga and AVANGAR are the strongest teams out there.

Alright, who will make it to the Major alongside with you?

It’s hard to think like that. Actually, all the teams are on the same level. It’s hard to say. 

What kind of goals do you have in front of you for 2019?

In terms of goals for my team, I hope that we will have a decent result at the Major. After that, we have to get a good placement in Shanghai [StarSeries i-League S7], so we could enter the top-15 of the HLTV rankings at the beginning of 2019. If we establish ourselves, we can go even higher by small but confident steps. 

Individually, I will be improving my performance, just like I’m actually doing it now, and try to be better. I want to be among top-20 players in 2019. It would be great.

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CS:GO teams that won the most in 2018

CS:GO teams that won the most in 2018

2018 was a great year for Counter-Strike, with several teams making well over a million dollars from prize money alone. We take a look at the biggest winners of the year.

Astralis  – $ 3,650,750 
2018 can be considered a continuation of the Astralis era. After not the most successful performance at ELEAGUE Major Boston 2018 at the beginning of the year, the Danes won DreamHack Masters Marseille 2018 in April and since then have been confidently taking first place in the HLTV rating. Then Astralis won nine more tournaments (including FACEIT Major London 2018) out of thirteen they attended, and in December became winners of the first Intel Grand Slam season, receiving a million dollars from Intel for this unprecedented achievement.

fnatic  – $ 1,351,250 
After winning the IEM Season XII World Championship tournament ($ 250,000) and the WESG 2017 ($ 800,000), fnatic did not rise above third place for nine months. In December, the Swedes still managed to win the PLG Grand Slam 2018 ($70,000), but the list of participants in this tournament wasn’t the most attention-grabbing. Excluding the aforementioned tournament, which looks more like an excuse for a trip to a resort in the UAE, the Swedish team earned an underwhelming 110 thousand prize dollars in the second half of the year.

Natus Vincere  – $ 1,159,500
The past year for “born to win” was the most successful in the entire history of the CS: GO roster — the team earned over a million dollars in prize money, won four tournaments (StarSeries Season 5, CS: GO Asia Championship 2018, ESL One Cologne 2018 and BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen 2018) and, repeatedly taking prizes, was fixed on the second line of the HLTV rating. Natus Vincere received $525 thousand dollars in prizes for the first places and $375 thousand for the second place finishes.

Team Liquid  – $ 1,019,500 
After winning the cs_summit 2 tournament in February, Team Liquid, like fnatic, could not make the final breakthrough for nine months. The North American team stopped six times on the verge of victory. In late November, Team Liquid interrupted a series of setbacks, winning the SuperNova Malta 2018 tournament, but in December they were second again. Finishing mostly second, the team still earned more than 600 thousand dollars in prize money.

FaZe Clan  – $ 1,004,787 
2018 for FaZe Clan was not as successful as 2017, however, the total amount of prize money exceeded one million dollars. The team won IEM Season XIII Sydney ($ 100,000), ESL One Belo Horizonte 2018 ($ 100,000) and EPICENTER 2018 ($ 150,000) tournaments, and also ranked second at ELEAGUE Major Boston 2018 ($ 150,000) and IEM Season XII World Championship ($ 100,000).

mousesports  – $ 906,898
The 
sixth line is occupied by another European team — mousesports. The Mice won the StarSeries Season 4, V4 Future Sports Festival and ESL One New York 2018, earning over half a million dollars in prize money for winning these tournaments.

SK / MIBR  – $ 871,000 
In the first half of the year, Brazilians, playing under the SK Gaming tag, won a couple of small tournaments and earned $293 thousand prize dollars. At the end of June, the CS: GO line-up went under the banner of Made In Brasil. After changing the name, the Brazilian team continued to fever, nevertheless, MIBR won the ZOTAC Cup Masters 2018 ($ 200,000) and earned a total of two times more than in the first half of the year.

Cloud9  – $ 846,500 
Having received half a million dollars for winning the ELEAGUE Major Boston 2018 tournament in January, the team lost key players and failed to show any meaningful results later, earning only about $185 thousand dollars in the second half of 2018.

NRG Esports  – $ 505,750 
Another North American team began to show good results in the second half of 2018 — NRG Esports. They won IEM Season XIII Shanghai tournaments ($ 125,000) in August and cs_summit 3 ($ 63,750) in November, and also repeatedly hit the top three in most international events they attended. NRG surprised many this past year with good performance and they’ve earned a good amount too.

ex-Space Soldiers – $ 462,750 
Closing out the top ten of the most earning CS:GO teams in 2018 are the Turkish soldiers from space. The Turks received most of the prize money ($ 300,000) for silver medals at WESG 2017 in March. The entirety of the second half of the year was very unsuccessful. The team earned only 32 thousand dollars from prize money. The players started having conflicts with the organization that they represented, and in October their paths diverged. In December, Ismailcan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş left his team and joined BIG Clan.

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Biggest names in esports in 2018

Biggest names in esports in 2018

They achieved high results, created competition, changed the industry, surprised by their achievements, and left their mark in the history of esports.

Esports went on a vacation, but not for long. Very soon, teams will gather at bootcamps to begin preparations for the next season and new January tournaments. Some, like The Bucharest Minor, start on January 9th. We would like to note the successes and achievements of those people, without whom it is impossible to imagine 2018 in esports.

Alexander “s1mple” Kostylev

For a whole year there was only talk, who is the best player in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ? Nikolai “device” Reedz from Astralis or Alexander “s1mple” Kostylev from Natus Vincere? Analysts and statistics flooded each other with numbers, fans broke spears in the next battle on the Internet. 

Some may say that the 12 MVP awards from HLTV are the only thing that will allow you to stop any controversy. There are people who say that all this is clowning. In general, half of the Danish team deserves no less attention. And s1mple has an award from the Esports Awards. He was recognized as the best player on the PC. Is that worth anything?

To argue which of them is the best, you can endlessly. Football for 10 years has not figured out who is better: Messi or Ronaldo? I wonder how long these disputes will continue within the CS: GO community. 

Both esports athletes had an outstanding season. But between them, there is a difference. If device drops out of the game, four more people are ready to step up and carry on with the match. S1mple didn’t always had that luxury. Perhaps he therefore stands out among the rest of the participants of Natus Vincere. In 2018 there were a lot of matches, if not for Kostylev, who knows what the “born to win” would achieve.

Na’Vi can not be called a team of one person. But there is a star, “the final boss,” as the casters once called him. And this machine is capable of stably showing a fantastic performance throughout the year. 

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins

The idol of the western youth and the richest streamer in the world. $500 thousand – so much Blevins earns every month from Twitch subscriptions alone. When hundreds of thousands of people regularly watch you on Twitch, and YouTube videos collect from 2 to 5 million views, it’s easy to believe in this. And all thanks to Fortnite and one broadcast with rapper Drake. That stream set a new record on personal Twitch channels – 635 thousand people. 

Ninja has grown to the point that he talks about Fornite on NBC’s Jimmy Fallon evening show. New York Times, ESPN, and others are interviewed him. According to Esports Industry Awards, Blevins is both a persona and a 2018 streamer. Very soon, he will arrange a New Year’s party in New York in Times Square. Tyler plans to invite guests and entertain the audience for 12 hours straight.

Love him or hate him, his impact for the whole gaming industry in 2018 cannot be denied.

Sebastian “Ceb” Debs and Johan “n0tail” Sundstein

Whatever happened in the future, the tandem of Debs and Sundstein forever inscribed their names in the history of Dota 2 . Success at The International 8 is largely their merit. One former coach, the other is a born leader and a captain. Perhaps they would have nothing happened if it were not for one important event in his career. 

May 2018. Captain and co-owner of the team Tal “Fly” Isaic team leaves OG. And with him one of the smartest players in the world – Gustav “s4” Magnusson. Drama, intrigue, recriminations in the press. They were replaced by the young and inexperienced Tobias “Topson” Taavitsainen and the dusty Anatam “Anat” Fam. The Aussie was generally on a protracted vacation. Before the Dota 2 World Championship all analysts put OG on the last line. No one could believe tha, half-dead and battered, they could even leave the group.

And in the end came out strong and lifted the trophy high over their heads.

The grand final — OG vs PSG.LGD — match of the year. January 15, Valve will release a documentary about this confrontation. So impactful was this match for the scene. A special show will be held in one of the Copenhagen cinemas.

Joona “Serral” Sotala

The first player who is not from South Korea, who endured a whole year of big-name rivals in the biggest StarCraft 2 competitions. Nobody knows how to stop Serral. Sotala took five trophies in WCS tournaments. He first interrupted a series of 34 victories at the world championships. Joona is so strong that he is expected to repeat success next year. Ukrainian Starcraft legend Alexander “Bly” Svisyuk put it best in a recent interview:

“He showed that it doesn’t matter where you live. The main thing is how you approach the process, and Serral approaches the process of training very painstakingly. He did a great job on himself psychologically. So much to train, to sharpen a lot of things to do everything perfectly — it is necessary to break everything in yourself and build in such a way as to become the number one of the world. Serral could do it and I think that he would be the best in any game. He is one of those people who can.” 

Jack Etienne

2018 is the year of Cloud9. The American esports organization achieved the highest results in all possible disciplines. They won the CS: GO major in Boston, won the first season of the Overwatch League, performed a crazy comeback at NA LCS during the season and won the top 4 at the World Championships. And this is in addition to the achievements in the Rainbow Six Siege, PUBG and Rocket League. 

In addition to this, it turned out that Jack Etienne is able not only to assemble teams and build relationships inside but also to knock out investments and sponsorship contracts. A truly unique person that is helping the future growth of esports by leaps.

Dominic “SonicFox” McLean

Dominic McLean is best known in the fighting community. But his impact reaches far more than that, far enough to earn him an award at The Game Awards 2018, where he was recognized as the best esports athlete of the year.

McLean is a workaholic. He dropped out. But not because it is boring. Dominic wanted to develop his own games. Learning this at the Faculty of Computer Science was simply impossible. Therefore, he began to play seriously himself. 

In 2018, SonicFox was marked by two important victories. The first in the world championship in fighting – Evolution Championship Series 2018 in the discipline of Dragon Ball FighterZ. The second – at the World Cup in Injustice 2. And each time he prepared the heroes that were deemed to be weak. He came to the tournament and put all their feet forward. Such a success in fighting games is a miracle. 

By age 20, McLean had become the most successful player in the community. He occupies the first line in earned prize money too — $525 thousand. And this is far from the end.

Danny “zonic” Sorensen

In esports, they still cannot decide what role the coach plays, what he does, what responsibilities fall on his shoulders. Does he manage the process at all or does he carry water? In a big sport, such questions simply do not arise. There, the authority of a coach has long been clear to everyone.

Astralis’ newest member Emil “Magisk” Rafe had this to say after he joined the Danish team:

“This is a good question, I like to talk about zonic, because he is very good. Before this tournament, he told us the following: ‘Guys, this is the last championship of the year. I know that you are tired and exhausted, but we need to take the [BLAST Pro Series Lisbon 2018] cup home. Get victory, dedicate yourself 100%, and then we can go on vacation.’ He always pushes us forward. ”

The main merit of zonic is 10 victories at major tournaments, including the major ones. The gap in the HLTV ranking between Astralis and any other team is more than 500 points. No matter if they laughed at him, no matter what they say about him, Sorensen led the team to success. He managed to turn five amazing but struggling players into cold-blooded killers. Each of them is ready to work not on statistics, but on the result. And in this indicator, Astralis has no equal.

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Ceh9: “The only way I see Zeus retiring is if NaVi drop to VP level”

Ceh9: “The only way I see Zeus retiring is if NaVi drop to VP level”

Russian CS:GO commentator and ex NaVi member Arseniy “ceh9” Trinozhenko shared his opinion on the changes in MIBR and the possible retirement of Danilo “Zeus” Teslenko.

ceh9 played with Zeus for many years before his retirement. The duet joined the very first NaVi roster after leaving pro100 and remain close friends to this day.

On his stream ceh9 discussed a wide range of topics, starting with the changes in MIBR, the possible retirement of Zeus and even what s1mple in FaZe Clan would look like.

About MIBR changes

“I can’t say that TACO has ever fully joined Team Liquid. He made very important entry frags in the team. He was partly in his place, and partly was not. If you watched the game of the Liquid team, then you, in my opinion, could watch it perfectly. That is, it always looked like he had one foot out the door and wasn’t fully there.”

 

“Therefore, maybe here [in the MIBR] TACO will join the team one hundred percent. Or not, and it will become the final nail in the coffin that MIBR were building since the last Major. In any case, Brazilians are experienced guys. More than once they showed how to fall, rise, fall, rise … And, perhaps, it was they who in 2019 would force the Astralis team to move a little bit. ”

About Zeus

“Firstly, there is no substitute for Zeus. There are simply no captains of this level, of such magnitude. Plus, of course, we must take the monetary component. Zeus is now in the team top 2 team in the world. For the year, the prize-winning NaVi team won about $ 1 million, give or take. If you work, you manage to be in the top 3, why should you leave that?

That is, of course, someone plays for money, someone plays for something else. But all the same, money is a weighty part for any pro-player, for a person who does this professionally.

Therefore, it seems to me that Zeus can leave only if the NaVi drops all the way down to the level of the same Virtus.pro and so on. Only in this case, he will say: “Everything, I have already stopped working. I am leaving.”

What if s1mple joined FaZe?

“Simple has said more than once that NaVi is his home for him. The team has done a lot for him and so on, and he is not going to go over to [FaZe Clan]. But even after he denied it I would have delayed the conclusions. Wait and see.

 

That is, in reality, after Katowice Major 2019, the situation will change, most likely. That is, it is not clear what place NaVi will occupy, what kind of relationships will be in the team, and so on. Although I agree that even now NaVi played, took second place on the BLAST Pro Series – Lisbon 2018 – indeed, there again, most likely, someone had some thoughts: “How did we get this second place”, blah -blah blah blah. And now they will have a rest, will gather there in two or three weeks, and this will already be completely moral in the other team. That is, they will begin to train again, they will again go together to succeed.

And this bitterness, which sits in you after one or two days [after a defeat], it, of course, disappears, and you start thinking completely differently. Again, this works both in one and in the second direction. ”

Intel Extreme Masters Season XIII – Katowice Major 2019 will be held from February 13 to March 3, 2019 in the Polish city of Katowice. At the tournament 24 teams will play for $1 million USD in prize money.

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Will Team Liquid remain forever second in 2019?

Will Team Liquid remain forever second in 2019?

It was the final match of ESL One New York 2018. Team Liquid faced mousesports as a clear favorite and it was theirs for the taking. And then they blew it.

And many immediately had a question: when will Liquid Horses be able to overcome the curse of the second place? This is not the first tournament in recent times, where the team from America comes to the later stages — the final, the semi-final, but still can not make an effort over themselves and still raise the cup over their heads.

What is the reason for these failures? Second in New York, at Eleague Premier, at ECS and ESL Pro league. All of these tournaments were played in 2018, and many would say that Liquid got into good shape, but there is another side — the guys came up against stagnation.

Let’s remember what all the great teams in the history of CS:GO had and try to understand what the Americans have of this.

The set of a real champion in our favorite game is very simple, but only the best could bring together all the details. At all times, the best team in the world has always had a great team play, an individual form of all players, a large bag of tactical plans, a strong and confident captain who is able to lead the team and encourage it if necessary, and of course a tough, hard-hitting sniper.

The teams Fnatic, SK Gaming, Astralis, and even Na’Vi or FaZe, all these teams, in one way or another, during a certain period of their performances possessed all the components listed above.

If you look at the Team Liquid, then they clearly lack two very important components — a strong and experienced captain, as well as a stable, tough sniper. Bundles of a glave-device, Zeus-S1mple (or even Zeus-Mou), Pronax-JW, Fallen, who played both roles at the same time, but always had the option of an incredible Coldzera that can easily replace the captain in any given situation.

Even looking at the very same final of ESL One New York 2018, Mousesports tandem of ChrisJ-Oskar did the work, which clearly helped them overcome Liquid in a difficult best-of-5.

Is there really a strong and experienced captain in Liquid? Not really. Does a player of the level of a Device, S1mple, or Guardian play in a sniper position? The answer is the same. No matter how nitr0 tried to become a young Fallen, he still clearly lacks experience, and in order to gain that he still needs more than one tournament.

In addition, Liquid players in the team often change the sniper depending on the position, map, timing, which on the one hand allows the Americans to surprise the opponent in different parts of the map and different players. And on the other hand, during the game with a really strong sniper, it is the duel of two players with AWP from different teams that is mainly played by Liquid.

Which tournament in a row they are called title contenders, favorites and how many times they remain a step or two from the championship? So is there a chance to finally overcome themselves and climb the best pedestal?

No doubt, yes. This is possible at a similar tournament, where top teams will be tired after major or they simply won’t attend. And that what we saw happen at SuperNova Malta, where Liquid took the 1st place after beating NRG esports in the final.

Liquid may well become champions if they give nitr0 as much time as he needs, in order to fully learn how to combine the position of a sniper and a captain. Or there is another option to find a strong leader, which is quite difficult because this market is very limited. Or a good and stable sniper, which is more realistic, thereby relieving nitr0 and giving him the opportunity to fully devote himself to coordinating the team.

And so long as one of these scenarios is not brought to life, we will call Liquid the eternal candidates and eternal favorites. Poor Twistzz, who was recognized as the MVP of the tournament in New York, can shoot at least 130 frags in the final, which he almost completed in the match against Mousesports, but even this is not enough to stop Team Liquid from being eternally second.

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