Two years after his departure from Virtus.pro, the Polish Counter-Strike legend Wiktor “TaZ” Wojtas still hasn’t had enough yet. Instead, he announced a new project together with a longtime teammate, Filip “NEO” Kubski.
For both members of the legendary Golden Five, HONORIS became an opportunity to regularly fight side by side on the server again. The two veterans joined together with three internationally unproven local talents, Wojciech “Prism” Zięba, Kamil “reiko” Cegiełko, and Daniel “STOMP” Płomiński.
Since its launch, the roster struggled to impress both locally and internationally with a series of subpar results. So far the best result for the roster comes from #HomeSweetHome: Week 8, where the Polish team secured a Top-8 finish after wins against Japaleno and Copenhagen Flames but lost to complexity in the playoffs. In February, in an interview with cybersport TaZ said it was very much a long-term project and would take at least a year to show any reasonable results.
In the interview, TaZ talked about the impact that the departure from Virtus.pro had on him, why he reunited with NEO and what’s in store after the retirement for the legendary CS player.
I assume that when you left Virtus.pro and returned to your country, you had some assumptions about what you would like to achieve with your new team. So did you actually achieve at least some of these assumptions over the two years?
The moment when I was removed from Virtus.pro was a very difficult period for me. As for my goal, however, I wanted to prove that I am able to build a team that will compete on the international stage. The Kinguin line-up itself was a two-year project — I assumed we would need two years to see where we would get.
The first year was supposed to be a landmark year on the scene — I had a team then, I had guys I watched before and saw their potential. I assumed then that we would possibly win one smaller international tournament and, surprisingly, we made it. But it was not enough for the organization and everything started to fall apart. You can of course say “interesting, what would have happened”, but I am quite happy, because the goals I set for myself, my expectations, were met in a way.
In your latest project you reunited with NEO — from the beginning you assumed that you would never play together again.
This was originally only a provisional assumption. We didn’t plan on playing together for a long time.
So what changed to make this cooperation happen?
After a while, I noticed a big difference in the quality of the game. 13 or 14 years of playing together have made us understand each other well both on and off the server. Playing with Filip gives me a lot of fun too. Thanks to all this, I know that playing together can give us a lot more, not only in terms of results but also in terms of enjoyment. NEO is a good partner for me. Playing with him, I know he has my back. I know I have support from Filip.
Were there any lengthy discussions to convince him to come back from “retirement”?
It was easy enough to convince him, both on his part and mine. We had very similar feelings, at least that’s how I took it. It would be best, of course, to ask Filip about it, because he can tell the most.
In your statement, you mentioned that you had to “work through” certain things. What is it actually about?
It is all related to my departure from Virtus.pro. It was very difficult on me and to get myself together at that time. I had to sort it all out.
And the fact that your new project will not function under the name ARCY proves that this, at least for you, is such a symbolic ending of a life stage?
We want to create a project with Filip of very high quality, both in terms of sports and organization. Having been on stage for so many years, we had the opportunity to see and experience a lot — both good and bad. We want what we are working on now to be the sum of our best experiences.
Have you considered involving other people in this project? For example, pasha?
And from NEO’s side?
I can’t reveal this secret.
After the legendary NiP line-up reunited in Dignitas you got to see a lot of people who wanted the Golden Five back together as well?
Of course, people would love to see the old Virtus.pro. There are a lot of such comments, it’s a fact, but I don’t know if it’s possible.
Would you like something like that?
Let it be a secret.
So with HONORIS you want to work with young players.
Yes, the premise was that we want to build the team on young players, that we are ready to spend some time developing them. We want to have guests on the team who go to bed hungry and get up hungry. Hungry for success and winning. Without it, there is no winning, no money, or success.
You work with Filip on everything together, is there any division of responsibilities?
There is no rigid division of responsibilities. What’s cool about our relationship with Filip is that we have freedom, for example, when it comes to changing roles in CS or handing over the command. For this reason, we don’t want to set ourselves barriers at the very beginning. The most important thing is to find comfort. And not only ours, but also those of young players.
This is what we focus on — we are looking for this comfort and then we will start to think about implementing the next steps of our plan. We are not planning a role division between Filip and me. This partnership is based on a simple principle — we do everything together in harmony.
After ARCY broke up, you wrote that you weren’t going to quit CS. Do you still feel hungry for winning?
My hunger for the game is not waning at all. I am hungry not only for games but also for work. I want to continue to devote my time to developing not only our team, but the entire scene.
A big influence on my decision was that I started playing with Filip again. It gave me extra fuel and a lot of fun from the game itself, which made the decision to continue my career much easier. I am also one of those people who are very hard to discourage. I love playing Counter-Strike, I love this game. I do not want to end my career when I am not at the top, and I believe that age is only a number and we will prove to many more how strong Polish Counter-Strike can be and how strong NEO and TaZ can be.
So if you had not reunited with Filip, you might have already hung your mouse?
I don’t know what would have happened if we hadn’t started playing with Filip even as a stand-in, but I know what it is like. I know the game goes on, we are hungry for success and we will find guys who feel this hunger too, who have talent. And the fun will go on.
Have you thought about what will happen after you retire as a player?
I will definitely stream, it is planned, I do not know if I will become a streamer, it will have to be decided by a wider audience. But I want to stay in esports, I don’t know where exactly. Ultimately, I can play the role of a commentator, I have experience in this and it would not be a problem for me.
However, I would like to make better use of my experience. Now I am thinking about the game, in the future I will want to operate more widely. I am thinking about creating new projects that will be able to develop young people, help all kids who were in the situation I was in when I started my adventure in esports.
Photo credit: Copyright: ESL | ADAM LAKOMY.