We caught up with tabseN, IGL for BIG, ahead of the EU RMR B's Last Chance Qualifier for the BLAST Paris Major 2023. He spoke openly about the team's synergy with their new players, plans for the future, and his thoughts on CS 2.
Hugo "TheSwedishJoker" Nilsson Meier, BLIX.GG: I’d like to start by talking about Marcel “hyped” Köhn, your new player. How do you feel he is adapting to his first Major circuit? What are the expectations you guys have for him here?
Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz: I can only talk about myself but my expectations for him is basically that he is trying to play like he’s doing in practice, he’s playing very well in practice. Obviously, he had a very good game just now, he can do better for sure, and on top, obviously, he’s filling big shoes. I know he’s also a little bit nervous but it’s normal, we support him and I’m looking for him to evolve and ease into the whole tournament.
BLIX: What do you think are the main struggles that he’s facing right now, since getting promoted?
tabseN: It’s definitely mentality, he’s playing against himself! He’s trying to outplay himself or outplay the enemy and he’s not having a routine where he’s just playing comfortably, which we are trying to fix. He has a routine that he can rely on and he’s doing it right now, so we’ll see.
BLIX: You and Fatih “gob b” Dayik go way back, are you helping and mentoring him to make the transition a little bit easier?
tabseN: Yeah, 100%, we are always giving advice on what he can do better, and what he needs to do to perform really well at this level. He’s trying to make it happen, but it’s a lot of input for him, a lot of chaotic situations, a lot of games as well and not so much practice. But he’s doing a good job so far!
BLIX: Obviously you guys fielded Elias “s1n” Stein at the IEM Rio Major. What was the reason behind bringing in hyped over s1n, who had experience playing with you guys before?
tabseN: Obviously it was an easy decision because he’s an AWPer, our AWPer is gone (Florian “syrsoN” Rische, ed.) and we needed an AWPer. He was the best fit, however, we see s1n as really talented, a really good and skilled guy, [but] right now we have a really good lineup, I would say, we’re trying to make it work.
We will see what will happen in the future, you never know, but I’m proud and I’m satisfied with the practice and how it went after the really bad results. We will still grind, and we do our best to make it better.
BLIX: What would you say are the main differences between s1n and hyped? Obviously, they have different roles, but what have you noticed so far?
tabseN: For me personally it is the mentality, how s1n, for example, looks at [the] game. He feels more satisfied, he feels more confident in himself. Other than that, obviously it’s a different role, and the more impact the role has, for example, hyped has a lot of impact and he has a lot of responsibility to rely on, is the main difference.
BLIX: It’s been a year since Karim “Krimbo” Moussa came into the team. How do you feel like this first year has been for him?
tabseN: I think it was a really good year for him! In the first events he was outstanding, one of the best players I’ve ever played with I would say, and now he’s getting more confident and he’s getting more stable. He’s a really important part of our team, he has a lot of responsibility in his positions and helps with some calling as well, he’s doing a really good job.
BLIX: Have you noticed anything he has developed particularly well compared to when he first came into the team?
tabseN: Definitely, he grew up as a person and as a player, he has more responsibility. Also, his standing
within the team, how he looks and how he behaves and stuff. He’s definitely more mature.
BIG's future plans
BLIX: You guys have had a bit of a shaky year in 2022, with roster swaps and new players coming in here and there. Can we expect BIG to have this solid quintet for a long time?
tabseN: Obviously our plan is to stick together, make it happen and we will see what the future holds, you never know what will happen. But for me personally, I want to stick with these five and do what we can, and obviously try to find the consistency where we can say “Hey, we are a decent top 15 team, top 10 team at the moment”. Always try to aim high up.
BLIX: You guys have had some mixed results in the past year and in 2023 so far. Has that affected your expectations, with hyped coming in as the new guy? What are the expectations and goals you have set with the team?
tabseN: Obviously, right now it is to qualify for the Major, but my personal goal is always game by game. We will see what will happen and we are confident that we can make it even though we are in a really good group. [There are] a lot of teams who can make it happen, but we will see.
BLIX: Does it put a little bit more pressure on you, knowing this is the last CS:GO Major and you’ve been around since it started? As it is the last chance for you to put your name on that trophy.
tabseN: I don’t really see myself right now winning this tournament, to be honest, so there’s no real pressure on that. I’m just grinding game by game, stage by stage and if it happens, we can make it happen!
BLIX: You’ve been in the German scene for a very long time, you had a short stint internationally with NRG and there have obviously been rumors about you going international. Would you consider doing that again if the right offer comes, or do you want to stay in the German scene until you retire? Have you thought about that?
tabseN: Never say never!
BLIX: So, it would have to be a good fit for you to come into an international team?
tabseN: Yeah, definitely!
CS2 and what needs changing
BLIX: So, have you been able to play the CS2 beta yet?
tabseN: No, I haven’t played!
BLIX: Have you been able to gather any thoughts on it, watching clips and other people play it?
tabseN: Yeah, I saw some streams, also some clips, and it looks great. I also like how it feels, it feels good but the movement and stuff felt really bad as I heard. But the game will change anyways, it’s beta, open beta soon enough, hopefully, [so] that many people can play it and give some information about it. But it looks great, and I’m just really happy that Counter-Strike goes further and keeps going!
BLIX: Will we see you switch over to CS2 as well?
tabseN: One hundred percent!
BLIX: Obviously we have the Major now and some events afterward on CS:GO, was it the right time for Valve to release CS2?
tabseN: I think it was a decent time, after the player break people have enough time to play it, but it’s depending on how good the game actually is. It can have bugs, and it can have troubles when playing it, but we will see!
BLIX: You mentioned movement, is that the only thing you’d like to see changed before it gets released to the public?
tabseN: What I’ve seen, I would say yes so far, but also what I’ve seen is with the smokes. Since you can nade it now and the smoke disappears for a few seconds, I think it’s a little bit too long. It should be a shortened time, [so] that you can still abuse the smoke but it’s too long to maybe cross away and punish the enemies. We will see, I think it’s a good game.
Feature Image Credit: BLAST/Michal Konkol