By Taras Bortnik
Special to VPEsports
Fatih “gob b” Dayik is the in-game leader and elder statesman at the age of 31 for BIG, the No. 7 team in the world according to HLTV.org. Having acheived “Legends” stats at the FACEIT Major in London, gob b and his teammates are fighting to advance to the playoffs at the StarSeries i-League Season 6 Finals taking place in Kiev, Ukraine.
Let’s start from the major. Your team claimed the legend status back, what do that mean for you in your 31?
For me, personally, it means that we are going in right direction. We had two weeks of tournaments before the playoffs, so we were exhausted. It was great that we made it so far and I’m surely happy about that. But getting to the playoffs coupled with that we couldn’t show up makes me a bit sad. It reminds me of my words in Cologne, when I said, “We need to learn something after every event.” I feel like we did it at the major as well. We had three weeks in London and after each week we learned something. Even when we lost to Na’Vi, we learned something. Now we need to use it and just get better every time.
You were legends in Krakow once, and after that you struggled for almost for year. How will you keep that good and positive momentum going while not making the same mistakes?
After Krakow, we probably should have changed players, but we tried to stick together. Even then we had good team spirit. But that was kind of a mistake which turned into a snowball effect. We started a little bit bad and it was OK, but then it got wrong, wrong and wrong again. The problems grew bigger each time. I think that ESL One Cologne this year can be compared to the Krakow Major of last year. In both tournaments we showed our high performance even after the break. But now we had a good practice schedule before the major and after Cologne so we just didn’t get trapped in same routine. We learned from our mistakes. For me, it’s important that we learned something after this major as well. What did we do wrong? What was good? In which kind of mood you have to be during a tournament? What mood do you have to have to win a match? Even how your voice should sound. All of these parts are very important. Now we came here not as underdogs, we must be in top-8, maybe in top-4. So we have to learn how it feels to be a favorite from this event. Maybe we will not win this event, but we surely must be one of the best. That’s our goal here.
In that break between StarSeries and FACEIT Major you played EPL. And you got a win over Astralis on Inferno, what is quite unusual. How did it happen from your perspective?
There is something about playing against Astralis. You know that they are smart, they have answers. You know that they are the best in a world. You know that they will adapt to what you do. But I feel that in game you have the edge to surprise them. It’s hard to surprise them, but if you have a chance to do it, you should do it. And maybe from this small surprise you can create other staff against them. To be honest you cannot give us a lot of credit for this victory. It ‘just’ EPL still. It’s an online match and they played a lot of tournaments which is very exhausting. They are just humans after all. That’s why they were a bit weaker against us.
Everything that happens in online stays in online?
Let’s talk a bit about your vacation. Did you have a vacation at all?
Comparing to other tier-1 teams, you had more time for the rest. How did you spend your vacation?
To be honest, we didn’t have a big break. We had like six days off and then we just started our training again. Also, there were EPL matches and then we practiced two days for StarSeries.
Only 6 days… Was it enough to refresh yourself?
That was definitely enough. I wanted to make it even shorter, because we don’t have such a luxury anymore. Three days had to be enough. But something came up. Now we are having a fresh start and we are motivated to practice together again.
You are 31 and you are the legend of the Major. How do you keep your motivation at this level?
It’s just natural for me to stay motivated if i do something I love. And CS:GO definitely is that. If I wanted to play in table tennis, I would always stay highly motivated for tennis. Maybe you can say it’s a character trait, but this is definitely who I am. If I do something, I do it 150%. My fire always burns especially if I didn’t achieved what I wanted. I also feel like my players give me motivation.
Do you feel that your age somehow influences on your performance?
I don’t feel any pressure because of my age or how it influences my skill set. I showed a lot of people that I am playing better then ever in CS:GO and I feel much more confident because I have more hours in game. You can have a good aim and skill even if you are older. Sometimes you focus more on other sides of preparations. How can I prepare my teammate? How can I put him into spotlight? That’s something that comes with age. Because our younger players can be more in spotlight. They are more hungry.
During my preparation for this interview I looked at your history with StarSeries. Surprisingly I found out that this StarSeries is your first event in Kyiv since 2013.
We hadn’t played a lot of StarSerieses because we couldn’t qualify for it. This time we got invited and I am really happy about that. Kyiv also changed a lot over the years. It looks so much better now. So many changes in positive way. It feels like this area of city is involved in esports. I respect that. I hope that one day in Turkey it will happen same.
FaZe’s star player NiKo complained that your team prepares only for Majors.Do you have some words to answer to him?
To be honest, I can see his point. It’s hard to be a tier-1 team these days, because there are many tournament and they have less time for training than we do. But, should we not prepare or what? That is our chance to show up on a big stage. It’s not a luck, because, first we had to qualify for New Legends Stage through bo-3 against OpTic. And then we had another week of official games. It showed that we are verified enough. We changed our gameplan after every game. After Cologne’s final we got a chance to prove ourselves in more tournaments. We got more invites, so we can show what we are about. And the first event after ESL was Major. It’s not luck, that we played against FaZe two times and won. Both of the teams had same amount of time for preparation. We showed that we are good if we have a lot of practicing, but we also good if we just have four hours of preparations.
Do you feel any nostalgia for old times?
For sure I do. Honestly, it feels sad if I am looking back and want to talk about old times and there is no one to talk. If I think like this, there are only me, Zeus, Edward, GeT_RighT and f0rest left. Like the old guard. And it makes me a little bit sad when young players like, “Fuck, we don’t have practice rooms!” Bro, come on, sometimes we were traveling for maybe month and we couldn’t play Counter-Strike. But we needed to perform in the best way. I hope that NEO and Pasha also will make it somehow in top-10 again. I respect them a lot for what they are doing. Cause they trying to put younger players on a right path and maybe retire after completing it. They are passing the legacy. In the end of my career I will do it as well.
If we will compare your early days and nowadays, what have we lost through the years and you missed it?
The money came, which is absolutely good, but in our days it wasn’t about money at all. Our motivation wasn’t about money. It was about our passion. Maybe this.
Title Photo Courtesy of StarSeries