tarik: It was like a mini-vacation to be here, it’s a unique atmosphere

Overcoming the numerous challenges thrown their way, Evil Geniuses beat Fnatic 2:0 during Sunday’s Grand Finals to secure the victory at StarSeries i-League CS:GO Season 8 and it’s $250,000 prize.

Even an early 9-0 deficit on Dust II couldn’t stop EG from winning their first-ever StarSeries i-League title. The team battled back to win the first map 16:12, displaying impressive resolve after falling behind, which set the tone for the remaining rounds.

Evil Geniuses, StarSeries i-League CS:GO Season 8

We spoke with a few members of the team to ask about their goals, experience, and a variety of challenges they faced entering the tournament. 

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Can you please describe your feelings after winning this event?

Tarik “tarik” Celik: I’m really happy. But most importantly, I’m really proud of my team because it wasn’t an easy game against Fnatic in the Finals. We had a really good comeback on the first map when we were down 9-0, I think it shows a lot about our mental fortitude and the capability of our players. Overall just really happy, especially being able to do it here in Turkey, it’s a great feeling.

What were you guys thinking when Fnatic went up 9-0 on Dust II?

Ethan “Ethan” Arnold: We lost. Next map. [Laughter] We knew it was unlucky, the first five rounds were completely out of our control. We were still in it, I feel like. 

Tarik “tarik” Celik, StarSeries i-League CS:GO Season 8

Tarik “tarik” Celik

What are your thoughts on the format of this event? Held at a resort without a live audience, do you think this affected you?

Tarik “tarik” Celik: I think it’s dangerous if you take advantage of what’s available here too much and slack off, it’s very easy to get complacent and not practice as much. I think we did a good job of making sure we stayed focused and still spent some time at the beach and resort. It was like a mini-vacation to be here, it’s a unique atmosphere because we’re playing in the resort without an audience, so it’s very different. For me, I liked this event mainly because of the format. There are so many chances to play, you’re not just losing one game and getting eliminated, it gives teams a chance to play many games, which is great in my opinion. 

After a top-four finish at the StarLadder Major, the team showed great results, with the exception of the DreamHack Masters in Malmo. What led to this and did you take anything away that helped the team today?

Tarik “tarik” Celik:  I think circumstances at Malmö made it difficult for us. We had to fly out the same night of the Final for ESL New York, so jetlag was definitely a factor and we also had some problems with the setup. Overall, there were a few things that contributed to us playing poorly but in my opinion, we can’t make excuses. I think that we shouldn’t have played that bad and it was important for us to bounce back and do way better here. So, I’m happy that we showed that it was a fluke and that we are still a top team.

How did you prepare for the StarSeries, and did you achieve all of your goals?

Tarik “tarik” Celik: We definitely prepared a lot coming into this event, because after Malmo we were feeling a little bit down with such a disappointing result. We knew it would be important for our morale on the team to do good here. For me personally, the goal was to get to the finals. It’s a very high goal but I feel like the expectations should be high with our team, especially when looking at the players on our roster. So I’m glad that we achieved that goal and that when the pressure came down to it that we didn’t choke, that we have a great roster, and that anything is possible.

Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz, StarSeries i-League CS:GO Season 8

Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz

After ESL New York, jetlag, depression, Sweden, you come back and lifted another trophy. Do you consider this victory necessary to keep the team fired up and not get too shaken by that Swedish result, or were you already dismissive of it?

Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz: We dismissed it right away. The Malmo result was kind of a one-off for us, there were a lot of unfortunate circumstances like we’ve said before. We’ve known all along that we’re a top team with a great group of players and we’re confident in ourselves. So we knew coming into this tournament that we were the favorites and we just had to play like that. We didn’t play like that throughout the entire tournament, obviously, we struggled a lot and we’re going to have to go back home and fix a lot of the mistakes we made here. I’m just super proud of all the comebacks we made here, and we’re still learning a lot about ourselves. 

Do you think your team is the best in the world right now?

Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz: I don’t think it’s fair to say that just yet, Team Liquid has a lot more achievements than us, but we’re well on our way.

By Ty Brody

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