A post-break catch up.
The German esports organisation BIG has had a phenomenal year in Counter-Strike (CS), with their team’s meteoric rise to the top during the spring and summer of last year, briefly becoming the highest-ranked team in the world. While an incredibly tactical and well-coordinated team, BIG gained traction also because of their individual improvements with AWPer Florian "syrsoN" Rische’s career skyrocketing, quickly becoming one of the best players in the world.
Back from the Winter break, BIG will have to do it all over again, this time without their former head coach Tobias "tow b" Herberhold, who had stepped down and gave the reins to assistant coach Dustin "DuDe" Großmann at the start of the year who syrsoN described to be a calmer personality than tow b.
“I would say we’re at like 80% of our level,” says syrsoN in an interview with GGRecon. The team had taken a three-week-long break in which he didn’t touch CS much but instead enjoyed time with family. As he points out, there’s not much to do in Germany during a global pandemic with a government-mandated lockdown regulating a lot of everyday activities in German life, including only allowing to meet with one other household at a time. On top of the restrictions, syrsoN also had to rest due to a surgery which took him out for a week at the start of the year.
“I personally also feel okay, and I’m also not at 100%. I also changed a lot of stuff, like some setups and settings so I just need to get comfortable” the German star AWPer shares ahead of the BLAST Premier Spring Groups event in which he will have to face rivals Team OG this evening. “Of course it’s going to be a tough game, as always against them. We played them so often, it was crazy.” syrsoN shared, referring to their various matches over 2020 with back and forth results between the teams.
An additional curveball thrown at all Counter-Strike teams in 2021 came at the hand of developer Valve, who imposed significant restrictions on the ability of coaches and substitute players to impact a match. According to syrsoN, BIG also feels impacted by the changes.
He said: “Of course it was a shock for us, I would say, because our coaches [...] are helping us a lot during timeouts and also bringing ideas or getting ideas out of us to get a new call for the next round. So it was pretty much a shock for us that DuDe can not help us at majors at the moment. I don’t know if Valve will change it, but I don’t think so. Personally, I don’t like it, and I think it’s kind of cool that BLAST [does it differently] and that they allow coaches in group stages.”
BIG has their work cut out for them at the BLAST Premier Spring Groups, first playing against the aforementioned OG, with Astralis and NiP on the other side of their group’s bracket. Winning the group would book them a direct ticket into the Blast Premier Spring Finals in June, avoiding the Spring Showdown in April.
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