Counter Logic Gaming is at an impasse in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
A trade a few months ago left CLG without perhaps its best player, JDM, who was swapped for Team Liquid’s Kenneth “Koosta” Suen. Amid more difficulties, CLG last week announced the impending departure of Tarik “tarik” Celik and coach Faruk “Pita” Pita
It all culminated in a defeat in the ELEAGUE Last Chance Qualifier, where afterward, Slingshot’s Chase “RedShirtKing” Wassenar caught up with Stephen “reltuC” Cutler about the roster going forward and what’s next for CLG.
Chase “RedShirtKing” Wassenar: Hello Internet! This is Chase “RedShirtKing” Wassenar. I am here for Slingshot Esports at the ELEAGUE doing interviews for you guys. And I am very excited to be talking to Cutler from Counter Logic Gaming. How are you doing man?
Stephen “reltuC”Cutler: Doing alright
CW: Well, it’s gotta be a very mix of feelings right now given that you are no longer gonna be playing with pita and tarik. You made one heck of a match out of it (in the LCQ); it was one of those where people were so quick to rule you out. Was that a “backs against the wall” kind of moment or do you think there were changes that are starting to come together that might show what the new CLG is gonna look like when it all breaks down?
SC: Uhh, I think it could be possible. The changes, as well as we had no pressure considering what we had going on, especially inside the team. I mean, these changes are something we’re gonna try to stick with, at least try it out for the next month or two and see how that goes. And you know, we might change back to some of the old roles as well, too.
CW: Yeah, you know, I used to coach some league of legends so I know roster changes can be a big thing sometimes, and it’s obviously something that especially a game like Counter-Strike where being able to communicate on an instant pace is just so important. How do you guys handle that moment when you realize that you’re gonna have to bring in these new guys and incorporate them into the system?
SC: Well personally it’s hard for me to say because my teams always been around friends. So it’s like I’ve known, before, like in the middle of CLG’s like when we replaced FNS, I mean before that it was just always I’ve known these guys for 5+ years. So it’s not something, I’m not really familiar with, even though we brought in someone who’s been friends with us still, like jdm64 and when we replaced PTR, jdm64 was on a team I’ve known him for three years. Only thing is when we replaced FugLy, I mean, he’s cool to hang out with and stuff like that. I mean he wasn’t inside our circle, so that’s kinda like a new thing for us. I mean, he didn’t stick around obviously for too long. So it’s gonna be different for us. I think all our personalities can definitely help with new people coming in. We’re really friendly people.
CW: Yeah i mean that helps when you guys have that innate chemistry. It’s easier for people to kinda come in and become a part of that. Is that something that when you’re looking at players, do you look at that out of game stuff as much as you look at what they bring in game to the team? How do you weigh those kind of factors when making a decision?
SC: I think it’s just all about in-game right now. We want to win, so whatever happens outside of the game, you know, it’s not our job what happens outside of the game really. It’s more of how we play inside.
CW: You guys wanna take that next step in the North American region. Now, Liquid recently made that big moment at ESL One Cologne. A North American team, we’re not used to seeing them perform in that kind of way. Does that change the mentality with which you approach things when you see a North American team being able to make an impact like that on the international stage?
SC: It definitely motivates you. You see your colleagues do it, and it makes you feel like, you know you play against these guys frequently. That you know, if you beat them in say practice, even if it’s just scrims, or you beat them in a match or something, it makes you feel like “Yeah, if they can do it, so can we.”
CW: This is something that tarik noted in his closing statement, how he needed some time to kinda reflect and revitalize himself. There’s so many events that you guys do, you know, over the course of the year. Do you think that’s something that we need to keep in mind as the Counter-Strike league continues to grow and becomes bigger and bigger?
SC: Well I definitely think there’s just too many tournaments going on right now. Even when we tried to replace fugly, we didn’t have time to try out someone to fit the new roles, so we ended up using pita as our coach to play. Because we don’t wanna just rush into things and just get someone. So yeah, i mean especially if there’s roster changes and I mean, I’ve been out traveling for the past month. I went from Sweden to the boot camp to the major to here. So I miss home, I miss being in my own environment, practicing and a daily schedule.
CW: I think that’s something that fans can forget sometimes, is just how much traveling there is and the kind of mental toll of being away from the things that are naturally comfortable.
SC: Obviously it doesn’t sound too bad when you say, “Oh, you travel the world playing a video game,” you know? Getting paid to do it. But it definitely takes a toll on you mentally.
CW: Is there anything you want to say to the CLG fans as you get ready for this new era of what the team is going to be?
SC: Just to be patient with us. We’re definitely going to try some new things. Just with some hard work, and maybe a little luck on who we pick up, we could definitely could be a team, a top contender again.
Cover photo: Carlton Beener/ESL, eslgaming.com