Interview with Falcons’ maden, Ahead of ESL Pro League S19

Before the start of ESL Pro League S19, I had the privilege of talking to maden from Team Falcons... Radu M. | 23. April 2024

Before the start of ESL Pro League S19, I had the privilege of talking to maden from Team Falcons and asked him some questions about himself and his team.

1. When did you start playing Counter-Strike and what were your ambitions at the time?

I played 1.6 for a few years when I was very young, around 9 years old. For my age, I think I played well. I was always competing with older players and was getting good results. Those results showed me that I can play FPS games well.

After that, I stopped playing CS and switched to League of Legends for a while. I played LoL until around 2014 and was pretty successful in that game as well. I didn’t play in any tournaments but my rank was Challenger.

In 2014, I created my CS:GO account and registered on FACEIT. Some of my real-life friends wanted to create a national team. Apart from LoL, I was playing CS:GO from time to time and they saw that I had the potential to become a good player. So they gave me the opportunity to play for the national team.

I practiced with them a little bit and we played some online events against teams from other nations. Again, I performed well and that’s when I started to feel like CS:GO was going to be my game of choice for my esports career.

2. What happened in the qualifiers for the Copenhagen Major? You had played so well at IEM Katowice and everyone was sure that you would qualify, but somehow you lost against AMKAL Esports. Was the mental pressure before the match high?

I think the result was a combination of many things. The main problem was that we didn’t have much practice. We went into the RMR with one 7-10 days of practice. Because of this, our playbook was not good enough. We didn’t have enough things to use in terms of strategy.

RMRs can be tough because of the best-of-one format. And then, going into the last match and the decider map, we faced a lot of pressure and they all played well. We were close to winning but in the end, it is what it is. It’s difficult when you have a new team and very little practice.

3. What are your expectations at this event?

Now that we have dupreeh and have been playing with him for almost a month in practice, I’m confident that we can get a good result. Our practice sessions went well, we were very successful, and added a lot of new elements to our playstyle. We fixed a lot of issues, our map pool is great now, and the mood of our team has also improved significantly since the signing.

We have a positive vibe and our current expectation is to get to the playoffs at the very least. We’ll see how it goes from there.

4. Is it fair to say that your team is still struggling with pressure? In the qualifiers for the Esports World Cup, which will take place in Riyadh later this year, you lost against a little-known team called RUBY.

I don’t want to blame the defeat on the competitive format. But sometimes it’s difficult to play all of these best-of-one matches against little-known but still decent teams from the top 100. We were not the only big team that struggled in this qualifier.

We went into the competition being used to playing LANs with best-of-three matches. So the online best-of-one format was a bit new for us. This format can be rough in CS2 right now because of the MR12 system. If you lose both pistol rounds, the chances of winning are very low.

At the same time, RUBY played really well. Since then, we’ve refocused on playing well at EPL.

5. Who do you think will be the toughest team to beat at this tournament?

Every team is good. Obviously, G2, Vitality, Na’Vi, and all these other great teams are hard to beat. In our group, Vitality and G2 will probably be the toughest opponents. But no team can be taken for granted. I think that even the first match against MongolZ will be challenging. They’ve been playing well lately, showing great results.

We need to take it one step at a time and focus on each individual game.

6. You had the chance to play alongside s1mple for a month. Was he playing well during training or was he a bit out of shape?

To be honest, it was 50/50. In some games, he was dominating. In other games, he was ok. Obviously, he was not in the same shape that he had in CS:GO, in his prime, when he was destroying everyone with a 1.40 rating every game. But he was still really good, showing up numbers, and, to my surprise, a very nice teammate. He was never toxic.

7. In Dota 2, Team Falcons is already one of the best teams in the world. When do you think we’ll see Team Falcons start winning trophies in CS2? 2024 or 2025?

Maybe at this tournament. Who knows? I think we have great players with a lot of experience. It’s just a matter of time. We just need a few wins to boost our confidence. Earlier this year, we made it to the semifinals of IEM Katowice. There’s a small gap between winning and losing. So we just need a bit more confidence and things will go well for us.

Starting with 2025, I think you will see Falcons achieving great results.

Alright. Maden, thank you for the interview, and good luck at the tournament!

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