After a series of disappointing placings, OpTic Gaming decided to reboot and change its entire lineup with the exception of Oscar "mixwell" Cañellas. The team recruited European talent to build around its remaining Spanish player and the final roster projects a dangerous lineup that may challenge Top 10 teams.
One of the newest additions is Kevin "HS" Tarn, who recently broke out as a star player on Penta. Prior to the Major qualifiers, most people hadn't even heard of him. Now, HS is on one of the biggest organizations in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
ESPN spoke to HS about his playstyle and OpTic's new lineup.
Sam Delorme: You're a relatively new player in the CS scene, and many people haven't yet figured out what kind of player you are. How would you describe your playstyle?
HS: I would say I'm the kind of player that is best when I'm opening up the round, finding the gap within the defense or holding oncoming rushes at the bombsite I hold.
If you were to compare your style of play to another player's, who would it be and why?
HS: It's difficult to compare myself to a player, but I really enjoy the way Fernando "fer" Alvarenga from SK Gaming plays. In the past I've always had my eyes on him and I would like to think that I play somewhat similarly to him. That kind of player likes to be the one that makes a lot of the aggressive plays, has as much impact on the round as possible, opens up the map for the rest of the team and has really steady aim on pistol rounds in addition to that.
Who would you say is the best player in the world, and why does he stand out above all the other great players?
HS: The two players who I've admired ever since I started playing CS:GO are Richard "shox" Papillon and fer -- who I mentioned previously. They have the ability to destroy any opponent and just take the game into their own hands. Only a few are on the same level with the talent, skill and confidence to do that against the best. I admire that and desire to get to that point one day.
You've had to play in many mixed teams, Rogue, Penta, and now OpTic. What are some of the hurdles of a mixed team? How much of an advantage do you think single-nationality teams have?
HS: The most difficult part is the communication, often the first time people talk outside their mother language as well as getting used to the way everyone plays CS. Because a lot of the countries around the world have developed a different style of play. The advantage is that when you look outside the scene of your country, you might find more talented and developed players, which makes it easier to succeed at the top level.
What do you think are reasonable expectations long-term for this roster?
HS: I think we have the potential to become a Top 5 team. It's hard to predict how fast it might happen, but personally I think it shouldn't take more than a few months to see how far we can go.
How do you think OpTic will play? Has your style been set in stone yet?
HS: It's not set in stone yet. We will have to adapt our game style according to what everyone feels most comfortable with as a team, but I think the plan is to become a structured team, to have consistency in winning.
Your ex-teammate Miikka "suNny" Kemppi recently joined Mousesports, joining your fellow Estonian Robin "ropz" Kool. What are your impressions of this new roster?
HS: The new mousesports lineup looks very good on paper, like Tomáš "oskar" Šťastný has said -- they want smart players that don't make mistakes and that's what they have. They also have a lot of individual skill which makes it even better. I think he definitely made the right choice in joining them and nobody blamed him for doing it because our ex-Penta lineup was kind of in shambles after playing at the Major.
It's now famous that Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz studies his opponents' tendencies by watching heat-maps, demos and so on. Usually, we consider demo-watching the IGL and the coach's job. Do you think there's value in demo-watching for other players on the team, or is their time better spent practicing their aim?
HS: It's all about each player's individual mindset. Both looking at demos and playing deathmatch could be useful. Some prefer to only play in a team environment and do something else in their free time. If you have the free time to do those things that might help you in winning, why not? You can only respect the players who work harder than the rest.