Kevin "kRYSTAL" Amend is the AWPer and in-game leader for PENTA Sports, a team he's been with since July 2014. It's been over two years since he's attended the Major, but with a refreshed roster with players hailing from Finland, Estonia and Poland, he's ready to surprise at the Kraków Major 2017.
Ahead of his games in Kraków, kRYSTAL answered questions from theScore esports talking about coming back to a Major after two years and how he built his multinational team.
We haven’t seen you at a Major since ESL One: Katowice 2015, over two years ago. How does it feel to finally be back?
For me personally it feels incredible. I spent a lot of time getting back to where I was and I plan to go further than two years ago.
You’re the lone veteran on PENTA, as the rest of your team was assembled this year. Assuming you hand-picked each player, how did you come to bring each of them into the team? I’m guessing you found zehN when you faced his old team Cringe Gods at the MLG Columbus Minor, but what about the rest of the team?
When kakafu [Alexander "kakafu" Szymanczyk] (now coach of BIG) was still in our roster, he contacted suNny [Miikka "suNny" Kemppi] if he was interested playing us. After some discussions Miikka and I started to look for players that might fit our idea of the team.
I suggested HS [Kevin "HS" Tarn] because I played with him a lot of times in matches, in which he was a stand-in for us. I was really impressed by his calm attitude which also could be seen in the way he aimed.
After that suNny suggested innocent [Paweł "innocent" Mocek], who I before didn't know. So we had our magical four players, now we searched around for a fitting fifth player, but we weren't sure who to pick.
There were some test-games, also ropz [Robin "ropz" Kool] who is now playing for mousesports, but we needed someone who could fill roles that ropz probably couldn't fill. So we talked about it and the name zehN [Jesse "zehN" Linjala] came up, who I already knew briefly from the Minor one year ago.
PENTA is one of four German orgs going to the Major and there are also six German players attending, the most since DreamHack Winter 2014. BIG has a mostly German roster, but both PENTA and mousesports only have one German while SK Gaming has none.
What are your thoughts on this? Is this a commentary on Germany’s strength in CS:GO, or perhaps a commentary on the size of Germany’s talent pool?
I think there are a lot of players in Germany that have potential to be really good, but they somehow do not fit into one team. There is only one team with 5 fitting roles and that is BIG.
You need more than just raw skill and aiming to succeed on the top level. You need time, dedication and the will to stay together even if you are losing. There aren't many players in Germany that can forge a team together.
The Major hosts some notable ex-teammates of yours, nex on BIG and denis on mouz. Any friendly rivalries going into those potential matchups? Any other teams you’re on the lookout for?
It's more of a friendly rivalry, yes.
I hope BIG and us make it to the Top 8. For mouz I don't really care, but not because I don't like them, but because I know they can do it. For BIG its harder and I love to see new teams rising.
I don't mind who we play, if we want to win we need be prepared to play anyone.
What exactly is the role setup of the team, who is calling? How’s communication on such a multinational lineup?
In our team the roles are the following:
I am the IGL and the AWPer, suNny is the lurker, but has a lot of freedom. He helps me with coordinating when I'm too much into the zone and brings in ideas from the flanks.
HS is the one responsible with innocent to open up the map and going first [entry fragger]. innocent is more like the guy who does what needs to be done when walking around in a pack, but not a full-support player.
And zehN plays the other flank on the T-side and helps HS achieve his tasks.
Everyone gives ideas and input, so there are rounds that are based on HS, suNny, innocent and zehN and the info they have from previous rounds, since the IGL never knows everything.
Any final thoughts on the Major?
Let’s surprise everyone. Greetings to my mum.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking
Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah a silenced Cavity 9mm. You can follow him on Twitter.