World Class Stars, or World Class Gob B?
Throughout 2018, BIG fans would have to face a certain reality: their team was not going to go past the rank 9 mark worldwide for any sustained amount of time. Their team was the ultimate gatekeeper team. Here was where the conundrum started. If a team is stuck at the bottom of the top, then there are a few different possibilities for why that could be the case. The first one, which is that the teams above them are just too strong, should be dismissed without thought. We are in an era that might possibly be the weakest top ten weâ€™ve ever had in Counter-Strike. MiBr, Fnatic, NiP and to a lesser extent, NRG, are not teams that have been stable or consistently an elite level threat. If there was ever a time for BIG to achieve the same status that NRG has, where theyâ€™re considered on the cusp of the top 5, this was it. The second possibility? The players on the team were not skilled enough to go beyond a particular point. No matter how good an in-game leader is, no matter how well executed a round is, no matter how good your utility is, sometimes Niko just jumps from theÂ smoke and kills four of your players. Sometimes, the skill just canâ€™t be compensated for.. Alternatively, you could say that Smooya and Tabsen, the star firepower for the team, were world class players and packed enough of a punch for the roster to move forward. Now, the third very scary possibility comes in.
What if Gob B was the bottleneck?
Most reasonable fans and players would say that it isnâ€™t really fair to evaluate his ability as a leader off of his team at the time. The bottleneck of the team was probably the players, with BIGâ€™s third rifler being streaky at the best of times. However, the question of whether Gob B was just a thatcher IGL, or he could move beyond to be one of the best was one that could never be answered. At least, not until the addition of Ä°smailcan "XANTARES" DÃ¶rtkardeÅŸ. Xantares is an infamous Turkish player who had time and time again shown that he had absolutely crazy mechanical prowess on his former team, Space Soldiers. With a host of crazy clips online, thereâ€™s no doubt that Xantares had a skill ceiling just as high as any star player in the world. Unfortunately, that didnâ€™t ever entirely translate into a LAN environment prior to joining BIG. Now, with a veteran IGL, a well-synergised team, and a superb structure around him, Xantares is primed to succeed to the degree that has always been hoped of him. With Bigâ€™s current lineup, thereâ€™s no longer any excuses for Gob B. You no longer have the cap on your player talent, and now itâ€™s all up to him as the leader to enable his team to go on. At this moment, thereâ€™s no reason why BIG shouldnâ€™t immediately be flirting with a top five spot in the upcoming Katowice major. Xantares is a player who received offers from Faze Clan and Mousesports â€“ two teams ranked much higher than BIG, one of which probably pays a much higher salary too. Despite that he chose to go with BIG, believing that to be the team he could excel on. Although thereâ€™s the angle of Gob Bâ€™s Turkish heritage, thereâ€™s definitely a huge indication of belief in his ability to lead him as a player to his peak. There is no giving the excuse that maybe itâ€™s the star player who is making trouble for the leader. Not just that, but this was the perfect time to make a move, right before the Katowice Major.
The Element of Surprise
With a team as tactical as BIG, research has to be one of the key concerns for their opponents going into the Katowice Major. The Xantares move was announced at a point where BIG no longer had any tournaments to play, where they no longer had any demos that could be recorded of them. Unlike most teams where you have to give them time to set up, go to a few tournaments and then you expect them to hit their stride, this is the perfect chance for BIG to come out at the major, guns blazing. With no possibility of research on Gob Bâ€™s tactics, starting off in the top 16 of the major, and this many weeks of research to prepare, Katowice itself should be BIGâ€™s great honeymoon. Now, with everything set perfectly in place, all the pressure is on Gob B. Gob B is at risk of not being able to take the leap towards being amongst the elite leaders of this day and age. He wouldnâ€™t be the first leader to capitulate after coming this far. History is littered with such examples. MSL, after his success with Dignitas and initial success with North, was never able to utilise the huge funding that the project had, and ended up being incapable of utilizing star players to greatness. FNS, a player who was reputed for being able to have upsets over top European teams from time to time off the back of his tactics, but never truly managed to contend consistently at premier tournaments. Cadian, who managed to put up a fantastic showing and make the London Major with Rogue but also has thus far shown no reason to believe that he can take the funding of North and elevate them to the top. Counter-Strike has had thatcher leaders after thatcher leaders â€“ primarily due to a lack of resource. Now that we have the funding, many of these are having their mettle tested. Now, itâ€™s Gob Bâ€™s turn. Katowice will show us whether Gob B is likely to turn out just a thatcher or to truly be one of the noblemen of Counter-Strike. This is his chance to fight for the top.