Solo: “The Korean scene is the worst right now”

by Nikhil Hathiramani

Over an insightful dinner in Shanghai, we learn a new perspective from MVP PK’s solo & termi

We had the pleasure of eating dinner with team MVP PK during the CS:GO Asia Championships 2018. Over a typical Korean BBQ feast, we speak with CS 1.6 legends, Keun-Chul ‘solo’ Kang and coach Seon-Ho ‘termi’ Pyeon. With the help of MVP Chief Business Officer, Can Yang, we got to know a little bit more about their transition into CS:GO, their recent performance issues and what they think of the Korean scene today. Needless to say, it was a very enjoyable interview with lots of pork, Soju and laughs. Read on to learn more.

CSGO2ASIA: Hey guys, thanks for doing this interview tonight!

solo & termi: Geonbae!!

We cheer and drink. It seems to be the case after almost every question I ask. This should be fun.

CSGO2ASIA: So you two are some of the most experienced players in Asian Counter-Strike. How do you manage to stay in top shape all these years?

solo: Haha, I don’t think we are in top shape, we are still growing and learning, but it’s just hard work and keeping passionate about the game.

CSGO2ASIA: Your teams’ recent performances Internationally has been very inconsistent. What do you think is the main reason for this?

solo: I think the past few months we were just struggling to figure out what kind of team we are. Like, do we want to play more aggressive, or more focused on strategy? It was the constant experiments that took a toll on us.

CSGO2ASIA: Ah, I see. So what is the scene like in Korea right now? There seemed to be a lot of promising teams last year like YETTI, Ardeont etc, but at the moment, it looks like there are only two teams, MVP and GOSU. Do tell us a bit more about what’s going on domestically?

solo (in English): It’s the worst!!

CSGO2ASIA: Do you care to elaborate? Hahaha.

solo: It’s just the worst it’s ever been…sadly.

mvp pk solo

We drink to that response.

CSGO2ASIA: So this is for you solo: You, zeff, and glow have a lot of history together. Do you think that this history, the chemistry and bond you guys have, is one of the reasons for your success in CS:GO?

solo: Yes for sure. But it’s also the opportunities that MVP gave us. After our brief stint in CS Online as project.kr, we were looking to see what else we could do when that game died, and Can Yang reached out to us to join MVP. Of course being close teammates meant we got to learn the game at the same time, so it was easier to share and learn and grow together in the new environment.

CSGO2ASIA: How was that transition to CS:GO from 1.6 then? Did you find it difficult?

termi: Well, it was challenging, yeah. I would say the three most challenging things for the team when we first started CS:GO were the molotovs, the lack of wall banging and the different aim/recoil patterns. The mechanics are just so different.

That being said, I believe having a 1.6 background is super beneficial to this game. It’s not necessary, but it helps a lot. I realise it more now, especially with the newer players. When I see XigN and minixeta play, I don’t doubt their skill, but sometimes their ability to make late round decisions and work a strategy to counter the opponent is lacking, and I think it’s because they don’t have the same sort of fundamental understanding that we had growing up with CS 1.6.

solo: Yeah. When we first started I was so confused on how to properly use the molotov, haha. They are so annoying!

CSGO2ASIA: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So, termi, do you feel that being a coach now has given you a new found passion for the game, or is it just different?

termi: Yes, but also, not really. I feel now that the stakes are much higher than ever before. I was always a strategy-minded person, even during our 1.6 days. Back then, I would always make the plans and solo would in-game lead and make late round calls. You know, I was the guy that watched all the demos and such. So for me, nothing much has changed in that regard.

CSGO2ASIA: But do you ever get the urge to just say, screw it, I want to play!

termi: Sometimes, yes. I mean, especially when I see the younger guys make such poor calls or bad decisions, I just wanna slap them over the head because I know I can do better, hahaha!

CSGO2ASIA: Hahaha, yeah I can imagine. On that note, Talk us through the decision to take on Seon-Ho ‘minixeta’ Son over HSK. What do you think were the main issues with HSK on the team that made you decide on minixeta as a replacement?

termi: Really, his AWP playstyle just didn’t really fit with ours. What we envisioned for an AWPer didn’t quite gel with our strategy, and his personality was also not quite a fit. There were, and still are no hard feelings against HSK, he is a good friend to us, but sometimes you just have to make tough decisions. Minixeta has shown a lot of promise, and we believe he is a sort of a diamond in the rough, someone we feel we can really mould over time.

CSGO2ASIA: Yeah, he has played well in GOSU. So do you think that age is a big factor in performance for CS:GO?

termi: Honestly, not really. In my experience the older you get the wiser you get. I mean, maybe your reaction time diminishes a tiny bit, but I don’t think it’s noticeable enough to have such a drastic effect. Just look at players like f0rest and NEO, I don’t think they are any less skilled than all these younger players.

That being said, as you get older life does get more difficult. You have more commitments outside of the game, like family, relationships, and just life in general. As an older player, it does dawn on you that you need to start making decisions for the long-term and sometimes a gaming career can get in the way of that.

solo: Yeah, I agree with termi. It’s mainly a mentality thing. When you are older you have to think about how much you really want this way of life and if you can balance it then I think age is actually a plus. I don’t think your skill goes away if you are working hard and staying dedicated, then, as termi said, age is a plus. But in my experience, you also think way more about other things, so maybe when we are older we don’t want to take as many risks, haha.

CSGO2ASIA: Yeah, I feel you. Well, that was awesome, thank you for the dinner and your time guys!

solo & termi: Thank you! Geonbae!!

We drink again, on full stomachs and full of a new perspective.

Thank yous go out to the MVP organization and Can Yang for the translation.

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