Tizian ‘tiziaN’ Feldbusch spoke with Dexerto about his personal struggles during the final stages of his BIG journey and his future goals as he looks to continue his CS:GO career abroad.
When tiziaN heard the news that he was getting benched by BIG, he took it in stride. If anything, he was surprised that it didn’t happen sooner.
tiziaN had felt his individual level drop, and elements of burnout had started impacting his energy. The criticism he had received from the community after a rough patch of form, while not undeserved, had only made things harder.
“I couldn’t give 100 percent,” he tells Dexerto. “Even if I tried, it wouldn’t be the 100 percent I would [normally] give. I couldn’t get over the fact that I was playing really badly.”
Initially, tiziaN was dead-set on not competing again. For months he didn’t touch CS:GO, instead using his time on the bench to relax, travel with his girlfriend and “get a little bit more into cultural things”.
He was due to transition to another role within the BIG organization at some point, but that plan didn’t work out in the end due to “different perspectives” about what he would do.
At the same time, he started feeling the urge to compete again, like an itch that needed to be scratched. He got a new computer at the end of January and since then, his days have been spent grinding to get back to where he was during his better days.
“I’m feeling a lot better after my break and I’ve got really hungry,” he says. “I have also started streaming, which is something that I never imagined myself doing. I’m not an introvert but I never really liked to be in the limelight. But that has grown on me.”
After weeks of a daily schedule that included aim practice, pugs and demo reviews to get his skills back, he announced on March 5 his intention to compete again.
“I am buzzing about what the future holds,” he wrote on Twitter.
Getting out of his comfort zone
After playing on German teams for most of his career, tiziaN has his sights set on joining an international project. “I don’t see any future in German teams,” he says, before correcting himself. “Except for BIG, obviously.”
It has been three years since he last played on a team that communicated in English. (For over a year, BIG had British AWPer Owen ‘smooya’ Butterfield on the roster). During the early days of CS:GO, he was also part of an international mousesports lineup that included current Heroic in-game leader Casper ‘cadiaN’ Møller.
In announcing his return to activity, tiziaN said that he is open to being an in-game leader for the first time in his career. It is a side of the game that he was already exploring during his time with BIG and that has been a key focus for him since he resumed playing.
“With BIG I was kind of the second caller, but I couldn’t really do it on a consistent basis because of the things impacting me outside of the game,” he explains.
Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates on Esports, Gaming and more.
“I was trying to do it but I wasn’t really feeling confident because I wasn’t confident in myself. This is something I have been working on and it’s why I feel confident about becoming an IGL.”
Becoming an IGL, perhaps the most ungrateful role in CS:GO, is, like the decision to start streaming on a regular basis, part of tiziaN’s plan to challenge himself and get out of his comfort zone. And given the mentors he has had in his career and the experience he has accumulated, he’s certain that he can thrive in the role.
“I will see, with time, how I will grow into the role,” he says. “I have a lot of experience. I mean, I have been playing CS professionally for ten years. I have played under the best IGLs in the game, and I have had the best coaches. In my opinion, I can do it.
“I’m mentally very strong right now and I feel very confident. I will leave no stone unturned.”
tiziaN says he was buoyed by the warm welcome from his old teammates and other professional players after he announced his return to competition. “The general response has been very nice and people are stoked to see me play again,” he says. “That also gave me a lot of hope and confidence.”
As tiziaN prepares to embark on a new challenge, he knows that an important chapter of his career will inevitably close. He spent over four years playing at the highest level with BIG, challenging for top honors and eventually reaching the No.1 spot in the world rankings.
“It was the time of my life,” he admits. “It’s like they say: You don’t know how good you have it until it’s gone. After I stepped down, I was traveling, I was doing stuff, but I missed competing and I missed my teammates. After five years of living together and doing stuff together, we were literally a family.
“I was living in Berlin together with tabseN and everything. I’m sad that I’m not playing there anymore, but it’s also time to move on and find something else for me. Hopefully, it’s going to work out.”
tiziaN knows that some in the Counter-Strike scene may view his return with suspicion. Six months is a long time in esports, after all, and not many players come back from such a break looking sharp.
But he is not worried about working his way back to the top and proving his doubters wrong.
“Mechanically, I’m maybe even better than what I was before because I’ve been doing a lot of aim practice and I’ve been pugging a lot,” he says. “I didn’t pug at all when I was with BIG. After practice, I would go to the gym and then just chill because I didn’t have the energy after a long practice day to pug. But now I’ve got the endurance again to play a lot.
“I’m still very confident,” he adds. “I’ve been playing this game since I was six. I’m 26 now. I basically grew up with the game. For me, it’s like riding a bike. The only thing I’m missing a bit is the meta and what teams are playing, but I’m catching up on that now. The mechanical things are not that hard to catch up on. It’s about playing and getting into the situations again, you know?”