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"I was told that Spirit will fit my ideas. But later, they declined." Degster on why he left, matchfixing in CS:GO, and his upbringing Interview

Professional CS:GO player Abdulkhalik "degster" Gasanov visited a Russian podcast where he spoke about growing up with a rebellious personality, opposing authoritarian approach at home, and what went wrong in Team Spirit.

Abdul said he could become a Dota 2 pro as he had the skills in the game. He wanted to play in a small local tournament, but the participants were older and didn’t want to bear responsibility for the young guy.

There was a computer club in Makhachkala. I still remember it was called Cyber Arena. And during one of its tournament drafts, I wrote to every team that needed a player. I liked to play carry or mid back then. The most understanding guys didn’t ignore me but wrote: "It’s all cool, bro, we believe you are good, but you’re way too young while we swear a lot."

I was so upset I stopped playing Dota. At all.

Abdulkhalik "degster" Gasanov

Degster spoke a lot about missing school and then college. He had a talent, but because of video games, he was missing a lot of classes and never felt like school was that useful. Nonetheless finished it mostly with A-grades.

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At some point, degster discovered CS:GO and started grinding. He said he could practice one particular aim map for eight hours per day. It was mostly about tracking aim: the task was to follow a moving head with the crosshair for five seconds and then make a headshot. Abdul doesn’t recommend that type of grind to anyone.

Degster was constantly fighting the elders and going against their authority, which is a big deal in Caucasus region. There was a lot of arguing with family members as well.

The oldest of my uncles (my father has ten brothers and sisters) came to me once and said: "What you’re doing is shit, all these computer games, they'll scam you there. And why are you looking at me like that?" And I had an angry look. I never hide my emotions. If someone speaks to me like that, I show what I feel. And so it was with my uncle. He said: "Why are you looking like that, I’m gonna beat the shit out of you."

I asked my family to give me a year to prove myself, and if I will, they’ll stop bothering me. My father came and said: "I’ll give you that year, I believe in you, do what you think is right. And don’t mind his [uncle’s] words." Well, now when I speak to this uncle, he has the most respect for me, out of any people I know.

Abdulkhalik "degster" Gasanov

He was happy to bring home his first CS earnings. Right after that, he moved to distant learning and focused on CS:GO career. Abdul was disappointed with college because it was a repetition of a school program and he felt that everything he needed to know was always on the internet.

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Abdul encountered people who proposed to throw a match. He never accepted them and tried to keep away from them. He claimed some quite popular tier-2 players fixed matches.

There are a lot of professional players who have their fans, and they just do 322. This is true. When they approached me to fix a match, I never communicated with these people again. This is a red flag for me. I will never talk to a person I no longer trust.

There were cases when tournament 1st place is less than an earning from 322. I won't name people, but I know some who got great money for these. I'm not interested in such a system. <...> Not sure about tier-1, but there are cases on a lower level.

Abdulkhalik "degster" Gasanov

Degster confirmed that he wasn't ready to live in Serbia for nine months but that wasn't the sole reason to leave Team Spirit. According to him, the squad told him to wait until they develop and adjust to his ideas but later didn’t follow that promise.

I asked the guys about what I wanted, and what they promised me. I wanted to change some things in my game. Some of these things were simply unacceptable. I come to OG and see what I need. While in Spirit, at one point I had a conversation where they told me: "Abdul, we need you to do certain things. We understand that what you want to do is cool, but we are not so experienced yet, not everyone can adapt to it." Do you understand what I mean?

In my understanding, this is the level. A skilled player can adapt to my things. I'm not saying there aren't any in Spirit at the moment. But over time, the situation changed: I was told that I needed to wait for a while, and they will fit my ideas. But later, they tell me, "why even do it if we are already winning."

Abdulkhalik "degster" Gasanov
Team Spirit former coach: "Degster always finds some new problems to disturb his happiness"

He compared Spirit's approach to OG. The European team was more willing to adapt and implement his theories.

I came to OG and they said, "Do what you want, and we will adjust." This is what I need, you know. I have ambitions, passion, and ideas. And ideas are important. Before that, I was asked to watch the demos and copy. I was doing that. But now, I have my own ideas.

Abdulkhalik "degster" Gasanov

Degster is currently teamless and negotiating with different organizations. He won’t participate in IEM Cologne, and will decide what to do after the player break. He thinks his next lineup will be European.


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