Kia “Surreal” Man is not normally the heavy hitter for this squad, had the opportunity to flex his muscles and show us what he really is made of. Within the 10 maps they played in playoffs of ESL Premiership Autumn 2022, the Brit garnered a 1.32 HLTV rating, keeping a very consistent level of impact throughout alongside the likes of Guy “Nertz” Iluz, who had a similar rating of 1.30 on HLTV.
After a gruelling BO5 grand final against Viperio, and after claiming a well deserved MVP award, Surreal, one of the longest-standing members of Endpoint’s roster, sat down with UKCSGO. He spoke about the organisation’s 10th win, the development of competition in the UK scene, their roster’s recent changes and what the next year holds for them.”
It’s a little outdated now, but congratulations on the ESL Premiership victory, how did you find this season compared to all the other ESL Premiership victories you’ve had in the past?
I think this ESL Premiership was probably the hardest one we had since VALORANT came out to be honest, since all the teams kind of died since then. All the rosters have been playing the best CS they’ve played in my opinion, or in [previous] ESL Premiership’s at least. It was quite a competitive one.
Would you say that you expected so many teams to perform at such a high level this season?
Yes. I would say before this ESL Premiership I was only really watching Into the Breach because nobody else was really on HLTV or playing many games. I have to say the teams we played in playoffs, and Royals in the groups, everyone was playing good CS and it was hard to play against.
Viperio took you to five maps and became the first team to do so against Endpoint in the ESL Premiership, were you impressed by their performance?
Yeah for sure, we picked Ancient first pick and we were feeling super comfortable on it, winning a lot of games on it. Then we played them and they really shocked us in how they played, so yeah for sure. They’ve been steadily grinding each season, I think it’s paying off and it’s showing for them.
You have been playing ESL Premiership for a long time now, what would say is the biggest change since you first won it?
I think we’ve always been competitive, we always want to win ESL Premiership and we always try our hardest. It shows that you are the top dog. It’s just nice to win.
Did you enjoy playing with Thomas again?
Yeah, of course. I always love playing with Thomas, he’s an interesting guy and obviously really talented. He always helps us out.
Moving away from EPS and talking about Endpoint, how has Rejin’s coaching style impacted you as a player?
Allan has impacted the whole team a lot, and me as well. I think he just really pushes to get the best out of everyone more than any coach I’ve ever had before. It’s nice that he’s got the experience, he’s been in a tier one [team], he’s coached tier one players – some of the best in the world. So it’s nice to have such confidence in a coach.
You have had the same core for a very long time but you’ve changed that core by bringing in mhl, how has that affected the team?
I’d say it’s kind of a breath of fresh air, without sounding rude to CRUC1AL. We had played together for four years and I guess it was time for a change. Bringing in a young gun whose just super confident and aggressive; he brings a whole new dynamic to the team which we didn’t have before.
Would you say that the style of play has changed by switching AWPers?
No, I wouldn’t say our style of play has changed, it’s just adapting what plays mhl likes to do into the way that we play, but the overall gameplay that we try to do hasn’t changed.
Has that been an easy transition?
Yes and no, because both mhl and HeavyGOD joined around the same time. So adapting two new players is kind of hard. It’s been going decently, but we’ve still got a way to go.
Endpoint had a reputation for a long time as the Southampton of CS:GO, where you would bring up these young talents and they would go on to better things. Would you say that, with this core, you finally have something you can build for the future with?
Yeah I think the core we have now is probably the strongest we’ve had. Just the team in general, as a five, is probably the most talented lineup we’ve had. It’s just about getting the teamplay, getting cohesive altogether and just trying to mesh our play better.
When you play ESL Premiership, we often see you having impact in different ways that we don’t always see in your normal lineup, for example, you were the highest-rated player in the ESL Premiership Autumn 2022 playoffs. Why is that?
I’m not sure, to be honest. I guess UK teams, obviously, aren’t as good as the teams that we play normally. I don’t know there’s just something about UK ESL, you just want to be the number one in the UK of course. It just lights a different kind of fire in the belly, I guess.
Would you say it’s your unbridled patriotism? (laughs)
(laughs) Of course.
Moving on to the future of Endpoint, how confident are you feeling for Conference?
We are pretty confident, we’ve qualified twice now to Pro League and last time we did it quite easily. I don’t think the skill level in Conference, this season, is going to be much higher. We just need to be prepared, in form and just do what we usually do and I think we’ll be fine.
What are your overall aims for 2023?
Our goals for 2023 are definitely to qualify through Conference, that would be the first one, and then the main one is making the Paris Major.
Last question, how do you summarise your 2022?
That’s a hard one. I’d say our 2022 was a bit disappointing, we didn’t really make any deep runs in any tournaments or really qualify for anything besides Pro League. On one hand, it’s been very up-and-down with the roster and the changes we’ve had. I think 2023 will be much better for Endpoint.