Tarik “tarik” Celik is a professional Counter Strike player born on February 19 1996. Tarik is known for his time on NetCodeGuides, mouseSpaz, Counter Logic Gaming, OpTic Gaming, and now, Cloud9.

Tarik’s professional career in Global Offensive kicked off with NetCodeGuides, where he played in tournaments such as the FACEIT North America Championship 2014, FACEIT League 2 and CEVO Professional Season 5. After his tenure at NetCodeGuides, tarik’s team adopted the name mouseSpaz and played under that banner for a while. The team competed in the John Wick Invitational, as well as a set of online tournaments before being picked up by Counter Logic Gaming at the start of 2015.

CLG, at the time, which consisted of Cutler, FNS, ptr, tarik and hazed, competed at the MLG X Games Aspen Invitational after successful qualification. CLG got off to a terrific start in their group stage, beating LDLC on Dust II 16-14, largely thanks to a sensational performance from their AWPer, ptr. Unfortunately for CLG, the North Americans fell to Team Liquid in their next map, and were eventually knocked out by Fnatic.

After MLG Aspen, CLG placed first in the online qualifier for the offline qualifier for ESL One: Katowice. At the major qualifier, CLG secured a wins against Gamers2 and Titan to qualify for the major. Tarik was a key factor in CLG’s 16-14 win over Titan, finishing the game with 31 kills.

Tarik had secured qualification for his first ever CS:GO major. CLG were placed in Group C at ESL One: Katowice, alongside Ninjas in Pyjamas, Keyd Stars and HellRaisers. CLG were able to secure a close win over HellRaisers, but were not able to overcome NIP and Keyd Stars. As a result, the North Americans were eliminated from their first CS:GO major.

After Katowice, tarik and CLG competed at a number of top tier events, such as the ESEA Season 18 – Global Invite Division, the ESL Pro League Season One Finals, ESWC 2015, CEVO Professional Season 7, IEM Gamescom, ESL One: Cologne 2015, Dreamhack Cluj-Napoca, IEM San Jose and the ESL Pro League Season 2 Finals.

2016 was a rollercoaster year for tarik. After the departure of FNS, FugLy was brought into the active line up and pita was signed as permanent head coach.

The newer iteration of CLG impressed, finishing fourth at the Global Esports Cup. The North American side went on to successfully secure legends status at the first CS:GO major of 2016, MLG Columbus. Counter Logic Gaming finished second in their group after a win over EnVyUs, a loss to Astralis and then an elimination match victory against Gambit.

After MLG Columbus, CLG competed at Dreamhack Malmo and Dreamhack Austin. CLG were eliminated in the group stages of both Dreamhack tournaments. After their run at MLG Columbus and the respective Dreamhack tournaments, FugLy had stepped down from the active line up. A month after losing FugLy, Counter Logic Gaming and Team Liquid agreed to swap jdm for koosta, and pita stepped in to fill the gap left by FugLy.

ESL One: Cologne 2016 was a rough ride for CLG. In their opening match, CLG came close to beating Gambit. The CIS side edged the North Americans out with a 16-13 scoreline. In their next match, tarik and his teammates were utterly obliterated by Dignitas, losing 16-1 on Cobblestone.

Just like that, their run at the major had concluded.

After their elimination in the inaugural season of ELEAGUE, tarik had departed the roster, and had remained with CLG as a streamer. One month later, on August 20, 2016, tarik was acquired by OpTic Gaming.

After tarik’s acqusition, the team brought stanislaw back to the active line up to replace daps.

There was a two month gap between tarik’s arrival at OpTic Gaming, and their first tournament together as a team, which was ESL New York: 2016. OpTic Gaming impressed, picking up wins against sides such as Astralis on Overpass and G2 on Cache. The North Americans fell to SK Gaming and Fnatic on Train, and fell to Virtus.Pro on Cobblestone to be eliminated from the group stage with a 2-3 record. In all of OpTic’s matches, tarik was a pivotal factor, finishing the tournament with 83.4 ADR and 0.79 KPR.

The newer iteration of the OpTic side continued to impress. The North Americans had made it past the group stage of the ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals, but were beaten by eventual winners Cloud9 2-0 in the quarterfinals.

Tarik’s first international tournament win with OpTic came at Northern Arena Montreal. The North American side beat NRG, lost to EnVyUs, and then beat NRG 2-0 in a best of three elimination match to qualify for the knockout stages. OpTic then met Heroic in the semifinals, and were able to beat the predominantly Danish side 2-1 to set themselves up for a finals match versus G2. The French side were able to take Cobblestone 16-14. The North Americans bounced back to win Dust II 16-12, and then took Train with a comfortable 16-7 scoreline to secure the best of three grand final win, as well as the Northern Arena Montreal championship.

It was an incredible win for the North American side, but, in the grand scheme of things, it was little compared to what was about to come.

Tarik and company had qualified from the group stages of ELEAGUE Season 2, after a loss against Fnatic sparked back to back elimination best of three wins over EnVyUs and Fnatic. This set OpTic up for a match against mousesports in the quarterfinals, and was a match that OpTic won in a convincing manner, winning 16-7 on on Train and 16-11 on Cache. The victory over mousesports secured OpTic a spot in the semifinals, and also secured them a match against FaZe Clan.

The Call of Duty rivalry came to CS:GO for the first time.

OpTic kicked off their semifinals campaign in an emphatic fashion, blowing FaZe out of the water with a 16-3 win on Train. Overpass was a closer contest, however OpTic were able to end the match with a 16-12 scoreline, securing themselves a finals berth, as well as a match up against the Danish side Astralis.

This was a heart in mouth moment for the OpTic players, fans, and fans of North American Counter Strike.

Astralis kicked off the finals strongly, beating OpTic 16-9 on Train. The next map, Cobblestone, was a different story entirely. OpTic were dominant on their T side, closing out the half 11-4. Astralis were able to put together two rounds on their T side, but ultimately the North Americans were able to get the necessary five rounds to close out the map 16-6. The third and final map, Overpass, was a closer affair, with the half ending 8-7 in favour of OpTic’s T side. OpTic’s CT side proved to be formidable, as the North Americans only allowed Astralis four rounds on the T side. OpTic had closed out the Overpass game with a 16-11 scoreline to secure the 2-1 victory over Astralis, as well as the team’s, and tarik’s, first $250,000+ tournament victory.

It was also a historic moment for the North American scene, due to the fact that another North American side had found victory at another major tournament after Cloud9’s first place finish at the ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals.

OpTic’s run of good form continued into the ECS Season 2 Finals, where they placed second, falling to Astralis 2-0, and continued into the major qualifier, where they were able to successfully place in the top five, which guaranteed them a spot at the next major.

The turn of the New Year also meant a turn of events for OpTic. The North American side suffered a disappointing campaign at the major, finishing their Swiss group stage campaign with a 1-3 record, with their only win coming from FlipSide Tactics. The North Americans were eliminated early.

In February, it was revealed that stanislaw had departed the roster. As a result, Hiko was added as a stand in for Dreamhack Vegas and IEM Katowice. Tarik’s side were eliminated in the group stages of both tournaments. Hiko was removed and jasonR was added as a stand in. OpTic found some footing under Jason’s leadership, and were able to win the required amount of online tournaments to qualify for the Pro League Finals in Dallas. In the offline tournament area, OpTic performed well at cs_summit, finishing third overall after a strong run in the lower brackets.

OpTic’s coach at the time, hazed, stood in for jasonR at IEM Sydney. The North Americans were able to qualify for the semifinals of the tournament, but were beaten down by SK Gaming in the semis.

The North Americans then headed to Dallas to play in the Pro League Finals, and were eliminated in the group stage with a 2-3 record.

After the Pro League Finals, it was announced that jasonR was stepping down from the OpTic line up, and that hazed was filling his slot. The team played at the ECS Season 2 Finals, the PGL Major Krakow Main Qualifier and ESL One: Cologne. OpTic were eliminated early at the ECS Finals, as well as the major qualifier, but were able to finish in the top eight of ESL One: Cologne.

OpTic Gaming had suffered from some roster changes that they never quite recovered from. In a way, it was reminiscent of the changes made to CLG prior to tarik’s departure to fill in a hole that desperately needed to be filled, but was done so at the wrong time. As a result, the team struggled for results and could never quite get the ball rolling, despite the number of tryout stand ins they had.

On August 15, relief came for tarik in the form of Cloud9. The Turkish American player, alongside RUSH, were added to the Cloud9 roster.

Tarik’s first tournament with Cloud9 was Dreamhack Malmo, two weeks after his addition to the roster. Cloud9 were eliminated in the group stage with a 1-2 record, as the North Americans were only able to secure a win over B.O.O.T dreamScape, and suffered losses to North and SK Gaming.

Nine days later, Cloud9 secured a top four finish at Dreamhack Montreal, and then secured a top four finish at ESL One: New York just six days later. After those top four finishes, Cloud9 went on to place in the top four of the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017, beat BIG 2-0 in the finals of Dreamhack Denver, win the iBUYPOWER Masters and place in the top four of IEM Oakland.

Cloud9 had enjoyed a run of six top four or higher finishes shortly after the addition of tarik and RUSH.

In their most recent tournament, the ECS Season 4 Finals, Cloud9 fell short in the group stage after losing their elimination match vs. FaZe Clan.

Tarik has always possessed an incredible amount of individual skill, and it is something that has become more evident over time. His time on CLG showcased his talent quite often, but it really feels like it was brought to light during his time on OpTic, and later on Cloud9.

His ability to make the right decision, in terms of when and where to peek, shows his awareness, as well as his understanding of the game are at an advanced level. It also emphasises his ability to make the smarter, or correct play in terms of clutch situations. As a rifler, having a high level of awareness, as well as a high level of understanding of the game are essential. On the entry, having these traits are crucial in identifying where the CT players are holding and getting one to two picks effectively. As a mid round player, these traits are essential in successfully defending a post plant, or being successful in a clutch situation, whether T or CT. Tarik generally has a strong ability to read into clutch situations and successfully predict where players are coming from.

These traits, combined with tarik’s ability to use the AWP effectively on top of his ability to rifle well makes him a lethal hybrid player.

Tarik’s ability to integrate in game leadership into his arsenal of skills is a feat that is rather impressive. In the past, teams have lacked consistent in game leaders, and as a result, players have been trying to adopt the role and make it work. In a lot of instances, they are failed experiments, but in a few instances, most notably stanislaw, the player adding in game leading to their skill set has yielded success, and tarik is one of them. For tarik, the success was on a personal level, having a string of strong and consistent performances, and for Cloud9, where the team found success in their streak of top four finishes.

Tarik, over time, has developed into a solid, intelligent player that significantly reduced his mistakes by improving his decision making and improving on his fundamental Counter Strike.  As a result, his ability to entry and play mid round Counter Strike has improved significantly and has earned him some incredible accolades with the teams he has been apart of. His adoption of the in game leader role is a transition that will take a little bit of time, but has already shown some promise considering the short amount of time he has had to work with.

Tarik has come incredibly far in his career, and has developed significantly. His story is defined by persevering through difficult times in his career, largely in relation to disappointing losses and eventual roster turmoil, which is a testament to his mental fortitude. His time on Cloud9 has already yielded significant improvement for the North American side, and will continue to yield fantastic results in the future.

 

 

 

 

About The Author

Jonah
Esports Manager

My first video game was Tonka Construction for the PC. I played that in 2000, at 3 years of age, and have been hooked by video games ever since. I like to dabble in as many games as I possibly can, but nothing can come close to a captivating story, an intense multiplayer experience or a well made RTS game. In 2015, I found what can only be described as passion and love for esports. Now I convey that passion, love and knowledge through articles about esports titles, most notably Counter Strike.