The 3rd place on our Top 20 of 2013 by eSportsventure.com goes to Richard "shox" Papillon. Even though the 21-year-old Frenchman only joined VeryGames in May, his consistent performances helped them rise to the top of the world and finally overcome NiP on several occasions.
Richard "shox" Papillon started playing Counter-Strike back in the days of 1.5, and then slowly moved on to each next version of the game, ending up in CS:Source.
In 2008 he started making his breakthrough with a team called Creativ` and already in March 2009 he joined VeryGames for the first time. Already then he was already an established top player, by many accounts even the best in the world, but the team itself ran into some problems and would be released from the organization near the end of the year.
Papillon would then even try out playing CS 1.6 for a short period in 2010, but he went back to CSS to represent ROCCAT, LDLC.com and later 3DMAX together with another current star, Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom.
After only a few months in that 3DMAX team, Papillon left to join VeryGames once again where he would sit on top of the world for about six months. And then despite being one of the best players in the world and winning ESWC with the team, he was removed due to internal problems at the end of November 2011.
He would go back to team up with Benrlitom in Tt Dragons at the beginning of 2012, and they would together switch to CS:GO when the new game came out. By the end of the year, under the sponsorship of Imaginary Gaming they managed to attend their first LAN event, SLTV StarSeries IV Finals, where they came in 3rd behind ESC and Virtus.pro.
But to start 2013 off Richard "shox" Papillon lost the help of his star teammate Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom, who left Imaginary to join none other than VeryGames. He was replaced by former CS 1.6 French star Engin "MAJ3R" Kupeli, and early results actually showed promise from the lineup, especially when they beat Benrlitom's new team 16-12 in RC EMS One Spring Cup #2.
shox's clutches in the victory over VeryGames in RC EMS One Spring Cup #1
Their first LAN, however, didn't go as well since they were out of the first group stage at Mad Catz Vienna behind NiP, TCM-Gaming and Nostalgie, albeit throught some very unfortunate circumstances.
"Ozstrik3r was our in-game leader, and due to the event or I don’t know, MAJ3R and mshz began to help him in that role, but it was too much. Due to that, we had like 3 in-game leaders, so there were a lot of misunderstandings during matches.
Moreover, we really had no luck about the round difference, I remember the last match of the group was Nostalgie against TCM, each team could win or lose and we were still supposed to pass. There was only one way for us to not pass the group stage, and it was that TCM win 16-9 (only this score) against Nostalgie, so a really small probability, and unfortunately things went like this..."
Despite that disappointing result, even in those three maps Papillon displayed his incredible skill, scoring 0.99 kills per round (1.36 rating) while losing two of them, including a 9-16 defeat to NiP.
shox did great in Vienna despite his team's poor results
Before the big spring series of tournaments would begin, Papillon & co. found out that Imaginery would not be able to send them to Copenhagen Games, so they decided to leave the organization in hopes of finding other support. But after that didn't happen, the team took it hard and disbanded.
Papillon did still qualify for RaidCall EMS One Spring Finals with a mix team called SuperstarS, and they eventually attended the event under the Imaginary banner, but it was a forgettable experience as fnatic handed them a 1-16, 5-16 loss in the quarter-final.
Later in April Papillon made an international mix team together with Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács and Anil "cLy" Gülec, and that lineup showed excellent potential while representing TCM-Gaming, qualifying for SLTV StarSeries VI and winning a few other online events.
But with unsatisfying results from VeryGames during the start of the year, Papillon wasn't willing to commit to this project and was hoping that he would get a chance for his third stint in the biggest French organization.
"I didn’t know that VeryGames will ask me [to join], I only know how a top-team works, and I knew if they were not able to beat NiP during their Spring Tour in April, there might be a chance they would want to change something.
Because of that, I didn't want engage myself in a new project, there was a little chance for my eSport career in that period for this to happen, but I wanted to wait and it happened. And I told my mates that if I don't get that offer, I'll definitely try the project. All these guys (strux, cLy, GuardiaN, stavros) were amazing and I really loved playing with them."
And finally on May 7th it was official, Kenny "kennyS" Schrub was removed from the team and Papillon was added, much to the community's delight. However, there was a shroud of doubt above the change, as things previously didn't work out between VeryGames and him back in the CSS days, so some people were surprised that he was given another chance.
"Last time I played with VeryGames was in 2011, so 2 years had passed, everyone grew up and we talked a lot to fix the old problems, to begin a new period with a new mentality."
Even though the start with the new lineup was no better than how VeryGames fared before that, with losses online to LDLC.com, Na`Vi, NiP and Virtus.pro in each of the four RC EMS One Summer cups, it would soon prove to be the right change.
They passed up on DreamHack Summer due to exam obligations, and also in order to have more time to get the new lineup in shape, so the first test was at the RaidCall EMS One Summer Finals.
And already in his first few matches, Papillon showed what kind of asset for VeryGames he will be, top fragging in both the quarter-final against Copenhagen Wolves (63:49, 1.16 rating) and the semi-final vs. fnatic (49:40, 1.25 rating).
shox lifting his first trophy of 2013
And while there was no need for him to shine in the final against Virtus.pro as Nathan "NBK" Schmitt took over, it was an excellent debut for Papillon who still ended up with the most kills at the event (154).
"For the first event, I tried to maximally help Ex6TenZ in my co-leader role. It meant adding a new point of view to develop a better game overall for all situations. I also tried to calm and maximize the communication during this event, so we could be more confident and minimize errors during the game."
But since Virtus.pro had defeated NiP, VeryGames were still left wondering where they stand in comparison to the Swedes after the lineup change. They wouldn't find out for two more months, during which time they only appeared at Mad Catz Cologne defeating fnatic in the final 16-8, 16-5.
At the beginning of September they got the first taste of victory against NiP, taking one map in the final of FACEIT Cup, despite still losing the series (16-13, 14-16, 12-16). But a week later at DreamHack Bucharest things would go completely differently and the Swedes would practically stomp them already in the quarter-final (10-16, 2-16).
"I was really disappointed, more than ever I guess because I put a lot of effort for this event and it didn't work out at that moment.
But Ex6TenZ was really confident about the future, he told me he was not disappointed with the result because he knew we were just not in good form, but everything we worked on will pass in the future for sure and he was right. We just tried to forget this event asap in order to focus on the next events which were coming up."
And his teammate and in-game leader Kevin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans was right, things did start working soon after that. First they finally managed to beat NiP online in the semi-final of MSI Beat it European Finals (16-7, 16-8), and then they repeated that on LAN at SLTV StarSeries VII Finals.
On this occasion, Papillon would have his best tournament performance, and one of the best by any player during the year. After the 16-14, 16-6 victory over NiP, VeryGames also went on to defeat Astana Dragons two times to win their second title since the lineup change.
Papillon ended up with an amazing 0.91 kills per round and a 1.42 rating, far above everyone else as the clear MVP of this event. Especially memorable was his performance in the upper bracket final when he had a 77:39 score (1.64 rating) in the 2-1 win over Astana.
"After our big fail in Bucharest, I was like 'Ok we are playing NiP, we have nothing to lose, just go ahead and play your game'. Due to our performance in our last event, I had really no pressure, I guess it helped me." – about his performance at SLTV StarSeries VII Finals
After that it was time to get back to the scene where they started winning back in June, this time for RaidCall EMS One Fall Finals. With another impressive performance from Papillon, who had a 1.20 rating and 7 clutch round wins, VeryGames once again came out on top and defeated NiP after a comeback in the final (5-16, 16-14, 16-6).
Bringing home another trophy from RC EMS One Fall
Even though he wasn't as dominant as in Kiev, Papillon continued being a key member during that triumph, and he would carry on in the same way at ESWC at the end of October.
Although this time the team was tripped at the last step, losing in the final to Clan-Mystik (11-16, 12-16), Papillon once again excelled in the playoff matches. Against fnatic in the quarter-final when VeryGames edged the Swedes (10-16, 16-2, 16-14) he had a 63:49 score (1.23 rating), but it was the series against NiP in the semis that earned him a few more points in the race for the best player in the world.
In a very close victory for the French-Belgian squad (16-13, 19-16), Papillon put in a Man of the Match performance (58:37, 1.38 rating, 3 clutch rounds won) to send his team to another grand final, showing that he can shine on the biggest of stages.
"It's kinda hard to find one favorite moment. I have two in my memory. The first was when we beat NiP at ESWC, the match was really hard and there were a lot of clutches, with the crowd just in front of us, it was really amazing. The second was our victory also against NiP during the last EMS, it was one of our most difficult matches and we were so happy to come back from 0-1 to 2-1."
His form would then reach its peak at the MSI Beat it Grand Finals in Beijing, China, where VeryGames returned to winning titles. In the grand final against fnatic (16-12, 16-10), Papillon had one of the most impressive individual performances of the year, which included two pistol round aces and an incredible 62:33 score (1.87 rating).
But in the last and the biggest tournament of the year, DreamHack Winter, he wouldn't carry on in the same manner despite starting well in the group stage against Xapso and compLexity. VeryGames ended up finishing second in their group which once again paired them up with NiP in the semi-final.
an amazing ace against n!faculty at DreamHack Winter
After three wins in a row against the Swedes in previous events, this time NiP would come out on top (13-16, 16-6, 5-16), leaving Papillon & co. disappointed with their performance in this 3rd-4th place finish.
"I was really mad after Dreamhack Winter, because even though I did well in group stages, I was absent in the most important matches against CPH and NiP."
Nevertheless, with the form he showed in the last few months of the year, he earned a lot of recognition and was even started being considered the best player in the world.
"I'm trying not to focus on that and about what people are expecting me to do because you get this extra pressure when you do this.
For 2014, I want to be at the top in the most important moments (like DreamHack quarter-finals and semi-finals were) and to still improve my in-game level. I know I can be better, and I want to be at my top-level for my team anywhere, in any moment.
One of my personal goals is also to help Ex6TenZ more and more in the game, there are some tough times where I don’t help him as much as I should. I definitely have to work on it."
Even though he didn't have a lot of opportunities to establish his presence due to only joining VeryGames in May after the first part of the season had passed, Richard "shox" Papillon immediately helped them get to the next level.
He quickly became the team's star and helped them win titles at RC EMS One Summer and Fall, as well as at SLTV StarSeries VII and MSI Beat it Grand Finals with MVP-worthy performances.
While he only played 49 maps at international tournaments, he managed to win 27 clutch rounds, 9th most of all players, or 2nd most on average per map (0.55). Besides that he was one of the best fraggers (0.79 kills per round) and most consistent players (69% of maps above 1.00 rating).
Furthermore no player has scored more 3+ kill rounds on average per map (1.7) than Papillon, which made him one of the most dominant players in the world.
But although his form in the second half of the year rivaled the very best, considering the whole year he didn't do enough to go further up the list.
Papillon was the third person to pick the young Norwegian player as his prediction for the future star.
Martin "cENTRYZ" Brandal
"I saw him play at DreamHack with Epsilon, I was really impressed by his game-level, don't know why he is not in a top-team at the moment. I hope to see him in one this year, and if so, he'll be in the next top20 for sure!"
Tell us what you thought about Richard "shox" Papillon's performance in 2013, did he show enough for 3rd place?
Two more spots remain to be filled, and the battle for the first place between them couldn't have been closer. Stay tuned to HLTV.org to see who will end up where on our Top 20 of 2013 by eSportsventure.com.