One day before ESL One Cologne kicks off, we talked to Titan's Kenny "kennyS" Schrub to find out what the French-Belgians expect of the coming major.
Titan has had a rough 2014 so far, losing ESEA S15 Finals to iBUYPOWER, going out in groups at EMS One Katowice, and losing to LDLC in the quarter-finals at Copenhagen Games.
At SLTV StarSeries IX Finals they lost against Na`Vi and NiP, and the latter eliminated them from DreamHack Summer at 5-8th place, after a loss to HellRaisers pit them against one another.
At G3, just over a week ago, Titan finally broke through their struggles and clinched a second place finish, with playoff series wins over iBUYPOWER and the new fnatic roster.
We spoke to their star player Kenny "kennyS" Schrub, who is fresh off his best event in CS:GO history, as he finished G3 with a 1.31 rating. Continue reading for his interview.
kennyS could carry Titan to a top four finish this weekend
How have you prepared for ESL One Cologne so far? Do you have a bootcamp planned for the final days leading up to the event? Do you feel adequately prepared?
Kenny "kennyS" Schrub: We’ve been here at the gaming house since mid-July. We’ve had a fairly intensive boot camp so far, I think we are well prepared and I’m really confident about our play style. We’ve been playing well lately and this is not down to us being lucky. Beyond everyone’s individual dedication, Kévin and most recently Arthur have worked really hard on our team play, making it more versatile and unpredictable. I’m sure it will pay dividends!
After a long hiatus from international competition, G3 took place last weekend. What do you make of the results? Were you surprised by anyone? What comes to mind when thinking about the event?
Kenny "kennyS" Schrub: I’m truly happy about the result, especially since we played well throughout the whole tournament. At the same time, we are very disappointed with the way we played our final. It just wasn’t an easy way to come into the game, Virtus.pro just coming out of a long Bo3 against Dignitas and looking really impressive on an individual level. Overall though, I’d say that the end result of the event was anything but surprising.
A lot of people have been upset with the way NiP performed but there is nothing alarming in that as they were all fresh off holidays. Virtus.pro surprised me because they were off to a rocky start, and then struggled against London Conspiracy in the quarter finals, but they stepped it up to win the whole thing. They are still the best. I also think that Dignitas and Fnatic have been gaining momentum for ESL One, they are good as teams but also individually on a player level.
Generally speaking, I liked the way the event unfolded. It’s always a nice experience to play on stage and the booths were a real plus. Unfortunately, the schedule was way too tight, but I think the organisers will learn from their mistakes for the next event.
At ESL One you’ve been placed in group D together with c9, Vox and Dignitas. Can you go through each team one at a time, and tell us what you think about them, and your chances against them?
Kenny "kennyS" Schrub: We will first go head to head against Cloud9, which will be a tough match against a team composed of great players, making it a big threat in a Bo1. With this format and this kind of tournament, you can’t make any mistakes, and if you’re not playing well from the very beginning you could end up being out of the tournament very quickly. We’re getting used to seeing a lot of surprising results coming out of these stressful tournaments.
Dignitas are similar to Cloud9 in a sense, with great individual players. We want to give them a bigger challenge than what we offered up at Gfinity. To me, they are the favourites for topping the group. Vox Eminor is supposedly the easiest team to deal with, but we know that all teams are on a similar level in a Bo1. Furthermore, Vox Eminor showed at EMS Katowice that they have a solid core game, especially against LDLC, one of the heavy favourites.
What are your expectations going into the event? I realize everyone will say they are in it to win it regardless of stature, but would you be happy with a quarterfinals exit? Top four? A spot in the grand final?
Kenny "kennyS" Schrub: I’d like us to play to our potential and demonstrate the best possible style of play. If we play to our level, I think we can reach the semifinal. After that, it will all come down to details and the individual players’ form on the day, because all teams will be really close in terms of skill level.
Do you have a clause in your contracts regarding the sticker money that will be coming in from ESL One? Is that something you had added later on specifically with Cologne in mind, or did it exist in the first place?
Kenny "kennyS" Schrub: This is a topic which we deal with internally.
It’s now been weeks since ESL announced the new map pool, featuring de_cobblestone and de_overpass. Now that you’ve had a chance to practice them, what do you think about them? What do you think about the new map veto system? Do you think these changes will work for or against you?
Kenny "kennyS" Schrub: I don’t really like the new maps; they are too big, which limits their competitive potential. That being said, it will be crucial to be ready even on maps you dislike, as the new veto system forces us to be ready on six maps for the playoffs.
At both of the previous majors we saw a new team win a title (fnatic, Virtus.pro), propelled by new players rising to stardom (flusha, schneider, byali, Snax). Do you expect another new team to rise up this time and if so, who could it be? What about new players?
Kenny "kennyS" Schrub: There are at least ten teams who have a chance at the title, and the difference between teams is getting smaller and smaller. However, Virtus.pro, NiP, Dignitas and LDLC will be key contenders. If I had to pick one player to watch, I would say that Polly, London Conspiracy’s AWPer, seems be to really on point, and a sniper hitting his shots can make all the difference.
After nearly six months passed from DH Stockholm, you returned to the grand final of an international event. How much does this help you going forward? Do you think the previously built pressure from the Katowice failure affected you to this day?
Kenny "kennyS" Schrub: It’s a great pleasure and obviously this final gave us some confidence going into ESL One. It has been a fair amount of time since the team performed this well, as the team wasn’t playing up to its standards even long before I joined. Despite everything though, we never doubted our potential and we worked really hard to get back on track. Like I said, if we get off to a good start in our matches and we bring our Agame, we’re capable of achieving great results.
Are you at all afraid that you did so well at G3 due to being better prepared than others, and it may turn on its head with everyone bootcamping before ESL One? Or do you believe the added confidence will make up for it?
Kenny "kennyS" Schrub: We knew that we would be in better shape than other teams for Gfinity but the result still means something. The important part was to keep up our efforts for Cologne and that’s what we have done.
ESL One Cologne 2014 kicks off tomorrow morning at 09:00, and kennyS's Titan will debut at 19:00 in a group D match against Cloud9 -- the former compLexity squad.
|Chad "SPUNJ" Burchill "Not just there to fill the numbers"|
|Richard "shox" Papillon "I don't fear any team"|
|Denis "seized" Kostin: "We've been more effective"|
|Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund: "Time to win a major"|
|Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow: "I like the [new] maps a lot"|
|Nicolaj "Nico" Jensen: "Our A-game can beat anyone"|
|Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer: "Tired of quarter-final exits"|
|Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas: "We haven't reached our peak"|
|Pål "Polly" Kammen: "We are here to stay"|
|Henrik "FeTiSh" Christensen: "There is no I in team"|
|Jesper "JW" Wecksell: "We can surprise a lot of teams"|
|iBUYPOWER: "Too many mistakes"|
| Spencer "Hiko" Martin: "You are in for a treat"
Above we have listed all thirteen interviews we have previously conducted with ESL One Cologne participants. We're hoping to receive answers from Wolf and dAT later today.