apEX: "[LGB] might surprise us all!"

Towards the end of our list of pre-interviews, Titan's Dan "apEX" Madesclaire revealed his thoughts on ESL One Katowice and more.

Titan have yet to advance from group stage after their two unsuccessful journeys at EMS One Katowice and ESL One Cologne last year, coupled with a disqualification right before DreamHack Winter.

This time, the French-Swiss-Belgian mixture comes in with a different line-up of course, and they will have to battle for a spot in the playoffs with domestic rivals EnVyUs, LGB and PENTA.


apEX answers ESL One Katowice pre-interview

We sat down with Dan "apEX" Madesclaire to find out how confident the team feels like going into ESL One Katowice, as well as other topics revolving around the major beginning tomorrow.

Here's all our previous pre-interviews, check the table below to see if you missed some:

Brazil Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo: "We want to reach top eight"
Denmark Finn "karrigan" Andersen"We are a team to fear"
Poland Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas"Minimum placing is top two"
Slovakia Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács"Our goal is to win the title"
Germany PENTA"Aware of [Titan's] strengths"
Sweden Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson"We have something planned"
Australia Vox Eminor"Dark horse will be us or FlipSid3"
Finland Joona "natu" Leppänen"[stonde] will bring chaos"
Ukraine Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy"We don't feel any pressure"
Norway Morten "zEVES" Vollan"C9 can surprise in playoffs"
United States James "hazed" Cobb"We don't have a ceiling"
1. How confident do you feel with your preparation going into ESL One Katowice? Are you having a bootcamp or only practicing online? Is there something you focused on in particular (like new maps, individual form, scouting other teams)?
Since RpK’s joining of the team in January, we’ve practiced as much as possible for our main goal, which has always been Katowice. We couldn’t boot camp because of Maniac’s job but we feel prepared, and overall it’s an amazing experience to soon be participating in a Major.
2. What do you think about your group? Can you go through each team and tell us how you think you match-up against them? Which two teams should be advancing to playoffs out of EnVyUs, PENTA, LGB and yourselves?
Well, our group is pretty exciting because we are facing our French rivals EnVy, which is going be a great game. PENTA just changed a player so I don’t know what to think about them, and LGB is a good team, not as good as the top teams but they can definitely go through. Ultimately I hope both we and EnVyUs make it out.
3. What is the minimum placing your team will be satisfied with in Katowice? Do you feel any pressure to succeed, will you be extremely frustrated if you fail to reach your minimum goal?
For Titan, the main goal is to get out of groups. We’re under a bit of pressure as Titan hasn’t gotten past the group stage in a long time, but we must embrace this challenge and face it head on to reach the playoffs.
4. The professional scene has probably never been as competitive as it is now going into this major, but who do you think will end up in the top4 (in no particular order)? And who do you see as the most likely surprise, whether to win it all or get out of the groups ahead of some big favorites?
Well yes, at this moment there are many teams that can win the tournament, but for me Virtus.pro are the clear favorites. I know that they love playing in front of their home crowd and it’s going to be hard to beat them in Katowice. Fnatic, EnVy and NiP are also big favorites, but for Top 4 I would say EnVy, Fnatic, Virtus and us. After these top teams I would rank LGB a close runner-up, so they might surprise us all!
5. Is there a player or two in your team who you will hope to make the biggest impact in order for the team to achieve its goal (whether in terms of fragging, calling the shots, awping, motivating the rest)?
I can’t say kennyS because he’s already used to doing that all the time so... Maniac because he was so criticized recently and he didn’t deserve it, RpK because THE TANK is back to show us all how to headshots people, and Ex6TenZ because he’s a hard worker and I know he can be as good in CS:GO as he was in Source.
6. How long do you think it will take until we can assume RpK reached his peak form? 
RpK has showed some good progress already, he hasn’t reached his peak but trust me, he is ready for the Major. I would say in another 2-3 months time he will have reached his form and then some.
7. How much of kennyS’ dominance would you attribute to his role in the team and how much is his own improvisation? Some theorize that your gameplay is built around him, if that is so, how does building around a star player work exactly (what are the steps to it)?
Well, our game isn’t built around him but kennyS can do what he wants in-game. As T, we don’t wait for his kills to execute, and as CT if he tries for a pick then we will simply work around that as a team to give him the best conditions possible.
8. You missed out on the previous major for apparent reasons [KQLY’s ban] and you didn’t manage to make it out of the groups at the two before that, losing to HellRaisers and dignitas in the decider matches. What will you do differently now to avoid that happening (whether in mental preparation, map veto, overall strategy)?
Only Ex6TenZ and NiaK were in this team for those first two Majors so I don’t think the question is very apt in regards to me, but in my eyes Titan didn’t fail against Dignitas, they failed against Cloud9 during the Cologne Major, and they lost because of big mistakes that can’t happen again. Going forward we’ve focused on every single past mistake, so I couldn’t just name one thing.
9. There has been an increasingly high number of online leagues and cups lately. How did participating in them affect your team, do you think it helped in preparation or damaged you somehow? And how does it affect the scene in general in your opinion?
We can’t participate in every online league but we are doing our best in the ones that we do take part in, and it is definitely beneficial to have official matches during a preparation period. An important online match is almost like a LAN match so taking part in these leagues is a good thing for us.The leagues are also a good thing for the scene as a whole, a sign of Counter-Strike growing, so we have to be happy about that 
10. What does your team think about the changes to Overpass and Cobblestone? Are the changes for the better or worse? Have you practiced them?
The changes are definitely for the better, especially on Overpass as the A site was way too hard to take before. With this new change teams can’t play passively anymore, which makes it more of a show to watch, and for Cobblestone it’s almost the same as before only that middle is now easier to take for the terrorists.
11. Do you like the current state of the pistols, Tec-9 and CZ-75 in particular? Would you make any changes to them or are they all finally balanced enough for competitive play?
Both the Tec-9 and the CZ-75 are too powerful. The main problem with the Tec-9 is that you can run and fire at the same time, just as with all pistols, but here you have 32 bullets… The CZ is similarly “great” now, mainly for snipers because not only can they carry an AWP but also an “AK” as their secondary weapon.
12. Reportedly the sticker money from the previous major, DHW, was split according to how many of each team’s stickers were sold. Which way would you prefer it this time, an even split between all legends/challengers or distribution per selling amount? Or perhaps you would like to see a part of it added to prizemoney?
I think it all depends on how the stickers are sold. It they come in Legends or Challengers capsules then an even split would make sense, this would also add an element of fun with the capsule opening process which could be exciting for fans. If however we stick with a system like today where you can buy the specific teams' stickers directly then I would say it follows naturally that the split is based off of amount sold per team. If I had to pick one, I would prefer the surprise element of opening capsules!
13. What is your stance on the current tournament system in the majors? Ever since DreamHack Winter 2013, the system has remained the same with a BO1 group stage, as well as a playoff spot securing a place in the next major. Would you change it in some way or keep it the same going forward?
I think it’s a good idea to keep it so that reaching the playoffs guarantee an invite to the next Major. I would prefer BO3 over BO1 group stages but… I’ve been waiting on that for more than a year now, I’m beginning to lose hope! 
14. Since the start of 2015 the prize money in most tournaments started rising fast. Although no single tournament “outweighs” the majors yet, do you think that time will come? ESL One Katowice will be a huge event nevertheless - do you expect the viewership record will be broken? How many do you estimate will watch the grand final this time (record is around 500,000 from DHW)?
2015 is probably the best year CS has ever known, and I’m so happy to be part of it. Maybe the next Major will be a $500k, who knows? And yes I think we will break the record, I for sure hope so, so let’s be optimistic and go with 700k !

How confident do you feel with your preparation going into ESL One Katowice? Are you having a bootcamp or only practicing online? Is there something you focused on in particular?

Since RpK joined the team in January, we've practiced as much as possible for our main goal, which has always been Katowice. We couldn't bootcamp because of Maniac's job, but we feel prepared, and overall it's an amazing experience to soon be participating in a major.

What do you think about your group? Can you go through each team and tell us how you think you match-up against them? Which two teams should be advancing to playoffs out of EnVyUs, PENTA, LGB and yourselves?

Well, our group is pretty exciting, because we are facing our French rivals EnVy, which is going be a great game. PENTA just changed a player, so I don't know what to think about them, and LGB is a good team, not as good as the top teams, but they can definitely go through. Ultimately I hope both we and EnVyUs make it out.

What is the minimum placing your team will be satisfied with in Katowice? Do you feel any pressure to succeed, will you be extremely frustrated if you fail to reach your minimum goal?

For Titan, the main goal is to get out of groups. We're under a bit of pressure, as Titan hasn't gotten past the group stage in a long time, but we must embrace this challenge and face it head on to reach the playoffs.

The professional scene has probably never been as competitive as it is now going into this major, but who do you think will end up in the top four? And who do you see as the most likely surprise, whether to win it all or get out of the groups ahead of some big favorites?

Well yes, at this moment there are many teams that can win the tournament, but for me Virtus.pro are the clear favorites. I know that they love playing in front of their home crowd and it's going to be hard to beat them in Katowice. Fnatic, EnVy and NiP are also big favorites, but for top four I would say EnVy, Fnatic, Virtus and us. After these top teams I would rank LGB a close runner-up, so they might surprise us all!

Is there a player or two in your team who you will hope to make the biggest impact in order for the team to achieve its goal?

I can't say kennyS, because he's already used to doing that all the time so... Maniac, because he was so criticized recently and he didn't deserve it, RpK because THE TANK is back to show us all how to headshot people, and Ex6TenZ because he's a hard worker and I know he can be as good in CS:GO as he was in Source.


apEX belives RpK will reach his peak in 2-3 months

How long do you think it will take until we can assume RpK reached his peak form? 

RpK has showed some good progress already, he hasn't reached his peak, but trust me, he is ready for the major. I would say in another 2-3 months, he will have reached his form and then some.

How much of kennyS' dominance would you attribute to his role in the team and how much is his own improvisation? Some theorize that your gameplay is built around him, if that is so, how does building around a star player work exactly?

Well, our game isn't built around him, but kennyS can do what he wants in-game. As T, we don't wait for his kills to execute, and as CT if he tries to go for a pick, then we will simply work around that as a team to give him the best conditions possible.

You missed out on the previous major for apparent reasons and you didn't manage to make it out of the groups at the two before that, losing to HellRaisers and dignitas in the decider matches. What will you do differently now to avoid that happening?

Only Ex6TenZ and NiaK were in this team for those first two majors, so I don't think the question is very appropriate in regards to me, but in my eyes Titan didn't fail against dignitas, they failed against Cloud9 during the Cologne major, and they lost because of big mistakes that can't happen again. Going forward we've focused on every single past mistake, so I couldn't just name one thing.

There has been an increasingly high number of online leagues and cups lately. How did participating in them affect your team, do you think it helped in preparation or damaged you somehow? And how does it affect the scene in general in your opinion?

We can't participate in every online league, but we are doing our best in the ones that we do take part in, and it is definitely beneficial to have official matches during a preparation period. An important online match is almost like a LAN match so taking part in these leagues is a good thing for us. The leagues are also a good thing for the scene as a whole, a sign of Counter-Strike growing, so we have to be happy about that 

What does your team think about the changes to Overpass and Cobblestone? Are the changes for the better or worse? Have you practiced them?

The changes are definitely for the better, especially on Overpass, as the A site was way too hard to take before. With this new change teams can't play passively anymore, which makes it more of a show to watch, and for Cobblestone, it's almost the same as before only that middle is now easier to take for the terrorists.


Ex6TenZ is looking to lead the team to a first playoff at a major 

Do you like the current state of the pistols, Tec-9 and CZ-75 in particular? Would you make any changes to them or are they all finally balanced enough for competitive play?

Both the Tec-9 and the CZ-75 are too powerful. The main problem with the Tec-9 is that you can run and fire at the same time, just as with all pistols, but here you have 32 bullets... The CZ is similarly "great" now, mainly for snipers because not only can they carry an AWP but also an "AK" as their secondary weapon.

Reportedly the sticker money from the previous major, DHW, was split according to how many of each team's stickers were sold. Which way would you prefer it this time, an even split between all legends/challengers or distribution per selling amount? Or perhaps you would like to see a part of it added to prizemoney?

I think it all depends on how the stickers are sold. It they come in Legends or Challengers capsules then an even split would make sense, this would also add an element of fun with the capsule opening process, which could be exciting for fans. However if  we stick with a system like today where you can buy the specific teams' stickers directly, then I would say it follows naturally that the split is based off of the amount sold per team. If I had to pick one, I would prefer the surprise element of opening capsules!

What is your stance on the current tournament system in the majors? Ever since DreamHack Winter 2013, the system has remained the same with a BO1 group stage, as well as a playoff spot securing a place in the next major. Would you change it in some way or keep it the same going forward?

I think it's a good idea to keep it so that reaching the playoffs guarantees an invite to the next major. I would prefer BO3 over BO1 group stages but... I've been waiting for that for more than a year now, I'm beginning to lose hope! 

Since the start of 2015 the prize money in most tournaments started rising fast. Although no single tournament "outweighs" the majors yet, do you think that time will come? ESL One Katowice will be a huge event nevertheless - do you expect the viewership record will be broken? How many do you estimate will watch the grand final this time?

2015 is probably the best year CS has ever known, and I'm so happy to be a part of it. Maybe the next major will be a $500k, who knows? And yes, I think we will break the record, I for sure hope so, so let's be optimistic and go with 700k!

We still have NiP's Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg's answers, as well as those from nV's Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt to release today, which will conclude our appetizers before ESL One Katowice kicks off tomorrow!

Follow HLTV.org's Striker on Twitter

France Nathan 'NBK-' Schmitt
Nathan 'NBK-' Schmitt
Age:
25
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1652
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
Poland Wiktor 'TaZ' Wojtas
Wiktor 'TaZ' Wojtas
Age:
33
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.98
Maps played:
1789
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Slovakia Ladislav 'GuardiaN' Kovács
Ladislav 'GuardiaN' Kovács
Age:
28
Rating 1.0:
1.12
Maps played:
1450
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.62
APR:
0.11
Brazil Gabriel 'FalleN' Toledo
Gabriel 'FalleN' Toledo
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
1156
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.60
APR:
0.11
Ukraine Andrey 'B1ad3' Gorodenskiy
Andrey 'B1ad3' Gorodenskiy
Age:
33
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.83
Maps played:
899
KPR:
0.58
DPR:
0.73
APR:
0.16
Sweden Freddy 'KRIMZ' Johansson
Freddy 'KRIMZ' Johansson
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
1377
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.15
Finland Joona 'natu' Leppänen
Joona 'natu' Leppänen
Age:
34
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.88
Maps played:
188
KPR:
0.61
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.16
Norway Morten 'zEVES' Vollan
Morten 'zEVES' Vollan
Age:
28
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.86
Maps played:
289
KPR:
0.60
DPR:
0.72
APR:
0.14
France Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire
Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1535
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.70
APR:
0.16
United States James 'hazed' Cobb
James 'hazed' Cobb
Age:
30
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
736
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.70
APR:
0.15
Sweden Patrik 'f0rest' Lindberg
Patrik 'f0rest' Lindberg
Age:
31
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.12
Maps played:
1627
KPR:
0.77
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.12
Denmark Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.93
Maps played:
1540
KPR:
0.63
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
n1, cmon titans go trough the groups with your fellas
2015-03-11 19:37
apex da odd swayer
2015-03-11 21:00
Nice!!
2015-03-11 19:37
cool story bro
2015-03-11 19:37
k
2015-03-11 19:37
#5
Sweden IzzoN 
yes, every team is gonna win
2015-03-11 19:37
no
2015-03-11 19:37
GO LGB <3
2015-03-11 19:37
LGB <3
2015-03-12 11:16
yes
2015-03-11 19:38
n1
2015-03-11 19:38
There's no way LGB can surprise
2015-03-11 19:38
true, it wouldn't be a surprise if they even won the whole tournament.
2015-03-11 20:27
kappa
2015-03-11 20:35
kappa
2015-03-12 02:19
#11
CIS Ume 
i doubt it
2015-03-11 19:38
surprise >:)
2015-03-11 19:39
Dern sure!
2015-03-11 19:41
funny
2015-03-11 19:42
#17
Germany pmb  
hf gl
2015-03-11 19:43
gl 4 apEX.
2015-03-11 19:46
apEXTRAORDINAIRE > RpKTANK > kennyS > Titan2stroNK
2015-03-11 19:47
titan fnatic vp top3 <3
2015-03-11 19:54
Lol how can they even think of being a top 4 team when they lose so much and only KennyS plays good in there team and he is clearly not enough to carry on his own against top tier 1 teams. I hope they reach playoffs this time, and i also hope that EnvyUs go out in group stage :P I like french teams but i want envyus to go out because of that fucktard NBK, i want him to cry hard.
2015-03-11 20:15
ho-ho-ho, for Titan any team can be surprising xD
2015-03-11 20:22
f0rest statement next. about time :)
2015-03-11 20:26
I wanna bang Beyonce
2015-03-11 20:29
>we couldn't bootcamp because of maniac's job Aha, so titan doesn't take CS seriously to actually pay their team to play it as pros, instead sticking to having jobs RL. Explains why they can't reach any proper level with this lineup.
2015-03-11 20:34
Yeah, i reacted to that as well.
2015-03-11 21:03
no c9 statements?
2015-03-11 20:42
700K , Kappa , would be awsome
2015-03-11 20:56
#47
 | 
Other maexi 
So 1.Vox 2.Keyd 3.F3
2015-03-11 21:42
#48
Finland luse 
What the fuck, maniac playing like a fucking bot and he still havent quit his job? Titan players probably play on DM while maniac is working and after that they start praccing, thats why BOTmaniac cant aim. Cant believe that idiot still doing his shitjob while other teams are playing 12hours a day at bootcamps.
2015-03-11 21:43
They should just cut off the tumor and find someone better(*cough* Scream *cough*).
2015-03-11 22:18
#53
Finland luse 
Yea they would do so much better with scream
2015-03-11 22:30
Apex lives under a rock confirmed? Thinking that CZ-75 is still a pocket AK and Cobble has only improved the middle.. That was like 3 months ago??
2015-03-11 22:20
This is why titan will never be an elite team again...
2015-03-11 23:18
Agreed, the CZ comment was like 6months behind the times.
2015-03-12 02:26
I love Envy, Titan and of course LGB ;) May the best 2 teams advance but hopefully LGB gets top 8!
2015-03-12 01:15
It's not enough that bot maniac sucks ingame, but he also stops them from proper bootcamps...
2015-03-12 02:49
The quote in the title isnt in the article unless im mistaken. Way to sensationalize lurrpis.
2015-03-12 03:10
Errr, striker. Wont let me edit on phone :(
2015-03-12 03:11
#62
 | 
Vietnam yolesnoobs 
4th paragraph.
2015-03-12 05:11
=[ you're right. whoops
2015-03-12 06:27
#66
Sweden Stag 
ctrl + f always
2015-03-12 11:06
oddswaying brought to you by apex
2015-03-12 06:41
#68
 | 
Bulgaria b0xeR4et0 
Soo they can't bootcamp cuz of maniac... Can someone add scream or someone else please
2015-03-12 11:55
He is right!
2015-03-12 15:47
&#27888;&#22374;&#35201;&#25442;&#20154;Maniac&#35201;&#25442;&#19978;ScreaM&#25226;ScreaM&#21483;&#22238;&#26469; Maniac&#22826;&#22403;&#22334;&#20102;&#12290;
2015-03-13 08:39
Maniac changel ScreaM. call ScreaM back~
2015-03-13 08:44
Login or register to add your comment to the discussion.