Happy: "We have a chance to win"
Vincent "Happy" Cervoni answered our extensive pre-interview before ESL One Cologne, look below to see what the EnVyUs in-game leader had to say on numerous topics surrounding the upcoming major.
EnVyUs have undergone a significant change in the recent weeks, as they dismissed Richard "shox" Papillon and Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux following disagreements within the team, and brought in former Titan players, Dan "apEX" Madesclaire and Kenny "kennyS" Schrub.
Last week they managed to win IEM Gamescom without much trouble, as they defeated TSM comfortably in the finale, only two weeks after putting the new lineup together.
Happy believes the team can go far
They are now heading into the major with a few more days of practice, including a bootcamp, as better explained by Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer below, who answered several questions about ESL One Cologne:
How have you prepared for ESL One Cologne? Are you going to or did you bootcamp beforehand or have you only been preparing online? Have you focused on anything in particular? (e.g. teams, specific problems at recent events)
We are actually in the ESL studios bootcamping, it will be almost a week when the event starts. We're still pretty young, so the plan is to focus on our game and figure things out about ourselves. There is a lot of work when you pick up two still youngish players. Our second main focus was to get a deeper map pool.
What are your team's goals and expectations for the event? Where do you draw the line of what you'd be satisfied or happy with?
Well, everyone is saying this but it's a bit of my mantra: let’s pass the group stages and we'll see what happens. As I said before, we are still pretty young, swapping two players is a huge change and it requires time to adjust and use people well and to understand them. My personal goal is modest right now, reaching semi-finals would be a good result considering the time we had. I feel we have a chance to win it though. But anything after the quarter-finals will depend on the mentality of the team, nothing else.
What are your thoughts on your group? Can you go through each match-up and say how it is likely to play out?
We are favored to finish first in this group, so let's go to head-to-head match-ups. The match against F3 should be actually pretty easy game, if we don't mess up, the ball is definitely in our hands. Then, I would bet we have to face Kinguin, now this match will be interesting because they definitely are a team that can bring upsets, and they have the skills to achieve that on a good day. The result of that match I think will define how well we will play during the rest of the tournament.
What do you make of the change in the group stage format? Is it better to have a chance to play against more than three set teams before the playoffs? Is it going to be harder to prepare for such groups?
I don't like it, I don't really understand why it's been done when everything was working the way it was. If you had to change anything it wouldnt be that. I've tweeted a formula regarding group stages at Majors. But right now it feels even more random, you lose just one game and you don't know who you will be facing, a bit strange.
My POV : If possible, improve prizepool; keep 3 events/year; change format to big groupstages with bo1/2; make some new features happen— Vincent Schopenhaeur (@nV_HappyV) August 11, 2015
How hard was it to figure out the roles within the team after getting two new players in? Did you have a specific plan in mind in terms of how you would play before reaching out to them?
It always has been pretty easy, apEX is obviously the entry fragger we needed, and then we swapped the two AWPers, even if they are distinct players in the AWP role. Before we talked to them we had the ideas, we just needed to play with them to figure out whether it was right.
After the struggles before swapping shox and SmithZz, what is the new atmosphere in the team like? Do you think the new lineup is going to be able to work together well enough in such little time as to be a serious contender for the championship?
The atmosphere is still a little bit like a honey moon period. The major will give us a little more to think about. Well, I sure hope our line up can work together, even in such little time, I only demand players to play their best for the team, nothing else is acceptable, because I know for a fact that if it's done, we can be at least as good as the previous line up, we can win major titles and we can still achieve top three finishes on a regular basis.
Less than two weeks after the duo swap you attended IEM Gamescom, do you think that will hinder your ability to surprise and allow others to scout your new playstyle? Did you see it as a test to see what the new lineup can do?
I don't think there was so much to scout during our games at IEM. There is still potential for surprise, especially the big dogs like Na`Vi, VP and C9. Yes, it was definitely a live test, that's what I told my mates before the event, and I guess we succeeded.
With the proliferation of both online and offline events, and having had at least one big event every weekend or every other weekend for the past few months, and with many teams travelling around Europe and North America—or both—, how do you think it will affect teams' performances?
It definitely affected our old teams, we went to so many events and played so many online leagues that we litteraly had zero time to practice efficiently. Before I liked having a lot of official games, but it went a bit too far, now you have to choose if you want to be really focused on specific events.
Is there anyone who you think is underrated and could surprise in Cologne?
At the time, a lot of people are talking about LG. I don't know to be honest, there is definitely some potential for upsets. Kinguin are amongst one of them, or maybe Titan as well. And don't forget about TSM, when they bounce back they will be a pain in the ass, if they do.
The level of teams has been evening out recently, a number different names have been in the grand final at events in the recent months (EnVyUs, TSM, fnatic, Na`Vi, Virtus.pro, Cloud9), who will be the favourites to make it to top four in your mind?
I guess the two best teams in the world right now are fnatic and Na`Vi. The rest of the top four will be a brawl, and it will depend on the bracket draw. Without us, and not considering any bracket I'd say fnatic, Na`Vi, VP, TSM.
Will the new EnVyUs be even better than the previous lineup?
Train has been in the pool for quite some time, but ESL One Cologne will be the first major to feature it, how has it developed over the recent months? Was it figured out in terms of playstyle, strategy, etc.? Is the current map pool diverse enough?
I think there is definitely a decent meta game on that map but I didn't see a lot of people playing it recently, we've been trying to play it as much as we could to get a free veto against other teams, and I think only a few teams will not fear to play it during this event. The map pool is okay, but maybe some maps would need some updates and tweaks.
Yet again this major has not seen a prizepool change, even though the sticker money is likely to get bigger, would you like to see it get increased?
I don't really know what Valve's plans are. Of course as a player I would love events, especially majors, to grow bigger, with much bigger prize pool and features like autographs. But I think there is a lack of communication between pro players, organisations and Valve. I don't know what they want to do, and I don't even know what they want from us. I will not lie I was a bit disapointed, after 5 majors the prize pool didn't rise a little bit.
Lately the outrage against certain weapons has decreased (e.g. CZ-75 at the beginning of the year, Tec-9 during the second quarter of 2015), are you satisfied with the way Valve balanced them out? Are there any weapons you'd like to see nerfed or buffed?
I've never complained about the weapons I think. The game is fine as it is. I miss the old smokes though, some strats are complicated to run right now, especially split B on de_dust2. Oh I almost forgot, even if I got used to it, the jumping accuracy is... annoying, let's say that.
Do you think the new anti-doping measures being taken by the ESL are going to change anything from past events, has this been blown out of proportion since Semphis' statements, or is it necessary?
I don't know exactly how it will proceed so I'll wait to see how it goes. Will everyone be tested? I guess it can become mandatory with how huge it is becoming, we had problems with cheaters, we got take care of it. I guess this is the next thing.
Here's a list of all pre-interviews we have conducted so far prior to ESL One Cologne, check it out to see if you missed any: