SmithZz: "We'd be happy with top4"
Our next interview ahead of ESL One Cologne is with Titan's Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux, who sheds some light into the team's preparations for the major.
Titan enter the major with hope, rather than expectation, as this will be the team's first big test since acquiring Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux and Richard "shox" Papillon in a deal with EnVyUs that saw Kenny "kennyS" Schrub and Dan "apEX" Madesclaire head the other way.
The French team did not excel at the European offline qualifier, losing to eBettle in their group's Upper Bracket final before cruising past LGB in the elimination match.
A month has passed since the qualifier, however, and how are Titan's spirits heading into the event? Read on to find out what SmithZz has to say.
How have you prepared for ESL One Cologne? Did you bootcamp beforehand or was it online practice only? Did you focus on anything in particular?
We had a short but good preparation for this major. The team is still young, so we could never be truly satisfied with such limited preparation, but we have no regrets, we did our best. In terms of practice, we played online for ten days after the qualifier and then we went to Brussels for a bootcamp leading up to the event.
Is there anyone who you think is underrated and could surprise in Cologne?
I hope the Brazilians will find a way out of groups, they are really nice guys and they work really hard. I’m expecting good things from eBettle too, they were really strong at the qualifier.
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?
Like everyone else, I guess the goal is to take home the title, but with our preparation we would already be happy with a top-four finish. Anything less will be forgettable.
SmithZz thinks Titan can surprise in the group stage
The level of teams has been levelling 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 think the scene is really mixed now, all those teams can make top 4.
What do you make of the change to 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 really do not like the best-of-one format, and it is even harder now because teams have to play their elimination match against an opponent they will only know on the very say day. I guess it is an advantage for us because we are a young team, but it is not a format suitable for a tournament of this magnitude.
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?
It’s always nice to have new maps, but I think the new maps, cbble and overpass, are played as much as the older maps these days. Train is also played by almost every pro team at the moment, but I think it will it will probably be a decider map during this tournament.
What are your thoughts on your group? Can you go through each matchup and say how it is likely to play out?
I think we have the toughest group, but as I said before this best-of-one format will be an advantage for us during this event. We can surprise all the teams there, it’s gonna be hard but nothing is impossible.
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’m a big fan of Dota, and seeing TI get bigger and bigger year after year makes me a bit jealous. I think Valve are doing well when it comes to ingame features, and the player signatures and the team strickers are really well made.
Everything around CS is growing, number of events, audience, prize pool... Majors should be THE tournament every team is aiming for during the season. The first edition of ESL ESEA Pro League was bigger than this Major in term of prizemoney, so Valve should step up their game to make sure the Majors remain the biggest tournaments of the year.
Lately the outrage against certain weapons has decreased (e.g. CZ75 at the beginning of the year, Tec9 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 am really happy with the changes, even if everyone knows the Tec9 is still really powerful. I still think there are many weapons that are too powerful, like the Scout, the autosnipers and the SMGs.
Can SmithZz and shox power Titan to success?
Do you think the new antidoping 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?
If we are to believe what Semphis said, the introduction of doping tests can only be good to ensure the integrity of our tournaments.
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’s really hard to compete in every tournament. We have to be selective in terms of the events we attend or else we completely stop practicing and become full-time globetrotter. We have to find the right balance for the team, but also for the fans who follow us.
You went through a big change recently and you haven’t attended any tournaments since the qualifier. Do you think it puts you at an advantage, since other teams cannot scout your game?
Yes, I think it gives us an advantage, and, as mentioned before, the best-of-one format really helps as well. We have a lot of new things prepared, and we will have the element of surprise on our side.
Without giving too much away, how much of a change in playstyle are we going to see from Titan in Cologne after you swapped two very different duos?
Sorry, it’s a surprise !
All major runs of Titan have been very disappointing, why do you reckon that is and what needs to change for you to succeed this time?
I think we might have found the solution this year, but maybe it’s a curse, who knows? The answer will come on Friday!
It was public shox and Ex6tenz did not see eye to eye in the past. How are they working together now?
They have both matured and the past failures should allow them to understand each other further and get along better in the long run.
Below you can find a list with all the other interviews we have conducted ahead of ESL One Cologne. Check it out to see if you missed any: