shox: "We need to work on [our mental strength]"
After G2 was eliminated from ESL One Cologne by Natus Vincere in the quarter-finals, we sat down with the team's in-game leader Richard "shox" Papillon to hear about the team's biggest struggles and what they need to fix before the Major.
The French have continued with their trend of up-and-down results, finishing 5-8th in Cologne after going 3-0 in the PGL Krakow Major Main Qualifier. In Germany, G2 dropped only one map before the playoffs, losing Cache to NiP, but fell to Natus Vincere 2-0 in the first match of the playoffs.
In the group stage, you faced SK and beat them on Inferno. Historically you had a good matchup against them, currently, you are 5-1 in maps. Can you tell me why do you think you have more success than most teams do?
About the success against them, I don't really know, I just think we just kind of feel with the way they play. We kind of know stuff they love to do. We had a good start on Inferno here, but we could've put up way more round coming up to the T side. They had the double AWP setup and we could not really deal with it, especially on the B site, where FalleN really picked up a lot of kills. And we had of lot of stuff going wrong, the smokes were bad, the flashes were bad... And when you don't have the good stuff against an AWP it's kind of hard.
Coming up to the CT, I think we played a good game overall, but honestly we won the match with all the clutches we won. All the 2-on-2's, 3-on-3 retakes... We played those rounds really good and we won it. And when you win clutches like this it's way better, especially on the CT side, because of the money. I guess, if they would've had one or two clutches, then we wouldn't have so good of an economy and it would be a totally different game.
Moving on to the quarterfinals, you drew against Na`Vi, for the start tell me about the veto phase and the map pool coming in. What did you expect, what did you hope for?
Coming up to the veto we were expecting to play Train because we were thinking they would pick it. We knew we would pick Nuke because they would veto some other map and we didn't expect Cobblestone as the third because I guess it's our best map so we were expecting them to just veto it. So yeah, we were pretty confident with the map pool we got. We didn't expect them to pick Overpass, even though it's kind of their best map, but we are kind of confident on it.
And we just threw the match I guess, something like this. Even though we were confident with the map pool, I knew it would be a really hard match because Na`Vi is not a team I'm used to playing. I mean, I don't even remember when we played them the last time. And when you are not used to playing a team, it's totally different, you don't know how it will work, what are good solutions... It's the first match we played against them in months and months, so it makes it kind of 50-50 I would say.
Is that mostly your style, as an in-game leader, that you like to play against teams that you are more familiar with? Before the Major qualifier, SmithZz mentioned that you struggle against "lower teams", teams that are not that known. Is that a similar kind of struggle to the one you had against Na`Vi, not knowing them?
It's not really the same I guess, because the problems we have when we face tier 2 or 3 teams, we sometimes just underestimate them, and we should not do that because they are really good. In those matches, we don't really play our game. Players in their heads kind of think that it's already a win, we have a big problem with it. So it's not really the same problem as when we play against Na`Vi.
I wanted to touch on the second map against Na`Vi as well. It was Nuke, not a map they are famously good on, and you won both pistols, cleaned up the anti-eco rounds and still managed to lose the game. Can you tell me a bit about that, how did that happen considering Nuke is one of your best maps as well?
I think there are different points about Nuke. First, I think that we should've put up more rounds on T side, because we managed to get the pistol round, I clutched the 1v3 and we only got six rounds. So we should've gotten way more. But as I said, it's a team we don't usually play and they didn't really play a lot of Nuke, so we didn't really know what to expect from them. I guess that is why again we didn't make the best calls.
Coming to the CT side, we had the game, we were leading 13-9 or something like that. I dont know, we have a big problem... At the beginning, we always start kind of good, we play well, everything is going great and then when we get into a good lead people just don't focus anymore. They can in their mind think "we have the time to close the game", so they try some individual stuff, try to end the game themselves, not really focus as a team and how we managed to put rounds together.
We lose these rounds, of course, and then when we start to lose two or three rounds, then the panic starts. We got a problem with our mental strength, we need to work on it. And yeah, when we lose two or three rounds straight after this, we are not playing the same wayme as we did at the beginning of the game, we are not at our best level at those moments and against teams like Na`Vi—we just lose the game. That is really stupid and we definitely need to work on it.
Looking back at the tournaments you had: the win at DreamHack, then the win at ESL Pro League, ECS you didn't go through the groups, the Major qualifier where you had a 3-0, a good result again, and here you made the quarter-finals. What do you make of that all coming into the Major?
If we look back at the last couple of events, ECS was the worst one. Even if we lost against SK and FaZe, it's not that we lost, it's how we lost. We didn't fight, we didn't have a good mentality, it was bullshit honestly, and we deserved to lose just like we did. It was definitely not a good memory I would say.
Talking about the Major qualifier, I'm kind of happy because the pressure to get to the Major makes it really hard to play against teams like BIG, FlipSid3, Immortals... All these teams that are supposed to be tier 2 teams, but who are really showing a good level and if you don't play at your best then you are just going to be beaten. I was really happy to go 3-0 and how we were able to take this event and fight till the end. That was a very good thing I would say.
Coming up to Cologne, the group stage here, we managed to play a good game against TyLoo, it's again the same thing against NiP which reminds me of ECS I would say. I don't take anything from their win, they played really good and showed that NiP is coming back, definitely, but same as ECS, I don't know... when we play late, when we play early mornings, whatever. We definitely have a problem with it. Getting up to the NiP match we played around 11pm, we waited the whole day, people getting tired, getting really pissed because there was like 5-6 overtimes in a match before, and we had to wait.
And then when you are in the game, it's same as ECS, it looks people don't even want to play. And if you don't want to play, it's the same story, you get smashed. That was definitely a bad thing, but we managed to come back stronger against Immortals and SK, that was good.
But I will not remember Cologne as a good event. Because, honestly, with our capacities, and what we want to achieve with this team, we should never play like this against NiP. It's not normal to just... Not play. SK, OK, we won, but if we don't win the clutches on CT it's a totally different game and we can lose it. And Na`Vi, we had both maps but we lose focus, we lose concentration and they come back while we can't manage to come back as well.
Overall, looking at the three weeks, the only good thing is the Major Qualifier. I was really happy with our team. The next step for the Major will be to really focus on: "OK, this is the problem we have, we need to fix it, how can we fix it?" We won't have a lot of time, but if we want to get a good result at the Major we need to fix it in four days. We have to.