Happy: "Tier one teams don't make this kind of mistakes"
Another one of our elimination interviews is with Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer, who discussed EnVyUs' disappointing journey so far in September and addressed the criticism towards him.
After disappointing campaigns at DreamHack Masters Malmö and ESG Tour Mykonos, Envy' third event in a row, ESL One New York, yielded another last-place finish for the Frenchmen, who lost to SK and Natus Vincere in the groups.
We caught up with Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer during the semi-finals day at the Barclays Center and quizzed him about the team's problems as of late:
You looked quite good going into the off-season with the win at DreamHack Open Atlanta, and right after the off-season it looked like you were on the upswing, but you couldn't really find your groove at three events in a row now. Tell me about the problems that are going on, what do you think is missing?
I think it's important to be honest and we have to say that it's been three weeks, three disappointing weeks. We put a lot of work into coming up after the vacation, we won DreamHack Atlanta, so we could build on that confidence-wise and also gameplan-wise. I don't know, we feel a bit lost right now, because it was not supposed to happen that way, we couldn't have done worse than we did at these events.
So we had a little talk after losing against Na`Vi, I was trying to get feedback from all of the players. Right now I'm trying to come up with a patch, a solution for the ELEAGUE Premier, we still have one more event, where we can do good things, so... With all that feedback, I'm trying to work on a solution, tweaking the system that we have been working on in the past few months. Obviously, we will not have a lot of time to implement it, because we will not get any practice, or not enough practice, anyway, to put things into perspective and try to make things right. It's hard on me and the coach to find the best outcome possible during ELEAGUE.
Speaking about the system, ScreaM recently said that he didn't really feel as good as he used to in G2, what do you think the problem is with him, does it have to do with the system or is it simply his individual form?
Actually, after the loss against Na`Vi, and it's not the first time we talked about that, we felt that we weren't playing well enough during Mykonos - Malmö was a bit different, so it really started in Mykonos where we talked for hours about why we're playing that way. When we analyze demos, every player says 'okay, there are so many mistakes,' and it's not supposed to happen, because we want to be tier one and tier one players, tier one teams, they don't make this kind of mistakes.
And everyone was able to spot all the mistakes they made and there are a lot of them, because strategy-wise, we get a lot of nice rounds, for example we got 2v2 rounds, we lost them, we lost crazy clutches, against Na`Vi for example won a 1v3, he also made an ace in a 2v5 on Cobble. We lost rounds because players made a lot of mistakes individually and they all say that, they all agreed on that, so right now I feel a bit lost, because I think players don't play up to par, they don't play the way they played during the first weeks, when we qualified for everything. And this is where I started to create a new gameplan, new strategies, and it relied on players not making mistakes, playing really well individually, but most of all not making mistakes. And we know the mistakes we make, we can't fix it, so I'm trying to find, as I said, a solution where mistakes don't impact us as much as they did during the three events we just went through.
Talking about your own role, you've been criticized a lot for the way you play, is there anything you'd like to say on this topic, do you feel a need to respond to this?
It's funny, because someone else asked me this a few minutes ago, and the best answer was: most of the people criticizing me right now, I think they're not watching the games, I've been doing a lot of different things, I'm playing different spots on CT sides, I'm playing more aggressively on T sides, I'm playing with the team on the T side. I know I've changed, it's not only me, the players told me so, the coach told me so, because I've been working hard on that.
But I've been focused mainly on my in-game leading skills, and right now this is how I'm working, I'm working on that because I feel my players don't give as much as they are supposed to give, so I'm trying to fix that in the best way I can, but sometimes when a player cannot or doesn't want to do something, I have to come up with a solution, a quick fix. And it's even harder when you don't have time to practice those things. To the people that are criticizing me, it's fine, I think it's a bit heavy, I think it's almost sometimes out of context, it's just like a running gag sometimes, actually. Anyway, I don't have time to care, so, whatever, just whatever.
I remember talking to ScreaM about maLeK, and he said that one of his roles was putting RpK into the right positions, for him to have more of an impact. What else does he do for the team? Does he work with all of the individual players this way, or is he more on the strategic side?
Not too much on the strategic aspect, it's more about... well, he does a lot of things. Sometimes things are not exactly connected, so, for example, what I wanted him to do at first was to get players individually in shape. When you're playing a spot, you have to know a lot of things, you have to know a lot about the meta, you have to know a lot about the opponents you're going to play, tricks you can use to beat them. And we really focused on RpK and I think it really showed how good it can be with certain players. I think RpK has been our best player, or the most consistent player throughout 2017, actually.
But it's not only about RpK, sometimes we have those big team talks, we are talking about how we're supposed to play the game, what we can improve on, what should be done to get us rounds, to grind some rounds. Me and him, we're really trying to go in-depth with the players, we are really trying to explain the philosophy, get our players mentally prepared as well, because I think we are lacking in mental strength a lot. And it's tough on me, because I don't really have that problem, so I don't really know how to counter it. But yeah, we are working, and he's working on a lot of different things, because we have a lot of small problems that need to be fixed. So yeah, overall, he's doing a lot of things.