After EnVyUs played their only match of the first group stage, defeating Bravado for the first seed into the second phase, we talked to the newcomer to the team Ali "hAdji" Haïnouss.
Due to two teams from their group pulling out of the competition, Viva Algeria and Ukraine, Envy secured a place into the second group stage and $10,000 just by showing up. However, they did play Bravado for the seeding, winning 16-3.
A lot of teams had academy squads in the past, but not many players made it through to the first team from them. Did you always feel like you would make the jump, and join EnVyUs' main team? What was it like playing in EnVyus Academy?
I always had the motivation to go higher, but my first goal was to win with my team. I wasn't thinking about joining the main team, I was really focused on EnVyUs Academy, trying to do my best so we can get higher in placings, in the HLTV ranking, etc.
For the people that don't know you and your career, how did you even get to EnVyUs Academy?
I qualified for FPL in 2016, in think in August, I never had a team before that. Then I started playing in my first team, it was with devoduvek, AmaNEk, and other French guys, and we went to ESWC 2016, where we beat good teams and went to the semi-finals. After that, we kept playing, and early in 2017 we were about to make a new team, me, devoduvek and AmaNEk, but they got the offer from Misfits and went to America. So a new team was made that became EnVyUs Academy.
How has it been so far in the main team, playing alongside players such as Happy and RpK, legends of the French scene?
Obviously, it's a privilege to play alongside them, some of them won two Majors already, they are big names in Counter-Strike, they did a lot in the game. I'm really happy to have them as teammates and I'm very glad that I joined this team, I'll do my best to make the team win matches and tournament.
In-game, how has the adaptation been like, playing with EnVyUs and playing against tier 1 opposition, tougher opposition than you faced before?
The biggest difference is that in EnVyUs Academy I was playing lower tier tournaments, so the guys we were facing were not as good tier 1, on this level the players are much better, the communication is much better, teamwork etc. Also, players make very few errors, there are a lot of errors on lower tiers. Someone is there even though he shouldn't be there, they have bad positioning... No one is doing that in high-tier teams, there are very few errors, everyone is playing so good so it's very difficult to play against this level.
What was the preparation like for this tournament? Obviously, you had to play with a standin before, a bit with xms, now you are playing here with SIXER. Did you prepare with this lineup at all?
We practiced with our team, the main lineup with ScreaM, one or two weeks. Then we were about to start the ESL Pro League matches and I had personal issues, I couldn't be there for a week to play the matches or play CS at all. So they played with xms during that period, and we didn't play with SIXER at all for this tournament, we never practiced with this team.
You didn't literally come out of nowhere, but you have been playing for quite a short time and you are playing pretty well. It is kind of a stupid question, but what is the secret to how you have been playing?
If you want to be better, you have to work, you have to watch demos, you have to play a lot. You have to play out your heart in the game and only think about the game. I'm thinking about CS during the whole day, when I sleep, when I wake up - everything is about CS. I'm really focused on it.
What do you expect to do at this tournament?
To go as far as possible. We didn't set a goal, obviously we are a mix team because SIXER is replacing ScreaM, I think we will do our best to achieve a good placing, but other than that we don't have a goal.