Happy: "We are definitely good at killing people, but we have to learn to play as a team"
We spoke to Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer in Leicester, where his team is currently fighting for ESL Pro League survival at the relegation tournament.
So far, Envy have played two matches, beating Spirit in the opening one and falling to AGO, 2-0, in the second game. Now, the Frenchmen have one more shot at retaining an ESL Pro League spot, as they will take on Windigo in the final game of European relegation.
What were your initial thoughts after you found yourself in the ESL Pro League Relegation tournament, when you found out you have to be here?
People were a bit surprised in the team but I wasn't. We had a really tough beginning to the ESL Pro League season and like last year we made some roster changes and we didn't have any practice at all for the first match. We just got together and we had to play the WESG Finals as well. So it really hindered our practice. We lost unforgettable matches, we just played really bad at the beginning of the season, we started grinding back in the last parts of the season. It was kind of too late and... now we are here.
Online, you are also in ECS where your performances are on a similar level to what happened in ESL Pro League. Are you and your team looking at what is going on and trying to figure out a way of improving the situation at the moment?
Yeah, obviously, when we switched players we wanted to get a fresh start to the team. We did a bootcamp just before coming into Leicester and things were going pretty well, we were learning new stuff every day, we were actually learning to play Overpass and Mirage. But the focus didn't last that long, it could've been a more efficient bootcamp. But we are still definitely trying to improve ourselves. I think that unfortunately, the changes we made will not be good as soon as we hoped so, but they will pay out in the future.
Speaking of roster changes, you brought in kioShiMa back into the fold and also brought in hAdji from your academy side. Do those two players currently fit in the system you have been playing? How are they currently bedding into the team?
I think for kio it's pretty obvious, he is kinda a jack of all trades and has learned a lot from his experience in FaZe. hAdji is the young talent that first we wanted to use as an entry fragger, now we are still trying to figure out a perfect system in which he can evolve. But yeah, overall we are trying to make things work in the roles as well. We are just trying really hard to make the team work.
So far in the relegation tournament, you took a 2-1 win over Spirit and you've just recently lost to AGO. In terms of performances, what sort of level you would say you are currently at? Would you say that you are where you were expecting to be, is it a disappointment, or something in between?
I mean, we knew that it wouldn't be easy when we first started but, to be honest, I didn't expect us to do so badly in the first few months of the team. Even right now, when we are playing the relegation matches for EPL it's tough, it really is tough and I think none of the players were expecting to lose against AGO, even my self. I knew it would be really hard because of our map pool, but yeah, overall, I think we are slow burners, in a way. We always start pretty bad and we slowly grind out in a BO3. Sadly, it wasn't enough during the Train match and we lost 2-0. Yeah, we need to work things out and we have to make do with the difficulties that we have right now.
Heading into the future with your team, you have DreamHack Tours coming up, it's an event in your home country, how are you expecting to perform at that event?
To be honest it will be too close to the EPL Relegation matches. Obviously, we will improve during the time, but I still think it's too short. I have noticed that a couple of good teams are attending the event, for example, North and Gambit, so it will actually be a good test if we are moving in the right direction or not.
You were in qualifiers for certain events, didn't make it through, with more upcoming qualifiers, do you expect to get through and secure a tournament appearance in the upcoming future?
Qualification-wise, we feel pretty bad about it because last year we didn't get good results on LAN but at least we managed to pass the qualification online. In a way, we could feel that we were doing something good, that we could work from that part. Right now, I'm not going to lie, everything is pretty blurred. We see the difficulties, we see the problems that we have, and we are working on them, but it is definitely going slowly. As I said, we are just slow burners and it takes way more time than it should do.
This event has come in sort of close after Marseille. With the small amount of turnaround time, how much work have you, your coach, analysts, been putting into improving from what was a group stage exit, hoping to make sure you can persevere in the future?
We did go through a coach change after DreamHack Marseille, so right now we are still experimenting with a new coach. As I said we are testing new things, again it's the same answer, it's a bit slow, it's a slow process sadly, we still have to find a perfect system where we can use the explosiveness of our players. I believe we are one of the teams that has the most aim potential, I'm not going to lie, we are probably in the top 10, but it goes to waste if you don't play around it, if you don't have strategies, if we don't communicate properly, all that kind of stuff. All of the things related to CS, except aim, we are lacking. We are definitely good at killing people, but we have to learn to play as a team.
Elsewhere in France at the moment, there are certain rumors of changes to teams in terms of G2 and also of LDLC. Do you and your team keep much of an eye on that, or is it just focusing on you and your own team?
I think it does affect us a bit, from what I've heard. I can't really say much, I think, but it's definitely something that crawling around us. We don't know exactly what is going on, but we can feel it. Personally, I try to not think about it because if it happens, it happens, no matter what. The only thing that matters to me is getting the team the results that we actually deserve.
With your final game in the relegation tournament being against either Windigo or Spirit, who would you rather play?
I think we will play Windigo, they do look a bit sharper individually. I will say that, map-pool wise, we'd much prefer Windigo, but I think Spirit are overall the worse team. I think their individiuals are worse and their skill is worse, we already beat them 2-1, and except Overpass, it was a pretty comfortable win, in my opinion. So it's so-so. Map pool wise I'd prefer to play Windigo but overall I think I'd like to play Spirit.