devoduvek: "We have the potential to go on and do great things"
LDLC started their IEM Chicago run with a rough loss in a 30-round match to FaZe. The French-Belgian squad quickly recovered, however, beating Renegades, North, and NRG, for a spot in the playoffs. devoduvek & co. then went on to face Liquid in the quarter-finals, losing two of the three maps played in the series.
In the interview given to us after the event was over for LDLC, devoduvek talked about his and François "AmaNEk" Delaunay's plans to play on a French roster upon returning from North America, believing that this LDLC lineup has what it takes, how to keep growing, and several other topics, which can all be found in the text below.
You were in Misfits with AmaNEk and you even played playoffs in a Pro League Finals back then. When you came back to Europe and started playing in LDLC, did you see yourself getting that same level of success?
Our main goal when we came back to Europe was to find a French team, and it didn't really matter with who we played. We really did believe that we could get back to the same level we had with Misfits, to play in semi-finals and quarter-finals of big events and so on. From the second we left the US, we believed we could do it, and it was our goal all along. Making quarter-finals at an IEM event, even with Misfits, we had never done this, so I think we're going in the right direction.
Did you believe it would happen with this LDLC lineup?
Yeah, actually. When we joined LDLC there were several lineup proposals because even LDLC weren't really sure about what they were going to do. So we agreed to this lineup and I think everyone can play at a good level. We all have our ups and downs, well, perhaps AmaNEk a bit less, as he's usually on the highs, but if you look at ALEX now, he's really hot as well. So yeah, we believed in the team since the beginning and I think we have the potential to go on and do great things.
Now that you made quarter-finals at an event like this, do you think you're going to be able to keep it going in the future, considering you still have to go through qualifiers and go through the long way?
We've been playing very well for a couple of months now. We started the MDL season with a 10-0 record and we won a few qualifiers. We won the ESL Pro Championship with a BO5 victory over AGO, we've won a bunch of BO3s online... We missed out on the ECS qualifier against OpTic and North, although we were able to finally play because GODSENT left their spot. We have a 4-6 record in the league, which I think is pretty decent, and we played well against everyone except North, who wrecked us.
I don't think our form needs to change at all after this tournament, I just think we need to up our intensity to keep playing at this level. Our main goal is now to make ESL Pro League and to keep our ECS spot. I don't think there's a reason to believe we won't be able to keep it up and get good results. I think we've had a good dynamic in the team for the past few months and I think it'll stay that way.
G2 has been struggling for a while and Vitality havn't found their way quite yet. Is there a lot of pressure on you now that you're "the hope of French CS?"
Yeah, after the results here we told ourselves that when we go back home we can't play like crap. We can't start to believe that we're great. We just need to get back to work. Sure, it adds a bit of pressure, but I think it's a good type of pressure. We just need to play more and not rest on our laurels because of one good result. So yeah, we need to work hard together and I think it's good pressure because it'll motivate us to keep working hard.
You have one more chance to try and make it through the Minor qualifier. How confident are you in being able to make it?
I'm not going to lie, the Minor is a bit special. It's the only qualifier in which we really did whatever. I don't know if it's a mental thing or a format thing, playing six BO1s in one day... but it's true that when we get to the last match, we lose. Usually 14-16 or in overtime. We'll see what happens in the last one. If we can do our best, we can make it to the closed qualifier, but if not we can definitely fall.
What do you think about the second tier of teams in Europe? Especially comparing it to your time in the US...
I think the level is really high. You can play teams like AGO, Windigo, or even a team like fnatic, and every one of those matches will have the same importance. You don't think, "these guys are worse, so we'll underestimate them." All three matches would be played as if you're playing the best team in the world, all of the Tier 2 teams in Europe are very strong and they can all beat each other. Just because you beat fnatic one day doesn't mean you'll win against some of the teams lower down in the rankings. That's the biggest difference compared to North America, I think.
You've been playing with AmaNEk for a long time. Do you get along really well? Did this happen organically?
We started playing together four years ago, and we even knew each other from before, from the 1.6 days. When we started playing CS:GO we were progressing together and doing everything together. Pretty much everything we've done since the beginning of the game has been together. When we left the US we said we'd find a French team together, but if one day a big team like G2 or Vitality would come knocking and offered him something he couldn't refuse, I wouldn't say that we need to continue together until the end of time. I just hope if it happens, that it doesn't happen now when we're playing well. If we hit a ceiling and we can't keep progressing, I'd say that would be the time to go our different ways.
To close it out, what's immediate future for the team until the end of the season?
Right now our goals are to make ESL Pro League, to keep our ECS spot, and hopefully we go high enough in the rankings after our showing here to start getting some invites to some closed qualifiers or even to some of the smaller events like DreamHack Opens and so on. Our objective is to keep the momentum going. Other than qualifying for the online leagues, we don't have some set goals, just to finish the season as well as we can until the break in December.