NBK: "We couldn't see a world where we could make it work long-term with Happy"

In our final interview from day one of the Europe Minor, we talked to Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt about the change of Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer for Alex "ALEX" McMeekin and all things Vitality at the tournament.

The Frenchmen are now safely through to the playoffs from first place in Group A, where they defeated OpTic in the opening match and Valiance — who previously took down mousesports — in a 2-1 series for a spot in the semi-finals.

NBK- spoke in detail about the addition of ALEX and what he brings to the table

To find out more about Vitality's recent change, which saw Happy exit the roster and former LDLC member ALEX come in, and about their run at the tournament so far, we spoke to their in-game leader in the following interview.

Talk me through the process of the change from Happy to ALEX and why that happened, what was the reason for that?

We tried working it out with Happy, but we still didn't manage to make it click together. It was both on a human level and in the game, we're just probably not seeing things the same way and so it led us to making that change before the Minor because we couldn't see a world where we can make it work long-term with him with everybody being satisfied, whether him or from our side. So we went through with the change and got ALEX, and since then we've been working as hard as we could for the Minor. So far so good, we have a good team spirit, good team chemistry, and I think it showed today.

You had more options in LDLC, what in particular drew you to ALEX?

A lot of people have been expecting AmaNEk, but, again, it's a matter of personality, where he's a bit more like Happy himself, and ALEX has a role of taking care of — especially on the CT side — trinomials, binomials, so directing ZywOo and RpK. He was in-game leading for LDLC, so he is pretty used to that and, on top of that, he can also focus on himself again. That allows him to be better individually than he was in LDLC, so he's going to have better showings than what he used to do in LDLC because he was leading, his focus was directed. We went for him because we want his guidance in the game, that's very viable for us, and because he's incredibly hard-working, he will get a very, very good personal level and that will also impact the team. Those are the main reasons.

It sounds like he slotted into the same things as Happy, has anything at all changed role-wise, position-wise?

It's mostly the same. He took a lot of Happy's positions, we swapped one or two things. For example, the lurking role, he's taking some of the positions that I had so that I can play more aggressively on some and direct the team better with the holes that I can find in the defense on the T side. But aside from that, it's mostly the same. He was not playing Inferno, so he has experience to catch up on there, that's our big part because we were undefeated on it, until today (laughs), and inexperience just shows. But it's something that we have to work on, and even then we lost a lot of rounds on banana with apEX and me. It's a lot of small things, but a big part of the work is done, everybody knows all the tactics, the way we want to approach the game, everybody is biting into my system and everyone is trusting it 100% on the same level that I trust them 100% to do what I want them to do. That trust we have is a big part now between one another. It can allow us to win 13-2 or 12-3 on the CT side of Dust2, for example, and that's very important.

After in-game leading LDLC, ALEX is able to focus on himself in Vitality

Like you mentioned, ALEX was the in-game leader before in LDLC. Previously in G2 there was a bit of a problem of there being too many cooks in the kitchen at some point, with more people having input, are you shying away from that with ALEX, or will he have some input into calling or an overall playstyle?

The main difference compared to G2 is that we had a problem of let's say work styles. Some people in the team wanted to work a specific way and the other half of the team didn't, so we just clashed and there was some unhappiness on both sides. Here, ALEX came in with a very strict guideline in the sense that he's going to be a player, focused on himself, he's going to be lurking, he's going to be taking care of two or three people on the CT side, and that's it. I'm keeping the leadership 100%.

The only thing that we are going to do further in the future is discussing improving the game on a general basis because they had some ideas with LDLC that were working pretty good and we just didn't have time to do that because right now, we are just playing with my system. ALEX is going to give input later on. For now, we've just changed some stuff, just because of the fact that he came in, but aside from that, it's just my system, he's getting in it, trusting it 100%, in the future we will see if he has some input, some things that have to change because it doesn't work, stuff like that. That's the way we're working and we don't really plan on changing that.

Talking about the Minor itself, most people would see it as a big surprise that Valiance beat mousesports, did you expect that to happen at all, were you prepared for it?

I didn't watch the game, but it can happen. Valiance are a very strong team, they have a lot of very good individual players and the system LETN1 and emi are putting into place is working because they work a special way, but it suits them and the players they have. That's everything that matters. From there, I think mousesports were quite surprised. I came down to play all the open qualifiers and the lower-tier teams, and those teams are not bad! Those teams can surprise you, especially in best-of-ones, where mousesports are a team that is playing quite loose and they are just matching that. They have heavy fraggers. Surprising, yes, because mouz is supposed to be the strongest team out of the two of them, but it happens. And Valiance was a hard matchup for us, as well, because they were playing well. I'm really, really happy that we dodge that lower bracket in the group because that's going to be a f*cking sh*tshow.

I talked to nexa right before your match and he was talking about how they went hard on antistratting everyone in the group because of their advantage of having information on everyone, was that something that played a part in your match?

It just felt like it changed their playstyle, they have different types of approaching the game, either playing very loose with each player doing their own thing and fighting, but when they played against mousesports I caught a few rounds and they were playing very packed. And that's what they did against us, as well, they were coming out A slope and as soon as we started playing retake because they were just going in dry and trying to get the kills, we could just get one kill after another and retake the bombsite and win the round.

I think the diversity is missing in the adaptation in the game that they have, but I think their approach when they're coming into matchups is pretty good in the sense that they're right, a lot of teams are probably not going to watch them, specifically, but in our matchup that was a bit different because we played each other several times now in the past two or three weeks. We know each other well, we also play a lot of FPL whether it's us or them, the individuals, so we know what to expect from one another and it makes it a bit of a weird matchup. I was more afraid of playing Valiance than mousesports, to be honest, because with mouz I know they were probably not going to expect us on some maps, or some small things that we were doing, while Valiance just knew how we were playing (laughs), so it was a bit tougher. But Dust2 was definitely a surprise for them regarding how strong we came up and that's our second surprise, after OpTic.

How do you think you'll fare in the playoffs against the teams of the other group? ENCE topped the group and look strong, what are your expectations for that?

It's going to be tough! (laughs) At that point, the Minor is really, really strong and even if it's going to be the second team of the B group, it's going to be a tough matchup. Whether it is Windigo, North, or ex-Space Soldiers, regardless of who it is, it's going to be a tough matchup and we have to go get it. We're at a point in Counter-Strike where if you're not careful, any team can grab the win off you. I mean, maybe except for Astralis (laughs), but that's another story. You have to be at 100% no matter what and if you're the superior team, most likely you are going to win. But if you start having holes in your defence or in the way you are thinking and not trusting one another, that's when you can get overwhelmed and lose rounds fairly easily. Again, we're going to be focused on improving ourselves, that's the only thing we have control of, we can't control whether they're going to play well or badly, we can't do anything about that. We have to improve on Inferno, for example, and we just have to get better on some points in CS. That's what I told the guys right after the game, we have to get better tomorrow, we have to work and be even stronger when we come back for the playoffs because no team is going to give it to us. And we have to go get that Major.

France Nathan 'NBK-' Schmitt
Nathan 'NBK-' Schmitt
No team
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
France Vincent 'Happy' Schopenhauer
Vincent 'Happy' Schopenhauer
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
United Kingdom Alex 'ALEX' McMeekin
Alex 'ALEX' McMeekin
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
2019-01-17 00:10
Damn it too fast :(
2019-01-17 00:11
Holy shit happy is fat as fuck nowadays lol
2019-01-17 06:06
United States Glowstickgamer 
2019-01-17 00:11
Indonesia Astranesia 
2019-01-17 01:32
Indonesia v1ctin 
Youre allowed to be two faced if your teammate's trash
2019-01-17 02:46
It's just business.
2019-01-17 04:33
United States Samsquanch_ 
Replace every “we” out of NBK’s mouth with “I” and then you have the real story. At the most, he might take apex’s opinion into consideration...AT THE MOST. Forget fallen, this guy is Nathan “5-faced” Toledo
2019-01-17 10:43
Lmao Nathan 5 faces toledo. Made my day
2019-01-17 11:06
He's not two-faced... The team definitely decided together they wanted to replace Happy, and it's not like any contract was violated. He didn't put the blame on Happy in that interview either, he just said they have clashing styles, which makes perfect sense.
2019-01-18 16:15
2019-01-17 00:11
"long term project"
2019-01-17 00:11
Myanmar xdcc 
So if there is a project plan you think specifications or people responsible can't change??
2019-01-17 01:53
looks like he wasn’t a part of the long term project
2019-01-17 03:22
Canada zizzle21 
"We tried working it out with Happy, but we still didn't manage to make it click together. It was both on a human level and in the game, we're just probably not seeing things the same way and so it led us to making that change before the Minor because we couldn't see a world where we can make it work long-term with him with everybody being satisfied, whether him or from our side." ???
2019-01-17 04:09
He just means that they didn't have the same of viewing things, and a different way approchings things in game, which was holing them back
2019-01-17 08:31
African Union OllieMaN 
They still have a problem That one is NBK
2019-01-17 09:54
Canada zizzle21 
2019-01-17 21:37
Panama Cyain10 
2019-01-17 00:11
respect Mr NBK
2019-01-17 00:11
Is this sarcasm? If not why are you a Happy fan?
2019-01-17 00:22
NEO | 
Macedonia ElGancho 
Unexpected mr happy_2_major_niko_0_major
2019-01-17 00:46
Vietnam ponmemes 
2019-01-17 05:17
no he benched happy because he was to good
2019-01-17 06:45
Brunei GucciLeIe 
Happy Bot
2019-01-17 07:36
NBK "twofaced" toledo
2019-01-17 00:11
Myanmar xdcc 
NBK betrays but doesn't lie. Fallen the type of guy to say that happy left on his own.
2019-01-17 01:55
United States Degree|CSGO 
NBK “kicks objectively worthless player” Toledo
2019-01-17 07:16
I dont get why everyone saying happy is bad? He is definetly better than RPK was whole last year.
2019-01-17 12:12
RPK - stable support player, does what is needed, goes along with the plan, doesn't ming going in first Happy - Diva, doesn't like practice, whines when he doesn't get his way, supports team by getting exit frags on the other side of the map RPK>>>>>>>>>Happy
2019-01-17 12:42
Oh. Whining? Cool thing that you heard their teamspeak. 2 bad that no one else did :c
2019-01-17 12:58
You don't need to hear somebody whine to know he's a whiner Just read interviews, listen to podcasts with his ex-teammates and other people behind the scenes, you'll get the full picture soon enough
2019-01-17 14:52
France pilou52700 
2019-02-07 12:29
2019-01-17 00:12
you could say that happy... is sad. YEEEEEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
2019-01-17 00:13
2019-01-17 02:04
Georgia Fatal Fighter 
2019-01-17 09:23
2019-01-17 12:49
ScreaM | 
Brazil HLTVolt 
What a snnake
2019-01-17 00:13
Poland LiquidWater 
no, good riddance. Happy should lose weight and maybe they take him back.
2019-01-17 00:59
Happy wasn't playing well and according to this interview, his personality clashed with the team. How is he a snake?
2019-01-17 01:17
After al those years how do they not know his personality.
2019-01-17 05:45
ropz | 
Estonia YethHound 
Sometimes you get back with your ex, hoping they've changed and that you can rekindle your lost passion, you tend to remember the good times (winning 2 majors together) but forget the bad times (turning completely to shit right after) Only after you've been together for a while again do you realize that it's never going to happen
2019-01-17 08:37
I like how you explain it but after 2 years they should know better.
2019-01-17 14:59
Why? He said what he thinks instead of being a hypocrite
2019-01-17 07:14
RIP happy. NBK never let him set feet in Vitality again.
2019-01-17 00:14
2019-01-17 00:15
Luxembourg twsh 
Happy not happy :CCC
2019-01-17 00:15
Two faced nbk sold another long term teammate of his, expected af
2019-01-17 00:18
NBK TwoFaced Shitt Expected
2019-01-17 00:19
List of Two-Faced players: 1. FalleN 2. s1mple 3. Gambit players 4. NBK
2019-01-17 00:24
nitr0 | 
Sweden ScineLy1 
Why Gambit players bro? Can u explain pls.
2019-01-17 00:27
They didn't want to play with Kane. Blamed him for an incompetence. Now Gambit is a tier 3 team in CIS. I mean ex-Gambit.
2019-01-17 00:31
nitr0 | 
Sweden ScineLy1 
Aha , so that’s why Gambit kicked Kane? Cuz players didn’t want to play with him?
2019-01-17 00:32
Brazil davidzor 
Yes, then Zeus left to NaVi with him.
2019-01-17 01:30
Europe w1ntermu7e 
Yes they wanted to kick him, but kane and zeus are friends so Zeus left too
2019-01-17 02:18
Korea ItsMeNow19 
Explain what twofaced mean
2019-01-17 04:29
Korea GayVeryNice 
Gazza Chin-goo, cant type in korean here.
2019-01-17 05:36
'SNAKE' NBK BACK AT IT AGAIN! This team will accomplish nothing, congrats you managed to make it to the minor in a close series lmao.
2019-01-17 00:21
i swear this twofaced shit nbk is the real problem of french scene he managed to not let happen many good rosters
2019-01-17 00:25
2019-01-17 01:30
Vietnam ponmemes 
i think you forgot shox
2019-01-17 05:18
exactly, everyone forgot how shox screwed him over
2019-01-18 08:25
happy igl kennys awp zywoo mixwell kioshima no nbk no shox no drama and roles can get swapped a lot :))
2019-01-17 18:36
nitr0 | 
Sweden ScineLy1 
Happy is France’s greatest IGL of all the time. Everything NBK win in his life was with Happy. Show More respect to Happy.
2019-01-17 00:27
Norway PeteZz 
Happy hasn’t been a good IGL since 2015.. get a grip.
2019-01-17 01:01
happy was not even the igl of this team think about your statement again
2019-01-17 07:09
NBK is always a snake of french scene.
2019-01-17 00:39
Finland Smoonah 
catch ya on the bomb site sometime later lulw
2019-01-17 00:45
Brazil Lemonitos 
So does Alex speak french?
2019-01-17 00:46
Belgium bioZARRRD 
Yes, he grew up in France.
2019-01-17 01:17
France OtelloO 
Yes, he's British but he grew up in France if I'm not wrong. So he spent more time in France than in UK actually
2019-01-17 01:24
Argentina lucas_7_94 
from the creators of "kioshima was the problem" we present you "we didn't see a future with happy"
2019-01-17 00:47
LeX | 
Russia AlexDude 
2019-01-17 01:20
France OtelloO 
So happy to faze confirmed ?
2019-01-17 01:25
Netherlands pewpeww 
2019-01-17 08:09
Expected from drama queen
2019-01-17 00:47
dupreeh | 
Indonesia Ugha 
Shox not involved here
2019-01-17 08:43
F*** happy
2019-01-17 00:53
2019-01-17 01:00
Norway just_sAvage 
french project long project... like come on typical...
2019-01-17 01:03
Norway PeteZz 
He’s not a snake. Everybody knew happy had to go. Probably undermining the whole system, hoping NBK would fail, so he could IGL again. He can maybe try LDLC
2019-01-17 01:04
Belgium bioZARRRD 
LDLC made him an offer already, he refused it.
2019-01-17 01:16
ive said this for so long time, and they prob finally just realized :I(()((=))(=))())()99999
2019-01-17 01:05
Japan Jotaro 
NBK and being toxic in the french scene name a more iconic duo zzzz
2019-01-17 01:15
"we couldn't see a happy world"
2019-01-17 01:26
Other VladimirLucas 
2019-01-17 04:35
team breaker nbk
2019-01-17 01:52
he's right and it's been obvious for at least 18 months.
2019-01-17 01:54
Luxembourg Hargreaves 
grammar makes no sense.
2019-01-17 01:55
Netherlands pewpeww 
Yeah this entire post is pretty messed up
2019-01-17 08:10
ZywOo | 
France ZywHale 
Natural Backstabbing King
2019-01-17 01:55
The key to success for french CS is Ex6TenZ.
2019-01-17 02:50
Yeah as the belgium parasite proved since 2014 when french cs hit its peak. Oh wait! He needed a cheater to make him relevant again.
2019-01-17 12:38
FalleN | 
Brazil Feio91 
nbk did nothing wrong
2019-01-17 02:52
First kio now happy will go to faze after major than get dropped for a month then come back play really good get T8 next major than win one tourney place T2 every tourney than at the next major they go 0-3 they drop Guardian Happy for Allu Kio than happy goes to nV and makes super French team called #100T
2019-01-17 03:50
RIP Happy's career
2019-01-17 03:54
Mongolia tuvshuudri 
betrayal has come
2019-01-17 04:17
Other VladimirLucas 
happy should have been IGL
2019-01-17 04:35
Sweden yayer 
in other words : we were not happy with happy
2019-01-17 05:17
Romania AaLaSt 
Zywoo has to go to a tier 1 team before he will be stabbed on his back!
2019-01-17 05:43
Xizt | 
Italy HeSY 
Fair enough
2019-01-17 07:31
even though I like this team but I expect them to choke in playoffs. French scene is almost dead tbh, GL to them anyway
2019-01-17 07:34
Fieser Fettsack NBK
2019-01-17 07:53
Austria gex0r 
I'm really "happy" with Vitality now. ALEX is a perfect addition with more firepower
2019-01-17 08:07
Nathan TwoFaced Toledo
2019-01-17 08:11
Happy 1 Major MVP > S1mple, NiKo, NBK, Guardian, Gla1ve
2019-01-17 08:19
2019-01-17 08:32
Belgium jekke2440 
Thanks Happy for the amazing years of 2014-2016. Now it's time for the next generation like Zywoo. Shame it has to end like this with NBsneK...
2019-01-17 08:37
dupreeh | 
Indonesia Ugha 
Snake? Maybe? But atleast he's honest
2019-01-17 08:38
Average team with shit igl this team could be good only because Zywoo
2019-01-17 09:17
Denmark slacking 
Inb4 they don't see nbk as a long term either
2019-01-17 09:44
Korea Damianlee 
None of us did
2019-01-17 09:48
African Union OllieMaN 
God i hate this punk twofaced motherfker so much...
2019-01-17 09:55
shox | 
Slovakia TreeMan 
+1 Valid opinion
2019-01-17 12:14
Fan of Maikelele lul
2019-01-17 12:34
African Union OllieMaN 
Fan of retirement club ruining zywoo
2019-01-17 15:37
Fan of MaikeIeIe taIking about retirement cIub IuI
2019-01-17 16:53
African Union OllieMaN 
fan of vitallity thinking anything is different lul
2019-01-17 17:16
NBK is honest person all the haters get rekt
2019-01-17 10:00
Honest yes, but that doesn't mean he is right. They had a good start with Alex but that doesn't mean in "long-term" it works better. Right now can you always say "Happy was right NBK was left" until NBK win a major as IGL like Happy did.
2019-01-17 17:44
Brazil morFeux 
2019-01-17 10:39
Other Phinks 
So basically Alex has to micromanage RPK on ct side? A dude who plays cs for like 12 years
2019-01-17 11:12
shox | 
Slovakia TreeMan 
But they can with tier 2 outsider xD NBSnaKe
2019-01-17 12:13
Frenchies backstab again. Woah. Its really weird to see. They formed this team like few months ago. They played with each other before. And now they say something like this? And they were doing pretty good with happy in my opinion. The one who is underperforming is RPK.
2019-01-17 12:17
the thing is Rpk make frags that really matter.. so in a way he is not that bad, his aim is also good
2019-01-17 14:23
I only remember rpk failing countless duels. No clutches or important frags. Happy on the other hand most of the times getting his kills.
2019-01-17 16:23
yes true sometimes he sux on some maps..but right now he has higher rating than apex on this minor, nbk is the worst i think.. his aim is so bad.. he wouldn t be igl he should be kick asap ...imo that why he went igl.. otherwise he has no place on high level cs
2019-01-17 18:42
I agree, RpK should be the next to be replaced.
2019-01-17 15:52
Win two matches Be toxic again
2019-01-17 13:30
Serbia SplitteR96 
STFU you are being carried by zaywoo, vitality without him is trash
2019-01-17 14:10
I will never understand why professional players talk about their designated roles, strategies and playmaking abilities in a lengthy interview for a website 90% of the community checks on a daily basis...
2019-01-17 16:52
The reason why French shuffle still failing is nobody listens to Happy. You can disagree with happy all the time but the changes he demanded 2015 made 2 Majors possible. Now they all want to play "their" counterstrike but with such an attitude, you will win nothing. Imagen on BIG nobody would listen to Gobb. They would never be a Major legend. Imagen MIBR nobody would listen to Fallen. Have fun in the top 50.
2019-01-17 17:50
When normal tier 1 team will buy zywoo this shit will be forced to disband , so no one care Alex or happy
2019-01-17 18:44
NBK will be next to kick in this team XD after him they will kick RpK
2019-02-07 12:31
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