ALEX: "shox is the perfect fit for what we're looking for"

In our first interview from DreamHack Masters Malmö, we spoke to one of the debuting teams, Vitality's Alex "ALEX" McMeekin, about their post-Major changes.

Vitality are one of the eight teams participating in DreamHack Masters Malmö who are debuting with new lineups, having benched Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt during the StarLadder Major and completed a transfer of Richard "shox" Papillon from G2 at the end of September.

ALEX talked about the problems shox's arrival will fix

For the time being, we didn't manage to get a hold of shox to ask about his point of view of the exit from G2 and the switch, but ALEX told us about that process more in detail from Vitality's side, explaining why they chose shox over another option in Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey, what solutions the 27-year-old will bring, and what his role is.

Let's start with the whole process of removing NBK and figuring out who is coming in for him. From XTQZZZ's podcast with 1pv, you were already set on changes during the Major, can you tell me about that and how it transpired into the changes?

During the Major there was an incident that happened, that we won't get into like our coach said. In the second week, we knew we were going to make a change. Our coach told us that we were going to have to make a change. From there, we were thinking about some players that were available and, obviously, kioShiMa was available. We spoke to him for a bit, and then we got home and, one day later, shox came to speak to our coach, saying that he was available. For us, he's the perfect fit for what we're looking for. He's not going to solve all of our problems, but a lot of them.

What problems would those be, outside of the co-leadership issues that you've gotten rid of with the removal of NBK-?

It wasn't so much the co-leadership that was the problem, it was the captaincy that was a big problem in the team. The players wanted something and NBK wanted something else, and that's where the rift came between us. In terms of problems, our midrounds were sometimes really sloppy, we tried to go too quickly and we got surprised by the teams that just push everywhere and stuff, so we're hoping that will be sorted now. And having extra ideas - before, it was kind of me that was doing everything, from the start-middle-end of the round, making sure everyone was doing everything in the right positions and stuff, now shox is going to be helping out with that.

Again touching on the podcast, it was said that shox is mostly going to be lurking but some maps he will be outside of his comfort zone, can you speak to his roles?

Yeah, T sides he will be mainly lurking and then the CT sides are where he's going to have some adjustment, he's going to be playing some anchor roles because there are some maps where we are playing decently, we feel, and we don't want to change things around.

I'm sure you didn't have ideal preparation for this event, from what I saw it was about 10 days, but considering a lot of teams are in the same position as you, do you think you have a good chance of making a deep run here?

Yeah, I think we do. Despite only having 10 days preparation, I think we did as much as we could during those 10 days. We're ready to play any team, really, apart from the three big names that are going to be tough to beat now, but anyone else I think we can beat.

The three being Astralis, Liquid, and EG?

Yeah. But I still think we can beat them, it's just whether everything will go well in that particular game because we don't have the experience as a team and the time together.

France Nathan 'NBK-' Schmitt
Nathan 'NBK-' Schmitt
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1661
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
United Kingdom Alex 'ALEX' McMeekin
Alex 'ALEX' McMeekin
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
932
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.13
France Richard 'shox' Papillon
Richard 'shox' Papillon
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
1580
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.12
France Fabien 'kioShiMa' Fiey
Fabien 'kioShiMa' Fiey
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
1284
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.15
Nice but G2 still top 1
2019-10-01 15:16
I aren';t think thatzz
2019-10-01 15:21
Wait until the result doesnt go as planned and shox make alex kicked and become IGL himself
2019-10-01 15:53
> perfect > win against tyloo 1v9
2019-10-01 15:21
nt fake Chuckyyy
2019-10-01 15:23
#26
ZywOo | 
Europe PowwneD 
+1 wtf how many people want to fake a retard G2 fanboy account
2019-10-01 15:29
people who can't lack attention and can't obtain it in any other way
2019-10-01 15:49
Uh i'm the real one but ok
2019-10-01 16:25
prove it or I'll
2019-10-01 16:25
#18
shox | 
India iejesus 
+1
2019-10-01 15:24
#21
 | 
France bjjthibz 
I like G2 as well, but since Vitality was formed a year ago, they have climbed the rankings so fast, they are the #1 french speaking team atm and it's been true for a while now, G2 underperforming way too often, unfortunately.
2019-10-01 15:26
#32
 | 
Romania silksz12 
They will not underperform too often since shox is gone
2019-10-01 15:40
#40
 | 
France bjjthibz 
yeah, he was so bad in his first game with Vitality ... he said on itw that it has been 2 years now that he did not want to lead anymore but had no other choice ... Amanek took half of the lead recently but he's also not a pure leader, hopefully with Nexa it will be fixed. But shox is a good player, either you like him or not.
2019-10-01 15:58
#55
shox | 
Europe Toxic91 
shox was on par with zywoo topfragging most of the game, what do you mean he was so bad ahaha
2019-10-01 17:35
#59
 | 
France bjjthibz 
irony ? No ?
2019-10-01 22:34
#60
shox | 
Europe Toxic91 
no mens )))
2019-10-01 22:36
#56
 | 
Romania silksz12 
Yeah that s why he maked that team with fucking smithzz and ex6, even then i don t know if he was 100% lurker (surely not), his iq is like -10
2019-10-01 20:24
+1
2019-10-01 16:49
gay flag checks out
2019-10-01 15:26
#2
 | 
Australia Spectacles 
nice
2019-10-01 15:15
#3
Jame | 
Netherlands KarakurtJ 
Oof
2019-10-01 15:15
SHUT UP
2019-10-01 15:16
-nbk is already an upgrade
2019-10-01 15:16
#6
 | 
Germany ToiletShitter 
He was pretty useless on t side against Tyloo. Will be interesting to see how he fares against Ence
2019-10-01 15:17
#13
shox | 
Serbia nzzm22 
he played passive support lurkish. Didnt kill nor die, did his job and the entry pack with apex getting 9 kills in 3 rounds was enough for the T rounds. Went from topfragger on CT to bottom as T and hltv rating punishes this + low adr, when in reality he really just did his job and didnt get chances to shine
2019-10-01 15:22
#24
 | 
France bjjthibz 
+1 nice analysis
2019-10-01 15:27
+1
2019-10-01 21:56
respect
2019-10-01 15:17
#8
 | 
Switzerland x676 
And you are the perfect fit for not being in the t1 scene, so enjoy your time there while it lasts.
2019-10-01 15:18
#25
 | 
France bjjthibz 
Vitality has reached #2 spot in hltv ranking when Alex took the lead.
2019-10-01 15:28
#9
 | 
Poland Oleczeq 
you should be kicked instead of nbk
2019-10-01 15:20
#39
 | 
Poland C4ctusjack_ 
Vita reached #2 spot in hltv ranking when alex took the lead away from NBK/Happy they won 2 event and atleast past groupstage in any other events they played with 2 of them being atleast semis i love Nathan but if he was not on same page as rest of guys why they should keep him ?
2019-10-01 15:57
no. his philosophy on the team was different to the rest of them, teams like that never work. (especially when he doesn’t want to change)
2019-10-01 17:17
bot alex
2019-10-01 15:20
#30
 | 
France papybouc 
We could talk about turkish team....ho well....there isn't turkish team lul👌👌
2019-10-01 15:38
#15
 | 
France iNolake 
Shox was indeed the best choice :) so happy to see them back in big events
2019-10-01 15:21
Nice
2019-10-01 15:23
#19
shox | 
India iejesus 
Shoxie <3 :/
2019-10-01 15:24
#20
 | 
France bjjthibz 
I'm pretty confident about Shox in Vitality. I've read and listened every itw from Vitality coach, CEO and players, and it's kinda obvious they explained precisely to Richard what they want from him. He clearly knows his role there and i think he will be really good in these roles. Vitality is gonna cause troubles to big teams soon.
2019-10-01 15:24
#54
shox | 
France KR1MEZ 
hopefully
2019-10-01 17:29
#22
JaCkz | 
United Kingdom rickY180 
shox has the potential to put Vitality #1 in the world. He is THAT good!! Greatest pick-up of all time CS:GO
2019-10-01 15:26
#27
s1 | 
Armenia gr1nch 
perfect = replacing one washedup player with another one
2019-10-01 15:30
#42
 | 
Poland C4ctusjack_ 
shox as a rifler is still good player,problem was with him as IGL and alex have full control in vita soo shox can focus on frags like he does in g2 before Ex6 kick for first time and before creating''superteam'' with nbk maybe washed up a bit but still better than NBK
2019-10-01 15:59
#45
s1 | 
Armenia gr1nch 
anyway he will try to take igl role and destroy team from inside -alex inc
2019-10-01 16:12
Absolutely
2019-10-01 15:32
bookmark this one and have a laugh when they fail again and try to find another scapegoat
2019-10-01 15:35
#31
 | 
France Uexo 
#VforVictory
2019-10-01 15:39
"After NBK Backstabbed Happy and I backstabbed NBK it is time for a new one than can Backstabb me"
2019-10-01 15:41
#48
REAL | 
Spain deBurrows 
xDDDDD
2019-10-01 16:26
NBK was not fit LOL
2019-10-01 15:43
too early
2019-10-01 15:43
#36
 | 
Romania BCallen 
-Alex+Amanek -Rpk+Kennys Ez top 1 , ez major
2019-10-01 15:47
#43
 | 
Poland C4ctusjack_ 
alex is better IGL than amanek and you cannot replace support/second entry with main awper lol RpK does his role well and they doesnt need to change that,every team needs a guy who take shitty roles and never complain about that
2019-10-01 16:00
#44
 | 
Germany Gabbah 
RPK is legit a Bot tho... He misses easy shots, doesnt check positions, that you normaly would, which loses them rounds, they should not lose and most of all is inconsistent as fuck. So yea pls replace RPK.
2019-10-01 16:08
#61
frozen | 
South Africa nimmaJ 
Lmao the reason you think hes inconsistent is because he takes shitty sacrificial roles that arent meant to get a lot of kills. Hes not inconsistent at all, he almost always does his job when anchoring and is great at creating space for the team.
2019-10-02 20:59
#62
 | 
Germany Gabbah 
Bullshit argument. In Liquid and Astralis in their prime, and even now you dont have players, who consistently have a negative rating and bad stats (RPK even has bad support stats.) So keeping that player just draggs them down. He is not doing the team any good. Same story with NBK, which finally got kicked. Kick RPK and get someone like Kioshima or something. Literally does the same as RPK but better.
2019-10-02 23:30
#63
frozen | 
South Africa nimmaJ 
Kio cant play support positions nearly as well. And hes not an entry, hes a trade fragger which they have plenty of. I watch all of Vitality's games quite indephtly and rpk is almost never the reason they lose. The fact that you're comparing Vitality two 2 of the greatest teams shows how weak your argument is. Astralis is literally the most complete team ever assembled, of course they dont have any players with negative ratings.
2019-10-02 23:56
#65
 | 
Germany Gabbah 
but isnt that the goal of every team, to become number one or the best team in the world? If a team, has a statisticly bad player, means, that they often have a weak point in their system, that can be exploited (Zeus for example, when he was still in NaVi). Also Kio literally played pretty much only support positions, when he was standing in for G2, and he did great. Good multi kills, great trades etc. Watch how RPK plays: when hes entryfragging, hes not doing a great job (way worse then Apex, which I also consider a bad player, but thats a diffrent topic), his aim is not good anymore, and because of that he loses aimduels, that he shouldnt quite often. He has good pistol aim, I give him that, but thats not good enough for a tier 1 team. Ever notice, that Vitallity only wins, when Zywoo plays good? Thats way to inconsistent, and reason for that is, that other players dont frag. Apex is entry, so hes doing his part. Alex is IGl and sometimes even frags. NBK was calling as well, when he was back in Vitallity, which fcked them, because hgis midround calling is literally trash. Good they kicked him for Shox. Shox maybe can solve their firepower issue, but two players are not enough. So who has to step up? RPK. Does he do that? No so kick him and get a player, with better firepower. Simple as that.
2019-10-03 10:41
#71
frozen | 
South Africa nimmaJ 
When that "statistically bad player" is increasing the success of the other players then it is definitely worth it. What you dont realise is that having rpk boosts apex shox and zywoos freedom and allows them to have way more space and support when taking fights. Zeus didnt do any of that positionally or nade wise. Also Apex isnt the entry and hasnt been the entry since the start of the lineup. It's quite annoying to argue with someone this uninformed, on pretty much every tactic apex is probing 1 side of the map or trading off alex and rpk. And the fact that you think apex has been playing well when he has some of the best positions on the team is laughable, Apex and Alex individual performances are by far the reason Vitality lose the most.
2019-10-03 17:48
#64
frozen | 
South Africa nimmaJ 
Also NBKs kick had nothing to do with performance
2019-10-03 03:35
#66
 | 
Germany Gabbah 
his performance was ok, appart from the fact, that he literally was the second comming of Happy and baited everyone. My problem with him is his midround calling, which is absolutly horrible. Like for real. Just let Alex call full time. Hes way better then NBK, when it comes to IGLing. Also his force buys lost them games so often, that I lost count. So yea fck NBK
2019-10-03 12:03
#67
frozen | 
South Africa nimmaJ 
NBK was baiting? You literally didnt watch the matches if you believe that. NBK transitioned to entry so that apex could be more passive, utilize utility, and play out more late rounds, just look at his entry stats hltv.org/stats/teams/players/openingkill.. 25% of attempts is a ridiculously high percentage, he didnt mid round call pretty much ever, maybe slight variations on CT but up until the major their CT sides were great.
2019-10-03 17:04
#68
 | 
Germany Gabbah 
"In terms of problems, our midrounds were sometimes really sloppy, we tried to go too quickly and we got surprised by the teams that just push everywhere and stuff, so we're hoping that will be sorted now" - Alex literally in this interview. Why do they hope their problem is solved? Because the person responsible for that is not in the team anymore. That statement wouldnt make sense otherwise. Also these "entry stats" are opening kills, which counts also CT side, which is the reason, that Zywoo has the best opening kill statistic. Doesnt prove your point, but I give you that. And yes I agree, that their CT sides where decent, but way to reliant on Zywoo, which made them sometimes easy to read. Also the reason, why they consistently lost to Liquid, because they just isolated Zywoo and often the defense would crumble because of that.
2019-10-03 17:22
#69
frozen | 
South Africa nimmaJ 
Or alex himself recognized the issue and said "okay guys we need to play mid rounds more carefully" and they worked on it. Just because NBKs gone doesnt mean he was responsible for their mid rounds and he 100% wasn't on T sides. Also when the gap is that big between him and the rest of the riflers it's pretty obvious hes going aggresive on both sides which again leads to the conclusion he wasnt baiting. All of your arguments are very speculative and incomplete.
2019-10-03 17:34
#70
 | 
Germany Gabbah 
I didnt even say, that he was calling all mid rounds, just that he did do actually a decent amout of it. Just look at the demos. You can clearly see the diffrences in the calling styles of him and Alex, NBKs calling is much more risky and much more like the old french style, which nowadays is almost gone (which is good). Also pretty mich all forcebuys are called by NBK, which he has done in all his teams. Take G2 or the old Envy for example, which forced a lot, with him as an IGL. All in all he did the team muc more harm then good. There was a reason, why G2 removed him, and his IGL was the biggest part in that.
2019-10-03 17:45
#72
frozen | 
South Africa nimmaJ 
Which goes back to my original point that NBK was not kicked because of performances, he was kicked because of disagreements in the team. Mostly based on which direction the team wanted to go. And I will say it 1 more time, for the last 6 months NBK has had NO say in the T sides.
2019-10-03 17:51
#74
frozen | 
South Africa nimmaJ 
Also NBK was never the IGL on nV, that was happy unless I'm completely forgetting lineup and he didnt IGL on G2 until the very end, shox was majority IGL until they had major disagreements then they tried NBK with mixwell but it just wasnt a good recipe for success. Mixwell even said it felt like a battle he didnt belong in, not NBKs fault he couldnt lead a dysfunctional group that ended up needing changes anyway and still couldnt solve their issues.
2019-10-03 18:02
#41
 | 
Philippines etalynx08 
The accident he's talking about is when NBK give their coach a mid finger right in the front of the camera right? Such disrespect man.
2019-10-01 15:58
#51
 | 
France Ritzyyy 
Nope. This was a private joke over the map pick, if I remember correctly, for which the coach and NBK disagreed, yet they won, something like that. Nothing to do with the rest. Incident happened at another time, and actually : over time. Coach explained it in an interesting podcast, but only available in french unfortunately :( you have some parts of the interview which have been posted a few days ago, with XTQZZZ
2019-10-01 17:01
What else he could say? That he is fr scene destroyer and they had no better choice instead of nbk?
2019-10-01 16:48
#53
 | 
Europe Skraj 
One match: shox is PERFECT for us
2019-10-01 17:29
one of the dumbest players on the scene fits the dumbest team, what a coincidence🤨
2019-10-01 22:33
#73
 | 
Brazil Gunzel 
lul
2019-10-03 17:51
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