kennyS: "I knew that I would at one point switch to an international team"

We sat down with Kenny "kennyS" Schrub and Damien "maLeK" Marcel during DreamHack Masters Malmö for an in-depth interview about G2's decision to go international and about how the project is going so far.

G2's addition of Nemanja "nexa" Isaković and Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač was only finalized on the day before the start of DreamHack Masters Malmö, which left next to no time for the team to gel before the tournament, where they would be eliminated in the group stage.

maLeK and kennyS walked us through all aspects of the decision to go international

During the playoffs, we managed to grab kennyS and maLeK to find out more about the decision-making process that led to the creation of the international roster and why the team didn't continue with a French lineup. The player and the coach also spoke about how the first days with nexa and huNter- had gone, how they tackled the lack of preparation in Malmö, the victory over FURIA and the close match against Astralis on Nuke.

Let's start with why you decided to make changes and when. Was it at the Major that you decided that that was the last straw or had you been considering changes even leading up to it?

maLeK: It was not just the Major. I think G2 had been willing to go international for quite a while now. They had been looking at how things had been evolving in the CS:GO scene and, for obvious reasons, if you put the language apart, the advantages are that the player pool is really big, there are a lot of countries and really good players are coming up all over the world now, and it's really exciting to see. I think it's really easy to understand them from this point of view.

We can say that we have been doing better, I think we can say that safely, and we wanted to keep improving. We have been hitting that ceiling where we could beat very good teams but not consistently enough, and one of the main issues was about the leadership, what people wanted to do in the team. It was really tricky from the inside point of view to really go higher without proper leadership and without a proper plan to actually build a strong, top-three, top-five team.

From what I understand from other interviews, mainly with shox, the organization offered you the possibility to stay with a French lineup, so why did you decide to go away from that?

maLeK: It's really easy. We don't want to make a lineup change if we don't believe in it. G2 proposed that the timing now was very good, that this was crunch time in CS:GO and that maybe it was a good time to jump into the international scene for all those reasons. Jérôme [NiaK] and I, we have the final decision, and G2 told us to let them know if we wanted to have one last chance to improve with a French team, to actually improve and reach the top five in the short term.

We were looking at how the French scene was and how we could improve the leadership, we had a few names, a few solutions, we were speaking with the players, but the only way to make that final decision and say 'okay, we're staying in France' would have been down to the seven of us - Jérôme, myself, and five players - trusting that we actually could reach the top five with these solutions. It is obvious to say now that we couldn't find a solution with everyone agreeing that it would be an improvement and that we could 100% become top five in the short term. This is the reason why Jérôme and I couldn't say to G2 that we would stay with a French lineup.

What was the decision-making process like from the point of aiming to go international leading up to the addition of nexa and huNter- and how much of it came from the higher-ups of G2, yourself as the coach, and the players?

maLeK: There are different layers. The first one, going international, is that if Jérôme, myself and the players who are remaining in the team weren't willing to go international, there would be a problem. Obviously, we wouldn't force anybody to do it. JaCkz doesn't speak English very well, so we first decided to see how long it would take, what we would have to do to make him feel good, about the roles, about everything. And if we really believed that we had all the support to actually go international in a few months, to deliver and feel happy in the team, then we could proceed. We made sure that was the case, we made sure that everybody supported that, and then we said to G2 that we were going international.

G2 were looking for players with a voice

The second layer, Jérôme and I said that we wanted people that have a voice, that are really committed to CS and living the game, those kinds of players. A few options were Aleksib and nexa. Jérôme and I had to make a list, thinking about it and trying to find a fit with roles, as well. nexa and huNter- were fitting really well, we are really happy because it was definitely the first choice that we had. So yeah, the high management at first came up with the idea of going international and then the specific decisions were ours.

kennyS: I think we all got hyped by the decision. Going international was an exciting challenge, even though we all knew it was going to be hard. We know that, in the short term, we're not going to be as competitive individually and as a team as we would like to be. But, not going to lie, it's been super fun, we don't get frustrated when we play badly because we know why we are playing badly and we know that we did this to make things much better. That's the way we think right now, it's really exciting, it's new. I knew that I would at one point switch to an international team. I have played with everyone in France and I enjoyed it with everyone, but I also think that players need to refresh sometimes and I needed to do that, as well. I like the fact that I'm playing with players who respect me for the person and the player I am but also don't care about it. They don't judge me for who I was, they judge me for what I'm doing and the person I am now.

There is nothing negative at all, it's really positive for everyone. nexa and huNter-, we have had three days so far and it's surprisingly going super well. They are really open-minded people, we all push together. We make a lot of mistakes, it is what it is, but it's really easy-going and we fix them without being harsh towards each other, we fix them by just working together. I also feel like it's always good to be able to mix your knowledge, to mix cultures, to mix mindsets. Not that the French mindset is bad, just that it's really different, and having a new perspective is super good, we all like what we have so far. It's just the beginning, right, but, in my opinion, it should grow easier and easier with time. It's already pretty easy for all of us to be together.

What do you see in G2's future with this move, then? Have you set any specific goals?

kennyS: We were already doing pretty okay, we were between top 6-8 best teams in the world, we had super high peaks, but our consistent level wasn't good enough, which means we were lacking some things, such as leadership and a proper anchor, for example. No, we have not set any specific goals, but the point is to do better than we were doing, to be more consistent, maybe reaching the top-five in the long term, but I think we're just thinking about playing good Counter-Strike, having fun together - because you don't play good CS if you aren't having fun together.

maLeK: I really think that if we get through that process of communication, if we get to know each other well, we will take a step further regarding what we have been doing this year. It's quite obvious and we can feel it straight away while we are playing, even though we have all those walls we need to break. What I feel from these first few days together is a natural discipline that nexa and huNter- are bringing just by being themselves. I think it will really help us reach that consistency and to play and learn from what we are actually doing, and then getting more and more dangerous. We will lift trophies at some point.

What are the initial impressions regarding the communication from the player side, how is it actually experiencing that in the game in a more serious setting than in FPL?

kennyS: From my own experience, I speak good English outside of the game, but it's always different in-game. It's a lot about new callouts, new names for principles, those kinds of things are really not natural for any of us, so it's all about memorizing stuff and getting used to it. Communication is key, CS:GO is a really reactive game, so the biggest issue is that there is a short delay between your brain and what you want to say. Obviously, it makes us not entirely focused on the game, which makes us not be at our best individually. That's something that we're willing to do because we know that, in the long run, once we have managed to handle these things, it's going to be much easier and much more natural.

The temporary setback with communication is something G2 are willing to sacrifice for the future

Even though JaCkz doesn't speak English well, it's much easier to speak English in-game than it is outside because it's all about memorizing stuff, the sentences are pretty much the same, so we just have to get used to doing simple stuff and learn that and everything should be much easier in the future. I don't think the communication will take that long, to be honest. Maybe it's harder for some of the players, like JaCkz, but he's someone really natural, so even when he speaks French he makes people laugh. They like him, everybody likes him even if he doesn't really communicate properly yet, so I'm not concerned about it at all.

Touching on Malmö, you had a few surprising results but also tough losses like the one against fnatic. I'm guessing the expectations weren't particularly high when you met the day before the tournament...

maLeK: We met when we actually saw you in Vapiano [on Monday evening]. We had dinner, we met them, we didn't play or anything. The only thing we did was "hey boys, Nemanja, how do you want to call", you are sorting out these kinds of things the day before the game. We were sorting out 30 minutes before playing Astralis on Nuke, we knew that we could play the map, but it's funny because we made up like two or three plays and they actually worked out quite okay.

Was it a surprise that you could challenge Astralis?

maLeK: It was not surprising in the way that, if you believe in what you do and you actually have two or three good plays, you do them properly, you call them at the right time, you have players who can aim, so you can obviously win rounds. It's Counter-Strike, in the end. Playing Astralis 10 times on Nuke would have probably been different, but then if you have proper calls, if you are motivated and if you are good individually, of course you can beat anybody, even without practicing.

kennyS: It's also about communication. The fact that we decided what we were going to do at the beginning of the round helped, having something set makes you need to communicate less during the round. The longer the round is the harder it is going to be for us, especially at the beginning. That's also why fnatic smashed us that hard, we obviously didn't play well, they did, but also because they were pretty slow.

maLeK: Right, fnatic were really organized, they took every area, they were really cautious. I think Astralis even said in an interview after our game that they were engaging fights and things like this, so it's also one of the reasons we could actually catch them off-guard in some rounds, then the economy starts to fall and the game is getting tight. Basically, having big highs and lows in Malmö is the most natural thing because you cannot plan or rely on anything, you're just playing. When you go on FACEIT you will have +25 elo and -25 elo, but you can win 16-0 or lose 16-0, you never know. When we went to Malmö it was kind of the same, you don't rely on anything, maybe you can win and maybe you lose, you just play the game. Now we will begin to work and everything is just starting.

G2 were able to challenge Astralis on Nuke with just 30 minutes of preparation

You have about a week before Pro League Group D. Do you think in that time you're going to be able to be in a position where you can challenge for that top spot for a place at the Finals among those teams, Na`Vi, Windigo, and HellRaisers?

maLeK: Anything can happen when you have good teams in a group. It's not that we need to win ten best-of-threes to qualify. We need to win one best-of-three and then you need to be good against teams that I think we can challenge, Windigo and HellRaisers, so yes, we can come first, but we can also have issues because it's really soon and we will have some question marks. But I really think we can do well. We have good facilities here, we are having a bootcamp here, it's very good, we play all day, we speak about everything and motivation is high. It would have been fun to have had the chance to practice for three days before DH Masters Malmö, I think things would have been different because we see a lot of improvements every day.

How do you think Vitality will do with this change, with shox coming in?

maLeK: The thing about shox, he is an amazing player, he can do anything if he wants to. When I say that, I mean that Richard needs to enjoy the game and what he's doing to be good and bring a lot to a team. He can be an AWPer tomorrow, he can be a leader, he can be a co-leader, he can be an entry, he can be a lurker, I swear, he can do anything. Now, he's even an anchor again like he was at the beginning. He has been a rotator for so long and he's doing that very well, too. So, for shox, it's really easy. You need to have a system where he feels great, where he feels happy to do the things he wants to do. Now they have ZywOo, they have great staff around them, and ALEX is doing a good job, obviously. shox is happy now so they will do great. As long as their system is healthy and they are feeling good, they will be good. You can't get away from that, they have the full package. The only thing that can happen is: it's the French scene, it's French CS, I don't think I need to explain, saying "French" is enough. As long as they are fitting well and they are happy, they will be really good. Once you see them underperform then don't try to see if he's good enough, just understand that they are French, there are probably some issues somewhere. This is how it works.

With your team moving to an international lineup, more of the French talent is moving away from the French scene, and there is a pretty big gap between the top two teams and the rest of the scene. NBK has now left to create an international lineup, as well. Do you think the scene will progressively continue to move away from French-speaking lineups because of these historical issues Kenny was talking about?

maLeK: The French scene might sound like a tough place now, but Vitality will probably do really well in the future, I think that's obvious. G2, we've got three French players, but we are going international, so that will put us away. But then there are a lot of possibilities with new players. When I say new, I mean it's not the same names again, there are new players who are actually good, who have great potential, they just need these little additions. For instance, if you take Heretics, Davidp is doing a great job at leading, Maka is good with the AWP, and if you take all the French names who are available, you can actually put together a team that can compete and reach the top 15 in the world. It's honestly something that can happen, so if they do the right moves, they will go in the right direction.

kennyS: But if you're looking for a new ZywOo or a new player who has been historically good, I don't think there are any at the moment, but I believe that you can create a good team out of the qualities of every individual and make something competitive out of it. Every five years, there are super big players coming out of France, which is something really great for France. We had shox, then NBK, we had myself, we have ZywOo now, it's obviously a talented country, but there are times when it's a bit harder to make everyone competitive. The French scene used to do better, but it is coming back to the top, and that's the main focus for everyone. I don't think we should be too worried about it, to be honest.

Serbia Nemanja 'nexa' Isaković
Nemanja 'nexa' Isaković
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
France Damien 'maLeK' Marcel
Damien 'maLeK' Marcel
No team
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
Serbia Nemanja 'huNter-' Kovač
Nemanja 'huNter-' Kovač
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
France Kenny 'kennyS' Schrub
Kenny 'kennyS' Schrub
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
Kennys in faze instead of olof maybe
2019-10-07 14:16
India TYZ4 
The only thing worse than s1mple's english when he was in Liquid is KennyS english.
2019-10-07 14:17
no need to be fucking Shakespeare to play on a csgo team
2019-10-07 14:18
Yes his lvl is enought
2019-10-07 14:50
Very few french ppl speak English that is possible to understand
2019-10-08 07:20
exactaly, people think they'll be chatting and telling stories during the match... it's not that hard to say "he's b", "let's go mid", "let's go a", "firebox", "site"... that's basically all u need
2019-10-07 15:06
yep, only one that needs to know the best language that the team can understand is the IGL cause they're the ones doing most of the talking
2019-10-07 15:45
France VforVictory 
Except that it's not only to have the words, it's to be able to say them as fast as you think, without to have to think about it (what kenny said in the interview)and it's not that good when it's not your native langage
2019-10-07 23:00
french people are so arrogant they don't want to learn another language, i mean wtf in here most people speak at least 3 language sometimes more, arabic,Berber,french,english, spanish
2019-10-07 23:39
Did u even read what he wrote It's not about knowing the language it's about being able to think in that language as fast as in your native
2019-10-08 10:26
France VforVictory 
I dont even know why im trying anymore
2019-10-08 14:20
France VforVictory 
CSGO is all about milliseconds And yes you perhaps know several langages but you loose time to translate what you think in your non native langage. Especially in CSGO french teams, where they speak really fast in game Same as brazilians which is why it didnt work when they try to incorporate english speaking players.
2019-10-08 14:25
if you are translating in your head, you are doing it wrong.
2019-10-18 14:14
2019-10-07 14:19
Kennys had garbage english back in 2014-2015 But now he will have better eng skills
2019-10-07 14:28
Both of them improved massively since then, Kenny even more so. Should not be a problem, i am more concerned about Jackz, his english is really bad and he will have quite a bit of pressure to improve quickly.
2019-10-07 15:19
Guatemala KlassiKer 
+1 he is a pretty good player actually but im afraid that if he doesnt learn english fast he will get dropped,and that would be a setback for G2 imo
2019-10-08 10:11
2019-10-11 01:35
NEO | 
Norway Skuolfi 
Is the respect for IGL's really this low? Are we really just going to stack superstars to FaZe and hope they can literally just outskill the top teams?
2019-10-17 21:46
k0nfig | 
Denmark k00nfig 
2019-10-07 14:15
Liquid -naf +kennys confirmed
2019-10-07 18:02
Tbh thatd be stellar
2019-10-08 10:14
2019-10-07 14:16
2019-10-07 14:16
First ;-)
2019-10-07 14:18
k0nfig | 
Denmark k00nfig 
internet explorer?
2019-10-07 14:18
Opera or Safari guarenteed
2019-10-07 18:47
2019-10-07 14:20
SolEk | 
United Kingdom Nik0l4yy 
-Guardian +Kennys Pls save faze awp god
2019-10-07 14:22
guardian is in Navi
2019-10-07 14:25
SolEk | 
United Kingdom Nik0l4yy 
Is this 2016?
2019-10-07 15:05
United States Grabboid 
haha, he just switched back
2019-10-07 15:10
bruh do you know what the faze lineup is?
2019-10-07 14:25
Ayy another suisse person 🙋‍♂️
2019-10-08 02:50
Sweden meistr0 
Yes, NaVi KennyS please )))
2019-10-07 14:29
shox | 
India prat_pps 
IE is strong with this one.
2019-10-07 15:12
Cave boy
2019-10-07 15:35
Japan Johnny_Br@Vo 
Lol he is from past
2019-10-07 17:31
2019-10-07 14:29
would see in the future - jackz - amanek +Fer + fallen. Fallen/Fer/kenny/Hunter/Nexa
2019-10-07 14:29
Greece Petsos 
Nt fallen
2019-10-07 14:55
Nt amanek
2019-10-07 15:14
Greece Petsos 
Nt kennyS
2019-10-07 15:17
nt my alt aka kenny.
2019-10-07 15:26
kennyS | 
Germany midas1 
nt my alt
2019-10-07 17:28
France VforVictory 
nt my alt
2019-10-07 23:01
I love KennyS style, playing with fallen would be great!! Hunter is one of the best entry of the last major... would be great having they matching a team! Smart players that will not have succes in the line they are today....
2019-10-08 14:43
India Bhookhiatma 
No you didn't. Stop lying
2019-10-07 14:45
Finland rolezK1 
"shox can do anything" -Malek 2019 except lead
2019-10-07 14:48
nexa | 
Europe Luboss 
XTQZZZ literally said he wasn't an IGL and that he doesn't know how to do it, he's only useful for mid-rounds calling.
2019-10-07 17:16
Finland rolezK1 
Shox wasn't useful for any style of leading, only fragging
2019-10-07 18:16
nexa | 
Europe Luboss 
you're wrong he's always been a mid round caller, XTQZZZ said it, alex said, apex said it and when he played in Very games back then people were told the same thing. He's only calling things mid round to the IGL and the IGL decides from these infos, he still has the veto. Shox is useful because he's reading the game and for a team it's important to be impredictable which average mid round calling wouldn't allow. The early, mid and end rounds are literally CSGO into 3 very different games; Alex said he's happy and it was needed for the team to have a mid round caller like Shox.
2019-10-08 18:04
Finland rolezK1 
shox fragger 1000x better than caller shox imo
2019-10-08 18:50
Shox always called mid rounds even when he was godlike back 2015. No one prefers shox as a pure caller, himself included.
2019-10-12 02:15
A team that is not going to work
2019-10-07 14:49
Germany L1lK1M 
JaCkz gonna get kicked if they don't finde the results
2019-10-07 14:51
That won't happend as they want to save major spot. After major.. maybe. But carlos really wants to save jackz.
2019-10-07 15:41
KennyS join FaZE Clan pls removing broky . It would be Raster for New Faze
2019-10-07 14:55
pls no
2019-10-07 14:56
Faze would be slightly better but the main problem is the lack of an igl
2019-10-07 15:00
Germany killmichi 
broky right now is the best chance for Faze. The one that has always hold them back is Niko himself
2019-10-07 18:23
Brazil rneX 
- RpK + KennyS win/win
2019-10-07 15:01
Rpk is a good support, vitality dont need another awp player
2019-10-07 15:14
let zywoo rifler and kennys awp
2019-10-07 15:18
Riffler its not support They are looking good with this lineup Like they say, vitality kicked nbk beacause 2igl wasnt needed. So if you are thinking about snap zywoo to riffler role kick apex or shox, but shox just joined so its impossible
2019-10-07 15:28
apex sucks, he should go
2019-10-07 15:28
There is such an option
2019-10-07 15:33
Apex does the most for moral stability. Its important.
2019-10-07 15:44
See how simple as a rifler turned out. Putting zywoo on rifle will hinder his performance as well as stats just like it did to simple
2019-10-07 16:24
nexa | 
Europe Luboss 
No it wouldn't because Zywoo is a rifler, he has just started awping like 2 years ago and sometimes he was back to rifling. He can do anything and play any role unlike s1mple. s1mple just has to accept that he's much better off as an awper and this is nothing to be ashamed about. Though I wouldn't put Zywoo on rifler because an awper has more freedom on the CT side usually
2019-10-07 17:18
That's like Navi 2.0
2019-10-08 10:15
But better than Navi
2019-10-08 10:15
But better than Navi
2019-10-08 10:15
Spain mokerz 
kenny "Doublefaced" toleito
2019-10-07 15:09
fuck you
2019-10-07 15:28
F u
2019-10-07 16:24
France LeDiplomate 
nt fallen
2019-10-07 18:37
They did really good in New York tbh could’ve been top 5
2019-10-07 15:25
AmaNEk | 
France ZywHere 
we french allways fighting like in Asterix
2019-10-07 15:32
Jackz is 27 years old and barely knows English lul
2019-10-07 16:06
"But, not going to lie, it's been super fun, we don't get frustrated when we play badly because we know why we are playing badly and we know that we did this to make things much better." damn, its like theyre competing with ENCE in who has most fun
2019-10-07 16:39
2019-10-07 16:40
G2 is the new Serbian team.
2019-10-07 16:39
tldr guys?
2019-10-07 16:40
Denmark DanishDelight 
they had no time to gel?
2019-10-07 16:52
nexa | 
Europe Luboss 
KennyS : " but I think we're just thinking about playing good Counter-Strike, having fun together - because you don't play good CS if you aren't having fun together" Allu: "Hold my beer"
2019-10-07 17:06
2019-10-09 19:46
What i understood : Niak and Malek were afraid to loose their jobs. G2 offered to go with French again and do top 5 within few months. They knew they couldn't, so they did go international for better margin of time. But when things will get scrappy, they will be fired, but they will have won 6 months/1year of salary
2019-10-07 17:06
kennys to hellraisers pls)))))
2019-10-07 17:11
Only KennyS need to join Faze. They need a Best Awper like KennyS
2019-10-07 17:15
I dont think English is a problem for Kenny, i talked with this guy in BeiJing this summer.
2019-10-07 17:20
2019-10-07 17:26
Croatia Netkov 
Good read.
2019-10-07 17:39
kennyS + GeT_RiGhT + Friberg + Xizt + ??
2019-10-07 17:52
France LeDiplomate 
nt Get_Retired
2019-10-07 18:39
Liquid -naf +kennys confirmed
2019-10-07 18:02
Turkey Elusivee 
Go kennys
2019-10-07 20:31
Elige's thoughts when he was playing with kenny at the show match: " this is how it feels like when you actually have a good awper in your team" - naf +kennys?
2019-10-07 21:18
That'd be insane ..+ elige and twistzz were like whoah after that 1v3
2019-10-08 10:17
That's bullshit tbh G2 won't go far like this
2019-10-07 22:37
France VforVictory 
Except if Carlos give them infinite money to spend. Like buying out ZywOo's contract
2019-10-07 23:03
Ye but why would ZywOo leave a stronger team?
2019-10-07 23:24
United States Jgrnty8 
Outside of himself hes not on a great team
2019-10-08 00:53
Zywoo is good because vitality sets him up that way.
2019-10-08 11:09
nexa | 
Europe Luboss 
lmao you can setup any player you want they won't drop +40 like he does + while he has good roles he's the awper ; on every team the awper has freedom, it just depends how much. He uses a lot of utility and he's smart with it so it's not like they're playing for him outside of the layout ^^they're still playing like a team I don't know if you see the difference or not ^^
2019-10-10 07:21
France VforVictory 
He would make any team he joins better and any team he leaves worst so its a stupid argument
2019-10-08 14:19
FaZe kennyYES
2019-10-08 06:21
CeRq | 
Bulgaria Ramky 
no. Just no.
2019-10-08 10:16
fer | 
Portugal Waakh 
-olof +kennys
2019-10-08 10:16
Turkey Lennon1923 
faze kennys
2019-10-12 02:23
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