apEX: "Counter-Strike has become really random because of the Krieg, that's why the scene is so inconsistent"
Dan "apEX" Madesclaire took some time to chat with us after Vitality's defeat at the hands of 100 Thieves in the IEM Beijing semi-finals, which ended the French team's run at the tournament in China.
Vitality's run at IEM Beijing came to an end on Saturday after their semi-final loss to 100 Thieves on Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut's 19th birthday. To reach the playoffs, the Frenchmen had to beat TYLOO and FaZe in the group stage, the latter of whom they will meet again in the second stage of the ESL Pro League.
Communication struggles plagued Vitality on Nuke, where they were unable to close out the map on the CT side late in the map, letting the series slip away as a stellar performance by Justin "jks" Savage on Inferno, the series' decider map, shut the French team down. After sharing his thoughts about the match and Vitality's present affairs, apEX went on to criticize the SG 553 for making the current meta too skill-driven and not tactical enough.
You picked Nuke as your map against 100 Thieves. You had played well against FaZe on it and you had looked convincing on it, but you were unable to close it out on the CT side today...
Yeah, we started on the T side, which is a pretty strong side for us. We won 8-7, which is a pretty good attacking side on Nuke and then we won the pistol, but we lost against Kriegs in the second round, which is basic. We struggled on the CT side mainly because of communication. We had really bad communication and our coach couldn't be here today, unfortunately, because he's really sick. He has been a huge part of our results for the last six months, so it wasn't easy to play without him giving us more energy or calming us when we needed, etc. We struggled in terms of communication and that's why we lost that map. We lost some pretty bad rounds on the CT side, the first one was a 5vs3 on lower when they went down vent and we tried to retake, but it went really badly because of poor communication. We had the chance to win the whole series on the map, we were up 13-12, but in the end they just played better.
Talking to ALEX yesterday, he said you were quite confident on Inferno and ready to take on anybody... Was this just an amazing display by jks that stopped you or is there more to it?
Our Inferno is pretty good. Except for today, I guess, but it can happen. Our biggest problem, mainly on T-side, is that we don't have enough practice to be good on most of the aspects of the map yet. Our T-side is a bit shaky because we don't have the right things to do, although obviously they played super well and wrecked us on the CT side. Mainly jks, as you said, but we just didn't play well at all. We lost some crucial rounds, and some pretty bad rounds, and as I said we're just not prepared yet.
We've been with shox for a couple of months, but only had like ten days of practice overall. We hadn't planned on making any changes after the player break, so we scheduled all of our LANs out until the end of the season. We're trying to play as well as possible without much practice, but sometimes we kind of feel like a mix, like in an FPL game, because we don't have all of the things ready for shox. We changed a lot of positions, and it's a new position for him, so he needs some time, but we'll become more consistent and better, I'm pretty sure of that.
You mentioned missing XTQZZZ, and you said he's been important during the past half year. Can you explain why he has been so important, and why it was hard to play without him today?
The first thing is that he is impactful on the tactical side. He prepares the games really well, so we know what to do against the teams we play and we're ready for everything. He tried to prepare as much as possible for today, but it wasn't easy for him because he was pretty sick and he wasn't 100% focused. Also, when he's behind us, he keeps us calm in important situations or brings us more energy when we need it, giving fist bumps, motivating us... He's a big part of everything, also our overall game plan. So yeah, we missed him a lot and tried to win for him. It was really good on Mirage and on the T side of Nuke, but then we just fell apart and they played better than us.
You planned the whole season out because you didn't think you'd make a change, but will you be able to make some time to practice soon?
We have the second phase of ESL Pro League in less than a week, so we won't have much time between here and there, but after that, if we qualify for the finals we'll have two weeks to prepare, and then we have one week for EPICENTER. That'll be great, and even if we don't qualify for the Pro League finals then we'll have a longer preparation for EPICENTER, which I'm not going to lie is needed right now. We prepared before Malmö, but then we had to do visa stuff to play in Beijing because now you need to get fingerprints scanned and we all had to go get those done, so we just prepared individually. Before that, it was Turkey and EPL, so not much time to practice. Now that we'll have time, I hope it will get better.
Have you talked about goals and where you want the team to be when the season ends?
We don't exactly know, but we know that if we play good CS, we'll go really far in tournaments. That's what always happens with us, and that's our main goal, to play well. It's hard to focus on CS lately, though, because for me, it has become really random because of the Kriegs. That's why the scene is really inconsistent lately, any team can win and then lose in the group stage, like EG. It's because of the Kriegs, because CS has become way less tactical game and much more skill-based. It's tough for us because most of us aren't really good with the Krieg, and I'll mention shox and myself. We didn't adapt to the weapon fast enough and people are way too strong with it compared to the both of us, so it's not easy for us to play CS now.
I think if the Krieg gets nerfed CS will become more tactical again and we'll get more teams that can go on to win three or four events in a row like Astralis did. For me, CS needs to be tactical and teamplay-based, that's when CS is the most beautiful, because of the work ethic and stuff like that, not just skill-based. I hope we'll go as far as possible in the next events, but I can't say exactly how far because of this.