shox: "We were really excited going into the tournament since we finally got some good preparation"
Vitality commenced their campaign in Moscow with a 2-0 victory against EHOME, where a tight 16-12 affair on Inferno was succeeded by a confident 16-1 performance on Nuke. The team will now face the winner of Natus Vincere versus Heroic in looks to advance straight to the semi-finals of the $500,000 event.
Following their successful series against the Chinese underdogs, we caught up with shox, who gave some insight into his progress since joining in late September. The Frenchman also spoke on the practice achieved between Beijing and Moscow, as well as his adjustment from an in-game leader mindset to a player-focused one.
Vitality last played on LAN at the ESL Pro League Season 10 EU qualifiers, since then you've had a decent block of time to practice. How prepared does the team feel going into EPICENTER 2019?
Past events were pretty hard because we were just surfing off of the only bootcamp that we had before Malmö. It was like 10 days of practice, and after that we did not have any time to practice.
Coming here to EPICENTER we were really happy because we definitely had decent preparation. We had 10 days of bootcamp, plus something like five days of online practice, so we were pretty confident coming here, and everyone is feeling good because we finally managed to come to an event with at least some preparation.
Considering that the team is happy with the level of preparation, what are the projections for the tournament? What would be a good result for Vitality to achieve in Moscow?
We didn't really discuss goals that much, but we all feel confident and we know that we had good preparation. We are definitely going for the win, that's what we are aiming for.
You were added to the roster late-September. Would you say your role within the team has adjusted since arrival?
There have definitely been some changes since September. When we came back from Beijing I changed some positions to ones where I feel more comfortable. Since we finally had some time to practice, I'm just getting used to how we are playing and getting a better understanding of what's happening on the map and how we are playing as a team; I'm feeling better and better. It's all positive and I can feel that I'm progressing day by day.
Previously you mentioned that it was difficult for you to move away from an in-game leader mindset that you had to assume during your time on G2. How has that been progressing for you?
Yeah, I have definitely become more comfortable as a player right now. It took time, but I'm feeling better. The only thing that remains, I would say, is that I still need to understand what we are doing, why we are doing it and stuff like that. When I don't really understand what's going on is when I get in trouble, especially individually.
Since we had time to prepare and I had the time to think about everything and ask questions when I didn't understand why it has definitely gotten better, I'm fitting into the team better and feeling confident as a player.
Could you give specific examples of some of the things you didn't understand?
It's questions that I ask when I don't understand specific things about the game and what we are doing. Sometimes it's even about tactics because we didn't have the time to practice. We only practiced before Malmö for one week, and it was quite difficult to remember what I should do in certain situations. It's all about clearly understanding my role, my positions and what we are doing as a team.
In the series against EHOME Inferno saw a confident 12-3 CT half, but on the T side you really seemed to struggle. What were the difficulties on the offense?
They were playing an aggressive style, and they caught us off guard a lot of times. We weren't as prepared as we should have been against this kind of style. Once we set up a plan to calm down and be ready for something really aggressive, everything went pretty well.
Also, I think we are all really excited going into the tournament since we finally got some good preparation. We are really excited to play, and I guess we also needed to get comfortable at a LAN event since our last was Beijing. It's fine since we managed to close out the game and show a way better face on Nuke.
Lastly, the team is now through to the winners' match of group A, where you will face either Natus Vincere or Heroic. Any preference regarding your opponent?
We don't have any preference at all, as I said, we are aiming for the trophy coming into Moscow, so whichever team we play, we are ready to face them and put up a good fight. We want to reach the level we expect of ourselves.