kennyS: "There were a lot of weaknesses that became strengths; that was the point of the bootcamp"
We spoke to Kenny "kennyS" Schrub in our opening interview of BLAST Premier Spring group C, where we discussed the team's bootcamp and confidence levels coming into London.
G2 ended 2019 on a high note as they ran out victorious at the Champions Cup Finals, in Malta, after beating teams like ENCE and Spirit along the way. The Frenchmen also began the new year in emphatic style, qualifying for IEM Katowice with back-to-back victories over AGO and MAD Lions in the double-elimination closed qualifier.
In our first interview from BLAST Premier Group C, kennyS shared his thoughts on the recent announcements of Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux's and Kévin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans's retirements from professional play, and spoke about the team's confidence levels coming into BLAST Premier and the threat posed by 100 Thieves - whom the AWPer described as the most annoying opponent of the group.
It was recently announced that SmithZz had decided to retire, while Ex6TenZ is going into coaching. You go back way back to VeryGames with the two, what was your reaction to the news?
I don't know how I feel, to be honest. One thing I do know is that both of them were very important to my career. Ex6TenZ was the first leader who trusted me professionally, he taught me pretty much everything I know. I was a bit sad for them because I know what they can bring to a team, I know their input and the way they see the game; they're smart. I come from the VeryGames school, so I learned so much from Ex6TenZ on VeryGames, Titan, and even G2 two years ago. For me, Ex6TenZ will always remain a player. He helped to mould me; I tried to learn as much as possible from other players and everything I saw.
SmithZz is also someone who taught me a lot, he was the best AWPer in the world during Source and he taught me a couple of things that were very helpful to me. He helped me make sure that my style was not only aggressive but more complete, I would say. I will definitely miss them, and, to be honest, I would love to see Ex6TenZ as a coach. I think he will do great at the job and I wish them all the best in life because they are both amazing people.
The team qualified for IEM Katowice earlier in January, maintaining a flawless record in the process. How was this result achieved?
I think we surfed the confidence wave we had from winning the Champions Cup Finals. We had a good break that I think was needed in esports, in general, because we all work a lot. We got caught a bit off-guard with that qualifier, as we had to shut down our break and had one or two days to practice before it. The objective was to qualify, and we did really well.
Yeah, I think we were surfing the confidence from Malta and we'll keep doing it here because we also won the qualifier, which means we haven't lost an official game for a while, even though we haven't played that much. I think right now, within the team, we are really chill, we are really relaxed and confident. We know we worked hard and we know we have a lot of strength and potential. We'll see how it goes because here at BLAST there are so many good teams, and we also know that we have been our biggest opponents. We're just trying to keep that composure and remain chilled, relaxed and confident.
Touching slightly on the latter stages of last year, you had a strong finish at the Champions Cup Finals, but just before that you had cs_summit 5, where you had a bitter loss in the grand final against mousesports. Now that some time has passed, could you reflect on what went south in that series?
I felt that, somehow, we just crashed. As I said, our biggest opponent has been ourselves, and that was the case during that game. We might have been overconfident on Vertigo, and when we started on Train, I noticed straight away that we were making unusual mistakes. With the double AWP on their CT side of Train, we might have pushed too much on the A site.
We made a couple of mistakes, obviously, but I think we had unexpected difficulties that we were not able to get through. The good part is that we showed a lot of character by winning the Champions Cup Finals afterwards, and that's the most important part for me.
How productive was your bootcamp heading into this event?
I think it was really good, really productive. Since we started the team, we have barely had time to practice, so it was much needed. The bootcamp led to us being confident, but hopefully not overconfident. There were a lot of weaknesses that became strengths, and that was the point of the bootcamp.
The bootcamp went well, and when it goes well, you expect results. We expect results, obviously, but we're trying not to put too much pressure on ourselves because, as I said, our biggest opponent is always ourselves. We don't want the mindset switch to happen, we want to get into a competitive mode straight away and keep that mode all the way through, despite any difficulties that we're going to face, or the other way around, you know? Pretty much like the cs_summit 5 final - at some point, it got too easy, and we shit on ourselves.
You'll be facing 100 Thieves in your first match in London. The Aussies had over two months to iron out their issues coming into the event. With this in mind, what is the team's approach?
We're going to prepare for the game today and, in my eyes, 100 Thieves are a really annoying team to play. They're really structured and very good at playing CS together. That's their biggest strength - it's the teamplay they have. They are really trying to limit the number of mistakes they make, and that makes them really complicated to face. They don't necessarily have the strongest firepower out of the top teams, but they can definitely beat any team because they have a really good mindset and really smart and composed players. Their attitude, mindset and the way they approach difficulties are their strengths.
For us, our weakness is sometimes ourselves, but for them, it's definitely not the case. They are a very relaxed and confident team because they have always been really consistent, showing a lot of unexpected results. I would say that they are probably the hardest team to play in the group.