bodyy: "I’m setting everything up so I can find my best level again"
bodyy left G2 in June 2019 after being sidelined by the French team months earlier, with the WESG World Finals being his last event with the squad. During his three-year stint with G2, he helped the team to win four international events, most notably the ECS Season 1 Finals, the ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals, and DreamHack Masters Malmö 2017.
He went on to create a new team with former LDLC White teammates Matthieu "matHEND" Roquigny and Antoine "to1nou" Pirard, but the project failed to gain much traction. Unable to find an organisation to support FiveG, bodyy and Aurélien "afro" Drapier decided to join LDLC, replacing Logan "LOGAN" Corti and Kilian "Gringo" Garcia.
In the following interview, bodyy talks to us about his final days in G2 and his personal project of FiveG and why he spent so much time on it. He also gives us some insight into finally deciding to take an offer from the organisation with which he rose to prominence after rejecting their approaches on several occasions.
It's been almost a year since your contract with G2 ran out. What have you been up to since then?
I had an incident during my time on the bench when my contract with G2 was expiring, I broke a finger in my right hand and it forced me to become left-handed for a few months, so it was impossible to play any FPS games or do anything computer-related except watch matches and think about what I wanted to do.
I had a project in mind that I wanted to build from scratch and grind my way back from the beginning. It was kind of like going back to the old LDLC White. I really wanted to play under the leadership of matHEND, whom I held in high esteem because of what had we achieved in the past and how he had helped me during certain points of my career. I felt like we could build a team from scratch and see how far we could bring it with the experience we had acquired in our previous years.
We built a roster with some experienced players: matHEND, who had spent some time in LDLC White; to1nou, who was also from that LDLC White team and played a few Minors and international events; devoduvek, who spent some time in America and played at a Major; and MIKE, a rookie.
I personally didn’t expect the international subtop level to be as high as it is. I remember what the qualifiers and ESEA leagues were like during our time in LDLC White, when good teams were good but lesser-known teams were not a threat, which isn't the case anymore.
The first few qualifiers we played were upsetting and devoduvek decided to take an opportunity in Heretics after a few months. I had turned that same offer down before because I wanted to keep trying hard with our team and we were about to sign with an organization that would allow us to play full-time with a very decent salary, but the deal didn’t go through when he left.
You say you wanted to “grind from the beginning,” which seems to have been a bit harder than expected. How was that experience for you?
From a personal and human perspective, I’m really happy that I made this team with these individuals in particular. We were going along very well, always on the same page and giving our best to make it work, always facing each other when there was something to be said without having any animosity because we were also friends outside of the game. We knew that for some players it was a do or die moment to make their way back to the scene or just give it all up if things didn't work out.
I’m sad it didn’t go as expected, we knew it would be really hard to start from scratch without an organization supporting us. Creating our game and teaching young players a lot of things takes time, and although we managed to pull some nice runs in qualifiers, we couldn’t afford to keep going as we were constantly failing when it mattered the most.
Did you play some local tournaments during the past year with FiveG? How did it go? How’s the state of the French subtop scene in general now that you were able to see it up close again?
We played one local tournament right after devoduvek decided to move on. We were planning on playing with him, but we had to get a replacement, so we decided to go for a young player, afroo, who had been targeted by LDLC back in the day because of his great level in the ESL Championnat National and is one of my teammates now. We finished the tournament in a very disappointing third place, but we kept going since we only had a week or so of preparation and we weren’t even playing full-time at that moment as afroo was still in school. We just took it as experience and kept on grinding.
I haven't played enough teams in France to give a proper opinion on the French subtop scene, but from what I saw in the Championnat National the level is really stacked among most of the teams playing it, but it’s well below that of a team like Heretics.
You’re returning to LDLC, the organization in which you first piqued interest on an international level, although the team is completely different. How do you feel about it now?
It feels great to return to LDLC, my home back in the day, and to see how big the organization has become since 2016. It feels like going back home because I know the people working there and they trust me 100%. They have also seen my evolution as a player and a person since I was 19 years old, when I left them, although I’m a whole different person and player now!
Why did you choose to join this team in particular? Did you receive offers from other teams in the past year? How easy or hard of a decision was it for you to join LDLC?
I had some talks with the people in charge of LDLC before joining them and I felt that the way they talked to me about the project, it matches what I’m looking for in a team. It's a great opportunity to return to the scene and grind my way back to the top level. I had many offers from LDLC and Heretics during the past year, but I declined them to be able to fully discover the potential of my project, which I truly believed in. I still thank them for the trust and the interest they showed in me at the time, but I didn’t want to give up on my project until I could see how far we could go.
It was still a pretty tough choice to make, but the players and the staff have the same goals as me. SIXER and hAdji are in incredible shape, Lambert is a great leader who has been missing someone to support him inside the game to get back to his best and afroo is a young promising player—not to mention the staff, who are working very hard and can lead us to big things.
Did you think about joining international teams at all? Did you have any offers? Is it something you think about for the future?
I never posted that I was a free agent anywhere after getting benched by G2 and I didn’t contact any team to see if I could have a tryout. I had a few offers, but I was really focused on my own project and didn’t want to do anything else at the time, although it’s definitely something I’m thinking about for the future and I’ll be ready for it when the time comes.
misutaaa and Nivera joined Vitality and Heretics recently, a new generation of players from the Francophone scene. Do you think you should have been considered for any of those teams ahead of them?
I think they are great players. misutaaa has been showing incredible skill and he just needs to find his place in Vitality to perform at his best level, but Nivera particularly was insane against top tier teams in the Road to Rio qualifier. These young guns performing in top tier tournaments is really good for the renewal of the French scene. They were at a really good level when they were picked up, while I was away from the pro scene.
Regarding myself, I have everything to prove. Teams couldn’t gamble on my actual level since they hadn't seen me play for a long time. They were the right choices and I hope they keep on improving.
Now that some time has passed since the G2 days, how do you see your last months before leaving the team? WESG 2019 was a pretty emotional ending to your time in that organization. When you look back, do you think the team made the right decisions?
I spent most of my adult life in that organization, which shaped me as a person, alongside all the players, management and coaching staff. It was sad to leave the people who helped me become who I am now, but I felt like it was needed for me to start something new and get some fresh air. My last months in G2 were tough, we spent five out of six months bootcamping, physically or in what we were calling "online bootcamps," but those are the ones I enjoyed the most during my three years there.
Damdam [maLeK] is a passionate, hard-working coach who gave us a work ethic and an eagerness to learn and give our best. I needed someone like him to push me to be a better version of myself and I thank him for that. It made me love the game more than I ever had before and that’s when I started to get back in shape. He put me back in roles that I was truly meant to play and we had some great moments. I think it was a bit early to make changes, but they needed to try some new things, which I understand, and as I said I was also happy because I needed a change of pace.
You’re joining LDLC with afroo, a player who is largely unknown outside of France but who was your teammate in FiveG. Can you tell us a little bit about him?
I didn’t know anything about him when we picked him up, but I can say that he was meant to go pro at some point. He is very consistent, and even being the least experienced player he can play any role, he communicates very well, and he always listens to anything you tell him that he can improve, which is something you don’t see much at the level he was playing at. He has a great work ethic that has allowed him to improve a lot in a very short period of time.
What goals do you have with LDLC? Personally and for the team? Is there anything that makes you particularly excited?
Personally, I’m setting everything up so I can find my best level again, to keep up that eagerness to grind and get consistent. As a team, in the short term we want to get into MDL, but our goal is obviously to get as high as possible in the world ranking and qualify for international events. I miss them so badly!
We could beat great teams with my former team, but we couldn’t go too far in qualifiers, so I’m sure with everyone’s experience in LDLC and the support we have backing us, qualifying for tournaments will be the first step to enter the top 30. That’s what we need and I’m sure we can do it.
How do you think you’ve changed as a person since you were playing in G2? And as a player?
I feel that getting benched and having some time outside of the scene was a great opportunity for me to reflect on my life and on what I value, but then I made sure to dedicate myself to the project that was in my heart. There was a risk that I would maybe never come back from it, but it was something I really wanted to try. As a player, I took some time to find what I really like and I’m good at, that dedication and work ethic that I have never lost since I left G2.
I've also changed a few roles. I always enjoyed entry-fragging, because I have an aggressive playstyle, running around and shooting to create space for the others. Now I’m more mobile on the CT side to allow myself some aggressive moves while still supporting my teammates, so I’m more like a rotator, working my ass off to make it work while still being efficient.
You joined G2 as a teenager and were there for several years before going under the radar. You’re still a fairly young player at 23, so what are your career goals in the short, medium and long term?
I still feel like I’m fairly young. My goals in the short term are to prove to myself that I can make my comeback by performing with LDLC and to make the team better. In the mid and long term, I want to make it back to the most competitive part of the scene.