apEX: "We thought about keeping the six-man roster, but I felt that it was impossible"

The French skipper talked about Vitality's slump at the beginning of the season and the thought process behind their roster change in the latest episode of 'HLTV Confirmed'.

Vitality could have fallen apart in early 2020 when then in-game leader Alex "⁠ALEX⁠" McMeekin suddenly left the team in March due to the hectic travel schedule of an elite side. However, they persisted and, under the leadership of Dan "⁠apEX⁠" Madesclaire, became one of the most consistent teams when competitions transitioned to an online-only format due to the coronavirus pandemic, winning two trophies in the final stretch of the season, shortly after adding Nabil "⁠Nivera⁠" Benrlitom as a sixth player.

But the French team have endured a shaky start to 2021, their best result so far being a third-place finish in the BLAST Premier Global Final in January. They didn't reach the playoffs in IEM Katowice and ESL Pro League Season 13, nor did they make it out of their BLAST Premier Spring Group.

apEX was the latest guest on the 'HLTV Confirmed' podcast

"Obviously, we're not playing well, a lot of things happened at the beginning of the year that were really hard to handle," the 28-year-old captain said on Tuesday on the 'HLTV Confirmed' podcast. "But right now, we're practising a lot and playing as much as possible individually to come back to our real level, I would say."

According to apEX, the team went through different problems at about the same time. Firstly, Vitality were fined $10,000 by the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) in January for breach of code after it was revealed that the team had played two matches in the BLAST Premier Global Final with a stream running in the background. Shortly afterwards, Valve decided to issue penalties to teams who substitute out players in the Regional Major Ranking (RMR) circuit, which came as a blow to Vitality, who had become the reference on how to properly utilize a six-man roster. Some of Vitality's players also had to deal with personal issues, including apEX himself, who took a short break from competition in the middle of the team's campaign in BLAST Premier Spring Groups.

"It was the first time in my career that I couldn't focus on CS," he revealed. "I'm really emotional and everyone knows it, but at that moment it was even worse. We were wrecked by Complexity in BLAST and for the first time in my life, I didn't care. Personal issues happened, and after that, I just talked to our coach and we decided that I would take a week or two off.

"I just took a week to do everything I could to solve my personal issues. I'm not a person who needs a month or two to come back. I'm the guy who likes living a 'normal life', and it's been pretty hard to do that with the pandemic."

Vitality were blazing a trail for teams wishing to explore the possibilities of a six-man roster before Valve announced the ruleset for the 2021 RMR circuit. They had won two Big Events – IEM Beijing-Haidian 2020 Europe and the BLAST Premier Fall Finals – using all six players, with Nivera making important contributions almost every time he was called into action. According to apEX, Valve's decision left the team with no choice but to bench the Belgian player.

"We would have three days to practice with a five-man roster for the RMR, which is really hard," apEX said. "It would be really hard to make it work in the long run, we thought about keeping a six-man roster and doing it, but I felt that it was impossible. It was obviously not my decision, but the staff's decision.

"We kind of invented the six-man roster, I mean, changing players in between maps. I think it's the future because almost every player has a map where he doesn't feel really comfortable. That happened with shox for a long time on Inferno. When we added Nivera it was much easier, we solved the problem. It was pretty good for us, but unfortunately, we couldn't continue with it."

When explaining the reasons behind Nivera's benching, apEX alluded to the role distribution in the lineup and explained why a player like Kévin "⁠misutaaa⁠" Rabier is fundamental for any team.

"Nivera is not an entry-fragger, and if he were to replace misutaaa, he would have to be an entry," apEX explained. "So, it's not easy to replace people like that. Just take G2 for example. It was a big mistake when they tried to replace JaCkz from my point of view because they had no one to go in first and sacrificing a little bit.

"We're not using misutaaa like that all the time, but he likes to go in first and it's what he wants to do. I think it would be a bit different in terms of roles if we were playing with Nivera instead of him."

Ever since G2 took the international route in 2019, Vitality have been the only ones carrying the French flag at the highest level of CS:GO. The second-best French team at the moment, DBL PONEY, are playing without the support of an organisation. But the lack of professional teams doesn't mean that there aren't youngsters looking to improve and climb up the ladder. apEX said he's having a blast playing in the French hub on FACEIT, where young players have shown a willingness to learn from veterans like him. The main problem, he added, is the lack of in-game leaders in the lower tiers.

"That's why a player like misutaaa wasn't ready to play at the highest level," the 28-year-old said. "He had crazy good mechanics, but the rest was really bad. He's getting better, but he's still not there in terms of communication and everything else because we lack in-game leaders in France."

You can access the full VOD of Tuesday's episode of 'HLTV Confirmed' below.

France Kévin 'misutaaa' Rabier
Kévin 'misutaaa' Rabier
Age:
18
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.95
Maps played:
235
KPR:
0.63
DPR:
0.67
Belgium Nabil 'Nivera' Benrlitom
Nabil 'Nivera' Benrlitom
Age:
20
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.11
Maps played:
192
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.62
United Kingdom Alex 'ALEX' McMeekin
Alex 'ALEX' McMeekin
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
1026
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.71
France Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire
Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
1780
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.70
#5
 | 
Japan Yuukek
Gj
2021-04-08 13:49
8 replies
wat F to #1 #2 #3 #4
2021-04-08 13:51
5 replies
HLTV MODS KEKW
2021-04-08 13:53
man i had #1, #3 and #4 that's unfair
2021-04-08 14:01
3 replies
sad :C
2021-04-08 14:01
u tryna pretend to my achievement? Those #1-4 were mine
2021-04-08 16:45
1 reply
0/8
2021-04-08 16:59
#14
 | 
Germany DavLy
sad
2021-04-08 13:50
#45
 | 
Denmark Cleandog
+1
2021-04-08 14:47
nt malder
2021-04-08 13:49
2 replies
#47
 | 
Latvia kArnyje
Malder has achieved more in his life than your whole family together you freakin keyboard warrior
2021-04-08 14:53
1 reply
Nah apEX_1_Major_But_Big_Maldor
2021-04-08 14:55
true
2021-04-08 13:49
vitality without nivera is so bad
2021-04-08 13:49
#11
 | 
Russia popuskFN
rip
2021-04-08 13:50
#13
 | 
Portugal Hmikas
gj valve
2021-04-08 13:50
make a 5 man rooster, but with Nivera instead of Apex :)
2021-04-08 13:51
3 replies
lol, no igl?
2021-04-08 14:33
1 reply
no dont need that B)
2021-04-08 15:32
+1 kick that malder
2021-04-08 17:41
POGpex
2021-04-08 13:51
Madesclaire is the problem
2021-04-08 13:52
Apex"Im going to take a break " 1 week later: nvm
2021-04-08 13:53
4 replies
#21
 | 
France cedd
"It was the first time in my career that I couldn't focus on CS," he revealed. "I'm really emotional and everyone knows it, but at that moment it was even worse. We were wrecked by Complexity in BLAST and for the first time in my life, I didn't care. Personal issues happened, and after that, I just talked to our coach and we decided that I would take a week or two off. "I just took a week to do everything I could to solve my personal issues. I'm not a person who needs a month or two to come back.
2021-04-08 13:55
3 replies
+1
2021-04-08 16:11
french guys with vitality
2021-04-08 22:06
apex should be kicked ffs biggest crybaby ever he was burned out long ago
2021-04-08 22:11
#20
 | 
France cedd
they will bounce back, i believe
2021-04-08 13:54
8 replies
#27
 | 
Germany Droidd
hopefully mens i like having a french team
2021-04-08 14:01
1 reply
Sike!
2021-04-08 15:44
No, shox and rpk way too old for "bounce back"
2021-04-08 14:06
4 replies
#49
 | 
France cedd
thats what ppl been saying about rpk for years but yet he keeps doing it
2021-04-08 15:22
1 reply
#79
RpK | 
France HippzZ
+1
2021-04-09 03:31
But scientists and doctors have found that humans don't bounce, it would be really bad if they have to bounce, like a lot of broken bones, hopefully they have quality padding before their bouncing sessions
2021-04-08 18:26
1 reply
I do not believe scientists in 2021
2021-04-08 18:31
it just similar as last year alex left vitality the first half of 2020 vit was playing so bad until june they started reaching to final and keep performing and end up with wining 2 final tbh it feels so good as a french cs fans atm G2 has entered 3 final and vit has entered 7 final consecutively
2021-04-08 16:41
35.7% win rate can't be wrong
2021-04-08 13:57
and ofc keeping Botsuta instead of Niver,who is good as 2nd awp and better player overall is 2 smart.
2021-04-08 13:59
1 reply
but Nivera doesn't entry/give himself? misutaa had a super solid second half of 2020. It's also more honest to keep misutaa who joined Vitality way earlier
2021-04-08 14:13
#25
 | 
Denmark mahessar
ApEX is the weakest link in Vitality imo
2021-04-08 14:01
lmao stfu, it was working fine, niver was doing decent
2021-04-08 14:07
8 replies
You know nothing
2021-04-08 14:20
1 reply
I know apex is tilting
2021-04-08 14:20
#35
 | 
United Kingdom novaseer
you can't read, can you? ""We would have three days to practice with a five-man roster for the RMR, which is really hard," apEX said. "It would be really hard to make it work in the long run, we thought about keeping a six-man roster and doing it, but I felt that it was impossible. It was obviously not my decision, but the staff's decision."
2021-04-08 14:21
2 replies
tldr, thanks
2021-04-08 14:22
classic shit man, people comment and roast without actually reading the article Can't get over headlines
2021-04-08 14:26
you didn't read the article ...
2021-04-08 14:25
+1
2021-04-08 14:28
1 reply
2021-04-08 14:29
nem li, nem lerei
2021-04-08 14:08
apEX new NiKo
2021-04-08 14:12
6 replies
-aim +brain
2021-04-08 16:47
5 replies
I'm talking about destroying rosters.. he says "I" felt it was impossible to have 6 man roster which means it was his decision to drop it
2021-04-08 19:36
4 replies
ah I thought you meant skillwise. Niko hasn't really destroyed the roster imo because the roster was horrible before he joined
2021-04-08 20:38
3 replies
true it was a joke too but funny how apEX takes the blame for dropping the 6man roster too
2021-04-08 22:00
2 replies
It's good that he stands up and admits his mistakes, happened too with jw. Good to see more people do this
2021-04-08 22:01
1 reply
don't think he looks at it as a mistake though, but ye lots of talks about the 6man rosters in general so maybe it was a bad idea overall
2021-04-08 22:02
#36
 | 
Vietnam xhrimp
Apex don't rage if your team is losing pls
2021-04-08 14:22
1 reply
yeah I hope it will get better he said in the hltv interview that he changed mental coach, and that he's improving Let's see in 2 months
2021-04-08 14:27
Hahaahahahhahhaahahahahahha Nivera >>>>>>>>>> misutaa all the way
2021-04-08 14:26
really hope navi and vita regain their forms back :((
2021-04-08 14:50
🐍 whos that animal? iiiittss APEEEX
2021-04-08 15:30
1 reply
+1
2021-04-08 17:43
#53
NiKo | 
Poland SebL
I love HLTV Confirmed, especially when the legends like apEX are there, I will watch this one when I will find a little bit of time.
2021-04-08 16:07
2 replies
+1 mostly if it's someone who talks a lot and doesn't just sit in the call
2021-04-08 16:48
1 reply
#63
NiKo | 
Poland SebL
Yeah, excatly.
2021-04-08 17:01
#55
 | 
Poland mich34
free nivera, he is too good to stay on bench :(
2021-04-08 16:15
1 reply
He is free...
2021-04-08 16:47
Zywoo can't carry them for so long ...
2021-04-08 16:18
yeah, just kick rpk/missuta/apex and add nivera
2021-04-08 17:40
The title tho... "apEX opens up about 'malding'" LMAO
2021-04-08 17:44
Apex sucks though, legit have not seen him play well in almost a year. It's been since the "spectator bug" when Apex actually played decent.
2021-04-08 20:33
1 reply
?? since 2015 you mean
2021-04-08 20:35
Omg apex really think he is that good? He washed up
2021-04-09 16:58
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