apEX: "the French scene lacks really hard working, dedicated players"
After DreamHack Masters Marseille and the elimination of G2 Esports, Dan "apEX" Madesclaire kindly devoted some of his time to answer our questions. Here is a translation of the video below where the entry fragger reflect on their matches, integrating Mixwell, and the current state of the french scene.
(Interview in french)
We're in Marseille at DreamHack Masters with Dan "apEX" Madesclaire , of G2 Esports, who unfortunately exited this event after two loss in the group stage. First LAN with Mixwell as well, overall what's your feeling about your event, your matches against Cloud9 and EnVyUs ?
Let's start with the first match. Firstly, let's say Mirage has never been a "French map". Since NBK is our ingame leader, we focused a lot on it because we knew other teams, especially in Bo3, would pick it against us. We came here ready for it. We played a good Mirage against Cloud9. We had three match rounds but we didn't close it. Overall, I don't think we threw the game, they just played well. We should have been able to win one of these rounds. Even in overtime, we were leading 3-0 and we were not able to close the match. This defeat hurts but it was not that catastrophic. It was our first event together, it was Mirage, we worked and improved a lot on this map. So we were, let's not say happy because it's never the case when we lose, but we were a bit satisfied, there was something positive.
About the EnVyUs game, I don't know how to explain it. It was a French derby. We didn't expect to play this match so quickly. There was a huge delay, we should have rest a bit and we got caught off guard. We were still in the Cloud9 game. All these factors combined meant we played a really bad game. Unlike Cloud9 I didn't feel EnVy were that good. Sure, they beat us but overall, I didn't find them impressive, it's more us who played really bad. Of course, I'm talking about our match. I know they played good on Train against FaZe.
kioShiMa said that when it’s a French derby, like in the same country, there’s always more pressure for the team that is supposed to be on top in the country, did you feel that or that’s not really true?
In the past I felt that way, yes, but nowadays, not anymore. Now I approach EnVyUs is like any other team, another foreign team. I don't wonder anymore about that. It doesn't affect me.
It's your first LAN with Mixwell, how has he been integrated? More precisely, how is the communication within the team?
Mixwell has part of his family which is French. He spoke French a lot more when he was younger but he stopped and forgot how to speak. So in order to join us, he started French courses to be decent. Regarding the communication, it's a bit hard because he can't really speak out in French, he's shy with that. He understands everything in French, we never speak English, even though he does. He just needs more time, notably to train his French. You also have to remember that it's a big change for him, it's another country, etc. We have specific callouts on the maps, different principles of games. He has to adapt a lot. It's only one month that we practice together. He still has to improve his communication which has to be instinctive, natural and snappier.
We've witnessed the formation of G2 back in 2017, there was a lot of hype but it didn't deliver as much as people thought it would. Now there are changes again with Richard "shox" Papillon moving to the bench, and Mixwell stepping in. Overall it feels that creating a French top team is hard even if we take the best players. We feel that there are the right players but that it still lacks a particular combination that clicks, something like that. How do you see that problem of creating French teams?
I'm going to say something that I've been thinking for a long time. I think the French scene lacks really hard working, dedicated players. There are too few. When we see the other teams. For example, SK got eliminated. Later the same day, they were already in practice. I never saw that with a French team. There were always French players who didn't want to play, etc.
The level on CS is really high. I think the French scene has the talent and everything needed to be on top but we are just "french", we are just people who don't work enough. If we gave ourselves the means, we would be a top 5 team. We would have never fallen down in the ranking. There is a lack of everything, a lack of passion, of investment, there's a lot of things to take into account.
If we put this aside, we feel that there are some contraints about how you can form a roster, a bit artificial like the principle of “package deal players” like shox and SmithZz together, you and kennyS a bit too. We sometimes feel that from an outsider's perspective that it prevents to create a certain team. Is it actually the case nowadays?
For shox and SmithZz, yes it's true, it's a package. kennyS and myself, it was the case before, not really now. As you may have noticed, kennys was ready to play with the other project and not ours. We are not a package, in the past maybe but not anymore.
Just to go back about something you said before. Last year, we've had very good periods, and very bad ones, and we lost ourselves. There were moments where something was working but we still changed it. Someday, I will explain it fully. Right now, it's too complicated. At certain times, we could have remained a way better team than what we've been. We had everything for but there was always a problem and at the end, "we are here".
Would you say that there has been some questioning that happened when it was not needed or when you needed to trust what was already there?
Yes completely, some questioning or other stuff. I'm going to give an example. With LDLC, Happy used shox as entryfragger. I know shox really didn't like it, and yet they were winning. It's just an example, I'm not saying that's what happened with us in 2017. When we don't feel good individually, it then impacts the team, but in a team, the most important is still... the team. In France, I think we often put our individual comfort before the team. That's why we are here.
What do you think about the possible new team of Shox with the comeback of Ex6TenZ? Do you think their project will work?
To be honest, I don't want to live in the past and that's what they do. It's their choice. Shox and Ex6, it's not their first time, maybe the fourth or fifth times. Honestly I don't believe in their project. I don't hate them. Richard isn't my best friend but I respect him. I like a lot Ex6 and SmithZz. I respect them and I would like them to perform but I'm not going to lie, I don't think they will be that good. They won't be bad but I don't expect them to be in the top 5. Then, I'm hardly in a position to talk about that, but I hope they'll succeed, I'm not a hater. Richard wanted to kick me, and I don't really care. So that's it, it's just my point of view.
Some say that Ex6TenZ should absolutely come back, others argue that it's mostly nostalgia talking. When we look at the french leaders today, it feels like there is a problem with the IGL role in France, that their playstyle isn't the right one now, the most appropriate, given the players they have. That there's something missing. What's your take on the leadership in France?
Personally, I agree with that. Shox took the lead for two years but he isn't a real ingame leader. It's a great individual player but it's not a caller. With us, he gave everything he had, and props to him, but I don't think he did things properly and he's aware of that. Ex6 was the leaders' role model for a long time because he is a hard worker, he's determined, but unfortunalty, despite all his qualities there was something wrong, and that's why he was put aside. About NBK, he tried to pick the IGL position a few times in his career, I was there once actually. It didn't work well for some reason back then, both related to him and the team. But right now, I feel that he is way more determined, I see his work differently and I can't wait to see what's next with him. I don't know what this will yield, or if it will last long but he has most qualities to be a good leader. He proved that to me already, even if it's only the beginning, that there's a lot of unknowns, and that we haven't had hard times, he showed good things. Since Ex6Tenz, I have never seen one of my leader putting as many hours as NBK does, in the game, in the preparation, in all domains. So I'm eager to see what's next.
Let's move to the french tier two. What do you think of the player talent pool in the French scene? Do you think it's renewed, expanded enough?
It's been a long time since we had prodigies like Shox, NBK or kennyS. I'm sorry for players like hadji, devo or amanek, they are good players but they don't have the talent like NBK or shox have or integrated as quickly within their team. I think we have a good pool of players, but that we're lacking that little gem. Well we know there is one coming up, ZywOo. I don't know how it will be. I still think it's the future, he has an amazing level. I know players like hAdji are strong, hard working. He is doing well but I can't judge him right now because I haven't watched him enough. He did a good map against FaZe, he played well on Train. I think he will bring something good but he needs time.
For some time, French scene lacked a big talent. ZywOo is here. Now, let's hope he will join a very good French team, and that things go well.
In the tier two, the young talents, is there a player who you think has kind of the same playstyle than you? In which player do you recognize yourself the most?
I talk a lot with ALEX from LDLC. It's someone who always admired my playstyle and the way I am. We talk a lot, and I know he tries to emulate my playstyle a bit, get things from it. So that's why it's the player who I identify the most with. Even devoduvek, he is not bad, although he's more about the terrorist side, he's an entry fragger who's fearless and who has good individual skills but I don't know him enough. That's two young players who have that style, and are as hungry as I am.
We've seen you get back to streaming recently, and the memes flowing on Reddit notably. Is that something that you like? The interactions with the international community as well?
I've always enjoyed streaming. At times I could, at others I couldn't and had to stop. Recently, I restarted to stream. It's something that pleases me a lot. When you play why not stream it? It's two activities at the same time. Then I do it mainly for my fanbase, for my followers, I know they like that a lot, they can ask me about anything. It's important to interact with them. I like that, I have my funny moments, I'm chilling, I screw around. It's natural, and I'm just myself.
Nowadays, there are more and more international teams, such as FaZe, mouz, etc. Is it something who might interest you in the future ?
I already had some proposals and it's something who might interest me but not right now. Maybe someday, if I don't have any team, if I'm alone, rejected, I might do this choice to go in an international project. Right now, I want to give the French scene a chance, I want to perform with frenchies. There are players I know for ten years, I want to succeed with them. We'll see after.
When you consider international teams, there's the advantage that you can go for the most appropriate player without nationality constraints. Did you bring Mixwell in because he was a better fit for your project?
I don't think there are young players in France similar to Mixwell. He doesn't have a crazy experience but he showed good things with optic where they were really impressive. What please us with him is the fact that he can understand French and talk it even if right now, it's not perfect.
What SK did (to bring Stewie), I'm not a fan because they are four Brazilians and these ones has to start talking English. With G2, we always speak French. When Oscar can't speak French, he does it in English so it's really different. We didn't get used to him. It's him who got used to us. That's the difference. I don't think changing the language is a good thing.