Slingshot’s Vince Nairn caught up with EnVyUs’ Vincent “Happy” Schopenhauer ahead of Friday’s ELEAGUE Group D to talk about recent form, the challenges of staying on top and whether or not there are too many tournaments.
Vince Nairn: You’re in Atlanta or ELEAGUE this weekend. What are you looking for from this group?
Vincent “Happy” Schopenhauer: I think we have one of the toughest groups with Fnatic and Dignitas, but we kind of got lucky because Dennis isn’t here and Jumpy is playing for him. I think we’ll have to beat teams that are ranked higher than us, so it will be tough but I think.
VN: Did anything change in terms of expectations when the info came out and you knew a handful of top teams weren’t going to be in your group because of IEM Oakland?
VS: I don’t think it changed much from our preparation perspective, but we were kind of glad that we got in without SK or VP because they are definitely among the top five teams.
VN: How would you sum up this year for EnVyUs?
VS: To be honest, 2016 has been really tough on us. We didn’t carry on our form from last year, and we’ve tried many different things like switching players, switching roles, swapping the in-game leader. In the end, we just came back to the simple solution. We’re just trying again to focus and play the best we can.
VN: Is it difficult to maintain your form for a long time? You’re far from the only team that had a drop off after being near the top for a while.
VS: I think it shows that CS is a really competitive game. To sustain that kind of form, it requires a tremendous amount of work and talent. As you maybe know, the last seven major tournaments or whatever were won by seven different teams. It’s interesting to be a part of.
VN: What was the most difficult part of this year for you?
VS: I think the most difficult part was trusting each other. When you win and you make mistakes it doesn’t really matter and you don’t work on them. When you start losing, you start having a bad mentality and a bad mindset when you come into a game, when you see you’re not ready enough and might not win this game.
VN: And it’s interesting for you guys specifically in the French scene, right? Because the moment either you or G2 is struggling, the rumors pop up about shuffling.
VS: I don’t really know. We try not to think about anything that could happen and just try to focus on our own game style and try to make it work. Sometimes it’s hard, and you think oh my god we will never make it. But you just try to do the best you can.
VN: What do you think about Counter-Strike overall, and what this year has meant for the game?
VS: I think it has been one of the most interesting years for Counter-Strike. So many new big tournaments and so many fights within the top scene for the top spot. From a spectator point of view, it’s been real interesting, I think.
VN: How have the ELEAGUE changes to Season 2 affected you? Is it better that things are a bit more concise, and if you make the playoffs, you’ll be back there for them very soon?
VS: I think it’s great that it was shortened because sometimes teams changes rosters from group stage to the playoffs, so it was kind of weird. But overall ELEAGUE is a really good tournament and we’re really happy to be a part of it.
VN: One of the biggest conversations going on in the scene right now is the Major qualifying system and whether or not it’s the best way to do things. What do you think about it, knowing you’re one of the teams that has to go back into the qualifier?
VS: Regarding the drama about the Major qualifier, I think everyone forgets that we usually have three Majors per year, and this time we didn’t have one at the end of the year. It kind of messed everything up. As of now, I think it’s still fine. Even if we are ranked maybe a bit higher than we should. We failed, no matter what. So at some point you have to take responsibility and play the game to earn your spot.
VN: More than ever, there’s also talk about players’ schedules and how often you guys are playing. Are there too many events?
VS: I think we play a bit too many tournaments, but I’m still fine with it. I think we might need a little more structure within the scene. I think a set period of time where we could, for example, take vacations or switch players. I think we definitely need that.
VN: You guys are a part of WESA, and that’s supposedly part of their pledge. Do you have confidence in being able to make some of those things you just mentioned happen?
VS: I’m not really in any player council or anything, so I don’t have anything to say to that.
VN: Over the weekend, one of the casters came under criticism at Northern Arena when talking about Smithzz from G2. You’re a player who has probably been on both ends of that. What do you think of that situation?
VS: Obviously I’m not really for people slandering other players or just using a lot of (one-liners) or something. I think it should happen during a group stage game, it would have been OK. But it was definitely not OK during a final where you need more seriousness instead of fun. I was kind of, maybe not shocked, but it was out of line.
Cover photo by Adela Sznajder/DreamHack