Slingshot’s Vince Nairn caught up with Kenny “KennyS” Schrub after G2 took home the championship at ESL Pro League Season 5 in Dallas over the weekend. They talked about rallying from a 1-8 start in Pro League, the impact of Edouard “SmithZz” Dubourdeaux as coach and where KennyS thinks G2 ranks among the best Counter-Strike teams in the world.
Vince Nairn: What are your overall thoughts on being able to win this tournament?
Kenny “KennyS” Schrub: I think we had the advantage of the maps. We started with our best maps, even though we kind of threw away Overpass, I’d say. But we’re happy with what we showed today and we had a really good tournament.
VN: CT side, you guys really seemed to out-class them. Did you have that level of confidence going into the matchup? Or did something change along the way that just started to click?
KS: We definitely felt confident playing North, especially with the maps on that side. But I’m not gonna lie, after (falling behind) 14-2 on Overpass, we didn’t really feel confident, even though we believed in the comeback because we never give up. I think managing to make the comeback was really exhausting for them, so it actually gave us an advantage for Inferno.
VN: Did you think you were gonna complete (the comeback)? You guys came so close
KS: Of course. When you are starting to come back and you see you win round by round, you definitely believe you can do it.
VN: There was so much fanfare when this team formed, and then you guys started 1-8 in Pro League. What was the key to the turnaround, and how did you guys get comfortable with each other?
KS: We knew we would have some difficulties when we started the team. The beginning was really tough. We tried many things, many play styles, so we lost official games. And then we started finding a way to work, and then match by match we started to win. We just needed time.
VN: Was there any particular moment during that stretch where you started to feel it get better?
KS: I don’t remember exactly. I think it was just a moment where we started being consistent.
VN: What was the most difficult matchup you had this week?
KS: The group stage wasn’t easy. EnVyUs was a tough game. SK Gaming, even though we won 2-0 in the semifinal, it was really close. I would probably say SK Gaming.
VN: Going into this event, the general consensus top three in the world was Astralis, FaZe Clan and SK. Astralis and FaZe weren’t here, but do you guys think that winning this event means you belong in that conversation?
KS: Definitely, I think we might be a really good concurrent top five team in the world. We are not (top three) yet. Even though we won a really big tournament here, it doesn’t mean we are the best team in the world or whatever. We are not asking the question to ourselves. We just play, and if we win two or three more tournaments, you can call us the best team in the world or put us in the top three.
VN: What has Smithzz added as a coach? And what has he added in that role that’s different from what people saw as a player?
KS: First and foremost, Smithzz as a coach, he’s really helpful to me. He used to be an AWPer, and can have different (experiences) than me. So I can now take things from him and adapt it to my own play style. He also really helps the team during the tournament, during the timeouts. He has really good calls during that time. He calms us down. I think he is really great from the human side and the game side.
VN: Is there also maybe a redemption angle for him as well? Because of the way his playing career ended and all the criticism he seemed to take from the community for whatever reason?
KS: I think he really enjoys being a coach. He had a lot of criticism and didn’t deserve it at all because he’s always been a really great player. He had this period where he was a bit individually down. But overall he’s a really great player and deserves a lot of respect. And now he will get the respect he deserves as a coach.
Cover photo courtesy of DreamHack