Slingshot’s Vince Nairn and Jarek “DeKay” Lewis talked to EnVyUs’ Vincent “Happy” Schopenhauer at ESL One New York about his team’s struggles, the roster makeup and criticisms of his leadership style.
Vince Nairn: What are your overall thoughts on the team’s performance this week, and what were some of the challenges you ran into?
Vincent “Happy” Schopenhauer: Tough question (laughs). It’s still pretty hard right now for me to say anything about this event because strangely, I took the loss really hard. It’s really tough on me because I really thought we could do something here, and I really wanted to do something here. We obviously didn’t. We again failed to pass the group stage. We didn’t get destroyed or anything. We had a really good fight against SK. We definitely had our chance on Train against Na’Vi. It wasn’t enough. But again, we were really close to achieving something, at least getting one win, and we didn’t. I say it’s pretty hard because it’s been three tournaments in a row that we just failed completely. It’s tough. I think we saw that we are making the same mistakes again and again. I feel a bit lost because the problems are quite evident, quite obvious. We talk about them all the time, but it keeps happening. So we have the last event (four out of four weeks), so last one is coming up next week. It’s ELEAGUE. I’m trying to find a new way, a new path to get us going because we are really close to getting that win.
VN: You say you’re making the same mistakes over and over again, but at the same time, is it difficult to know what you can fix when you’re playing so many tournaments in a row?
VS: Actually it’s pretty easy. We didn’t practice too much. We did, for example, practice against FaZe before coming up to the group stage (here), but we did analyze a lot of replays and demos all together. We pointed out mistakes and said “That’s a mistake,” and as players said we were going to fix that, but they never get fixed. It just is a damn shame because I know that if we didn’t make these mistakes we would get some wins. So right now since the mistakes cannot be avoided, we’re trying to come up with a new solution, maybe playing more freely. Some of the players said that we were maybe too rigorous, which I think it’s not really about that. But we are not playing freely enough for some players, so we are going to try to change that for the ELEAGUE Premier. Obviously we cannot change everything because we definitely did not get enough practice. So I have to come up to a solution that is a perfect one in a few days.
Jarek “DeKay” Lewis: There are a lot of public criticisms about the way you play your game, that you haven’t really changed it at all, or the way you run your team. Does it bother you at all when people criticize your play style?
VS: It doesn’t really bother me because most of them don’t understand a single thing about Counter-Strike. Every time I get asked this question, I always say the same thing. They don’t know anything about the game, and what I see most of the time as insults are every time the same thing. I think I’ve changed a lot. I didn’t change completely because I still think (my style) is pretty good right now. But I’ve changed a lot of things. I’ve played way more aggressively. I’m playing way more within the team. Sometimes I just feel that (critics) don’t even watch the games, they just like to trash us just for the sake of it.
VN: We saw you guys last in Dallas at ESL Pro League, and it seemed like you were kind of on the way to figuring things out with this new roster. What has been difficult since then? What kind of derailed you guys?
VS: That’s exactly the question I have asked everyone within the team. We had a really great week coming back from vacation where we qualified for New York, Mykonos. We played amazingly well. Everyone was doing their job. Everyone was just playing really well and within the game plan I was trying to instill. We’re just not consistent enough. That’s the main issue within the team, so again I’m trying to find a way to compensate it without being too stupid. We just lack consistency, and right now it’s about — we can’t fix it right now because we are playing tournaments. So ELEAGUE will be a test for us. We’ll try something new this next week. But the main issue is that we — I don’t know as players, sometimes they don’t remember strategies or how good we can play, so I have to constantly remind them, “this is how you do it because last time it worked perfectly.” I’m trying to babysit them a lot, so yeah it was not good enough the last few weeks. We have to come up with a system that is sustainable for the players and myself because it is a lot of work to do constantly.
JL: Was it more difficult than you anticipated trying to build a system around this team when you first formed?
VS: I had a lot of hopes because I really believed in the team. I felt that there was a balance where everyone was doing their own thing, but at the same time, we were able to play off each other, which is really good. We saw that at EPL in Dallas. We were really close to getting that big win against like really good teams. And suddenly we flop out against Liquid. We can do really good and really bad at the same time, and we have no consistency at all.
VN: Is the problem mental at all, too? Does struggling at a LAN have those effects on the team?
VS: We talked about that. I don’t believe in all that mental aspect because I don’t have that problem, but I feel we are more comfortable playing online vs. playing on LAN. That is an issue we are looking at, but that is an issue that is really difficult for me to fix because I have no idea why. So I’m just leaving that to the coach, and I’m focusing more on the technical aspect of the game.
JL: There’s been a lot of people talking about big cities that haven’t had an event. Are there any in France — I know there’s DreamHack Tours — but are there any places in France you’d like to see a big event?
VS: I think Paris just staged the LoL EU finals if I’m not mistaken. And it was really awesome from what I’ve heard. So I think it would be the perfect place to host a big CS:GO tournament.
VN: Are you lobbying anybody to try to make it happen?
VS: No. Not at all (laughs).
Cover photo by Adela Sznajder/DreamHack