Slingshot’s Vince Nairn caught up with Richard “shox” Papillon at IEM Oakland to talk about the team’s dip in form and trying to get back on top.
Vince Nairn: What were you guys looking to get out of this week at Oakland and what did you take away going forward?
Richard “Shox” Papillon: Honestly at the moment, I don’t know. We honestly still need to definitely fix some things and to work on everything like we didn’t pass, but at the moment we didn’t have the moment to talk about it.
VN: What have you guys made of your form in the past couple of months or so? It seems like you guys had some pretty high ups going all the way back to ECS and ESL Season 3 and some tough times as well.
RP: We think we had a long break in August, like for one month, and in this time we never reached the same level again. Even if we put a lot of thought and try to do different things while sometimes even watching what we were doing from ECS to watch how we were playing and stuff. We tried a lot of things but we don’t reach the same level. I don’t know why.
VN: With the French teams, obviously, anytime one of the two of you, either you guys or EnVyUs, starts to struggle, it’s real easy for people to be like, “Oh where’s the shuffle gonna come?” or “Who’s gonna flip flop this time?” Is that difficult for you guys to kind of block out of our mind, just the constant conversation everybody seems to be having about your rosters?
RP: No, not at all. I don’t really care about all the comments and stuff and just focus on my team. We’re just trying to do the best we can.
VN: What do you think about this year in general for Counter Strike? Not just your own play, but the game in general. A lot has happened this year, a lot of new stuff is going on.
RP: I definitely think that there are way too much events, as you can see our schedule for the rest of the year was way to busy. I think it didn’t help for us in terms of results because we didn’t have the time to relax or even practice more and stuff so of course it’s good to have a lot of events but I think there is way too much and even for the spectators, I think seeing like everyday every match like that I think you can lose just the passion of just watching a match because it begins just everyday. So, I don’t that’s a very good thing.
VN: You guys were in ELEAGUE two weeks ago, Northern Arena last week, here today. At what point do you start to feel physically and mentally tired?
RP: I think it was definitely at the end of the Northern Arena. I think two weeks is the maximum that we can do straight because after three weeks, it’s really hard like, even physically but just for your mind. You just lose your (focus) and stuff.
VN: What’s kind of the solution to the problem? Does it come down to having a set schedule or is it you guys having to turn down events? But that’s gotta be a balance because the more events you play, the more chance you have for exposure. What’s a reasonable solution to try to help everybody to get through this without you guys getting tired?
RP: Just leagues can work together. If leagues can work together, then I think you can have less (overlap). It would just be better if you have maybe three or four things a year instead of 10 or 12 or something like this.
VN: What did you think of the group format of this tournament? I talked to a couple of other players who seemed to like the format where you’re playing five games in one day as opposed to one group match and then the next day another group match.
RP: I think that’s definitely the best thing because what is really annoying of course is days when you come to events where we have to come for one week, but have like one or two days off, and when we play we maybe play one best-of-three or stuff like this, and we are just over for the whole day. So it’s annoying for us because we are here to play you know, not to pass time and stuff. So this format was very good. I think the best one would be this format but in a best-of-three because we can see we had a lot of tied games and some teams didn’t pass with really close match and it’s not enough to just say like, “OK this team passes and this team doesn’t because of best-of-one that’s 16-14.” It’s not really dominant. So in same format, but best-of-three.
VN: What are the things that you think you need to do as a team to kind of re-improve your form and get back to where you want it to be, especially come time for the Major qualifier?
RP: As I said before, I don’t know. Honestly we tried a lot of stufff. In four months, a lot of different stuff, different tactics or how we should play and stuff. At the moment it’s still not working, like, we’re not going down and down, but we’re still not going better. It’s always the same, and we’re not happy with the results so at this moment I don’t know. I don’t have any solutions.
VN: Do you like being on the AWP? Do you feel like it’s out of necessity when you have to take it over?
RP: I always have been pretty (determined) on my past teams, and even the past few years, so I just like to play AWP when I feel it’s needed.
VN: One of the things that was kind of a big talking point during the week was the idea of how casters talk to players, and one of your teammates was the very specific reason this entire debate got started. SmithZz comes under criticism from all over the community. How do you as one of his teammates try to help him through that and likewise what role do you kind of see criticism from casters playing into the whole situation?
RP: That’s a tough question, honestly. First of all, about SmithZz, I try to tell him “Don’t care about it, don’t go on Twitch, don’t go on Twitter, whatever because you don’t need it, you know,? You are playing for yourself and for your team and people who support you, but not people who will just critique you. You are not here for that, so don’t read it and just focus on you, and we trust you as a teammate.” Talking about the criticism, there are definitely something we can work on, like I think the analysts and sometimes commentators are too much free to speak and they can say everything they want. Sometimes it’s very annoying because as a player we know they are really talking shit and they don’t know anything about the game, because it’s not about statistics. I mean they are not in a team, and when you are not in a team or are not playing on a competitive level, you can’t have a good read about what’s going on and they should just not say bullshit.
Cover photo by Helena Kristiansson/ESL, eslgaming.com