By Taras Bortnik
Special to VPEsports
Vitality has made the finals of ESL One Cologne and we got the chance to speak with Dan “apEX” Madesclaire during the teams fantastic run. Vitality will face the winner of Team Liquid and Natus Vincere in the finals at the Lanxess arena tomorrow.
apEX took the time to answer questions about the French scene, the teams in-game leader situation, the meta change, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and more.
VPEsports: There was a lot of talk over the past year about bringing French CS back to the top of the scene. Do you feel that you are the ones who are doing this at last?
apEX: Even if it’s not that huge, a come back to the top-5 of the world is something great. But we want to win more – to win more tournaments, we have one of the best players in the world and with that point we have to go further. Right now we’re having a great time, but I am sure that if we will continue grinding as we do, we can do something really great. And definitely, French CS is back!
By the way, even G2 played super good recently at Pro League and showed that they are back as well. It’s perfect to have a two French teams in top-10 of the worldwide rating! It’s been like… I don’t know, how many years? Two years? Even more since we saw two French teams in top-10 of the world.
VPEsports: As far as I know, for now you have two IGLs – ALEX and NBK. Can you tell me how you guys came up with this solution?
apEX: That wasn’t easy. NBK felt like Alex could bring more than him in terms of playing for T-side. And since he started to call for attack we stepped up so much. He has great ideas, mind tricks, and he is very smart as an in-game leader. But that’s not easy for us sometimes to have good leaders in terms of leadership, but in terms of pure Counter-Strike we’re playing super well, and moreover – we keep progressing. We are still grinding and trying to be better versions of ourselves.
VPEsports: Your success on the T-side seems to be the key for your success as a team. Do you think that this happened only because of Alex contribution, or maybe there is also a good timing as meta changed? I mean the AUG nerfed, etc…
apEX: Well, for us, at least, even when the AUG was on a point, we were still good for T-side. Obviously, we were pretty happy about AUG nerfed because since then we could have an even better T-side. I think that we haven’t shown our best T-sides yet, but can do it as well against AUG as against M4. Yes, meta is a bit different now, so you just don’t have to pick a duel against SG, try to play more with grenades and smokes, otherwise you get fucked.
VPEsports: During the group stage you got beat in the match against NiP. Before this event everyone considering them as outsiders and underdog, did you underestimated them?
apEX: It’s a tradition that NiP play super good when they change a player. We knew that they would be excited to play a big tournament with a new player, but we didn’t underestimate them. We just played as always. And bo1 isn’t the best thing right now. If we say that this is the best tournament of the year, how can we start with bo1? Because if you lose two bo3’s then it’s OK, you are just not good enough, that’s it. But when you are going down to the lower bracket, when we have to play ENCE – top-2 team of the world – after losing one bo1, this is not the best thing.
Please understand me correctly, this format of the group stage is good, but if there would be all matches bo3 it would be one of the best tournament formats that you could ever have. Without this starting with bo3’s it’s just ok.
VPEsports: Do you remember your last time playing on Cologne’s big stage?
apEX: Yeah. It was 2017 and we were playing against Na’Vi. It was good to play in front of such an arena. I remember this series very well, it was Overpass and Nuke and we lost both maps with a close score and we played bad. That is something I don’t want to remember in my life cause it wasn’t a great moment except playing in front of the crowd. But now, let’s not go the same way, I hope we will do better.
VPEsports: Do you expect crowd cheering you a lot?
apEX: Well, France is close to Germany so, I think there will be people rooting for us. I remember 2015 when we played the Major here and in play-offs we were hearing the french crowd singing for us. I hope this is gonna be the same, that was a crazy moment in my life and team.
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