Damien "maLeK" Marcel is a French Counter-Strike pro and coach for Team EnVyUs. Since joining nV in February, maLeK and his squad are facing their biggest challenge yet going into a stacked European Minor Championship - Krakow 2017.
Ahead of Team EnVyUs' games at the Minor, maLeK took the time to answer theScore esports' questions about his experiences coaching, the team atmosphere at nV and how they've prepared for the stiff competition in Bucharest.
Let’s start off with the EPL finals. You guys made it to the playoffs by defeating both Fnatic and SK Gaming in tie-breaker “overtime” sets, but lost to Team Liquid in the quarterfinals. What did you take away from that event?
I would say confidence, motivation and confirmation. I am glad we had a tough group like this, we worked well lately and it was the perfect test for us. I am very happy with how focused and cool we stayed when we knew we had to fight in “overtime” against two great teams.
We felt under control the whole time, I guess that is some good signs for the future.
Regarding our game against Liquid, we had some ups and downs, they seemed well prepared and gave us a great fight! We will now keep working to gain consistency and a stronger map pool.
The Tank (RpK) seriously stepped up for the team, what’s the cause of this? Has he been given more priority in the team’s setup, or has he just been having good days?
Cedric entered the team with a great mindset and a desire to work on his own game, we are together taking the time to work on how he can use his abilities at best! He also changed his daily routine by watching some PoV demos almost everyday, a thing he never really did before.
I am happy that it worked out well, he is building some good confidence.
One of the big stories from the ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals was the banter between North and G2 Esports. k0nfig came out as a sort of villain or “heel” character. What are your, or the player’s, thoughts on this?
We didn’t pay attention to it, everyone has their own way to approach the game or life. I believe he did hurt himself by acting like this but aye, who cares.
Switching topics, you came into a team of generally well-established players, how did you come to earn their trust as a coach? What were some breakthrough moments, if any?
I’ve been a well-established in-game leader on CS: Source. I think in France I was known as a good mentor, always had a good knowledge of how team play and team spirit should be, and I always loved to see the game through a team effort perspective.
Also, I have played with all the best, all very young at the time. RpK Happy and ScreaM amongst many others such as SmithZz shox etc. I was the elderly annoying brother, teaching things here and there.
So to answer your question, on a human side it was really natural and I felt a good trust from day one. For the gaming part, tactics, meta and all those things, Vincent helped me a lot to catch up, [took] me through specifics, we spend a lot of time together. I did my homework and still work a lot to bring something to the table. I think we all feel great about it today, I love what I am doing with them and feel some great improvements already. They’re really good people and easy to work with!
When we spoke last, you noted that the team unexpectedly had a great mood and atmosphere to it. How’s the team atmosphere generally nowadays?
The atmosphere is very good! As I said, they’re a bunch of good people and even though our results were not shiny with a slow progression at first sight we keep our focus on the right things.
We are really confident and we accept to get through everything we need to be able to reach our peak and compete at the highest level of CS.
It’s normal that every team has their off days, and when those days happen, how do you as a coach deal with that?
I’m trying to put the team in a certain mindset which prevent those bad days and help us to get through them. Making sure everyone understand how normal it is to have some and how to deal with it. All I care about is acceptance and consistency, It applies on each and [every] single day, good ones, bad ones on an individual level and as a team as well.
We are always trying to see the team on a bigger picture. Jordan, Vincent and I implemented a good work ethic, where everyone gives his best to control what we can and let go [of] all the rest. Upon all those strict and hard thing we impose to ourselves, (yes it is easy to say [but] hard to apply on a daily basis) we’re making sure we enjoy what we do! Pleasure is a strong component in success I believe.
nV will be heading into the EU Minor quite soon and it looks like one of the most stacked Minors yet. How will you guys prepare for that? What will be the team’s biggest threats?
Yes, it will be very tough for every team to get through and it is quite exciting!
About our preparation, nothing specific. Some good debrief, keeping our right focus on the right things. Making sure we keep evolving individuals within the team as long as our team play, team spirit, map pool.
About our biggest threat, I'm lucky to say that it will be us! We're getting a nice routine now, I feel us growing fast lately, if we do the job, it will be okay. Can't wait to see how we do in Bucharest, see you guys!
Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking
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