Richard "shox" Papillon is a rifler and the in-game leader for G2 Esports.
G2 has been on a roll through much of 2017, with recent wins at ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals and DreamHack Tours. But a quarterfinals exit at ESL One Cologne and a 5th-6th finish at ECS Season 3 Finals has left questions about the French superteam coming into the Kraków Major 2017.
Ahead of his games at the Major, shox took the time to answer some questions from theScore esports about how much the Legend spot would mean to him and the respect he has for the German leader Fatih "gob b" Dayik.
Going back to the offline qualifier, G2 went 3-0 in the Swiss system group to qualify for the Major, notably defeating teams that also qualified for the Major (C9, F3, IMT). It was a clean sweep in the end, but were there any takeaways from that event?
I was really happy about the way we managed this qualifier. We didn't underestimate any opponents and we were fully aware that they would be really hard matches.
Matches against tier 2/3 teams, who are definitely coming closer and closer to the tier 1 level, are a hell to play against, because you are not used to playing against them.
Coming up to this event and going to 3-0 was definitely a good result, especially against teams we had to face: C9 has proven they are a tier 1 team, IMT is getting closer and closer to it and F3 is making all the Majors.
We definitely fought all ourselves to get our ticket for Krakow.
You spoke highly of BIG ahead of the qualifier and they indeed advanced to the Major. You didn’t face them during the Offline Qualifier, but could face them at the Major. Is that a matchup you’d look forward to? What is it about that team that caught your attention?
I would love to play against them for the only reason that I love gob b, the person and the player. It would be a real honor to compete against him, especially because I am also an in-game leader today.
What caught my attention about that team is their hard work. They probably don’t have the best individuals, but they prove game after game that if you work together, play as a unit and be a real team you can achieve some magical things and I really respect them for that.
You’re one of a handful of players that has attended every single Major so far, showing your consistency in CS:GO’s four-year-long official circuit. However, Legend status seems to have eluded you for the past two years. Is this your time to shine?
I definitely hope so! Even though I always meet some cool people there, I’m getting a bit tired attending the Qualifiers! I want this Legend spot, I missed it way too much and I’ll do everything to come back from Krakow with this.
At ESL One Cologne 2017, you guys were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Natus Vincere, but are your opening rivals at the Krakow Major. What lessons from Cologne are you taking into that matchup, and beyond into the Major?
Against Na’Vi in Cologne, we were leading on both maps and we could have won both in my opinion. A game is never finished until you have scored 16 rounds, that’s the lesson we have to keep from this game.
We need to work on our concentration and rigor, it was our main weakness lately.
Do you believe Cologne was too close to the Major, or is this part of the reality of CS:GO’s competitive landscape? Any plans for extended breaks, or perhaps plans to attend less events in the next seasons?
We didn’t really have the choice, we got our slot for the ECS Finals, we had to go to the Major Qualifier and we had no choice but to accept the invitation for Cologne because if we didn't qualify for the Major itself, then we won't have any event from there. But honestly, while this is a lot, Cologne is magical... That’s why we need to get our Legend spot for the next Major!
The only thing we are reflecting about for the upcoming year is to get one week break between January and August. This is a long period, eight months without any break. We are giving everything because the biggest event of the year is right now, but I can definitely feel the fatigue.
Going back to a previous interview between us, over a year ago, you’ve said that you weren’t really interested in picking up a coach. But now with coach Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux, and with hindsight being 20/20, has your opinion on coaches changed? Do you believe a team in the current meta can compete without a coach?
I still think a team without a coach can compete really high nowadays, however it would be more difficult to compete at the top level on the long-term and reaching consistency.
I think that a coach can bring a lot to the table but it’s still a very new role. On our side, we are still working to improve the impact of Edouard and I’m really interested to find more and more tricks to utilize him as much as we can!
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking
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