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CS:GO ESL ESL One ESL ONE Cologne ESL ONE Cologne 2020 G2 G2 Esports Interview Team Vitality Valve vitality

G2.KennyS: “AmaNEk is the best french player.”

After G2 punched their tickets to the Playoffs at ESL One Cologne we sat down with Kenny “KennyS” Schrub for a couple of questions before the knockout stage. Here is what he had to say about French CS, Online Play, changes he wants to see in CS:GO and more:

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Note: This interview was conducted on August 24 and was edited for clarity.

esports.com: Congratulations for reaching the playoffs of ESL One Cologne 2020. While you won against the Danes, they put up a strong fight. Did they catch you off-guard?

KennyS: We expected them to be strong. They are among the teams that improved a lot lately. I will not be surprised if they reach the playoffs to be honest. I think the last time we played them was during Road to Rio (Editor’s Note: It was DreamHack Spring Masters) and it was actually a similar game. They were in the lead, then we came back and finally won. Heroic is always a tough opponent to play against. I definitely think they are among the best teams in the world right now and can easily reach the playoffs. I think they have to play fnatic, which is not the easiest matchup, but if you ask me they really could win that game.

Speaking of the playoffs. Which team would you like to face in the playoffs?

Uh, I don’t know. Wait, what are the remaining teams? Fnatic, MAD Lions, OG, Vitality, Faze, who else can qualify? Well, it does not matter. As you know it is CS and especially in online CS there will be teams that I would rather not face, but they are already knocked out. So it’s pretty cool I’d say. For example, I would not want to face BIG. But it really does not matter too much. It is Cologne and in Cologne you never face bad teams. You always face the best in order to win one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world. It is what it is, so I don’t have a specific opponent I would rather face.

You talked a bit about how some teams are more difficult to play against online. How would you think is G2 playing? Are you stronger online or offline?

You can see this problem in two ways: There are more experienced players within the team like me, who will always be more comfortable playing in a tournament environment. With crowds and lots of people. For myself, it is not a big issue of playing with people around us, but we have younger players in the team, that dont have those experiences and I think the online situation benefits us in this way. But in general I don’t think it’s a plus or a minus. We are dealing with it like everyone else has to and we are doing really good. But I actually think we can be even better if we are all together in one place.

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In the current environment of online play it is difficult to rank the world’s best properly as there is only regional play. Do you think it diminishes achievements such as BIG’s rank 1?

I think it is deserved. It is BIG. With BIG you don’t necessarily expect them to stay on top but you can expect them to have what it takes to reach it once in a while. They have really strong players. I think tabseN is one of the best players in the world. In terms of tactics BIG are one of the best in the world and have been for a long time. Even back during gob b’s time. It’s pretty much the identity of BIG. Sometimes they take it too far so they turn into robots and that makes them play worse.

But they can reach a really high peak. They have a lot of knowledge of the game and they really try hard. Then again I think some players in their team dont have the same level offline and that is also why the success of BIG is just slightly lower. The tournaments they won before the break were still of high importance and online or offline does not matter, so you cannot take that away from them.

You just said that tabseN is among the best players in the world right now. But who is actually the best french player right now?

I don’t really know. It is hard to judge between Vitality and the strength of the French players on my team. But I would say AmaNEk, because I think he deserves some credit. I am happy to be able to say that he is playing in a really talented team and he has been in good shape for a couple of months now. He is a very important piece of our success.

G2’s has had quite the strong year with good results, but unfortunately you have fallen just short of a title each time so far. How do you want to prevent this from happening this time?

After the break we had a bootcamp in which we tried a couple of things we did not experience before. Things that I won’t necessarily tell you now, but I think it has been a very productive time in the bootcamp and we are really satisfied with how the team is going. I think we have a high ceiling and we have not reached it yet. We have a lot of work in front of us to improve and we keep on improving, which is a very satisfying thing to have in the team.

It has been almost a year since nexa und hunter joined the lineup and you transitioned to an international team. What were the biggest changes compared to back then?

Well, we used to speak French now we speak English, but besides that not much has changed. The chemistry of the team is very good and we are all getting along super good. I think we have created something that people were not expecting from us when we announced that G2 would go international: We created a soul of the team. The atmosphere, the respect, the transparency between us, all those kinds of things you know. Obviously we are a strong team with strong players, a strong system, a strong coach but we also have a strong group and that is very important.

As a French player you obviously have quite the vested interest in your domestic scene. How do you think is the state of French CS?

I think it is great. I think Vitality is doing great lately, we are doing good, so we cannot really complain, right? I think the French people are really happy about what is going on lately in the scene. Everyone is really happy and it is going really well. While Vitality has not reached playoffs yet, we did, so you always have one of us in the playoffs which is really cool.

The biggest tournament of the year, the Major in Rio, is still a bit away, but due to the pandemic qualification to the Major has been very different this year. Which system do you prefer?

You know what? I think I will tell you after the major. Because it is always easier to judge afterwards. Of course it is due to the current situation, which is out of our control, that we have different qualifiers in the first place and I think they did the best they could have done in the current pandemic. So I think we cannot complain about the current format. I also was not necessarily a fan of the old system. I think it is pretty great now because we have to be consistently good in order to qualify and not just play well in one or two tournaments. Since we are obviously aiming for a legend slot, we are going for Top 8 anyway.

What change do you think is necessary for CS:GO at the moment?

That is a tough question. Because I think Valve is actually doing a good job right now. I believe VALORANT has been pushing Valve to improve the game, which is a good thing, but I don’t really have any complaint at the moment. Nothing like the Krieg being OP or those kinds of things. The Tec-9 is also back, which is super cool.

Earlier we talked to arT from FURIA and he said, that he really thinks changes to the map pool are necessary. Do you share that sentiment?

Oh, yes, I really agree with that. I think it’s quite boring right now. I would remove two maps and put Cobble back in. I think Mirage has been there for a long time and I think Train is not a very well made map, so yeah a change of mappool would be a good thing.

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Which maps would you like to see besides Cobble?

Cobble for sure, then we all want Tuscan and those kind of things, but as long as they give us Cobble, they can give whatever they want. But I don’t think they will change two maps at the same time.

Thank you very much for the interview. Any last shoutouts?

As always, thank you to the fans. I miss you, all of you. I wish we could see each other and take pictures like we always did. But due to the current situation it is as it is. It’s annoying, nobody likes it, but even from home I know you are cheering for us and thank you for that.

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Image Credit: Todd Gutierrez/Beyond the Summit