Interview

"The lifetime of a team is always full of differents cycles - right now we are at the bottom of one": interviewing Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer

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The ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 finals are fast approaching, with the teams readying themselves for the battle for the Pro League championship title and their share of a US$500,000 prize pool. One of these teams is Team EnVyUs - the French CS:GO powerhouse who won the most recent Valve major. We chatted to team captain Vincent “Happy” Schopenhauer about the upcoming Pro League finals, EnVy’s recent performances and more.

ESL: Hi there, and thanks for finding time to chat with us! What is the team’s mood coming into the ESL Pro League Season 2 finals?
Vincent “Happy” Schopenhauer: We had a really rough time at the last event, the FACEIT finals, so we are now trying to find our old marks that worked. I’d say we lack preparation and we lack the fire we might have had in the past. The continuous problems in our team have become a serious issue, but we are working on it.

ESL: Ever since the addition of kennyS and apEX, the team has been on fire, claiming multiple victories or at the very least high spots in most of the tournaments it has participated in. Can you tell us more about the growth of the lineup in the past months?
Happy: NBK and me knew that we would have a flashy start, and we did. We were accustomed to winning with the old team, and we did it again with the new lineup. But success comes at a price - we just couldn’t land on our feet and manage this winning period as a team in the social and the training aspects.

ESL: Your most recent performance at DreamHack Winter was subpar, with you finishing last in your group with a 0-2 score - what went wrong?
Happy: The lifetime of a team is always full of differents cycles - right now we are at the bottom of one. We just need to find a more stable and regular way of winning, because we have the potential and have proved that we can be top contenders on a regular basis.

ESL: You placed fourth in the season standings of the ESL Pro League, clinching the last final-qualifying slot - how do you feel the season went for you overall?
Happy: It’s always very hard to qualify during online phases. We are not the most devoted online team and we had some serious issues both with our ISPs and the general mindset of the team. But it feels good for me to be once again a part of the ESL PL LAN finals - I just hope we will do better as a team than we did at the previous one.

ESL: Earlier this year, you achieved the ultimate goal of every professional CS:GO team - you won an official Valve major. Tell us about the thoughts and emotions that went through your heads after taking the defining win.
Happy: It was a very long event as I remember it. We had an easy group stage because we were still on fire from our previous victory at Gfinity CoC, but the preparation before the event went terrible, and we lacked some confidence - that showed in our games against G2. I think for me there are two really important matches that happened at that event: the victory against Fnatic on map three - Cache - and the first map of the grand final against NaVi. It showed how well and how powerful we can be as a lineup when everything - or almost everything - goes as planned. I don’t really remember what happened when we won - it was a very fast last map against NaVi.

ESL: The ESL Pro League finals are taking place in the ESL studios in Burbank, California. Are you looking forward to playing on North American soil?
Happy: Last time I went to the US it was for the MLG X Games, and I only have good memories from it. But, of course, things are different now. Obviously I would love if it happened in Europe because of the long travel, but I’m still looking forward to seeing how we can bounce back from the disappointing ending at FACEIT.

ESL: Which matchups do you think will prove the most difficult for you during the finals?
Happy: We are not really used to playing against NA types of teams - except LG, who have their very own kind of playstyle. So having Conquest and Liquid in our groups might prove to be more difficult than we think. The key to passing group stages is to focus on our personal game and never underestimate anyone - we will pay a very high price if we do. Once we go into the playoffs, anything can happen.

ESL: Luminosity Gaming has impressed everyone at DreamHack Winter with their great run - do you think they will be one of the hardest opponents and top contenders at the Pro League finals?
Happy: I think it was a bit of a Cinderella story for them. I don’t want to take any credit from them at all - they played good Counter-Strike, their players were on fire and, considering they had so little time to prepare, they were impressive. I also want to give credit to Fnx, who has impressed me with his control of sprays, and Cold for heavy fragging. But, if I want to be logical, it reminded me of the time when C9 kept beating us, and that time was when our team was failing. I think if they make a top three finish at this event, I will personally consider them a potential tier one team for 2016, but of course I want the best for my team, and if we meet them in the playoffs, there will be no more slacking.

ESL: Looking back at 2015, which is now almost at its end, how accomplished do you think Team EnVyUs is and what are your plans for 2016?
Happy: We transferred from team LDLC to EnVy just after our win at MLG Aspen. I think both Mike and us can be proud of the work we accomplished with two different lineups. I won’t lie - a lot is missing from our resume, we could have won more events and we could have played better. A lot of mistakes were made, and as for ‘history’ it will still be Fnatic’s era, but I think we definitely made our footprint that year. For that, I want to thank all my teammates and Mike.

ESL: Thanks for your time! The last words are yours.
Happy: Again, I want to say thanks to EnVy for supporting us and all our sponsors - they make us happen. I want to say a big shoutout to our fans and everyone who follows CS:GO. Playing the game right now feels amazing, and being followed by so many - it’s a unique feeling. I will finish by saying that I hope we will do well at this last event for us - despite being in a slump, I truly hope so.

The battle commences next week!

The Season 2 finals of the ESL ESEA Pro League kick off on December the 10th at the ESL studios in Burbank, California. The first matches begin at 10:00 PST (19:00 CET), so be sure to tune in to our Twitch channel to make sure you don’t miss any of the action.

Remember to follow ESL CS on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates and visit the ESL ESEA Pro League’s official website for all important information.