The Counter-Strike scene has several strong regions spread across the world. Traditionally Europe has been the strongest section of skilled Counter-Strike players. Of late, we have seen really good teams from the Americas as well.
One of the nationalities which is known to produce exceptionally skilled players in the past in France. We have seen several well-known players from the region such as Ex6tenz, KennyS, Shox and now Zywoo. They had decent success around 2015, but the scene has only seen declining results and poor performances since then.
What works for the French scene?
Despite their current lack of results, there is obviously something that works for the top French players. Their ability to dig deeper into the scene and constantly come up with the talented individuals is simply breathtaking. The tier 2 and Tire 3 French CS: GO scene is quite strong and that is a big reason for their ready availability of new talent.
Deep Talent pool
The French CS: GO scene has a depth in their talent pool. Right from the start of Counter Strike’s early days, we have seen numerous talented individuals emerge from the French scene. The likes of KennyS, Apex and Shox cannot be found elsewhere in the world. And despite having years of poor performance, France still brings out new talent such as Zywoo amongst many others.
The future for French Counter-Strike is bright mainly because of the depth in their talent. Most of their problems can be solved with the right attitude and approach to the game. With big tournament organisers constantly eyeing the French scene for a potential entry, we will always see strong contenders from this region.
Lots of Firepower – High Skill ceiling
The principal characteristic of the French players has always been their high skill ceiling. Be it the likes of KennyS or Shox or NBK, French players always put up amazing individual performances. In the current era of Counterstrike, we are witnessing several ‘International teams’. The main premise behind forming these International teams is to bring together a lot of firepower under one organisation.
The French have another advantage to their skill, it is their decision to stick together. French players have traditionally been confined to French teams. Their comfort arises from their ability to communicate with each other fluently and have great synergy. Ofcourse as history tells us, their relationships within the roster have seen huge setbacks, often derailing team formations and potential success.
Things that hold the French scene back
The French scene for all its skill and potential has failed miserably to produce results. Their victory at the only Major won by a French team happened due to Fnatic withdrawing from the Major. At that time, Fnatic was the dominant roster by far and had a much higher success rate over EnVyUs. Despite this, the French have not been able to build on their high talent pool and have seen diminishing results over the past years. There are various reasons for their lack of performance, most of which are an easy fix.
The biggest drawback for any French team and the scene has been the players’ relationships with each other. For the past few years, the French players have always had a few players who would not play with someone or the other. It took them years to put their differences aside in order to form the strongest French roster. However, unfortunately for them, the strongest French roster saw a huge decline in individual skill and were never able to produce results.
From an organisation point of view, finding one’s way through the players and their personal differences was always going to be a tough task. EnvVyUs which was home to the best successful French CS: GO lineup till date was unable to sustain itself in the French scene. Constant roster changes and diminishing performances meant a non-viable situation for EnVyUs. Their exit from the French scene was a huge setback and a time for a wake-up call to French players.
Lack of Good In-Game Leaders
During 2014-15, there were two extremely good French teams. One team was EnVyUs which came off a mixture of exceptional individual skill and high performing players. The other team was Titan. The organisation dissolved in January 2016.
Ex6tenz and Kenny formed the perfect duo on Titan. Despite not being one of the best teams at the time, they were always Fnatic’s Kryptonite. At the time, Fnatic was the best team in the world and yet they would often find it difficult to get past Titan. Ex6tenz is one of the best In-Game Leaders in the French scene. However, he is not the most skilled player on the server and often features at the bottom of the scoreboard. Regardless of his individual performance, his style of leadership enables his peers.
His role in Kenny’s’ development is very understated and he is definitely one of the key reasons for Kenny’s career growth. However, apart from Ex6tenz, the French scene has significantly lacked good In-Game Leaders. There have been a few decent IGL’s in lower tier teams, but they were never able to lift their rosters out of their depth and compete against Tier one teams.
France needs better In-Game Leaders in order to ensure proper guidance and better results from their teams.
Lack of Confidence
The French players are known to be very finicky and emotional. The constant roster changes have not resulted in any significant improvement in their performance. The lack of results is especially noticeable for the French scene despite having so much talent at the top and in the Tier 2 scene as well.
Some of the best players in the French scene have talked about the lack of confidence on the roster in the past. Their inability to win matches and the lack of results does take a huge mental toll on the players. This was also the time when esports was witnessing a boom, however, many of the of the top teams did not have adequate support staff.
Ensuring adequate support staff is crucial to keep the players in the right mental health. A top class player has several expectations and it is often impossible to meet the demands of fans. A mental coach / Psychologist is essential to train the players to focus and be in the right mental state for their games.
What is the right combination of French players?
For long, the French scene has seen two different teams at the top. While initially, it was VeryGames, we did have EnVyUs + Titan and then EnVyUs + G2 esports in later years. Neither of these teams has been able to find the right combination of players through the years.
There have been attempts to form the most skilled roster previously in G2. However, the lack of good In-Game Leadership ensured that this team was never utilised to its full potential. At the same time, the various interpersonal relationships between the players always proved to be a major hindrance to any potential team. Then there is also the Shox + Smithzz combination wherein the two players are almost a package deal regardless of which team they join. Even in the previous iteration of G2, Smithzz went on to the Coaching role while Shox remained on the team as a player.
In their attempt to achieve success, the French players need to drop their emotions. CS: GO is a very professional esport with millions of dollars on the line. If French CS: GO is to become great again, it is essential for the French CS: GO players to start thinking about the team’s success over their own interests.
Zywoo – The next hope for French CS: GO
Many of the superstars from the yesteryears are in a huge slump right now. With G2 already signing contracts with at least four out of five members of the current roster, their future is set in the organisation. While they obviously do have the potential to regain their form, make French Counter-Strike great again, the chances of us witnessing such a performance diminish with every passing month.
Zywoo is a rising star from the French region. His ability to constantly put up big numbers is what makes him a special talent. Currently still very early in his career, he has mostly played in teams formed around him. His performance in 2017 saw a lot of attention on the young player. He recently parted ways with his former team, which gives credence to reports of his addition to Vitality’s new CS: GO roster.
With his reported addition to Vitality [Nel from VPEsports first reported Team Vitality’s entry into CSGO] , it is still unsure how the team will perform. After all, Counter-Strike requires exceptional synergy and coordination at the top level. Interpersonal relationships are crucial in the French scene.
For now, we can only hope that the French CS: GO scene has found the right combination of players, leadership and coaching. For now, the Team Vitality roster looks as follows:
- Nathan “NBK” Schmitt
- Dan “apEX” Madesclaire
- Cedric “RpK” Guipouy
- Vincent “Happy” Cervoni
- Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut
- Coach: Philippe “faculty” Rodier
Edit: G2 has just announced the release of NBK and Shox.
Source(s): Team Vitality to sign French CSGO players – VPesports