There’s no denying that Titan has been going through a rough patch.
The last couple of months they’ve seen a completely revamped squad, a celebrated win at Dreamhack Stockholm and a VAC-ban putting the CS:GO in the global spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Now, the team has come to the capital of Sweden to compete in the Pantamera CS:GO Challenge, and it is a roster full of confidence who will try to tackle the best teams in the world.
– It is nice for us to be here, and to just be in the tournaments and to play against all the great teams and to be a part of that again, Mathieu ’Maniac’ Quiquerez tells Aftonbladet Esport.
The French CS:GO-scene underwent a roster shuffle during the summer of 2014 that hardly left anyone untouched. LDLC, Epsilon and Titan all switched players and personnel. The outcome was tremendous for french CS:GO, but it was also short lived.
After a victory at Dreamhack Stockholm, Titan was the team to beat. They faced LDLC in the finals, and former teammates turned into enemies for a while.
But the French glory took a big beating when it became clear that Hovik ”KQLY” Tovmassian and Gordon ”Sf” Giry had cheated, as they both received VAC bans. In one fell swoop in the month of November, Titan was disqualified from Dreamhack Winter and missed out on the bootcamp held in Stockholm, a city Titan finally can visit again as a competing team.
– I’ve missed the tournaments a lot, Mathieu ’Maniac’ Quiquerez told Aftonbladet Esport shortly after they came second in Asus Rog 2015 that took place in Finland.
–As everybody knows Dreamhack Winter was a big blunder for us and that time was quite depressing, but right now all of us in the team have moved on from that period. We don’t think about it any more, and we just keep on looking forward.
Does it feel like a redemption coming back here since everything that happened with KQLY and the VAC-ban drama went down? You guys had just won a big tournament in Sweden when you got disqualified from DreamHack Winter after that whole debacle.
– I don’t see this trip as being connected with all that. It’s just great to be back in the competitions. We have worked hard with Cédric ”RpK” Guipouy to get back into shape. The results have been going fairly well, we finished second in Finland, and that was quiet a decent result for us. It is nice for us to be here, and to just be in the tournaments. To play against all the great teams and to be a part of that again.
Can you tells us a bit more about how everything is going for RpK?
– He is becoming better and better every day. I’ve been sitting next to him during this week and I believe he might already be up to like 10 000 deathmatch frags these past few days. It’s actually crazy how dedicated he is, he makes me feel guilty. His skill just keeps on raising. We’ve been fixing some strategies and some details as a team, so I would definitely say that we are improving. Of course we still need more time but we are on our way.
During the tourney in Finland, Robin ”Fifflaren” Johansson, had a few opinions on RpK stating that the former Source-pro had no problem what so ever with the aim, but that his movement in CS:GO wasn’t 100 percent or even close to what it was in Source. Could you expand on that
– Yes, the aim is absolutely not his problem. Even now, after only two or three months of playing I’d say it is a 50-50 proposition whenever he ends up in a duel – independent on who’s he’s facing. Where he still has to improve a lot is the way he plays the clutches for example, the 3-on-3, the 2-on-2 or the 1-on-2’s. That kind of movement, or in-game sense or whatever you want to call it, that’s what he needs. And to get better when it comes to that he needs official matches and experience from tournaments. With practice the result will come in time.
A bunch of you guys where on teams with RpK during Source, but how is he settling in as a teammate and a friend on the squad this time?
– We have all known him for some time now, and we know each other pretty well. When we chose him we knew that the personality aspects would be just fine. He’s a great guy, and he is always pushing us and never dragging us down. I have nothing bad to say about him really, he’s perfect as a teammate.
The past recent weeks have been, to put it mildly, turbulent in the CS:GO community following the wake of iBUYPOWER’s matchfixing scandal and now the one involving Epsilon. The French team have only one man left on the roster and it just so happened to be Adil ”Scream” Benrlitom. If all of this would have occurred while you where on the hunt for a fifth player to join your ranks, would you have given ScreaM a chance?
– We definitely have big respect for ScreaM. He is obviously a great player and big time talent. But he lacks many qualities you need as a professional player for a team as a whole. My teammates have already played with him and when KQLY was disqualified it was quite clear that ScreaM would not be the profile needed even though his firepower is unbelievable – everybody knows that. You have to think about the big picture, like the strategical point of view, psychological point of view, clutch situations, dedication and all that stuff. It was clear right from the start that we needed to take someone else. With that being said, it’s a shame what is happening to him right now with Epsilon because he would totally deserve a very good team. But it was never a discussion to bring him on the team.
You guys had a pretty decent, if not quite good, result in Finland losing to Ninjas in Pyjamas in the finals. What do you believe is that you lack in the team to make it over that hump again, be it tactical or just game mechanics?
– To be honest, we got crushed by NiP on Dust2 in the finals. They had prepared very well and they had some very efficient tricks against our defense and we should have made adjustments a little bit quicker. Maybe we were a bit over confident in the way we play Dust2, we didn’t count on them being so aggressive and taking the fight with us so hard, and they did that very well. Cache was a mess, if we could’ve won that one we would have moved on to Inferno where we are pretty good – as well are NiP – and on that map it would have been pretty difficult to pick a winner. All in all I would rather not say that we are lacking many things, I feel like we were really close to bring it to a third map where anything could have happened. We just need some experience, we need to know how to handle some key situations better. We’ve been watching demos and realized that we lost a couple of stupid clutches or situations where we could have played better, but that will improve with more experience. To summarize the tournament we just need to take the bad parts of our game out, and keep the stuff that worked.
Are you guys focusing on creating new tactics now or improving the ones you already have?
– We need this filtering we have going on right now. We are watching demos to determine whether we lost a round based on tactical stuff or if we just missed someone. If we see that the tactic was holding us back, we just scratch that play. If we were close to winning a round with a certain tactic, we just make small adjustments to that particular play call – ’maybe this smoke needs to be a bit more over here or that flash popping right there’.
How is the meta right now?
– The interesting part of CS:GO is that the meta is continuously changing. You can always bring something new to the game. Of course the maps are changing as well but you can play one AWP, two AWP’s, only rifles, having three or even four people on A and leaving one player on B – the thing I’m going for is that the meta is ever flowing, you just have to pick the right battle, the right gamble.
Concerning the changes to maps, what do you think of the new Cobblestone?
– We haven’t focused on it since it’s not a part of the map pool for Pantamera, but it feels strange and the changes seems weird. It was already difficult for terrorist and I feel like it’s gonna be worse because of all of those doors and chokepoints the CT:s can smoke of. Maybe the terrorist can find some nice ideas, it’s always possible but it feels – like I said – a little bit strange.
Is there any map you would like to see in the map pool?
– I was quietly a big fan of Season. I liked it in Source and I like the updated version in CS:GO. It is very strategical as terrorist along side many possibilities as CT. I definitely think that Season has got a good shot to get in to the map pool. But I also like the new version of Train. I would love to see it get a chance in some minor tournament just to test it out – but right now it shouldn’t be in the map pool of the majors.
Who’s got the biggest shot, excluding yourself, to win Pantamera?
– One has to say that EnVyUs has the biggest chance to win it. They are playing fantastically, they are very cost efficient and every move they make is a winning move. I would put them as favorite and then it will be very difficult. All the big four teams are here, Virtus.Pro, Fnatic, Ninjas in Pyjamas and EnvyUs. We and LGB Esports will be the big underdogs, trying to bite their leg.
You call them the big four, how close are you to reach that level?
– I would say that we are directly under them. We still have to prove ourself and evolve and improve many aspects of our game. But we can take a spot in that elite group of teams.
Who is Titans biggest rival right now, which team would you love to beat?
– One would probably think that EnVyUs would be that, considering they are French. But I would say that our biggest rival is NiP. They have beaten me so many times in tournaments and it has always been awesome matches. To beat them in a grand final would be fantastic since they have this great past with so much success.
The majority of the prize pool in Pantamera was gathered from crowdfunding thanks to Swedes recycling aluminum cans. And at the same time Dota Asia Championship is gathering a ton of money through crowdfunding. Would you like to something similar to the compendiums being sold before majors in CS:GO to bump up the prizes?
– It’s a difficult question. I do prefer the system with having three or four majors a year to The International even tough that might bring more money into the tournament, but I’m not in a position to complain. We just have to hope that the numbers keep raising and that the sport grow even bigger. With the growth we will also see an increase in prize money, that I’m 100 precent sure of.
The question now looms large, will Titan once again become the giant of the scene and redeem a tarnished past with a victory in Sweden?
On Saturday we will know.