Quick Scope is series of oftentimes short opinion pieces written by Steven Cropley.
With the recent news that a deal has been met for the transfer of Richard “shox” Papillon from G2 Esports to Team Vitality, it’s time to think about what this change brings to the latter.
The 27-year-old French star is known for being one of the greatest players to ever come out of the country, even being in contention for one of the best players to ever play the game during his prime. However, he hasn’t exactly been the same player over recent months in G2.
There are still glimpses of his former glory and many believe if you put him in a situation where he can focus on his game play rather than being an active strategist in the team and being free of any internal issues he will flourish once more.
Vitality have struggled to pick up wins when their own star Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut didn’t put up his frequent insane numbers. A statistic was recently brought forward that stated in the last 21 games in which ZywOo didn’t have a 1.0 or higher rating, Vitality lost 20 of those games. With that stat in mind, it’s hard to argue the team isn’t a bit overly ZywOo dependent.
It’s obvious that the hope with this move is to see shox add the much needed firepower to the lineup. He fits in well for what the team needs given the roles they already have. With Alex “ALEX” McMeekin being the lone in-game leader following the benching of Nathan “NBK” Schmitt, ZywOo being the star, Cédric “RpK” Guipouy and Dan “apEX” Madesclaire being veterans at their respective roles and able to adapt when necessary it seems shox has his work cut out for him. A simple plug-and-play could work here with some minor adjustments of course.
Vitality can clearly win games with their previous set up, however, waning the team off of its dependency and adding a bit more firepower is a giant step in the right direction.
Outside of the firepower, shox also adds some flair. ZywOo was really the only “X” factor the team had in making big plays consistently, taking risks that paid off more often than not, and catching his opponents off guard. If ZywOo went down early, it became a rather lackluster round where a correct read almost guaranteed you a victory given the lack of surprises or wrenches thrown into the mix.
shox will allow a bit more looseness to the team, taking some of the pressure off of ZywOo in both the early and late round. This will in turn give him an easier path to picking up rounds. It’s been mentioned in previous interviews with the team that ZywOo is positioned within the team to shine in various ways. Whether that be utility being used for his benefit, allowing him to be the last man in, etc. – it is part of the plan to give him the tools to succeed. With shox’s ability to open up rounds, that additional firepower up front will lessen the burden of ZywOo in late round situations should they follow a similar playbook.
While it was mentioned above that the idea is to get shox out of the mindset of an in-game leader, it doesn’t hurt that he’s been helping to guide teams over the last year or two. Being able to provide insight into a match or round won’t hurt so long as it’s kept to a reasonable amount and doesn’t steal the authority away from ALEX. Having a player who has a wealth of experience to draw from in terms of leading a team is an extra tool in Vitality’s belt that could be instrumental if utilized correctly.
And the last point is it simply provides them better structure, clarity, and roles. Having a two in-game leader setup in which neither in-game leader is exactly a frag machine or the absolute best at another role means there’s a gap or rather weakened piece of your armor somewhere. Allowing ALEX to focus on the game holistically while the rest of the team focuses on their roles will provide better cohesion in my eyes.