By Taras Bortnik
Special to VPEsports
During Vitality’s run at the IEM Katowice 2019 Major, we had the chance to sit down with Dan “apEX” Madesclaire. The 26-year-old Frenchman’s squad would go on to be eliminated by Ninjas in Pyjamas in the 2-2 pool of the Challengers stage.
apEX discusses the French scene, Vitality’s performance, ZyWoo, and more. You can read the interview in its entirety below.
VPEsports: Let’s talk a bit about your loss against Renegades. For me it was interesting to see how you lost on Dust 2 – a traditionally good map for the French. Even more interesting – most of rounds you lost were on the T-side. Do you have any thoughts about what went wrong?
apEX: Well… Basically we didn’t play good at all. We were a bit sleepy and at the same time our opponent was good, prepared individually. This time it was a really tough to play against Renegades. We weren’t focused enough, we didn’t make the right decisions and that’s what happens when you play like that.
VPEsports: During the New Legends Stage you had another tough and long match against Na’Vi. Why do you think the match was as tough as it was?
apEX: I think that both of teams played really well, even when they had an advantage over us and we came back. Overall it was a great game. We have a strong mentality in this case even if we play against the best team in the world. We aren’t giving up at all and always trying to come back. That’s what happened there. It was a great game and a great experience for me.
VPEsports: Can we talk about the French scene right now? How would you describe the relations between Vitality and G2?
apEX: I know that people are looking for some drama, but there aren’t much things between us right now. We’re just focusing on our own team and to work on ourselves. We are working on taking French scene to the highest level again. I don’t think that we should even think about each other and focus on our own way. That’s it.
VPEsports: KennyS said in our interview during the Challengers Stage that the French scene is still in crisis. But as far as I can see it right now, the French scene is doing much better than it was last year. What do you think?
apEX: Cause I was benched!(laughing) The thing is we had a strong French scene for like four years, we had two teams in top-10, which was extremely good. But look at our rankings right now: 12 and 15, or something. Yes, we are coming back but it needs more time to get even better than we used to be. Overall, we just need time. I know G2 are working a lot, we are working a lot too, so we have no problems between us, we just want to come back to the top oncee more.
VPEsports: You are talking a lot of making French scene great again, but do you feel the pressure of such a responsibility?
apEX: Not really. It’s all about the work we put into things. I am training as much as possible to bring myself and my team to the highest level. We are out of pressure we are down there. We don’t have any pressure playing against any team on Major.
VPEsports: In October, Thorin said that Vitality’s previous roster with Happy was just a foundation for something better. And here we now, having a changed roster for Vitality. Do you think that you have become this ‘better French team’?
apEX: With Happy we weren’t bad, we weren’t a good team either. We were lacking something and that’s what we changed overall. And now we feel a more potential in our team, we are better now than we used to be in Autumn.
VPEsports: I watched your statistics in your first four matches of the New Legends Stage. You were always 1st or 2nd due to your K/D rating, however, all the glory seems to go to ZyWoo. Do you feel that you in the shadow of ZyWoo?
apEX: Of course we all are, man. ZyWoo is such a great individual and shiny player. Obviously we all are in his shadow, but I am pretty comfortable with this team. I think I play good overall, but I don’t care about such things. He is young and probably the most talented player I’ve ever played with. And the most interesting thing that he has much more potential and things to improve. So let him shine. For me it’s more like… I am an old player already, I don’t need to be in lights and get all the glory. I just wanna win, and I don’t give a fuck about everything else.
VPEsports: It’s always fun and nice to see, how the chemistry between the best riflers of a team grows. Like with s1mple and electronic, ropz and suNny, etc. How can you describe your relations with ZyWoo not like a teammate, but person and friend?
apEX: He’s really shy guy, but it’s always easy with him. He doesn’t want to express his feelings, but he’s such a great guy, I like to talk with him about some life stuff. He’s a good listener. I really like him a lot. We have like a seven years difference, and it puts a bit difference between us and, for example, s1mple and electronic, cause they are both young.
VPEsports: The most hyped game of world just right now is Apex Legends. So, apEX, what do you think about Apex?
apEX: I finally created my own game! But to be fair, I don’t really care, all I play is CS:GO, but I have to concede it’s fun to have a game of your name. I never tried to play Apex, just saw some videos on youtube and it’s pretty funny. It’s supposed to be a good game, and it’s fun to see how people reacting with my name. People are trying to make a meme of it. So yes, it’s fun.
VPEsports: What do you think about the current state of balance of the game? Maybe there is some way to find a proper counter to AUG without nerfing it? For example, electronic bought SG for T-side.
apEX: It’s an option, but still, AUG is too good right now. I have no idea what we could do to find a balance without developers. I agree with you that probably SG could be a good answer, but SG’s spray is a very tough to learn, not the way of AUG. It’s shooting simply straight, and SG is hard to control. As far as I think, picking AWP against AUG could be the option.
VPEsports: Don’t you think that this problem maybe overhyped just right now? Cause looking back on New Legends Stage, many teams have won their T-sides…
apEX: It depends on the map, I would say. Like look at Train right now, this map was always CT-oriented map, even before this patch. And Nuke as well. It was a tough to play as T-side on such a maps without AUG, and now it’s extremely hard. On a balanced and T-oriented map AUG didn’t change a lot.
VPEsports: According to your words, all the teams with Nuke and Train in pool got an advantage over others.
apEX: I think AUG makes a CT side a much stronger without much on it. Cause here is the thing; in the game you have to win the first aim duel against AKs and it’s much more comfortable to do it with AUG.