G2’s SmithZz: ‘Qualifying for the Majors means something different now than it did in the past’

Esports Asia News
[hkes_show_google_ad] Edouard “SmithZz” Dubourdeaux is G2 Esports’ AWPer and one of a handful of players that have attended every CS:GO Major with the ELEAGUE Major 2017 being his 10th in a row. Ahead of his games in Atlanta, SmithZz spoke to theScore esports about the community’s criticism of him and how he’s prepared for the Major. How were your holidays, did you do anything special for Christmas or New Years? What was the best gift you received or gave? Get anything special for Nikolett “nylon” Keszeli? My holidays were really good, since we have only two “free” periods a year, we try to enjoy it to the maximum. For most of the time I went to see my family and spent time with them, the best gift I received was probably the PS4 and I got Niki a kitten! You had a bit of a worrisome start to 2016 as your previous team Titan shuttered its business, leaving you guys teamless, but you’ve since been acquired by G2 Esports and go into 2017 with them. How would you sum up your 2016? I don’t really know if I should be sad or happy about this year. Of course we could have done better, especially at the Majors, but I still feel we had an “OK” year. The main goal was being in the Top 6 teams and we were. You’ve unfortunately become the focus of a lot of criticism, similar to fellow French player kioShiMa, however he’s largely shed that perception and even embraced the meme in his ELEAGUE sticker signature. How does the criticism affect you? Do you find it motivates you to prove people wrong, or does it simply add more pressure? At first, I was not really used to this amount of hate, so it affected me a lot. I can’t say I don’t care now, but I just have to deal with it. I almost put a “Yo les noobs” on my sticker, but I didn’t have the time. Following the unfortunate casting at Northern Arena Montreal, you received a lot of support from the community, particularly from Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo and Wiktor “TaZ” Wojtas to name a few, and eventually sparked a small discussion about esports broadcasting. Someone even tattooed “Yo les noobs” on their foot. Did you expect the community to react in that way? What does that support mean to you? Being a pro gamer, I expect a certain amount of backlash over my performance but when it gets out of control it’s nice to know that other people can see that there is a difference between criticism and mockery. The support I had back then was huge and it helps me to go through it, especially from other players I respect as well, such as TaZ and FalleN. The crux of the criticism seems to stem from your abilities with the AWP, whether it’s true or not. Have you considered switching to a rifler? Since Source, I have always been an hybrid player, only picking up the AWP in certain situations. It only changed eight months ago when bodyy [Alexandre “bodyy” Pianaro] joined the team. We wanted a primary AWP to fit the meta and I was the one taking the role. Obviously I have never been and I’m still not comfortable with that role because it’s never been my primary one and I have been playing CS a long time. Two months ago I had a talk with the team, following all the criticism, and I told them I wanted to get back my confidence and don’t play AWP unless it’s really needed. Despite community perception, you’re one of the few players that has attended every single CS:GO Major so far. How important is that fact to you? Ez and deserved. I’m kidding, but seriously it wasn’t always difficult to attend the Majors, but this past year has been really competitive and qualifying for the Majors means something different than it did in the past. Before it felt like another day at the office, but now when we qualify, we feel like we just won another LAN! I think this speaks to the growth of CS and what a great state the competitive scene is in at the moment. It’s not super important to me, but when I take a step a back and look at how many people have done it… it does make me feel proud to be a part of such a small group of players to have achieved this. For the first time ever the Major will not use the GSL-style for the group stage, instead using the Swiss format. You’re very familiar with it as you competed in the ESL One Cologne 2016 qualifier, ESL One New York 2016 and the ELEAGUE Major qualifier, but how do you feel about it being used at the Major itself? What are your pros and cons? I think both formats have their pros and cons but personally I slightly prefer the Swiss format. The pros of the Swiss format are that there is less anti-strating as a result of the randomness of the potential matchups, it’s hard to prepare for 15 teams instead of 3. Another advantage of the format is that you need three wins to advance and three losses to drop out. Since the matches are all best-of-ones it can feel terrible that only two matches can knock you out (like in GSL). A nice bonus of not knowing your next opponents is that there is a bit of excitement after each day, waiting to see who faces who in the next matches. The con of the format is that the tournament is much longer and some days you only play one match a day, whereas I prefer to play all my group matches in the same day. Some players/teams seem to play better and are more focused the more games they play, and sometimes play poorly in the first game of the day. Another con of the Swiss format is that it’s possible have a harder route to advancement compared to other teams based on upsets and unlucky drawing. Your opening group stage match will be against Fnatic, who you’ve faced off many times before. What are the key things for you going into that matchup? Even if it’s not the same lineup, they eliminated us from the last Major, so it’s our time to take revenge! They’ve beaten us online a couple days ago so we know they are ready and prepared. Any final thoughts going into the Major? ELEAGUE is an amazing organizer with amazing people so I’m sure this will be one of the best Majors yet. I’m excited because of the level of the tournament, there are so many strong teams and even the qualifiers left strong teams out such as NiP, which was a surprise to me. I wish all the best to everyone, and let’s make a good show. [hkes_show_google_ad]

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