The beginning of 2017 brought about great change for the French scene. In February 2017, G2 had formed the French superteam. Shox and bodyy were joined by NBK, apEX and kennyS from Team EnVyUs, with SmithZz stepping down from the active line up to coach the team.
Each of these players excel at their roles. For example, shox is one of the best riflers in the world. His ability to constantly click heads leaves spectators in awe. apEX is a solid entry fragger, bodyy has been a consistent performer for G2 in the past. NBK has been able to masterfully balance the line between aggressive and passive play, and has adapted well as a support rifler, and kennyS is one of the quickest AWPers in CS:GO.
The team, on paper, is a star studded line up, or in other words, a superteam.
However, contrary to their label as the “French superteam”, the team has been all but super. Throughout their one year tenure, the French side had only claimed two tier one championships, which were the ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals and Dreamhack Malmo 2017. The only other title G2 were able to grab was Dreamhack Tours, hosted in Tours, France. G2 recorded two top four finishes on top of their wins in Dallas and Malmo. These top four finishes came from Dreamhack Austin and EPICENTER 2017.
Aside from these placements, G2 recorded several quarterfinal and group stage exits in 2017. These poor placements continued into the first few months of 2018, where the French side lost to eventual major winners Cloud9 in the quarterfinals of the ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018, despite a 6-0 start in both group stages of the Valve sponsored tournament. At Starladder, G2 were once again eliminated in the quarterfinals despite another perfect run in the group stage. G2 finished early on at IEM Katowice.
Talk of change was floated about. Shox wanted to bring in Ex6tenz, and help SmithZz return to playing in place of NBK and apEX. In this case, SmithZz would have been rifling. In the podcast with Ocelot, shox stated that kennyS was happy with the changes, but bodyy disagreed.
The G2 roster, provided the changes that shox wanted were implemented, would have had the roster look something like this:
Which is not that bad, however, if shox’s longstanding friendship with SmithZz was non-existent, having apEX in and NBK gone for Ex6 would probably optimise the roster further.
You would have, hypothetically speaking, apEX as your entry, a free kennyS, a free shox to lurk and punish players accordingly, the support of bodyy or RpK and the mind of Ex6.
A team that had pure firepower and no dedicated in game leader was FaZe. Throughout all of FaZe Clan’s iterations prior to karrigan, the team had firepower, but lacked a leader, and thus was ineffective. They brought in karrigan, further bolstered their firepower and they were well on their way to multiple titles or consistent top four finishes.
In the case of France, these are some of the best players the region has to offer. Making shox, or someone that is not a dedicated in game leader the in game leader reduces the impact that they can have for the team whilst undertaking one of the most complex roles in CS:GO. Having someone sacrifice their strength for something that they might not be great at hinders them individually, and can hinder the team overall due to factors such as ineffective systems built around any of the players.
Bringing in Ex6 and only him would have potentially elevated G2 into a team that can successfully utilise the firepower, and elevate them to a FaZe-like team where there is a strong and smart leader behind them to utilise the firepower and make corrections where necessary.
However, this is all purely hypothetical, and not the way the wind blew.
Mixwell’s addition to G2, albeit as a trial, is a smart move. Mixwell is a player that is clearly capable of both AWPing and rifling – a hybrid player. Furthermore, mixwell is a player that has played under a few riflers turned in game leaders, such as stanislaw and friberg. Mixwell has also played under a dedicated in game leader, in the form of daps. A player of mixwell’s flexibility, in terms of roles, may very well fit into the system that NBK may craft at G2 with this new line up. Language barriers are not an issue, since mixwell is fluent in French. Whilst mixwell’s flexibility in terms of roles may benefit G2 going forward, the fact remains that they have all of the firepower, and no dedicated in game leader with the experience, or time put in, which means that NBK will need time to implement a system, and make the necessary tweaks to it in order for it to be optimised. The change G2 made may seem small, but the implications on the roster and roles going forward is quite large.
The topic, or question that interests me, is “what happens next?” in regards to shox and SmithZz. Shox had mentioned that he wanted to play with Ex6, so, hypothetically speaking, that’s three out of the total five players required.
In terms of French players, you would more than likely have to look at free agents, which would be Amanek, Devoduvek and Zywoo (in terms of prominence and skill) ((list takes into account lack of organisation for the players)).
If available, shox could pick up some of his older teammates and see how that pans out.
Now that SmithZz is off the AWP and back onto the rifle, we might see better performances from the player on an individual level, as opposed to what we saw when he was on the AWP.
Essentially, two players have had different visions for their team, and as a result one has moved on. Neither of these visions, or approaches to the game are bad and can potentially grant France a third team with some prominent players.
This change frees up shox to be able to perform to his strengths under Ex6, provided the Smithzz/Ex6/shox line up comes to fruition, and any other teammates they pick up. On the other hand, whilst the change may not seem beneficial for G2, it may turn out to be a beneficial change after some experimenting, and, the team could flourish with mixwell’s flexibility and NBK’s leadership style. Either way, this minor shuffle is exciting for French Counter Strike.