flameZ on apEX: "He lets me showcase my abilities"

    Reading time  ~8  mins

    Despite people questioning the removal of Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen so soon after the team won a Major, so far, Vitality with Shahar “flameZ” Shushan have looked as strong as ever. With a top four at IEM Cologne and a win at Gamers8 now under their belts, they stand tall as the best team in the world.

    Back at IEM Cologne, we got the chance to sit down with flameZ to discuss roles on the team, his form since joining and the influence of an iconic Entry Fragger like Dan “apEX” Madesclaire.

    Sam “AN1MO” McKenzie, BLIX: Are you surprised by how you've hit the ground running on Vitality?

    flameZ: On the T side, not so much because I've always believed in my abilities to entry and headshot. But on CT sides, some of the spots, I'm still finding them hard. We anticipated a drop because two factors mattered: ZywOo won the biggest tournament he's ever going to win, a Major on home soil. You're not going to win something bigger than that, and in many teams, we've seen people drop down after they've won the biggest thing they can win. We anticipated that this might cause a hit, and the other thing is the roster change. dupreeh goes out, he's a very experienced player, and you get a new player and you don't know what to expect, they don't know what to expect from me and vice versa. The process, it feels like it wasn't tough, but it's still the start, you know? I can't take it for granted because this tournament or the next tournament, we could drop off in an odd fashion, we'd lose and be disappointed. We feel like the process is there, it's a healthy one, we're not like 'we lost this, this, this,' there's a chance to learn. We win, and then we lose and we say, 'Okay guys, we know how it feels to win together and when the energy is up,' so when we lose, we know why and that's a lot healthier than just nothing going your way and you fall into a trap.

    BLIX: You said you're finding some of the new spots hard, can you give more insight into that?

    flameZ: I won't say specifics, I don't want the enemies to know too much and pick the maps [laughs], but I will say that, mostly, the CT sides are a weird transition. Some of them I feel very comfortable with, but some I still need to find myself. It's not that I'm bad at them, but they just haven't clicked in my brain in terms of how I want to do specific things because we lack practice, matches, and experience. It's mainly because we still haven't played that many officials. [Officals] improve you twenty or thirty more times than what practice can ever do for you.

    (Image Credits: BLAST)

    BLIX: Tell me more about Mirage specifically, you're the B Anchor now, you were Connector on OG; apEX said in an interview that the team needed a 'crazy Connector player.' When you signed, we thought that would be you, can you tell me about the decision for you to be the B Anchor?

    flameZ: I think in the past it was dupreeh short, Spinx Connector, and apEX B Anchor, and when I joined I came and I thought, 'wow, it will be perfect. Spinx can go back to his favorite position on Short, I can go to Connector, and apEX will play B if he likes it, but then they changed it. The change happened because there are certain things that apEX is good at, like communication, that helps many of the players in the team, and to some extent, they didn't want to put me in those responsibilities at the start because you join a new team and you need to be sharp 100%, which is fair and they tried it with Spinx in different positions and with many responsibilities and it didn't work out, so I don't think they want to take the hit and the risk, which is fair. I don't care if I play B site or A site, Connector, Short, or even Window with AWP. I will do my very best to play my best, and the more you can improve on your end, the more the team improves. I don't mind if I play Connector, it's maybe harder to transition, but before OG I was playing Anchor the whole time so I don't feel like it's uncommon ground. It's just weird to transition back and see how things are nowadays in this meta. It's not something I'm worried about or something I regret, everyone is good in their positions right now and we can win against any team in the world with any positions. We're very good individually. I can play any position and if apEX has a good day, we're going to win for sure, and if he has a mid-day we're going to win still because he's very good at communication and he's always going to provide that even if he's not shooting well and communication is consistent even if the wrist action isn't. Myself, you can throw any excuse at, young player or whatever, I'm not the same material as him, so when I don't play as well, my communication might slack a bit, other things might slack a bit, and that's something that doesn't happen with him. I haven't said it to him, but we have a natural agreement on what we're both good at. It doesn't matter where I play, because if I'm here for firepower and they come B I just need to kill two or three instead of communicate as well and I can find my impact there. I'm still learning where to not be a quiet guy and where to communicate more, and as I play more spots that are like rotation and anchor, that's where I figure out what the team needs.

    BLIX: In terms of apEX then, he's one of the iconic CS:GO Entry Fraggers, is there anything you're trying to learn from him in that sense?

    flameZ: I don't think I'm trying to learn from him. He also doesn't want me to learn from him; it's more like 'you entry how you want to entry', and the main difference is that because he did the job, he appreciates the amount of risks you take in the role, and he knows what an Entry will need and want in terms of support and flashes, communication and micromanagement. He lets me showcase my abilities, and he hasn't told me too much except minor things like pathing and where flashes will pop, but what I take from him is that sometimes I'm going to play against enemies that won't have an advantage against me because they'll be blind because he does things much better than the average support

    Vitality flameZ (Image Credits: BLAST) (Image Credits: BLAST)

    BLIX: Finally then, for the first half of the year, Vitality spoke a lot about their plan to win the Major; have you guys spoken about a new plan and what the sort of end goal is?

    flameZ: We've already formed the plan, the goals, the path, the process and what's left is the time to prove it and see if we can stick to it. It's always nice to have a clear path, maybe it won't be a clear road, but we have a clear place where we want to land. Whatever comes, we need to stick to it, because it might be bumpy, it might even be easy, but there is an end goal and I don't know if I can share it, but it's very nice to have something to dream about and that all the team wants and needs.

    CS Virtual Trade Ltd, reg. no. HE 389299 Registered address and the principal place of business: 705, Spyrou Araouzou & Koumantarias, Fayza House, 3036, Limassol, Cyprus
    Copyright © 2024 BLIX.GG. All rights reserved.
    CS Virtual Trade Ltd, reg. no. HE 389299 Registered address and the principal place of business: 705, Spyrou Araouzou & Koumantarias, Fayza House, 3036, Limassol, Cyprus
    Copyright © 2024 BLIX.GG. All rights reserved.