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Credit: G2 Esports

One more time

La Dernière Dance: A Chance at Redemption

Imperial captured all our hearts at the PGL Major Antwerp. Going out in 9th-11th place, they impressed everyone as they went out 2-3 in the Legends stage. They even knocked out the newly signed Cloud9 – proving you really can’t take the NA out of NA.

Following this, the French Lord Varys neLendirekt began speculating what a French Last Dance roster would look like.

I know what you’re thinking, I am too, but just to clarify: ‘this doesn’t sound great.’ Cool, glad we’re on the same page with the emphasis on that too.

But still, let’s speculate because this roster could work – but we’ve got a long way to go to get there

Getting the Band Back Together

So straight off the bat what we’ve got is our biggest sticking point. Let’s start off with the inevitable battle for IGL, a rekindling of a rivalry between Richard “shox” papillon and Nathan “NBK-“ Schmitt, one that dates back to the French super team of G2.

Upon the demise of that underwhelming super team, Richard Lewis said that shox had called NBK- a robot, which isn’t quite so funny now that NBK- has revealed he has ASD.

Following their stint on Vitality, both said they would no longer like to be IGL. However, shox’s recent run on Team Liquid might suggest that sentiment is over. At least in his mind.

Whoever ends up at the helm, I’m sure a coaching partnership between Kevin “Ex6TenZ” Droolan and Edouard “SmithZz” Dubourdeaux would be enough to help them tactically. That’s if the former can be coaxed back from that other game.

NBK- has said that he would play with shox again and that he thinks they would work better together with what they have both learned since. He also said he would love to play with another member of the roster again, the man this roster can’t exist without: Kenny “kennyS” Schrub.

KennyS is arguably the greatest AWPer of all time. Nicolai “Dev1ce” Reedtz and Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev might debate that, and Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov is basically his regen, but Valve NERFed the AWP because of kennyS. Who else can say that?

That, however, doesn’t mean that kennyS is kennyS. The man was removed from G2 for a reason. He posted an okay 1.07 rating in 2020, and the drop to 0.98 in 2021 was enough to see him benched. This is a kennyS far off his peak, who is known to be very dependent on his emotions, but who would also be depended on greatly in this team.

Rounding out neL’s suggestions is François “AMANEK” Delaunay, a reliable French all-rounder who always felt unlucky to have also been removed from G2.

In this team, he would presumably make up part of an entry pack, with the supportive duties done by NBK- and shox taking up most of the lurking. I feel like kennyS might keep him away from the AWP this time too. He might be in for an IGL shout… but I doubt his reign would last long if he did.

I’ve got no issue with this, like I said, he’s reliable. But he’s not a star, and that’s still what this team is really lacking.

The French Nebula

Without a bonafide star, this roster can’t expect to get even a toe off the ground. Imperial only managed to do what they did because Fernando “fer” Alvarenga is playing to a standard he hasn’t in years.
How likely is it that kennyS fills that void and becomes the French equivalent of Helvijs “broky” Saukants? I’d say not very.

If the IGL is unlikely to be an out-and-out entry – as the current meta would suggest is worthwhile – then it makes sense the star rifler takes up that role, and provides aggression in the vein of Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis. An unstoppable force capable of matching any immovable object.

The French scene has dropped off as the Polish scene did before it, but it’s not hopeless.
Ali “hAdji” Haïnouss isn’t young, nor has he ever really been a star, so to speak. However, he is a player who has always threatened the top spots of the French scene. His past 3 months see him hold a 1.15 rating, it’s not bad, and he could definitely provide so stability to the team.

His teammate Jayson “Kyojin” Nguyen Van hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since he joined Falcons, and his time on Vitality wasn’t the best advertisement either. However, this top-level experience is enough to put him in contention.

He might still not be enough, but maybe one of his former Vitality teammates is. Of course, without him being benched, it would be very hard to prise him away without an organization’s backing. But maybe, just maybe, telling Kevin “misutaaa” Rabier he would be a star would be enough for him to release himself from his shackles.

Still only 19, misutaaa has often been placed in what would typically be considered the ‘bitch roles’ on the best French team. It’s a testament to his ability that he’s there, but that honeymoon period at the end of 2021 suggests he could be so much more.

By far the best option, misutaaa is the only young Frenchman with enough top-level experience to match up against the best of the best and not absolutely shit the bed.

The New Superteam

Seeing as there’s enough of a core from the original, it seems only fair to call this the French superteam.
Its true veterans have a wealth of trophy-winning experience, it’s younger stars – AMANEK being 28 doesn’t count, he was a late bloomer – have enough time at the top to be ready-made.

The team doesn’t come without its red flags, but nothing rarely does. Imperial was met with laughter when the Brazilian Last Dance was announced, but look what they’ve done in Antwerp.

Get the captain situation sorted, and maybe a more stable version of kennyS than the one we last saw, and we’ve got a real team on our hands.

Here it is, the French Last Dance:

🇫🇷 Richard “shox” Papillon
🇫🇷 Nathan “NBK-” Scmitt
🇫🇷 Kenny “kennyS” Schrub
🇫🇷 François “AMANEK” Delaunay
🇫🇷 Kevin “misutaaa” Rabier

🇧🇪 Kevin “Ex6TenZ” Droolans (C)
🇫🇷 Edouard “SmithZz” Dubourdeaux (A)

Sam McKenzie covers a variety of competitive first-person shooters, with an emphasis on Valorant and Counter-Strike esports. He also has a passion for football in both the real and virtual worlds, and contributes his expertise in FIFA esports.