The French Connection
A while back, we wrote an article based on a tweet posted by neLendirekt about a ‘French Last Dance’ team.
In the article, we identified the final piece of that roster as Kevin “misutaaa” Rabier, the young, then-Vitality entry fragger who could have been elevated to a more starring role on such a team. The only problem with that was that he would’ve likely been difficult to pull away from his current team.
Since then, misutaaa has reportedly become available as Vitality seeks an upgrade in Lotan “Spinx” Giladi, as well as the (rumored) Audric “JACKZ” Jug and Richard “shox” Papillon following their benchings by G2 and Liquid, respectively.
Throw in British, French-speaking IGL Alex “ALEX” McMeekin after his time on fnatic was cut short, and suddenly the idea of a French Last Dance seems more appealing.
And, more importantly, quite realistic.
Not counting HEET players, who will be looking to keep their roster together after qualifying for ESL Pro League Season 17, or Falcons, who also seem to be on the up, here’s a breakdown of what the team could now look like, role by role:
There are a few options for this role among the available players. Shox has IGL’d in the past, so too Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt.
Unfortunately for the two Major winners, however, neither of them has found significant success while at the helm. Both suffered from the same issue of poor economy management, and in shox’s case, he’d even sometimes attempt to AWP over Kenny “kennyS” Schrub.
AMANEK, another player with experience as an igl, too is also seemingly not an option, as he has found a new home at LDLC.OL
That leaves us with ALEX, who is actually quite an unlucky bugger.
He left Vitality just before COVID hit due to being tired from all the traveling of an oversaturated LAN circuit. He then found himself on a Cloud9 Colossus roster that, through no fault of his own, failed to reach the heights promised.
His time on fnatic was meant to be his return to form, but the Swedish-British mix failed to gel. He soon found himself cut in favour of the brains of young compatriot William “mezii” Merriman.
A competent tactician, versatile player, and efficient in terms of fragging output, ALEX is our IGL.
There’s only one option, isn’t there? Without him, France would have zero Majors – NBK-.
Of course, there were suggestions that he was a slight bit of a problem during his time on OG. His removal was cited as being due to ‘differences in in-game vision’. So too on Vitality was he cut, as it became clear he was needed less and less as ALEX was by far the better IGL and Cédric “RpK” Guipouy was a better support.
Although on MOUZ, it would be fair to say that NBK- never really got a shot at success. The team was poor at the beginning of 2021, that’s undeniable, but one stand-in performance by Jon “JDC” de Castro was enough to see the Frenchman cut, and results didn’t improve much afterward.
Who knows if MOUZ would’ve achieved their Cologne form long ago had they not benched him.
He’s potentially fortunate to be on this roster, just as Lincoln “fnx” Lau had been to be on the Brazilian Last Dance roster, but he’s the best option.
Similar to NBK-, there’s only one option here. Shox.
One of the greatest CS players of all time and certainly a top five French player of all time; issues outside of the server may have actually been the main reason why shox’s move to Liquid didn’t pan out as intended.
That being said, shox was forced into an unfamiliar, more supportive role as Keith “NAF” Markovic already occupied his normal lurker spot. NAF is objectively the better player and has been for a couple of years now, but that doesn’t mean shox can’t still perform in the role.
An aggressive lurker to such a degree that he’s basically his own form of entry, shox is one of the greatest clutchers in CSGO history and has more than earned his chance to shine again. His experience and style will be key to the success of this team.
You’re probably expecting Kenny “kennyS” Schrub. Arguably the greatest AWPer in CS history, he’s the only AWPer who can claim that Valve has nerfed the gun because of him, seeing as he was just too quick for anyone to handle in its pre-patch days.
Despite still performing to a ridiculous level in the years that followed, he did begin to wane as time went on, and the meta changed so that AWPers began to take up more passive late-round importance.
We already mentioned that one of the three secured players is a ‘versatile player’ – that’s right, ALEX will be this team’s AWPer.
ALEX previously AWPed on Cloud9 after Özgür “woxic” Eker departed and was a more than capable secondary AWPer on Vitality before that. He won’t be the star AWPer that top teams all require, but he can carry his weight on the level this roster will reach.
The IGL AWPing allows the team to take on a tactical shape similar to Heroic, with more aggressive riflers that hit their enemy team hard and fast and a more supportive AWPer that can call around himself to plug gaps and provide a bit of stability in the late round.
Maybe it’s unambitious. But with the rest of the players available, this is the best way to maximize firepower without relying on kennyS to find his best form again in a meta that no longer suits his style of player.
That leaves us with room for two aggressive riflers, and in the recently available JACKZ and misutaaa, we have the perfect pair.
While both of these are used to playing the out-and-out entry role on their former team, rather than the more ‘star’ role of the second-in spot, deciding who takes which spot in this team is relatively easy.
JACKZ is an utterly selfless player cut from the same cloth as Havard “rain” Nygaard. Permanently first in on G2, JACKZ has made a name for himself as a dependable entry fragger that has no quarrels in allowing his teammates to be the ones to shine, as well as being a positive influence outside the server.
Misutaaa, meanwhile, is the classic case of ‘young star thrown into bad spots’; upon his arrival on Vitality, he was touted as one of ‘the most exciting young prospects in Europe’. However, as he departs, this is no longer the case.
His dismissal isn’t necessarily due to his poor performances, despite coach Danny “zonic” Sorensen saying diplomatically that the team needed more firepower.
Instead, it seems that due to the stylistic differences between him and his supposed replacement Spinx, it is a tactical one.
Misutaaa was never given a fair chance to shine on Vitality, being thrust into a role that often leads it’s players towards the bottom end of their team’s scoreboard even in a won game, but with JACKZ in front of him, this team could be his moment to shine.
The French Connection
Looking at the pieces available, this lineup might be somewhat unexpected. But it is the one that makes the most sense.
Breaking into the highest tiers of Counter-Strike would be hard on a consistent basis, but at least it gives shox a decent chance to keep his perfect attendance record at CSGO Majors intact. If Imperial can do it, so can la dernière danse.
- 🇬🇧 Alex “ALEX” McMeekin (AWP & IGL)
- 🇫🇷 Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt (Support)
- 🇫🇷 Richard “shox” Papillon (Lurker)
- 🇫🇷 Kevin “misutaaa” Rabier (Aggressive Rifler)
- 🇫🇷 Audric “JACKZ” Jug (Entry Fragger)