Valorant – ZE1SH: “Our demons can play tricks on us”

Valorant – ZE1SH: “Our demons can play tricks on us”
Valorant – ZE1SH: “Our demons can play tricks on us”

“After winning the Kick-Off, the first European tournament of the season on Valorant At the beginning of March, you only qualified at the last minute for the Stage 1 play-offs last week. How do you explain this more complicated recovery?
Ahmed “ZE1SH” El-Sheikh: I think we struggled a lot during the season because we were really tired. With Engh (Andrey Sholokhov, head coach), we started assembling the team and making the try-out list at the end of August, then we officially started playing with the team in October… We are one of the first teams to have started our preparation. Which was normal because we only had rookies and we needed to prepare well for the season… But the schedule that was put in place by Riot doesn’t allow it at all. Because when you qualify for an international competition, you really don’t have much rest.

We had a hard time getting into Stage 1 like we got into the Kick-off, because we didn’t reset at all after Madrid (where Karmine Corp participated in the Masters, the first intercontinental tournament of the season, while the other teams were on break), we didn’t think of anything else and we couldn’t work on new stuff either. We were a little ahead strategically during the Kick-off, but while we were in Madrid, everyone was able to see how we played and pretty much do the same thing as us. Or even sometimes improve it, without us having the opportunity. Whereas we only had a week and a half break to renew our game, which was not enough.

Did you feel like you were more easily read by the other teams?
I wouldn’t say we were more easily read… Maybe on a few points, but not everything, because we do a good job as a coaching staff not to be. But when you are a youth team, you need freshness. We have to make sure that they don’t get bored, that they can always try new things. And I think we really didn’t have that time.

During the play-offs, you will play for qualification for the Shanghai Masters (from May 23 to June 9), which you will obtain by finishing on the podium. But to hear you, one could almost believe that it wouldn’t be a gift…
In fact, it all depends. Our objective is to acquire points in the race to qualify for the Worlds. And for that, you obviously have to go to Shanghai, so we’re going to make sure we give it our all. By winning stage 1, we would collect five points and we would almost be guaranteed to be in the Champions, so the state of mind is to win.

But we have concrete cases of poor performance. When you watch Sentinels (in the American League)who won in Madrid what is for the moment the biggest competition of the year, they came back tired from Madrid, they had no time to work, no time to reset… And they did not qualify for the play-offs.

On a daily basis, do you feel that the workforce is exhausted? Or is it especially felt in official matches?
That’s all, actually. To be able to work correctly and efficiently, I have been sleeping on the premises for two weeks. Because otherwise, I find that I wouldn’t have enough time to do everything in a day. And my players, they are tired too, you can feel it, in individual decision-making, in what we do…

You talked a lot about the fatigue caused by your participation in the Masters Madrid… But it was also the first major competition contested by the club and most of the players. Did you learn anything positive from it?
Of course, just playing against the best teams in the world. The way we lost, too (vs. Sentinels and Paper Rex). I think we had a lot of regrets compared to Madrid, because we didn’t feel that we were below the teams. We lost a little against ourselves. We gave victory even though we had everything in hand to win, due to inexperience. Having experienced that in Madrid, it helps you to digest it better when it happens to you again during stage 1. It allows you to get back into it after the defeat against Heretics, to take it a little less bitterly.

Overall, are you satisfied with the trajectory of your players since the start of the year?
I think we are still progressing and that is normal. Over the course of a year, you will inevitably have periods of slack and peaks, accumulating physical fatigue and mental workload. So we went back down. But that’s when you have to question yourself a little and try to understand what works and what doesn’t to know how to find your old peak and even surpass it.

People often ask me if I think our honeymoon is over… But I don’t think there is such a thing. Teams that no longer have peaks after having performed at the start of the year are because they didn’t ask themselves the right questions, because they didn’t work on the right things. Younn (Rocaboy, the team’s mental trainer) is with us every day and tracks the details, I think it’s important.

When you won the Kick-off, you were on a crazy winning streak in training, which had helped your confidence. Now that it’s a little less the case, how are you adapting?
Earning that much is a double-edged sword. Our series of victories before the Kick-off could have caused us harm, because sometimes you don’t necessarily realize the problems you have. And you can get slapped in an official match without understanding. By earning less, you can question yourself more. I think we have a coaching staff that is quite mature and we manage to manage it quite well and make our young players understand that it’s just training, that the important thing is to learn from it. good things. You just have to differentiate between training and performance days.

Do you still expect these Stage 1 play-offs to be more complicated than what the Kick-off was, for example?
I think it’s our demons that can play tricks on us. Even though we finished the season with three wins and three losses, I think we were still above almost all the teams we played, apart from FÜT. We threw away a lot of our advantages, rounds that we should never lose. We lack individual experience which means that sometimes we will make mistakes, which we will never make in training, because we have the pressure of the official match, of the issues surrounding it. It’s not going to change overnight. But that’s the only thing I would be afraid of. Of ourselves. »

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