Even though you guys ended this event with a loss to Renegades, overall it's been a pretty good event right? There wasn't any real expectations given you hadn't had time to prepare with Ex6 and SmithZz, are you happy with what you've achieved?

Exactly, we try to have as much fun as possible. So when you have fun you basically play CS in a pretty good way. So despite the context in not preparing anything with the team, and we haven't played together in more than a month we managed to beat some good teams like Hellraisers who are good contenders to the top ten especially with HObbit joining.

We also played Renegades, we could've won the game but they're a really good team and they could've won against Mousesports yesterday, actually. So we don't have any regrets, really. We enjoyed playing together and it was a final run. We had fun.

For yourself, how has this year been in terms of trying to get back up to your old level? You've got this new roster now, new leadership and a new energy, what steps are you taking with your own game?

I'm just trying to have a different approach with the game than what I did in the past. One of the only reasons why one of my approaches used to be... I mean, it wasn't good, it just wasn't good so I decided to change. So I started grinding again, grinding and grinding. Preparing the 2019 year is the main focus and the most important to me. I want to finish this year on a good note in Abu Dhabi, but yeah, everything is about preparing for 2019. I don't want a year like this to happen again.

That's pretty much it. I just want to feel happy and I will be happy when we are a good team and when I'm competing at the S-tier level again.

As shox transitions into this new role as an IGL again, are you trying to mould your evolving game to his system? Is there a conscious effort to sort-of develop to the team as it were?

Shox has been in that role already and I've always liked his way of being IGL. He obviously has flaws and it's not going to be easy everytime, but I definitely trust him about it. I think we both understand and are on the same page. I enjoy playing under his way. But my approach didn't necessarily change with him. It has to be changed anyway. So with him or without him I would've changed it anyway. But for sure having him and the new players is definitely helping me in that new approach. They're setting a good example, they're working really hard. That makes me work, really hard.

So, yeah I think we started a new process for myself and as a team. We trust it. We want to keep going with that process. But we're pretty sure that it's going to get results.

Talking about LUCKY and JackZ specifically, they clearly bring a different energy into the team. This youthful vibe seems to be very important for the team, how does this manifest in-game as well as motivating you outside of it?

Since they joined I'm pretty sure we mostly adapt to them, more than they adapt to us. They have a different approach, we've been playing one way for years now. And it was kind-of useful for when they joined that their approach was in the present. It's the fact they're always grinding, and that they reach their level now because of that. So, yeah, it's basically they push us to be like them: grinding hard, and being realistic about ourselves.

Also, JackZ is a really high-skilled player. He's also a good player positioning wise. He makes mistakes like everyone, he's not too greedy. He's really high skilled. LUCKY is also high skilled but he's also got more power in the game. Not fragging wise, but he's helping shox a lot. But especially in-game wise, he's the guy who's going to chill us out, calm us down and make the right call sometimes when it's needed. He's also leading the trio on T-side. So he's a really interesting, smart player, but that's also why I'm saying we mostly learn from them since they joined. They also learned from us, but their approach is definitely better.

kennyS Ex6TenZ ESL One New York

How big of an impact has maLek had in this sense? He obviously comes over from 3DMAX with LUCKY and JackZ.

Well first of all, this new process we're talking about has been brought over by maLek - all of it. I would think it has been way more productive since he's joined, he's brought a lot of good stuff. He brought a lot! It's really complicated to detail everything. He has the experience from Envy and also from 3DMAX which is actually the most important for me.

When he joined 3DMAX from Envy he learned a totally new approach to the game. More like, the people who want to reach the top rather than the people who are already at the top. It's really different. I think the old approach we used to have wasn't good, or at least, not good for the present. It might've been good like, three years ago. But nowadays we need new stuff, we need productive practice individually and as a team. We are happy to have such new things as experienced players. We need new things to compete with the other players and the other teams. The 3DMAX players and maLek new that - they're making sure we're on the right path.

You have a very interesting perspective to talk about the rise of ZywOo right? He's sort-of replicating in many ways the trajectory we saw you on back in the day. What do you think of ZywOo and Vitality as a whole?

All I can say about it, is, first of all, once again, I'm only focusing on my self. I don't look at other teams and I don't really care at all. I mean... I do care but only to learn and understand what they are doing. But I'm more interested in teams like Astralis for example.

Regarding ZywOo, he is, indeed a rising star. But it's more like someone I want to beat. It's more like competition. He's pushing me to be better. 2018 hasn't been good to me, in many ways. But I'm going to make sure 2019 is good for me and my team.