The reliable shuffling of French Counter-Strike teams is once again underway. And this time it’s come in the form of a straight swap.
Rumored for some time, the deal sends Richard “Shox” Papillon and Edouard “Smithzz” Dubourdeaux to Titan, while domestic rivals Envy receive former Titan players Kenny “Kenny S” Schrub and Dan “Apex” Madesclaire.
It’s a huge move. Schrub and Papillon in particular are considered among the world’s very best, though both have at times struggled with their teams. Envy has seen a steady decline in results since positioning themselves as arguably the world’s number one team with consecutive wins at DreamHack Winter and X Games.
Titan, meanwhile, have had it even worse. The French side has dipped so far as to hardly be considered a contending team, with the individual play of both Schrub and Madesclaire reflecting the sides’ struggles.
Envy’s Nathan “NBK” Schmitt shed some light on the reasons for the move from Envy’s perspective in a video blog. In it, Schmitt speaks to a divide that formed within the team leading to Papillon and Dubourdeaux pushing to remove Envy’s in-game leader, Vincent “Happy” Cervoni, from the squad. This aligns with moves Envy had made during the spell of difficulty this year, including the Papillon temporarily replacing Cervoni as leader, a move Cervoni admitted was made at Papillon’s behest.
Moving forward, Schmitt says that Envy will play with a stricter structure in place, with Cervoni firmly in charge of the team. This offers parallels to Titan, whose leader Kevin “Ex6tenz” Droolans has at times been criticized for an overbearing attitude towards other players.
Papillon himself seemed to have had difficulty playing with Droolans in the past, making the move from Titan and Papillon’s perspectives a strange one.
In an official statement released by Titan, Papillon made reference to this past but also implied that things have changed.
“We already know each other well but I also know that we’ve all grown these past months,” Papillon said. “I am confident in this team and believe we hold all the cards in order to make this a success.”
Schmitt expressed equal confidence, proposing that the recent dip in form for both Schrub and Madesclaire was a result of playing for Titan, shifting the blame for their struggles to their now former teammates and setting the stage for a potential revival for both players.