Richard “shox” Papillon, one of the faces of the French Counter-Strike scene, is trying his hand at an international team for the first time in his 16-year-old career. The 29-year-old opted to join Team Liquid after he was benched by Vitality, the No. 1 team in France.
The veteran realized that if he had stayed in the French scene, he’d have to downgrade, in terms of teams. Vitality are miles ahead of LDLC, the second-best team of the country, and shox would most likely only get to play in tier-two events.
Even though the country has produced one of the best CS:GO players of all time, the back-to-back best player in the world in 2019 and 2020 Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, there’s a lack of development in the region, according to shox.
“I’m scared for the French scene and the development of new talents,” shox said in an interview for Liquid. “Not that there aren’t any, but I feel that there’s nothing out there to help these new talents develop. The last success to date is GenOne, who got recruited by LDLC. It’s a project led by KRL, a streamer who scouted five youngsters himself, who trained them on his own. That’s how it is. If he didn’t do that, these five would still be lost in the depth of the French amateur CS [scene]. Today they have an org, they have salaries, it’s great. […] But should it be coming from a streamer? […] There’s a lack of academies in France.”
One of the possibilities that could help the youngsters fully reach their potential is to form a team with veterans like shox and Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt mixed with new blood and talented, but inexperienced players. A good example is Abai “HObbit” Hasenov, who took a step back in his career in 2020 to play for Gambit Youngsters and helped the team flourish and win big tournaments in 2021, such as IEM Katowice, already as just Gambit.
It’s unthinkable that shox will do that anytime soon since he signed a contract with Liquid in December 2021. But the veteran also has no plans to stop playing anytime soon.
“I want to prove to the Counter-Strike scene that even at 30 years old, you can still win and perform in a tier one team,” shox said. “I get the impression that at this age, no one even looks at you, either the organizations, the players, or the coaches. I think it’s wrong. I think that at 30 some people have different priorities – start a family, settle down, stop traveling – and their objectives can change. But I’m convinced that as long as you have the will for it, you’re still committed to work towards being part of the best, you can still go at least until 35. That’s one of my most personal objectives, to change mentalities in the scene on that topic.”
Shox is attending just his third event with Liquid at ESL Pro League season 15. They’re 1-0 in the tournament after beating BIG yesterday and will face GODSENT today in the second round of Group C at 1:30pm CT.