Endpoint saw a shuffle with their roster three months ago, and a part of that shuffle was seeing them sign Felix “Frog” Bergeron as a coach. The second person the organisation has ever bought is already looking to lead them to victory with his unique coaching style.
As Endpoint are inching their way to victory, before the finals, Frog sat down with UKCSGO to talk about the tournament, his coaching style and who he thinks is the next hot prospect.
An overview of some of your games so far, it feels like it has been pretty easy. Was that expected?
I mean it’s hard to say. We didn’t really know what to expect from BYOC. I didn’t really get to do any prep for that. I saw what teams were signed up and I didn’t know many of the names outside of Invictum and Shoobie’s mix. Whatever happens, we just play our game. From my understanding, the guys we played were great sports about it, but they were just a group of friends, very casual gamers, not even level 10s. It was an interesting experience, I do hope for future editions it will be more competitive. It is still the ESL Premiership finals in the end. It was great for the guys who we played, they got £1000 and it paid for their travel, but it was just a blowout game.
Ex-Coalesce I was expecting Inferno to be a bit more competitive. Regardless very happy with how we played. We made some mistakes and some stage jitters. Overall we played pretty well I think, on Vertigo we were really confident on the CT side that it was going to be an easy game. I don’t want to be too cocky but we are one of the best CT side vertigo teams in Europe. I think we can go toe to toe when communication is good with tier one teams on that map.
Looking at your next game. Raptors EC your opponents, What are you anticipating in this matchup?
I don’t want to say there is no specific gameplay, but at the end of the day, I did a bit of prep work for every team here. Trying to figure out the basics and their tendencies. There are only a handful of games to look at. I am happy that it is Raptors, not in a bad way. But from playing both them and Verdant in the past, I find that Verdant are harder to read. Whereas these guys play more traditional CS. I think we have an idea of how they will play, and will be good stylistically for us. In terms of the individuals, we are just playing our own game.
It is great that Awayken is playing well because in my perspective his consistency is one of his weaknesses. He has a really high ceiling, but he has had that high ceiling for a long time and has been a prospect for a very long time. If he can actually perform consistently that would be amazing, and he might be a proper prospect for the future. It is great that he is doing it on LAN, but I am not worried about it, and we are not prepping for it. We are just going to play our own game and that should all go according to plan.
Looking at what it means to win this tournament and get the NC qualifier spot. Are you in a position where you would be disappointed if you didn’t win?
I mean it is crazy to say we are not the favourites. We are Endpoint, even if it is a relatively young team, we have had two months together. Early on we didn’t have much time to practice out-of-game stuff. So it is still a young team and an upset can happen, but I think it is totally reason that we are going to be the winners. Again a most-up is possible, Raptors are a good team, we head into the game confident but not cocky. That is the key to any game against underdogs. You have to play confident because when you don’t you play bad CS, but you don’t want to be too cocky and underestimate these guys.
Looking outside of this tournament, people might not know who you are because you have risen through the ranks rapidly. When you joined Endpoint, how important was it to get experience in Bravado, and also on LAN at IEM Challenger Katowice?
It is hard to say as the teams operate very differently in both game style and leadership. There have been through a lot of transferable skills, with Bravado specifically, if you brought them over to Europe they could be an amazing tier two team. Ahead of Katowice, we had a week-long Bootcamp. The growth in that period is impossible to put into words. It was exceptional every day, with every scrim the team is getting better and better. We showed that versus ENCE, we certainly had some issues in the team and I am not sure if they fixed them now, now everyone is always on the same page, but when it was Bravado can be one of the best teams in tier two . The chemistry is amazing between those guys and can consistently contest tier two if they have the opportunity to practice consistently.
Looking at you joining Endpoint. From my perspective, you fit the ideology of Endpoint well. Would you agree with that, and would you see this team as being the perfect fit for you?
In a lot of ways, I think so. I wasn’t expecting to join Endpoint. Obviously, there is always the chance if Bravado performed really well at Katowice I would have some eyes on me, but that wasn’t my thought. I was thinking at the end of my contract I would maybe get some offers, but it just happened. Pete from Endpoint just reached out to me, we had some interviews with them and the whole team, and it just clicked. In many ways it works, I live in the UK so it is just a three-hour train journey to Sheffield, so it is really easy for me to do bootcamps, it is a top UK org, so it just made a lot of sense. For me especially Endpoint is a team I have always really liked because they are so good at scouting out talents.
I love watching Tier seven CS, absolute nobodies from Turkmenistan playing against each other and being like “oh this kid has promise”, which is why I wanted to work with South Africans. I knew there was that potential in that scene. There are some really incredible players, and now Endpoint is an incredible home where I can continue this. As sad as it is for me to say, it would be crazy to think I will never have HeavyGod, Azuwu, or S3lndd leave this team at some point. But at the same time, I am going to be able to find the next guys, try to teach them the ways of tier two CS, and get them ready for tier one Counter-Strike. That is my role and I am excited about it. Obviously, I want to be able to keep my players for as long as I can, but it is the reality we live in because of the ecosystem. Maybe with partnered teams not being a thing moving forward with Valve getting involved, it might be a bit better with us, but we have to see.
You have mentioned a big role for you is training up people, what else do you do? Can you explain your coaching style both in online situations and at LAN?
A lot of other coaches, way better coaches have said that “a coach’s job is done 95% before the LAN”, it is all the prep leading up to it. When I am here I am muzzled understandably. I am not able to give those communications in the game, and when I do it is through a timeout, I only have a little bit of time throughout the game to speak. Therefore it is important to know what I am doing, it is a fine job of balancing “okay if I stop to address something here it has to be crucial, it has to be a big mistake that isn’t being talked about so we know, but I don’t want to kill momentum. If the vibe is not good, how do I bring them up without having them focus on the mistakes they have been making.”
It is a weird thing to be doing as a coach, but I have a really good group of players right now. The communication is amazing, they are hyping each other up, and they are all very vocal which is great. When Surreal is being vocal I think this team is unstoppable. I think it is a good time all around. Obviously, out of that, I do all of the prep work in regards to anti-stratting. Bringing new ideas for when we are doing theory. I always have my eye on upcoming players, if that ever ends up being something we have to do, trust me I have a list of 40 different names we can trial.
So you have already mentioned the three youngsters when you identify they are talented, how are you now building them up?
At the end of the day we didn’t pick up players with zero experience, they understand the game pretty well and for what it’s worth AZUWU Is a brilliant kid. We had a player on Bravado a little bit like that, I see a lot of comparisons and parallels between him and Trident. They just love playing the game, every time they can they play. Earlier when we finished versus Ex-Coalesce, Oscar asked if we could DM on the stage, he just wants to play the game every single second, he wants to play pug every day, and he wants to be grinding another scrim if we can. Players like that are amazing, they constantly want to improve, they constantly want to get better and it makes my job as a coach easier. I describe my coaching style as a teacher, I am not here to explain things to them, but when watching back demos, “what happened here, what do you think happened?” and asking them questions so they can come to conclusions by themselves. This helps with their confidence but also helps them memorize, it is a lot easier for them to ‘not throw this flash on this start, and instead throw it this way’ when they come up with that solution themselves. It’s a very passive role, and not every coach will like that style, but I try to push them in a gentle direction, help where I can and give a bit of structure, let them make their own mistakes so that they can learn from them, otherwise, there is no point. You will be an incomplete player if you don’t make mistakes.
Lastly, you said you have this list of 40 players, go!
We can start with an Israeli because we are Endpoint, I have been saying this guy’s name forever and Flamez copied me, “Zaxie”, I had a chance to trial with him and from what I saw he had an incredible presence in the server, very loud voice, very commanding. He is a little bit crazy sometimes, but mechanically he is a very good player. I see him being the next big Israeli talent.
I love Uzbekistani CS right now. I adore TRAFFIC Tashkent, I was told about them when they were in Intermediate. I followed them and icyvl0ne, wetfy, fr0k have all been really great. Also, Ryujin on Arcred has been really good and I have had my eye on it for a long time, I am just really excited to see Uzbek CS on top right now.