"I think CS2 will be a great opportunity" Team Vitality's Anne Banschbach on Counter-Strike 2, prep for Paris Major, and more (Exclusive)

Anne Banschbach, Director of Esports for Team Vitality recently spoke with Sportskeeda ahead of the Paris Major.
Ahead of CS:GO's Paris Major, Team Vitality's Anne Banschbach spoke to Sportskeeda about the event, CS2 and more (Image via Sportskeeda)

Ahead of the CS:GO Paris Major, we spoke to Team Vitality’s Director of Esports, Anne Banschbach, about the importance of this event. As the last CS:GO Major, every team wanted to no doubt do their best and showcase their team’s dominance. Unfortunately, nobody could stand up to the overwhelming power of apEX and company, who did not drop a single map throughout the competition. Their flawless outing was truly an impressive feat, where they ran down each competitor in quick succession.

Before the event, we got to speak with Anne. We spoke about how Vitality prepared for the event, the challenges the team had to overcome, and even the upcoming Counter-Strike 2.


Anne Banschbach of Team Vitality discusses CS2, the Paris Major, and much more

Q. Hello! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Could you please introduce yourself to our audience?

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Anne Banschbach: Hello, my name is Anne Banschbach, and I am the Director of Esports for Team Vitality.


Q. The BLAST.tv Paris Major is the final CS: GO Major following CS2. How is Team Vitality feeling going into such an important event?

Anne Banschbach: It goes without saying that this event is even more special for us than other majors. The CS:GO Major is not only the final event but coincides with the ten-year anniversary of esports in CS:GO, and at the same time, the ten-year anniversary of Team Vitality.

That, paired with the fact that we have two of the biggest French CS:GO players in our roster (ZywOo and Apex), means that this event is incredibly important to us. And we're obviously delighted to be playing in front of our fans in Paris. For some members of the club and the team, it means their friends and their families. It is a unique moment of joy.


Q. Team Vitality blew away the competition during the Legends Stage with an impressive 3-0. How did the team get ready for this portion of the competition?

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Anne Banschbach: The team has been on the “Road to Paris” since last year. Together with the coaching and performance staff, we have worked to create a roadmap to be able to peak at the right time.

It is not an easy feat - as the CS:GO calendar is incredibly packed, and therefore, it requires a lot of foresight and discipline to put the right amount of work and effort in at the correct time.


Q. Playing CS:GO at the highest level of skill is something that takes enormous dedication and preparation. What makes Team Vitality so unique? What do they do to stay so sharp that perhaps other teams don't?

Anne Banschbach: We are incredibly proud of our performance manager Lars and our coaching staff, MaT, Zonic, and the team manager, Matthieu. They not only work extremely hard but are the best in their fields, and our players benefit from this.

It took a bit of time after the international project between the Danish and French teams - Rome was not built in a day. We can see the benefits of the efforts today. All according to our plan!


Q. Has Team Vitality seen any major hurdles on the road to the Major that you can think of? What did they do to overcome these issues?

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Anne Banschbach: As mentioned earlier, we have faced a lot of challenges on the road to Paris that we worked to overcome. Initially, it was the international team finding its new identity - where we had to focus on team culture and cohesion rather than firepower.

Another constant challenge is peaking at the right moments. Last year we peaked slightly too early at EPL and the RMR and then had to face the Major in Rio on a half-empty tank which led to less successful results than we could have reached or hoped for.


Q. CS: GO is the most tactically sound and intense FPS on the market right now. What kind of strategy sessions does Team Vitality employ when they're preparing for a match?

Anne Banschbach: In terms of pre-game routine, every player has a different approach. Some get into the zone with music, and others do reflex warm-ups. What always remains the same is the team huddle and chant to get into the right mood before taking to the PCs.

In the background, the coaches, of course, analyze our opponent - this heavily depends on the time we have between matches and when the match-up is known. While Zonic will focus on our play and players, MaT will go and analyze the behavior of the opposing team to come together as a strong duo.


Q. How hands-on are you with the prep and overall training of Team Vitality as they head into major events like this?

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Anne Banschbach: We do not treat the Major differently than any other event in terms of performance and preparation. While the pressure increases and everyone is aware of that, we want to keep the routines as much as possible the same.

That means we say hi to the guys, and we check in with coaching staff - but we fully trust the staff on site to do what is needed and don't interfere in their work.


Q. As the final CS: GO Major looms closer, what do you think Team Vitality's legacy will be in CS: GO? What will people remember about them as CS2 begins?

Anne Banschbach: We have a strong FPS history and a space in the CS:GO Hall of Fame for sure. Our goal is, of course, to leave this Major victorious. It would be a great achievement and honor to represent the last team to win a major in CS:GO, as well as the first one in Paris - where our company originates from.


Q. CS: GO was seen breaking Steam Records after the official CS2 reveal, so it's safe to say that the game has never been hotter. With that in mind, how do you think the future of the CS esports scene will shake out? Are things going to continue to grow in the competitive world?

Anne Banschbach: I think CS2 will be a great opportunity for a breath of fresh air in an ecosystem that has played the same game competitively for ten years. I am sure that the next generation of esports events will be just as entertaining as the ones that we have gotten used to.

Of course, esports is also impacted by the current economic context, which means that the explosiveness in terms of growth has slowed down. I am, however, confident that esports will continue to grow and manifest itself in the entertainment industry even further.


Q. As the Director of Esports for Team Vitality, what do you look for when considering recruiting players for a squad on one of your esports teams?

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Anne Banschbach: Decisions are never made in a bubble or by one person alone. We factor in a lot of components: firepower, experience, contractual availability, and personality, to mention a few.

These decisions are jointly discussed with Fabien “Neo” Devide in the business context and with the coaching and performance staff in terms of team fit and goal.


Q. Team Vitality has some of the most rabid fans, without a doubt. Do you have a message for the fans around the world as the Paris Major gets closer?

Anne Banschbach: I can't wait to see the Golden Hornets and all other Vitality supporters at the Major! The Brazil Major was crazy - but I am positive that the event on our home turf will show why our fans are the best in the world. You guys are amazing! Cheer for CS:GO - and, of course, a Team Vitality Trophy!


You can find the latest updates on Team Vitality on their website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also see their latest content on YouTube and Twitch.

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