“I’ve never had to deal with a roster change this big before,” PRX alecks on Monyet replacing Jinggg cover image

“I’ve never had to deal with a roster change this big before,” PRX alecks on Monyet replacing Jinggg

Esports.gg spoke with the coach of Paper Rex, alecks, after the team was sent to the Lower Bracket of VCT Masters Madrid.

Paper Rex has been one of the most unique VALORANT teams in all of VCT for quite some time. And while some results so far this year are not to their liking, coach Alexandre "alecks" Sallé and company are still representing W Gaming at the top.

They're struggling against their regional brethren, Gen.G. Coming off of a loss to start the VCT Masters Madrid Playoff Stage, we spoke with alecks to get his thoughts on what the he and the team need to do to succeed going forward.

PRX coach alecks talks about adjusting to unfamiliar situations at Masters Madrid

"You obviously think the most of and expect the best out of your players. When you come off of a tough loss, as the coach, what is your mentality like?"

alecks: "When it's over, it's over. It's just a lesson to learn. I'm very relaxed. I don't think we had any expectations in this tournament, so I just need to reiterate to them that it doesn't really matter. It's lost, you know what I mean? We already know that we have problems that we need to fix, and there's too little time, too much to do."

"And we hear so often about how hard it is to win a rematch so soon after the last time you faced a team. What are your thoughts on that, specifically with Gen.G here, since they’ve now beaten Paper Rex twice in a row?"

alecks: "It's supposedly harder for them to win the rematch. Well, they have a good read on us clearly. It seems like everywhere we went, they knew what we were doing. So, I think we have a tell somewhere and I need to figure it out. It's probably something really simple and something we are overlooking."

(Photo by Liu YiCun/Riot Games)
(Photo by Liu YiCun/Riot Games)

"Okay, and clearly you’re an emotional coach. We see your physical expressions on the broadcast all the time. Do you ever feel like your emotions get the better of you?"

alecks: "Not really. I think I get out of the way, and after that I calm down really quick, so that I can think about it. It's more like, sometimes I watch from the view viewpoint of a fan. I'm just so flabbergasted about how we play, and I react. After that I figure out from there what to do."

"How easy is it then to flip that switch from being upset at a mistake, to needing to be a calm voice that leads the team back into it?"

alecks: "I don't know. I just know that I cannot yell at them. It's something I did maybe five years ago when I first started coaching, and I realized really quickly that people don't respond well to this. You don't need pressure from your own team, especially from your coach. The only thing they need from me is positivity and confidence I try to instill in them.

"When we tac pause, the boys just want a solution. That's really what they want, and that's my job to do it. So, if I were to react really badly in these kind of situations, then that's not giving a solution. And then I failed as a coach. So, I never, ever get angry at them during tac pauses."

(Photo by Shannon Cottrell/Riot Games)
(Photo by Shannon Cottrell/Riot Games)

"So, now I’ve got a couple of open-ended ones, for you to say what you’ve got to say about both teams. What are your thoughts on Gen.G, in terms of how they played today?"

alecks: "I hope they win the tournament. I think they play really, really well. Whether or not it's a honeymoon period. From what I see, I think they're fundamentally very sound and they are very, very good as players.

"And it seems like they have very good camaraderie going on. I'm very happy for such a team to come out of the Pacific region and I wish them all the best. If for some reason we can meet them again in this tournament, I'll try and meet them, and try and beat them."

"And now for your team. General thoughts on how Paper Rex performed?"

alecks: "For this match, below expectations. I think we expected to give them a better fight. In general for the tournament, I think we've been very fortunate so far. Honestly, we've been carried by our individual performances, in my opinion.

"Rather than good game play and good VALORANT. Makes for a pretty spectacle, but then I think we need to do way better when we go to Split 1. I think that we have a lot more to show."

"Well, from second place at Champions last year to top four at least here in the first Masters of the year, I have to ask. What has been the key to the team’s consistency, even with a new player and role changes?"

alecks: "Let's be honest, I think the format benefited us a lot in Pacific. We only played two teams, not even three teams. We only played two different teams to qualify for this event. Coming to this event, we thought we had a good read on the meta, like the Skye is actually a lot more viable than we thought.

"So, you spend a couple months doing Skye, they nerf it, and after that you go away from it. You realize that you have to come back and it's a lot more difficult than you expect. People are more ready. Consistency-wise, I guess it's just being confident, being true to ourselves.

"There's a lot of hesitation right now in the way we play and that actually hurts us. The way we play, sometimes you rely a lot on timings, and we're not taking those timings. It's very, very detrimental to our play style. I think for any team to be consistent, you need to be, first and foremost, very confident in the way you play. You need to have a little bit of luck, which I think we have this tournament."

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"Across the regions, we're seeing a lot of new teams step up and show their best. What do you think has been most difficult, when it comes adapting to the team’s new style and keeping up with the other rosters in the VCT?"

alecks: "Considering the fact that we're top four here, I think keeping up won't be a problem, but we want to win. We actually need to figure out how to beat like the top teams in the tournament. And I think the teams left, every match is getting harder.

"They're more practiced, they're more ready. One thing is, I've never had to deal with a roster change this big before. Losing one of the best players in the team and then after that, having to bring a new player into this place that we've been refining for three years, right?

"And when the new guy comes in, he's expected to play a certain way, and he can't do it as well as Jinggg can, because of time. And also experience. You need a few reps at the highest level, which we're getting right now, before you understand where you go wrong.

"It is a lot more difficult to do in practice. And it's a lot more difficult to apply on stage than it is in practice. So, Monyet has his learning stage right now, whereas the rest of us are trying to teach him. I'm finding it difficult to, it's like a reset, right?

"The whole team has to reset, and maybe it's a bit difficult for us to understand that it's a process. Even maybe as fans, but as players, it's even harder. You expect to be winning these kind games against Gen.G, and then we're not suddenly, and then winning fixes everything.

"I mean, you're losing. There's a lot more problems that are coming up, and then everything seems to be a problem. I have to find a way to identify what's actually not working for us. What's just us hesitating. There's a lot of very, very small things that we we never had to deal with before.

"So, this is what I'm trying to find out. I'm trying to make sure that I don't overcorrect, which I think is the number one thing that will really screw us over. I'm trying to make sure that I really pinpoint what's bothering us. Could it be comms? Could it be role issues, right?

"Maybe we need a better system. Maybe we need to be more structured. Maybe the players don't gel as well as they used to. How can I get that going? So many things, that we're in a tough spot right now."

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"You’ve got a Lower Bracket run next. With the possibility of elimination in mind, do you stress any urgency to your players, or do you try to prepare like it is business as usual?"

alecks: "I think it depends on the team, but for me, my boys tend to fair better when they do not feel the pressure. I think for everyone, people deal with pressure differently. I think certain people feed off the pressure, and they actually perform better than they normally do. For us, I think it's well known that we don't actually like to put pressure on ourselves.

"The good thing is, I think we have already exceeded expectations in this event. We just wanted to come off with one win. Coming to the playoffs is already a good thing for us. More reps, more time here, more time to play EMEA scrims. I think it's a win-win for us already. So, we are going to go into the next match, happy to play and just happy to be here, and see if we can upset anyone."

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