Interview with HyP – Captain of the Mandatory team
He is no longer a household name, as he did not wait for Valorant to make a name for himself in the competitive FPS landscape. Damien ' HyP ' Souville joins the Valorant team of Mandatory as Captain. In this interview he explains his decision to take on this new project, how he approaches it and how he chose his teammates.
You can find a condensed version of the interview on video. The written interview below will go further in the answers and topics covered.
Mandatory: Hi HyP! Could you introduce yourself for those who might not know you?
HyP: I'm Damien, I'm 25 years old, soon 26! I've been a professional FPS player for 6 years. So, of course, there have been cuts in pro contacts in the meantime, but I signed my first pro contract 6 years ago.
Mandatory: Six years of career is a long time in an environment like esport! What were your experiences in competition?
HyP: How far back should I go? I can go back to when I was 16 years old and I started to play a bit, to discover the competition. One of my first teams was on Shotmania, it was with Shootmaniawas with APO . After that, we lost touch. He went on CS:GO, and I went on Overwatch.
On Overwatch at the time, I was lucky enough to join GamersOrigin pretty quickly. I had a pretty full year there and learned a lot. I joined the team and after two weeks, I became captain. I had a lot of responsibility, a lot of choices to make and they trusted me. It's teams of six or more to manage. That's how I gained experience in terms of relationship with the teammates, getting along with everyone.
It was a great year where we managed to get some great results and get noticed on the European scene. That's what more or less unlocked everything. It started the ball rolling for me on Overwatch. I managed to win the European Championships with Eagle Gaming. I ended up in Overwatch League at Paris Eternals. In my Overwatch career, I was lucky, it was almost "easy" I want to say, even if it was obviously not the case. But it worked out pretty well for me compared to a lot of other players.
Mandatory: Most of the Valorant players come from Counter:Strike. What does the Overwatch experience bring to you that others may not have?
HyP: I don't know if it's related to the game or if it's more related to the level I was able to reach on Overwatch. At a certain level, you have good coaching. A framework that helps you to work, to learn, to evolve, to question yourself. I think that helped me a lot. For any game, I manage to have a certain working method to continue to evolve.
For Overwatch in particular, it's a lot of management. You have a lot of things to take into account: the characters, their spells, their ultis. For example, if you're playing a Roadhog and he throws a hook at you, you have to track the hook inyour head, know when he's going to get it back and hide at the right time. It's a lot of things to deal with at the same time and I think that helps me a lot on Valorant. Especially as a leader where I have to look at my mini-map, understand a little bit what my mates are doing or if there is any information I need to take to make a difference in a round.
After that, regarding all the gameplay and movement, you still need to have Counter:Strike experience to be able to handle a minimum. Just before Overwatch, I did three months on CS where I tried hard, with really good players. I think that little bit of time helped me a lot on Valorant.
Mandatory: What made you decide to launch on Valorant?
HyP: There are many things. First of all, there's obviously Riot. You want to trust Riot Games for everything they've done so far. There's also the fact that I love CS:GO. I love watching competitions. At the time I started Shootmania, I had a choice to make between starting Shootmania or starting CS:GO. It came out around the same time. But on CS, there are already machines, there are guys who are monsters and who have been around for years. Whereas Shootmania was a new game, there was maybe a place for it to reach the top level. That's why I chose Shootmania.
My thought process was the same when Overwatch came out. It was... not similar to Shootmania, but in the idea, there were similarities. Whereas on CS:GO, the guys were more monstrous than ever. I didn't get into CS because I didn't see a future for myself on it at the time. But I loved the game, I loved the competition, the feelings, the adrenaline you get in every round. When you're clutching, 1 against 4 on Valorant in the middle of a competition and in an important round, you're shaking! It's something you can't control, it's adrenaline. That's why I compete and that's why I love Valorant.
Mandatory: Was the transition from Overwatch to Valorant difficult?
HyP: I expected to have a hard time. I tried it at the beginning, I didn't put any pressure on myself. I told myself 'I'll see if I like the game','I'll play for fun'. I had to reduce the sensitivity of my mouse enormously. I don't remember what my sensitivity was at the time, but I had to reduce it by half or more than that. In Overwatch, I had to aim in the air, but in Valorant, you just have to turn around for flashes.
The movements are also different. The tempo of the game. In Overwatch, you run all the time. in Valorant, it is sometimes very slow. You have to be patient, hold an angle for several seconds. It can be very complicated and it's something I struggle with. When I have to hold an angle with a sniper for several seconds, I get pissed off. It's horrible, I want to do something. It was hard at the beginning and it's still hard today. There are certain areas, like patience, that I sometimes lack. If I'm on my own and I have to hold an angle, I might fall asleep. Well, I'm exaggerating a little bit, but that's the idea.
But as I said earlier, coming from Overwatch, you have an understanding of spells and spell combos. Tracking Sova's arrows takes so many seconds, so you want to say 'ah, they slammed it! They won't get another one for X seconds.' You can sometimes play on it. But we're talking about Overwatch players, and there are players from other games who have also started playing Valorant. We were mixing it up at the beginning, and having played with players from different backgrounds, we all brought our experience and our opinion on how to play Valorant. Putting all that together helps you progress on the game.
Captain of the Mandatory team
Mandatory: You are now captain of the Mandatory team! How did the proposal to set up a new Mandatory team happen?
HyP: It's ZeratoR who told me about it first when I was at his place for the finals of the Valorant Champions. I wasn't ready for it at all, I wasn't expecting it at all. He brought it up, just like that, without warning me. I was a bit... shocked. I had to take in a lot of information at once. But it didn't scare me at all at first, on the contrary. I think it's a great project. He explained to me the reasons for this project and for his choice and I thought that it made a lot of sense.
Mandatory: What convinced you to join Mandatory rather than another team?
HyP: It's the whole media build up around it. It's something that's going to be huge and you can compare it to the KCorp on League of Legends. Maybe not with as many endings, but you never know. Let's hope so!
Esports projects really need a soul at the moment. What I've been able to do on Valorant for the moment, at Ninjas in Pyjamas and then at Entropiq, it lacked a bit of an identity. And here, there is one. That's what's most motivating about the project. We've also managed to build a team that I think is very healthy with great guys. I just can't wait to see what we're going to do.
So yeah, the media aspect is obviously very attractive, plus the fact that it's a real competitive project. We're not here to clown around, do tournaments and get beaten up. There are real ambitions behind this project and it's clearly an exciting to be part of it.
Mandatory: What kind of player are you and what do you want to bring to your team?
HyP: On a daily basis, finding plans and strategies that will work. On the day, in an official match, it will be finding flaws, solutions. I'm someone who likes to be very active on the map. Moving around. And not necessarily to go and fight, but to help my friends fight. In my previous team, they said I was putting flashes that made careers. That's the idea: I want to put perfect flashes so that my buddies can kill easily. That's what I try to bring: a vision of the game and to make good rotations to help my mates.
Mandatory: Are you the kind of person who breaks the rhythm of your opponents to surprise them?
HyP: It depends on the teams. It depends on many things. It's very complicated. Overall, putting pressure and a big tempo is a great thing if you can make it work. Overwatch was like that. Before the official games, what I heard from my coaches was: 'Put some intensity, run on them!' and it works. When you're in a competition, when you're thinking about a lot of things, when you want to play perfectly and the guys are running over you, you think 'These guys are crazy! They're not afraid!'. It puts a mental pressure and you can play on this mental pressure.
Team building and selection of team members
Mandatory: How did you choose your teammates?
HyP: I did it the way I've always done it. I don't want to have gems with me that behave badly or that I don't know very well. Of course, it can pay off, but it's also a real risk. The guy can be super strong and completely carry you, just as he can be strong, but in the end have a disastrous behaviour and screw you or even weeks of training up. So I proceeded as always: I try to get information on many profiles, more on the French scene than on the international scene, and then I try to create a group which will have a chemistry, which will get along, which will know how to work and say things to each other, even when it's not necessarily easy.
Mandatory: What kind of quality are you looking for in your players?
HyP: A mix of talent and atmosphere. Especially on Valorant, it's a mental game. If you don't feel good with your teammates, you won't perform well. I think you can see that in a lot of teams, whether it's at the highest level or a little bit below. There are always teams that don't get along very well, and when there are misunderstandings, it makes a mess.
Mandatory: How would you describe the team dynamics?
HyP: I think what defines us is our rigour, our seriousness in our work, but with a touch of fun. Obviously, Jbzz 's input puts us in a certain position where a lot of people will underestimate the team and the project. I think it's cool, actually. We'll all be together, we'll all be on the same page, but most of all we'll be where no one expects us to be.
Mandatory: Does this role of captain put pressure on you?
HyP: It's a mix of emotions. Of course, it's more pressure, it's more responsibility for me. I have to set an example almost all the time. And I also have to take them as far as possible. I have the chance to have a lot of experience now, so it's up to me to share that experience with them. So yeah, I have the pressure, obviously. But it's also something I love. I love being that guy who will help my teammates, who will push them up. I've always been that player, whether it's Overwatch or whether it's football when I was 10 years old, the defender who would do anything to help his teammates. It's something I've done since I was a kid and I love doing it.
Mandatory: How do you deal with the pressure from your teammates?
HyP: I always try to keep the balance. When things are going well, I try to be the guy who says to be careful, and on the contrary, when things are going badly, I am the guy who wants to reassure. I try to keep the balance and to be there to help mentally so that we are all in the right mindset, whether it's for training sessions or official matches.
Mandatory: You started playing together under the name XD. Are you confident about the dynamics of the group?
HyP: I am confident. I think we already have a good synergy between us in the discussions we can have. We haven't had time to go into detail about all the game and strategy yet. I don't think we're all comfortable on all the points yet. It's important that we discuss it and I hope we'll be able to fix a lot of potential issues during our bootcamp. But overall, yes, I'm happy.
Mandatory: What are your ambitions for the team?
HyP: I might be a bit of a boring guy, but the ambition I have is to give our best. I don't want us to be satisfied with our result in any tournament. Personally, I can come second in a big tournament and be disappointed or come tenth and be very happy. It all depends on how well we have reproduced what we have done in training and how good we have been. So yeah, my personal ambitions are to be proud of ourselves and have no remorse. I don't want us to have any regrets because we played badly one week or didn't work on the right things.
After that, in terms of the results we would like to achieve, it's very hard. We don't know yet who we'll be up against. It also depends on who qualifies for the European League. We don't have any information about Vitality or BDS. If we're not in the top three, I'll be disappointed, honestly. I'd really like to reach the top 3 or better, win the French league.
Mandatory: How does it feel to be with APO in the team?
HyP: It's crazy! I'm so happy. APO was my best buddy in elementary school. Then we lost touch, then we found each other again, then we lost touch again and now we're on Valorant together. At the beginning of Valorant, I remember seeing him streaming with 5 or 6 viewers. He was streaming his Valorant tournaments. I went to his stream and I thought ' hey, he's not bad, he's really, really good'. So I got back in touch, I tried to bring him back with my friends. That's what brought him to L'Institut with LoWkii, in particular. And he was super strong, super efficient.
Now we've been following each other for a year. He joined Entropiq first, and managed to get me to join the team afterwards. Then it's a bit the same at Mandatory. We manage to follow each other and I'm so happy. He's a great guy. He's a guy who still has a lot of potential and can become a monster.
Mandatory: You were talking about Jbzz earlier. Is it difficult to integrate him into a competitive project?
HyP: The Jbzz point, it is inevitably a subject that many people will talk about and on which everyone will ask questions. Personally, I don't have the answers to these questions. It was an important subject when I presented the project to the players I wanted to take with me. I trust Jbzz and we all have to trust him.
A lot will depend on him, obviously. At the moment he's putting a lot of pressure on himself and it shows. I will try to make him more comfortable. In training or even in the games he plays, you can see he's good. He knows how to play the game, he has a great aim. You can see that the guy is a pro, no matter what he does. What will play a role is confidence. He has to be able to trust himself and free himself. With the directions we're going to give him, if he manages to respect them, I'm sure he'll become a very good player.
Then there's the question of whether he'll be able to stream and be a pro player at the same time. I don't have the answer. It's up to him to see how well he can manage both. It's possible he'll get fed up and stop on his own. But I hope it won't come to that. I hope we can prove to many people that they are wrong to doubt Jbzz.
Mandatory: Does this change your strategies?
HyP: On my side, it doesn't change anything. I trust him. I take him like any other player. But as far as Menegh is concerned, as a coach, he's going to have to spend more time with him. Because Jbzz is behind, he hasn't played in a team for a year in a serious way. But the most important thing is going to be the mental side and as I said, Valorant is a mind game. Obviously, if you're not in good shape, you won't make it. Some days it's already really hard on the game, so with the pressure that Jbzz puts on himself, it's clearly not easy to handle. I can't wait for him to get out of the way. Jbzz is crazy in game and he's crazy in ranked, and that's a side I want to keep. I don't want to change Jbzz. I want him to surprise our opponents and I want to be there to put flashes in and help him.
The link to Mandatory, the community and the future
Mandatory: You already knew a bit about Mandatory, but now you're getting behind the scenes! Were you surprised by anything?
HyP: I'm surprised, but in a good way! The shoot for the trailer was so good. Seeing the whole team, seeing all the people who are there, who are happy to work with you, it's really nice. The conditions we're in are great: it's a good bootcamp. Having a clean bootcamp that is organised quickly, that happens at the beginning of the project, is something important that unfortunately not all teams do yet, that they haven't yet understood. Managing to put all this in place is clearly a complicated thing and managing to have it is cool. I've done bootcamps that were disastrous and very complicated with boring parts, like too many long trips to the venue or the food. Here at least, everything is going well. There are no problems and there is nothing to complain about.
Mandatory: And you didn't expect that?
HyP: At the beginning no, but then I quickly understood that we were going to have a good framework. After that, it's a bit early and I don't know everything that will happen. But for the moment, I am pleasantly surprised. It has nothing to do with past experiences.
Mandatory: How do you feel about the public reaction to the team's announcement?
HyP: Personally, I have no apprehensions. Where I can be a little apprehensive is more about the impact it can have on my teammates. I've been lucky enough to have some high pressure games, I think I can handle them personally. After that, guys like CREA^ or APO are not guys who played very important games with a lot of visibility. Visibility is what really puts the pressure on, because a lot of people are talking about you no matter what. People will send you messages directly, whether it's positive or negative. How they're going to deal with it, I don't know. That's one of the big question marks at the moment. It's my role to be there to accompany them if they don't feel well or if they can't manage it well. Having said that, I think that for the first match, it will be a lot of love, but also a lot of pressure for us because we want to win. We want to live up to expectations and prove ourselves. We want people to be proud. It's going to be something we'll have to learn to deal with as a team.
Mandatory: Are there any teams you'd really like to play, either for the symbol or to test yourself?
HyP: Imagine Solary or KCorp making their teams... Or even another structure like GamersOrigin. I have some connection with them because I played for them for a year. Obviously beating teams like that, to make a little bit of history, is an exciting thing. There's Vitality who can be added to the French scene. Vitality who can be added to the French scene.
But on the international stage, I'm more interested in fighting London United where is my last coach. I don't necessarily have a preference on who to play or who to beat other than that.
Mandatory: Is there anything you want to say to your fans who follow you and to those who will discover you with this announcement?
HyP: I still have guys following me from Overwatch, and I don't even know how they do it. They're wild. Thanks to them. Everyone who's been supporting me on Valorant since I've been here, and even all the new ones that are coming. Thanks in advance for this.
It won't necessarily be very common because of the profile of some of our players, but I'm confident in the project. We will have ups and downs. We're going to have a lot of steps and obstacles to overcome. We don't know what they are yet, but they're going to come, that's for sure. But I'm sure we'll find solutions and we'll be able to move forward.