Fairy Peak! on a happy career and coaching a Team Vitality dynasty
The prodigal locks of Victor "Fairy Peak!" Locquet are cascading down from his head onto the shoulders of a Team Vitality jersey once again, as the fabled Rocket League legend looks to lead the French organisation to the promised land.
Fairy Peak!, the man of all haircuts, is back with Vitality after a season away from the organisation where he spent four years as a player, winning multiple titles in Europe and a World Championship - the first of two stars that Vitality can now don on their jerseys.
But in the wake of a surprise exit from Victor "Ferra" Francal, Fairy Peak! will now be Head Coach of this reigning Worlds-winning roster, coming full circle.
After joining Vitality, Fairy Peak! sat down with GGRecon to discuss his happy career, why he chose to leave playing behind for coaching, a well-rounded backstory on scouting Alexis "zen" Bernier, and how he wants to make a Team Vitality dynasty.
First off, congratulations on such a fantastic playing career. You left such a great legacy within the game. As this transition view to a coach comes, and when you look back across your career, did you achieve everything that you wanted to?
Thank you. I think I achieved everything I wanted. Maybe. It's pretty greedy, but I wanted to win [Worlds] a second time because I was in the final three times, once where we got reverse swept and another went to Overtime in game seven. So yeah, maybe one more World Championship, but we're going to get one this year with Vitality as a coach, so I will see.
Objectively, I achieved everything I wanted and even more than I thought. I'm really happy with my career and now I'm looking forward to coaching these new talents.
Looking back, what was the one highlight of your career that stands out to you most?
When we won Worlds, that was my biggest achievement and my best souvenir from my Rocket League career.
But aside from that, I would say it was my first win against a grid team when I teamed with Ferra and Breker back in 2016. We won against Supersonic Avengers - which was Doomsee, Snaski and ELMP - and it was my first win and the first money I won from the tournament
And I think this is why I started my career because I was playing in some small tournaments but I never really did something good - it was okay, but not good - and this win was against a top-three or top-four team in Europe at that moment I was confident we could actually a lot of gritting. Breker stopped his career there but Ferra and I, we had pretty good careers.
Your career has led you to many events and different LANs over the years. Is there one moment, in particular, where you've been interacting with the Rocket League community that stands out to you?
When they put on events it's always good because I can meet all the supporters and that's a good enough reason as any move to a LAN or tournament because, of course, you play most of the time but you can meet everyone who's been cheering you, whether that be on Twitter or on Stream. That feels good.
As for a particular moment, I don't remember a specific thing. But the cool thing is, every time we go on LAN, we always chill with all the pros and we always go to restaurants and something. We did 'squad building' or things like that, which is always a cool and fun day when you can just chill with people, you just meet online normally.
This time last year we saw you tell fans that you wanted to knuckle down and focus on mechanics, and that was one thing that you said that you wanted to improve on to get back to the top of the pro play.
But as you now transition to a coach and leave the playing days behind, what was it about that learning curve that you maybe couldn't quite grasp or is it something where the game has changed so much from how it used to be and the mechanics have gone that far advanced, that it's kind of hard to break out of any habits that you had?
I really tried to get better and I think I did get a lot better. Especially in mechanics.
The thing is, it's hard to get on a team when, first off, I don't know all the current players. I know them from tournaments, but I don't know them much and I think that's something that can stop someone who is a bit older, like me, from getting on a team.
I'm pretty sure I can still qualify for main events. I don't think I can maybe grab a Major win or something like that, and that's what motivated me.
When I played for four or five years at the top, I was winning a lot of the tournaments, and I know if I play now I will not win a Major or Worlds.
I will do okay but it's going to be hard, and as much as I just want to enjoy it, I want to win. I know it's going to be really, really hard for me to just get okay results.
I talked about it and I said "Maybe I'm just going to coach" because this is something I've always really wanted to do and I'm going to be happier coaching a good team, coaching people I know with an organisation I know too, rather than just playing in tournaments and not winning them.
Are you still quite happy with the situation? Are you happy to be a coach, or would you have kind of preferred to be a player still?
I had the opportunity to play and play in a pretty good team, not a top team but still a good team. But during the off-season, I thought about it:
"Do I really want to continue to play for myself? To enjoy it and play as a pro? Or do I want to continue to play because I want to prove to people that I can still play at the highest level?"
I ended up thinking it was more to prove to people that I can still play at a high level, more than just playing for me and for my team.
So, I ended up thinking that I preferred coaching because coaching is something I've always loved to do and now I can do it full-time with a really good team and a really good organisation. So I'm more than happy to be a coach right now.
How does it feel to be back at Vitality? I know you've been with them before, and won many trophies with them. How does it feel to be back at such an organisation like this?
It is great because Vitality was the first organisation that I ever knew about. Back in 2016 when I was watching a bit of Call of Duty, it was the first organisation that I watched with Gotaga and BroKeN. And then I was part of it in 2018 for four and a half years and it was a really, really great adventure.
I'm so happy because I was a bit sad when I left in the first place. But yeah, I'm really happy to be part of Vitality again and to try to build a dynasty with the players. I know they're really professional and they have a lot of people walking to help everyone in Vitality.
As you step into coaching, is there any other coach that you've had in the past, or that you've seen, whose tactics and managing style have influenced how you want to coach?
I don't think they influenced me that much. There are a lot of good things to pinch, but I want to make my own way. I don't want to copypasta what some other coaches do. I know there are a lot of good things to take to take and build on, but I just want to make my own menu.
There's maybe one or two things, like what Ferra left behind him, but I'm going to take a bit of it and do whatever I think is good for the players because I have a lot of things of my own to add.
We've seen that you're close to Ferra. We know that you are quite good friends and posted a picture together not too long ago on Twitter (X).
Have you spoken to him since being involved in this transition to Vitality again about the group of players and how you can affect them?
We spoke a bit about the situation, but he didn't speak about how he coached the team and I didn't speak about how I'm going to coach them either. It's not something you want to share with other coaches, even good friends like Ferra and even Eversax.
It's more secretive because if they know your strats, they will be able to control it. Even if your friends, you don't tell them what you're going to do.
But we did speak [about the move] as friends, just not as coaches.
What do you think you might be able to bring to the table as a Vitality Coach?
Ferra brought good things to Vitality and he's one of the reasons why they won Worlds. He did great. But I can bring something new because, of course, I was a World Champion. Ferra had a really great career, but I won Worlds and my career lasted a bit longer, so I think I have a lot of experience to share with the team and my experience as a World Champion and how to handle it win will transfer into my coaching.
Are you going to make Zen run the Batmobile?
I saw him on Batmobile and… I don't think I want him to play on it.
Speaking of Zen a little bit... I spoke to Neo just before Worlds and he told me about how you influenced getting Zen into Vitality. He claimed that you had a big influence on telling him to take a chance on this young 14-year-old kid.
So, what was it about Zen, even back then, that you noticed which could make a world-class player?
I noticed him when he was 13 and in Ranked he was not playing that well. He was ball-chasing so much and only had -okay- mechanics. He was new and we didn't really know him but he was starting to get high ELO in Ranked.
At this time it was the meta to be a bit ball-chasey so we thought maybe he had some future in front of him but I was not 100% sure he was going to be good at first.
Of course, when someone comes into ranked and plays against pros you think he might be good or maybe he just had a great day. Then we started seeing him a lot. Every night, every day. And he was improving. This was when he was 13, and I was like, "Okay, maybe he's for real".
A lot of people didn't think he was certain [to become pro] because he had school and was playing at 2 a.m. during weekdays. It's not possible. You can't play like that, but every time he said "Yeah I'm okay, I can play."
Then he started to build a love of mechanics. At this time, I gave him some advice because he was playing a little bit stupid in Ranked, so I gave him some advice to play a bit smarter and change the way of his ball-chasing by not just giving the ball away every time - he had to build something every time he wanted to do a play - and he took the advice and then after he became better and better until he was considered one of the best players in the world.
He was 14 then, and I told Neo that he was the future best player in the world in Rocket League.
Coming off the back of such an incredible season, how do you think the guys will be able to go again with the same desire to win? Do you think kind of this new Vitality team that we've seen over the last couple of months can go on to cement like a dynasty as the first back-to-back champions since Kaydop, Turbo, and Panda in Season 5?
I think we can get back-to-back World Championships, if we couldn't, I wouldn't have joined the project. Getting a bit of new blood with me as a coach might get a new vibe with the team and they will not get bored with exactly the same roster - I'm not saying that Ferra is boring, but if you continue with the same team for a very long time you will always get a bit stale, even if your roster works.
But this shows they can still improve and adapt to stay as the best team in the world. We can cement dynasty. They proved that they were the best players in the world during the end of the season but that was only four months. It's not like they were the best in the world all season, it was just four months.
Their prime just started. Our goal is to continue in this way. We are going to try to be the best for the next year, and we're already working on it.
I know all of the rosters aren't set in stone yet across Europe, but there are changes to Karmine Corp, BDS, and other EU teams who are all trying to catch up to you. Is there a team that you've seen that looks strong and could push you next year?
There are a lot of teams who will be scary. K-Corp will be scary. BDS and Itachi's team will all also be scary because they're already good. At this level when you're all this good, any team can have a very good day and win an event.
Everyone can win tournaments but our goal is to ensure that even when other teams are peaking, we can still beat them.
We can't go and be like, "Okay, we won the World Championship, we're going to win any game". We know the off-season is very long and we know teams are going to be preparing for us and wanting revenge for Worlds. We know they all want To beat us and we're going to work on that.
Finally, going into the new season, have you got a message for any of the Vitality fans?
[Translated from French]: Thank you everyone for supporting us. I know it's going to be hard for us to come to the new season of RLCS knowing that we did the perfect split last year, and it will be hard to match that. But we're going to give it all to make this year here as good as the last four months.
Thank you everyone for cheering and we're going to give it our all. We're already working on it, we know everyone wants to beat us, but we're going to try to make this the best year that Vitality has ever witnessed.