In February 2019, the CIS-based organization Vaevictis eSports took an unexpected step — the club decided to sign the League of Legends women’s team for the LCL. For several weeks, the girls became one of the main topics for discussion in the esports community.
Vaevictis ended the regular season with a record of 0-14, not being able to win a single game against more experienced teams in LCL. The female team faced an impossible task to begin with and the result seems all but expected. Nonetheless, the girls were often seen smiling even in the face of defeat. This felt like a great time to get to know one of the team members, Elena “VioletFairy” Koval, better.
In order to catch up with what the team has been up to, we talked to VioletFairy, who plays on the middle lane. The girl told how unexpectedly she found herself on the professional stage, what she had learned in a few weeks in the Continental League and what kind of atmosphere prevails in the women’s team.
When you started playing games it was still a boy’s club?
When I started to play, I was about 11. My first game was the first DotA, and there were practically no girls there. Well, or they all, like me, were using a male name, because they faced hostility. I didn’t play very well and got a lot of flame in my direction.
But as soon as people somehow knew that a girl was playing with them, they immediately began to show excessive attention and add to friends. It was very new. Then I began to play Lineage 2. This is a game of a completely different genre, and it was easier for girls there.
At that time I was playing in a computer club, in which a lot of adult guys were hanging out. I felt so adult, unusual! Not like all girls who play some board games or something like that. And I’m here with the guys playing video games!
Did you have some company there or did you go alone?
At the very beginning, I played alone. I bought a computer, but I did not have the Internet. I could only play with bots. When I played at home, I got bored and I went to a computer club. So I already met with the local guys, then it turned out that my guy friends play too. So there was a company with which we played.
Mostly there were boys, but in my footsteps some girls also joined. But often it was all just to get a little attention from young people, nothing more. Two weeks to play and they’re done.
And I often played with fanaticism. I am not limited to everything by creating an account and pumping a character to a certain level. If we are to start, then in a big way.
How did you move from Lineage to LoL?
League of Legends was created when there was no Dota 2. And my friends from the computer club told me about it. Then there was no account binding in DotA, there were no statistics — you just play, win or lose, that’s all. And in LoL, an account appeared, on which the level was pumped and statistics were saved. This interested me. And the game itself turned out to be much more dynamic, matches are faster, team fights are more mobile. So I stayed in LoL.
And in L2, they just closed the server where I played and tried for a very long time. I was upset and did not go into this game anymore.
Was it love at first sight?
I had love at first sight with the champion Katarina. I still play her, but then it was completely different. It was the first champion with whom I played in a match with real people. I liked the character so much that I ran LoL not so much for the game itself, but for the sake of playing on this champion. But since I like this genre in principle, I like LoL itself.
In life, do you like a sense of competition? Are you a competitive person?
Many people think that cybersportsmen are very gamblers at heart. And here I am, probably, more a team player. I do not have such drive that I am ready to do anything for the sake of victory. But to support my team, to see the desire of my team mates to win and to understand how I can help them in this — that’s me.
By the way, about the lessons. Games do not interfere with your studies?
Up to grade 9, I studied the minimum amount. For me, the priority was in the game. How many nights, when my mother stood near the door, demanded to turn off the computer, but I was nervous and did not want to go to bed. There have been many similar conflicts. This, of course, hindered learning.
But from the 10th class, when the brains turned on, I began to distinguish between these areas of life. I was aware that if I am playing now, then later I will need to devote more time to study. I finished school well, though not with a gold medal. This is because in grade 9 I passed some exams badly. But I managed to turn on my head and finish school with good grades.
Did it affect your skill?
Feels like, yes, definitely. There is a saying: while you sleep, the enemy swings. And it is true. It happened that during the control at school you do not play, and then you go into the game with friends, and they have already raised their Elo, and you are lagging behind in the tail.
After all, most people, on the contrary, sacrifice their studies in order to play longer.
In fact, I never aspired for esports. And regarded the “League of Legends” as a good way to spend time. And so I was sure that if I graduated badly from school now, then where this Diamond will not help me in the future. “It will not pay your bills!” – I thought. Therefore, I did a bet on education.
Although the university was already simpler, but it was rather stuffed. In the first year I established myself as a good student, and then all the grades were easy for me, and the teachers were loyal. Therefore, I managed to play and learn.
What did you study?
I’m a computer engineer. Many people think that this is related to programming, but this subject was very superficial for us. It is rather something connected to networks and electronics. I finished my studies with a red diploma. But, as for me, this does not mean anything, because IT is a field in which if you stop being interested and develop, then all knowledge quickly becomes irrelevant. I graduated from the university almost two years ago, and everything was already a little forgotten. Basically, remember something, Windows reinstall itself! (laughs)
How did esports come into your life?
My friend Ksenia, our ADC, so she constantly watched the scene, was a volunteer in the Continental League. And all my knowledge of esports is from her hands. Then she became the manager of the Vaevictis team, when they still had a male lineup. Somehow she wanted to participate in the tournament in a public, and she gathered us girls. We didn’t play that women’s championship, but Ksyusha told us that there is an opportunity to perform at the LCL. Well, how could I refuse? I’ve been playing this game for so long!
It seems to me that no one would refuse such an opportunity. Many in the comments write: “How do you agree, it’s such a responsibility!” Well, who would have refused in our place? I think very few people.
That is, esports is completely new to you! Tell us what it is like to get from the ship to the ball?
At the very beginning, I thought that this was limited to just games on the weekend. I did not know that there are training sessions, scrims. But it turned out that this is like real work. You wake up, your working day starts, you practice, play, you analyze something with a coach.
This is like a real job — and for me it is strange. I imagined that the guys play on anyone they want and how they want, and then they come to the tournament and play.
How long is your training day?
It all depends on whether we have partners for training. I suspect that everything is not as tough as it is for the guys. Somewhere I heard that they have an 8-hour working day straight. We do not have this. Basically, we do about 3 workouts a day with other teams, and then solo for about five to six hours.
Many said that the signing of the female composition is just a PR action. How do you feel about such statements?
I believe that there is some truth in this. To assemble a women’s team, when no one in the Continental League did it — this is a challenge, a strong media move. Of course, as many have said, it was possible to arrange triads and choose girls who will be much stronger according to their skill. But first, it would take a lot of time and resources. Secondly, this composition would still be an outsider, in my opinion. The newly minted team compared to the guys played, who train every day, would still look weaker. Of course, they could show more promising results. But I doubt that they were earning super-victories or prizes.
I think the organization made the right choice. As far as I know, Vaevictis did not win much in the last season and with the male line-up. So to make a bet on our team, the composition of the beautiful ladies is a good decision.