BIG Acidy: “Playing in a team that expects you to play well is pretty stressful”

BIG Acidy: “Playing in a team that expects you to play well is pretty stressful”

The up-and-coming Estonian top laner Markus “Acidy” Käpp shared what it’s like playing for his first professional team — the German BIG.

The young talent joined Berlin International Gaming (BIG) earlier in May, one month before turning 18. Since then, Acidy helped his team take second place in Premier Tour 2018 Summer Hamburg where they finished behind the reigning German champions EURONICS Gaming and ahead of mousesports, SPGeSports, SK Gaming, and others.

With the goals set on the European Masters 2018 Summer Split, BIG isn’t pulling any punches.

Käpp told us about breaking into professional gaming, competing at the highest level, learning to deal with the pressure, his roots in the Baltic League of Legends scene, and sharing the top lane with his teammate Juho “NilleNalley” Janhunen.

Vie: How did you decide to pursue the path of a pro player? 

Acidy: I spent most of my time after school playing League. I’ve always loved the game and competing. Winning as a team is so much better than winning alone, so I decided to join a team to improve my team play and communication to become better as a player.

Vie: How hard was it to explain it to your family, friends? Were they accepting of your choice, or was there mistrust?

Acidy: My family didn’t like it at first because my grades in school were dropping and I wasn’t doing any physical activities. When my grades improved and they saw me going to some Baltic LANs they realized how much I like doing this. After that, they were pretty supportive of me. My friends, on the other hand, have become a small fan club now, they are always asking when I’m going to play or how I’m doing in soloq.

Vie: Speaking of the Baltic scene. Do you think there’s any hope for it yet?

Acidy: The Baltic scene currently in general is pretty bad. There are lots of good players from the Baltics such as Puszu, HeaQ, Sirnukesalot etc. but not enough for the Baltic scene to be strong. They recently announced that Baltics will have a spot in the EU Masters, so maybe in a few years there’s hope for it but I doubt it.

Vie: What’s your opinion on the professional play so far? Is it exactly what you thought it would be like? How do you feel about the overall level of teams in the German league?

Acidy: In the professional play the most important thing is communication. I’m quite talkative in-game, so I didn’t have that problem when I first started out, but playing in a team with four good players that expect you to play well is pretty stressful.

Early on I would be so nervous that I died a lot to ganks because I was so focused on not dying in the lane that I would forget to ward or watch the map. Professional play has a lot higher highs and much lower lows. Beating a good team is such a great feeling and losing to a bad team just has you depressed for the whole day thinking about what went wrong. The Top 4 teams in Germany are at a pretty good level, but we’ll have to wait for the EUMasters to know for sure.

Vie: You have two top laners on the roster currently. How does that work?

Acidy: NilleNalley plays in the ESL Meisterschaft matches and in the upcoming LANs we split the games. I play blue side games and Nille plays the red side because of our different champion pools. I didn’t go to the Premier Tour LAN because I massively underperformed in important matches. So I benched myself so that the team could still go to LAN.

Vie: Isn’t it hard for the rest of the team as well, having to play with two different top laners every other game?

Acidy: It’s definitely hard, but [learning to adapt and] playing different styles is important for a team to succeed and do well.

Vie: There has been some talk about the Korean imports lately. Where do you stand on the subject?

Acidy: Europe has players from very different countries and cultures, so importing Korean players doesn’t really change much in a team, as long as they are actually good players. Being able to speak English well isn’t that big of a problem in my opinion since it can be learned pretty fast. For example, Huni and Reignover, they didn’t know English that well when they first came to Europe, but they are good players so the language barrier didn’t stop them from succeeding.

Vie: You just turned 18 a few weeks back, are you done with the school yet? What are your plans for the future?

Acidy: I still have one year of school left and I don’t have any big plans after that. At the moment competing in LoL is what I enjoy doing the most, Io i want to give it a real shot and see what comes after that.

Vie: Thanks for taking the time. Any shoutouts?

Acidy: I’d like to shout-out to my interviewer and all the readers of this interview.

Follow Markus “Acidy” Käpp on Twitter @Acidy_

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Climbing the ladder in 8.13

Climbing the ladder in 8.13

Navigating your way through the latest patches in League of Legends can be a daunting task these days. Here’s a who’s who on the Summoner’s Rift right now.

With the ever-changing metagame, it can certainly become hard to keep up with what’s what on the Rift and where’s the most direct route to the top ranks. So if you’ve been wondering which are the best champions in League of Legends as of patch 8.13 brace yourself — you’re in the right place.

Top Lane

Although meta is constantly evolving, over in the top lane champions that don’t get many changes usually tend to stay the most worth picking, at least early in the new patch. Garen would be a good example, not only because he managed to become one of the most stable champions in the game, but also because he’s a very strong contender in the top lane.

Garen’s nearly infinite durability is increased considerably with Resolve path, making him a real nightmare to face in the lane for many other champions. Not only is it increasingly hard to deal any damage to him, his ultimate ability — Demacian Justice — is a source of pain for his opponents as well. The Might of Demacia can punish the mistakes of his enemies with high true/magic damage, ending their lives in an instant.

Similarly, Fiora remains unchanged in 8.13, which combined with several nerfs on her opposition in the lane, makes her a feared champion over on the top side of the Summoner’s Rift.

Her strongest point still is her true damage dealing ability, in the eyes of her enemies making her a nuisance at best, and an unstoppable force at worst. With Conqueror rune converting damage to true damage, Fiora can amplify her damage even more, making her an unparalleled opponent in the 1v1 fights. For now, she remains a true duelist of the top lane, as well as a worthwhile pick.

Jungle

With no doubt, Nocturne became the big star of this patch. He managed to remain in the spotlight since patch 8.5, which would be a feat on its own, if not for the constant buffs applied to this champion. The changes made to his ultimate ability, Paranoia, make him one of the scariest (literally) junglers in the game. And now, for even longer duration. Even more so, considering the nerfs on other top-tier solo q junglers Xin Zhao and Graves.

The 8.13 patch may also open doors for the big return of Kindred. His big re-entry was marked in the Korean pro league, LCK, namely picked by KT Rolster’s jungler Go “Score” Dong-bin.

Kindred is best known for dominating jungle for a period of time after his release, followed by a massive nerf-hammer dropped right on top of him. Even though he’s been getting constant buffs in the recent patches, he wasn’t quite ready to resurface as the top tier jungle champion. Not until patch 8.12, that is, because as of now, Kindred is back to being one of the best jungle class champions in the game.

Mid Lane

Zed, while not being a popular choice in the competitive scene, remains one of the biggest champions in ranked solo q. And that’s for a good reason.

Almost every game you will see Zed getting either picked or even more likely, banned. For one thing, The Master of Shadows is really fun to play, and even more than that, he is immensely powerful. So much so, that he is likely the single best middle lane champion on the Rift currently. At least when it comes to solo q.

As an assassin, Zed provides high single-target damage, which combined with his inane sneaky playstyle and high mobility make him especially annoying to play against. Not only can he go in, deal an insane amount of damage and retreat virtually unharmed, he has incredible roaming potential, making him a threat all over the map. Considering that marksmen put more stress on farming as of the last patch, Zed can put his skillset and playstyle to use, take advantage of that and punish the greedy ADC’s.

Another good pick that will let you win games from the mid lane is Zoe. Even considering the changes we’ve seen to her recently, Zoe remains a constant threat inside and outside her lane.

Marksman

Draven always was a popular pick in the bottom lane, especially in the solo q and that remains to be true in the current patch. The fiery champion, that is best known for his aggressive playstyle is favored by many veterans in the bottom lane.

He’s very powerful during the laning phase. Draven can easily suppress his opponents in the lane with not just his abilities, but powerful basic attacks. That, combined with his passive ability, League of Draven, allows him to farm faster than any other champion in the lane, making him the best marksman on the Fields of Justice.

Similarly to Kindred, Jinx is looking to make a return to the top levels of the game. Even though she was considered to be one of the best hyper carries in League of Legends, she faded away for quite a while. With her Q ability, Switcheroo!, seeing a buff in this patch, its rocket crit damage getting increased to 220%, Jinx will be taking her rightful place as of the best champions in her weight category.

Support

Fiddlesticks went a full circle as a champion in League of Legends. It started off in the jungle, then moved to the bottom lane, even had a brief (and not very welcome) stint as the top and mid lane champion. And as of 8.13, it’s ready to return to the support position.

With plenty of control under its belt, Fiddlesticks can be painfully annoying to play against. Not only can he punish his enemies for making mistakes or overextending, but paired with a high damage partner, they can bully almost any other duo pair.

And if being a supportive support isn’t really your thing and you’re looking for the strongest support champion to play right now, don’t look any further than Brand. Not only can this support deal plenty of damage, but he can legitimately carry his team. Even though originally made to be played as a mage in the middle lane, The Burning Vengeance is now most viable in the bottom lane.

But don’t let that fool you, he’s as strong as he ever was. Fireballs make for an easy and effective way to harass your opponents, and a strong laning phase for support Brand could lead to an extra carry for your team in the mid/late game. Just like Fiddlesticks, paired up with a high damage output champion like Draven, Brand can keep his enemies under their own turret for the entirety of the laning phase.

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Foxdrop: “My future is really up in the air right now”

Foxdrop: “My future is really up in the air right now”

With the dust settled, but memories still fresh in his mind, we sat down with EU Masters’ favorite member of the casters desk.

After two weeks of intense League of Legends action, many of those who tuned in for the European Masters 2018 would recognize Dan “Foxdrop” Wyatt. Although relatively unknown as a caster outside of his home region in the UK, Wyatt has secured himself plenty of fans after his time in the international competition. He quickly proved himself able to go toe-to-toe with the best talent in the scene, working together with LCS veteran Trevor “Quickshot” Henry, as well as many others.

Wanting to get to know him better, we invited Foxdrop for a chat. We discussed his road to the EU Masters, experiences there, the future of the UK scene, and what’s next for the up-and-coming caster.

Vie: First things first — I feel like most EU Masters viewers may have seen you before, but couldn’t necessarily put a finger on it. Shed some light on that, what was your road to the caster desk like?

Foxdrop: I’m a Youtuber and Streamer normally. One day a year ago, pretty randomly, the ESL Premiership (UK’s regional league) needed a caster and I expressed interest. Did a bit more casting, became a regular on the Prem this year, and got into the Masters.

Vie: For many, it may have been their first time seeing you cast, but the overall response from the community was really great. Ballpark it for me, how great of an experience these past few weeks have been for you? 

Foxdrop: Dude, this event has been ridiculous for me. My main goal when I got into casting was to mostly just have fun and be “me”. I’m so happy that people were able to feel that and enjoy the games too, honestly, it made the whole thing unforgettable for me.

Vie: It’s been more than a year now since you first joined the ESL Premiership caster desk. What does it say on your business card these days — “YouTuber” or “caster”?

Foxdrop: Good question, I’d probably still call myself a YouTuber. It’s my main source of income, it’s what I spend most of my time doing, and what I’ve been doing for the longest. But that might change soon, who knows.

Vie: Looking back at the EU Masters — and it was pretty subtle — but I got this lingering suspicion that you may have been rooting for the UK. So what’s the verdict? How happy are you with UK’s results?

Foxdrop: Haha, I did my best to keep that a secret! Overall I’m happy with how the UK performed. I think I was expecting more from Misfits Academy but considering the UK scene is very small, no complaints.

Vie: I had an opportunity to chat with H2k’s Veteran on the subject and the topic shifted towards the highest placing UK team not actually having any UK players. What are your thoughts on the subject? 

Foxdrop: This is a tough topic. exceL don’t have any UK players but the organization is probably the most invested into the UK scene — the only team with a gaming house, that salaries players and staff, etc. The team is still a domestic product at the end of the day. It’s hard to say though, it’s a very tough topic to break down.

Vie: Do you think xL’s success could lead to this unhealthy habit of relying on the foreign imports rather than investing in local talent?

Foxdrop: It could lead to that situation, in which case I think the rules would need changing. Thing is that the UK does produce talent, it’s just that they go overseas because that’s where the money is. So with more infrastructure, more money, I don’t think exceL’s situation would become the norm.

Vie: Let’s talk Origen — that has to be as close as you can get to the concept of “smurfing” in professional League. And they haven’t dropped a single match since their debut game, too. How do I put it, this has to be bullying, right? 

Foxdrop: The story of Origen is one of the more interesting pieces coming from the EU Masters. They’ve looked far from solid in their games which is a good testament to the strength of the regional Leagues — but Froggen. Froggen is 100% smurfing. That guy is insane.

Vie: There were quite a few teams that really showed up this tournament. Which teams did impress you the most? Did anyone catch you off guard? 

Foxdrop: Illuminar has to be the most impressive team. Considering making playoffs was considered good for them, going to the finals and smashing GamersOrigin in the semi-finals was exceptional. KlikTech also exceeded expectations — it’s impossible to quantify the strength of regions without international tournaments, but the Balkan bros definitely proved their worth.

Vie: Now that the dust has settled, how well would you say the top EUM teams would fair against the LCS level teams? How big is the gap between the two leagues?

Foxdrop: I think top European Masters teams would struggle against LCS. Gamers Origin and MAD Lions would probably stand the best chance, but even they would be underdogs in a BO series against the lowest LCS teams.

Vie: Does that say more about the current level of the LCS teams or the shortcomings of the EU Masters teams? 

Foxdrop: I would say it says a bit of both. Historically speaking, you would need a really bad team to get relegated out of LCS, or a really good team to get promoted. I think GamersOrigin or MAD Lions are close to that but not sure that the bottom LCS teams are that bad right now. At least in EU.

Vie: We got to see a lot of new, young talents who don’t get so many opportunities to play on the international stage. Any future stars we could be seeing in the LCS soon?

Foxdrop: There were a lot of standouts in my opinion. Tynx from GO stood out a lot. Milica and Sacre from Kliktech too. Icebeasto from Illuminar. Selfmade and Werlyb from MAD. A lot of good players.

Vie: Some of these young players have insane macro, but they might be lacking in any other aspect. Do you believe the national leagues, where the level of teams can vary tremendously, is the best environment for these players to grow? 

Foxdrop: I think the regional Leagues that have good infrastructure are a good place to develop and grow. Not to mention it’s where the LCS teams scout their players, increasing your chance of being picked up. France and Spain are the best examples of those Leagues in my opinion.

Vie: Mid-Season Invitational is almost upon us. Hit me with your boldest prediction.

Foxdrop: NA makes the finals again.

Vie: Okay, so what’s next for Foxdrop? 

Foxdrop: My future is really up in the air right now. The next few weeks will determine a lot. Whether I stay and focus on Youtube and streaming, whether I go and do more casting. Really hard to say right now, but I definitely want to cast more.

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Millenium Neon: “We mostly wanted to beat GamersOrigin, so that we could prove that we are the best French team”

Millenium Neon: “We mostly wanted to beat GamersOrigin, so that we could prove that we are the best French team”

Right after the final game of the European Masters concluded, we grabbed Matúš “Neon” Jakubčík for a quick chat.

Even though Jakubčík’s Millenium came short of making it to the LAN finals, it was a strong performance overall for the French team. They overcame their opposition in the group stage without losing a single game, including easy victories against the Nordic champions Team Atlantis and ESL Premiership champs Misfits Academy.

Their first loss of the tournament came in the deciding match in the knockout stage against the major underdog Illuminar Gaming. Millenium became the second team to be upset by the Polish team, following Spain’s Movistar Riders. Mateusz “Kikis” Szkudlarek and his team did not stop there, as they managed to overcome Millenium’s rivals in the French league — GamersOrigin.

We sat down with Millenium’s young AD Carry for a blitz interview about his experience in the European Masters, losing against the underdogs, and his plans for the future.

Vie: You breezed through your group in a very convincing fashion. What were your expectations ahead of the group stage?

Neon: All of us expected and hoped to make it to the offline event, unfortunately, we couldn’t make it.

Vie: Which team would you say looked the strongest overall?

Neon: MAD Lions definitely looked very strong and I really expected for them to win the whole thing, the only team in top 4 I didn’t expect is Illuminar but they clearly proved me wrong.

Vie: EUM so far showcased a lot of new, young talents. Who you’d say are the most likely ones to move up to LCS soon?

Neon: Selfmademan and Nemesis [both MAD Lions].

Vie: How well would you say the top EU Masters teams would fair against LCS level teams?

Neon: I still think the gap is pretty huge, even though some national teams would probably be able to compete against the lowest EU LCS teams.

Vie: You came into this tournament as one of the favorites to qualify for the LAN finals, but you came short of achieving that. What were your goals ahead of the tournament?

Neon: We mostly wanted to beat GamersOrigin, so that we could prove that we are the best French team. And after that, put up a good fight in finals

Vie: Your journey through EUM was a bit of a wild ride — your group stage went as expected, but playoffs was a massive let-down. What happened there?

Neon: Smart preparations from our opponents left us in a really tough spot and caught us off guard, also our ingame performance was really shaky.

Vie: What’s your impression of the Polish Illuminar? 

Neon: If there’s a team to upset it’s probably Illuminar. As far as I know, Polish people on LAN events can be really overwhelming and tough to play against.

Vie: You really showed up for your team this tournament and established yourself as one of the best up-and-coming ADC’s. But which teams were the hardest for you to lane against?

Neon: Probably Illuminar, due to the matchups I was playing, but I don’t think anyone in the European Masters would have been too huge of a problem for me.

Vie: What did you think of the EU Masters in general? 

Neon: I think the tournament was really well done and very beneficial for all the young and new players looking to showcase themselves. The only thing that I’d maybe change is not making the group matches best-of-one.

Vie: You are still very young. What are your plans for the future? How big of a part will League play in it?

Neon: I’m still in school but after I’m done with it I plan on focusing full-time on League of Legends.

Neon’s Millenium finished 8th in the European Masters Spring Split, taking home € 8,000.

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H2k Veteran: “Illuminar look like a different team every series they play”

H2k Veteran: “Illuminar look like a different team every series they play”

Right before the first match in Leicester, Michael “Veteran” Archer joined us to talk about the European Masters.

Head coach of H2k-Gaming shared his thoughts on the importance of national leagues for the growth of the region, recognizing and developing the young players, and becoming a fan of Illuminar before they even qualified for the semi-final.

Vie: I know ahead of the EU Masters you were quite familiar with the UK scene. But how about the other regions? Did you know what to expect from them?

Veteran: I was by far more familiar with the French and Spanish scenes than I was with the UK scene. I very sparingly watched the UK scene, and the majority of my experience with it comes from playoffs — otherwise it was sparse games of Misfits Academy vs. top UK teams. The French and Spanish scenes are by far the most effective at attracting young talent in Europe and received the majority of my attention accordingly. most of my top players to watch come from these regions.

Between the two I’d say I was the most familiar with the French scene. It’s divided into neat tournaments that are easy for me to slot into my schedule and catch up on, while the Spanish LVP is a lot harder to follow when you’re scrimming until midnight some days. I’d often have it on and only catch the last game or so if I’m lucky, but if there was a player I wanted more detail on then I’d make a concerted effort to catch up on his game – keeping up with the Spanish league becomes a necessity if you have a vested interest in the rising talent of Europe and the raw talent on display makes it worth anyone’s while. ESL Meisterschaft is also somewhat easier to follow. Watching them back in 2016 H2K was a fond memory so I still check back though it has dwindled – I used to watch a lot more of them while I was in Schalke relative to now, owing in some part to scheduling changes on my end and in others to the fact that LVP has consolidated a lot of the players I was watching there. I definitely catch their playoffs still.

Vie: exceL secured a Top8 finish for the UK. Is that a solid enough result for the underperforming region? Could you see it having an impact on the future of the UK scene?

Veteran: No region will say anything less than top 4 is ‘solid enough’ I’d hope. If the question is concerning the UK scene specifically then I’d be worried that a roster like Excel’s made it further in such a big event relative to Misfits Academy. This is not a slight against the players, they have a lot to be proud of and I’m glad they took their chance and ran with it. This isn’t going to be a slight against the soft import regulations of the European National Leagues — I think the fact that there are little to no restrictions in that regard is what has allowed the National League scene to function as such a bright starting point for future European player development. The North American Collegiate scene by its very intrinsic nature simply cannot replicate an underbelly in America like we have in Europe and it is (I hope) part of the reason why Riot were pushing that State-oriented tournament earlier in the year.

My issue is that org owners are typically not as well informed as people would wish to believe and I worry to a large extent that they will be led to blanket under-prioritise UK players relative to potential imported ones. Once you have that type of blanket ideology in one National League then it becomes a fairly doomed one. I hope I’m wrong and Excel’s example isn’t used to un-even the playing field against players from a country there, since the diversity in players is where the strength of the National League system arises and there are some strong UK players that shouldn’t suddenly find themselves discriminated against. There are some very hands-on owners, and that is not necessarily always a good thing, and I hope that they are surrounded by people who will keep them and each other objective about pick-ups in the future.

Vie: There were quite a few teams that really showed up this tournament. Could you say you were impressed by any of them? Any teams you thought would make the Top 4, but didn’t?

Veteran: MAD Lions and KlikTech were the only teams that looked to come in with a specific game plan at each stage of the game. MAD Lions simply came in with a wealth more experience about how to execute each stage of theirs vs. varying troubles. I wouldn’t say Kliktech were exposed, they were more learning. I was positively impressed by the adaptation they made to revert back to tempo junglers after their stints on Sejuani/Zac picks, since it meant they learned a lot more about how their team was actually functioning optimally and I wish we could see them go further in a different EU Masters – it seems very unlikely that they will stay together now the roster has been released. Likely LVP bound.

As for impressed, Illuminar look like a different team every series they play. I’m rarely one to heap praise onto specific coaches over players — in the end of the day, it is the players’ understanding that will win the game even if the coach guided them or taught them properly and it should be paramount that that is recognized — but Veggie amazes me in his ability to figure out how to make his group of 5 work together effectively over time. His teams do not come out with a defined style, they more come out clearly understanding their own strengths and weaknesses in a very short span of time and it happens consistently.

Reason Gaming should not have gone as far as they did either but they did, and KMT were the original upsets. That being his drafts basically focus all their strength onto purely Icebeasto and their map play with the pressure Icebeasto creates with a de-facto numbers advantage around baron from his manipulation of botside has won them many a mid-game. Sebekx has shown a lot of strengths as well, so for me this is a team that built around the strengths of their solo laners and have gradually found ways for their weaker counterparts to be useful around what they bring. I’ll reiterate that this is not the same team they were in groups. They aren’t even the same team they were in the RO12. I don’t know what team they’ll be by the time the semi finals start, so I’m probably more excited to see them in action than anyone else at this point.

Vie: How well would you say the top teams in the European Masters would fair against the LCS level teams? How big is the gap between the two leagues?

Veteran: MAD Lions could make waves. They’re the most complete roster out of all the remaining teams, and they have the fundamentals of the game down. I definitely see in them a few things that the lower end of the table doesn’t quite have down yet, particularly in terms of mid/jungle. That being said they evidently haven’t been challenged on a few things and even the way their mid/jungle play is not optimised at a certain point in the game. I hesitate to go into specifics on weaknesses about teams that are still in play for obvious reasons so I think I’ll leave it at that.

Vie: What about the individual players? Did anyone catch your eye? Anyone you saw and thought “I would love to have this guy on my team”?

Veteran: So I already knew about Milica from Schalke where we had Nikolai as a sub and he was able to identify this Cassiopeia that was completely 1v9ing a random solo queue game for me. I have been watching Selfmademan, Nemesis, Larssen, Crownie, Tynx, neon, Toaster, Satorius, Phaxi, Prosfair for a while so I’ll name some that surprised me specifically this tournament that haven’t got the coverage these guys have.

I swear every time NiP won a group stage game it was because Blomster Finn was smurfing. This guy was winning matchups you shouldn’t win – which is standard for National League let’s be real – but literally all I watched this guy in solo queue for was his Kled where he essentially one-tricks it but he was making impressive calls with his pressure with champions like Sion, outright destroying the map on Gnar, and generally seemed to have a good system in mind for how to play mid-late while his supposedly more experienced teammates were becoming utterly dependent on him. Larsenn had good performances and Smiley had his game to shine but Blomster has done some very impressive things on a consistent basis this tournament and I think that needs to be said. I want a replay of that Gnar/Sion matchup, no idea what he was doing to that guy but it should be illegal.

Jejky from Esuba was pathing exceptionally intelligently. He seemed to be very good at tracking where he should be relative to where the enemy jungler was, which is a hard thing to instill in even some LCS junglers. Not much has been said of Esuba since they bombed out so early but Jejky started becoming a seriously interesting player to watch, I felt like he had a very well studied view of the game as a jungler and was hoping to see a lot more from him further into the tournament. It’s a shame we never got there. I still now feel like if he was picked up by even an LCS level team he would be far from a crutch and you’d be surprised at how little you’d necessarily have to teach him.

Aesthetic [from Team Atlantis] by a similar degree was winning every jungle matchup, it seemed like a nightmare to play against this kid and he was putting on a 1v9 show. He seemed to be very efficient in his approach to the early jungle which is everything, but more so he seemed to have a great sense of where enemy players would be in an isolated scenario later in the game – basically, he was just very good at setting up picks to snowball mid-late game. I’m not too worried about this guy since his performance did make waves among a lot of National League players which is more or less what you need to do to get a job.

Vie: Some of these young players have insane macro, but they might be lacking in any other aspect. Do you believe the regional leagues, where the level of teams can vary tremendously, is the best environment for these players to grow?

Veteran: I think such an extensive system of leagues and tournaments is the absolute best thing these players can have to develop in. I think a culmination in the form of something like the EU Masters is the best next step to it. It doesn’t just work as a competitive next level but as a showcase that these players can be striving to impress in while they are practicing in their National Leagues. Something that these players need to get used to is pressure. All too often you’ll find players going from online Challenger Series to offline LCS or even offline CS Playoffs and it’s day and night. I know how the players competing at multiple LAN events per split in, say, the French scene will react to audiences of varying size. There will still be differences, but the players are allowed to work on their reaction to these pressures particularly since dividing the regions by Nation is a sure fire way to gather an audience in said regions.

Vie: That being said, there is a certain level of risk involved for any team looking to pick up an unproven talent, there’s this notion that they’ll get “exposed” against an opponent who actually knows what they’re doing. Do the EU Masters provide the right environment to ease those concerns? Or does it still look like a children’s playground looking down from the LCS?

Veteran: Again, I think the big distinction is online to offline. I wish the EU Masters had been offline from RO8 rather than Semi Finals, since if this is going to be the big showcase of potential LCS-worthy talent then you really do need to show them performing in an offline environment. Maybe even earlier than that if Riot can do so, since if they want this tournament to function in a showcase-like manner as it pertains to LCS then it should ideally be as offline as possible.

Vie: What did you think of the European Masters in general? Is it a step forward from the old Challenger system?

Veteran: I think the consolidation of the National Leagues as the direct underbelly for the LCS is much more positive than Challenger Series. It allows development of players and organizations on a far grander scale un-restricted by the team limit of CS. Each of these National Leagues have divisions below, you’re seeing sub-Master tier players be given a foot in the door to see if competitive play and the scrim environment are really things that work well with their ambitions. The very existence of these Leagues has done so much for Europe already and to see them become the mainstay and the fruits of their existence given a main stage in the form of the EU Masters is one of the best decisions I have ever seen Riot do for this region and it should be applauded.

Vie: And Riot talked about it a lot, too — the future of the region and helping grow the next generation of players. Do you believe EUM is the best way to do that?

Veteran: If Riot are serious about growing the future generation of talent then the support they have given to the fruits of the National League’s existence should be representative of how they focus on Europe in the future. This is not an arbitrary league run by Riot that becomes the de-facto step below LCS just because. It is a recognition of the organic growth of the scene from the people that will eventually make us a top region, and I believe that that organic growth is a fire to be kindled — not something to be consolidated, changed, standardized (particularly relative to NA) or any such thing. Let it be and trust the market.

If Riot simply look into how to expose the great work that is already developing rather than just go for control for the sake of control, then I will take their statement seriously and support them every step of the way.

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Origen are your European Masters 2018 Spring Champions

Origen are your European Masters 2018 Spring Champions

After 20 days of relentless competition, the European Masters has finally identified its champions.

Assembled just days before the start of the tournament, the star-filled roster managed to secure Origen the title of the European Masters 2018 Spring Split champions. Led by Henrik “Froggen” Hansen and Konstantinos-Napoleon “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou on their way to victory, Origen plowed through their opposition, defeating everyone in their path.

Although Origen beat every of their seven last opponents, their debut match did not go quite so well. Faced with an unstoppable Balkan force KlikTech, the Spain based team had to succumb to their competitors. The lack of practice and synergy within the team cost Origen one game, but they weren’t going to let that happen again.

Origen worked their way through the group stage without dropping a single game and secured themselves a first-place finish, and a spot directly in the quarter-finals. Facing them there, were Emil “Larssen” Larsson’s Ninjas in Pyjamas. Coming in hot from their victory against the Penguins, Ninjas were looking to take the heavy favorites down, and they came close to doing that, too.

In the end, Froggen and his team overcame the opposition and achieved the highly coveted LAN finals invite.

Many years of experience playing in front of big crowds on the highest level proved to be instrumental for Origen in Leicester. Faced with one of the best teams in the whole tournament, the Spanish league champions MAD Lions E.C., the star-filled lineup did not falter, took advantage of their opponent’s openings and secured themselves a place in the grand final.

Facing them there, were the dark horse of the tournament — the Polish Illuminar Gaming. After a horrible group stage, where they only managed to secure a single win, Paweł “Woolite” Pruski and his team entered every match in the playoffs as a major underdog — and came out victorious in every single one.

Illuminar took down the Spanish Movistar Riders and the French Millenium on their way to the LAN finals, where they had to face the strongest team in the French league — GamersOrigin. In a twist unforeseen by many, the Polish team eased their way into the Grand Final.

“Illuminar look like a different team every series they play,” Michael “Veteran” Archer, the head coach of H2k-Gaming told us in an exclusive interview. “They don’t come out with a defined style, they more come out clearly understanding their own strengths and weaknesses in a very short span of time and it happens consistently.”

In the best-of-five final, however, it was not enough to overcome the highly favored Origen. Froggen led his team to victory once again, securing a quick 3-0 series over the Polish team, to take the title of European Masters 2018 Spring Split champions.