IHG Woolite: “People saw our bad performance in groups so obviously they expected us to drop out fast”

IHG Woolite: “People saw our bad performance in groups so obviously they expected us to drop out fast”

Underestimated by many, Woolite’s Illuminar secured themselves a spot in the Grand Final.

Against all odds, the Polish powerhouse made their way all the way to the Grand Final in the European Masters 2018 Spring Split. After a less than stellar performance in the group stage, where their only victory came from the German side Ad Hoc Gaming, many miscalculated Paweł “Woolite” Pruski and his team.

In their opening game of the knockout stage, Illuminar played against the heavily favored Movistar Riders. In our interview before the match, Jesper “Jeskla” Klarin Strömberg, AD Carry for Movistar Riders, spoke out against the Polish team and called them out for being one of the weakest teams in the whole tournament.

IHG surprised everyone and came out of that encounter victorious. They overcame the threat of a Spain-based team and found themselves just one step away from the LAN finals.

Illuminar opened the series against Millenium with a quick 25 minute victory and played consistently throughout the series to secure themselves a spot in the Top4. With two favorites behind them, the Polish underdogs bring another one down and get revenge after a devastating group stage loss. This time, the team that got blown away are the French GamersOrigin.

To talk about their underwhelming group stage, unexpected performance at the playoffs, and chances at the Haymarket Theatre in Leicester, we sat down with Illuminar’s star AD Carry Paweł “Woolite” Pruski for an exclusive interview.

Vie: You had a rough start in the group stage, but you managed to pull through in the end. What did you first think after seeing it? 

Woolite: I was really surprised that we went 1:2 and got worried that we won’t even make it past the group stage. Our expectations were much bigger than that, we aimed for first place in the group so it was a big disappointment. When we finally went through from 3rd place I knew we will have enough time to fix our mistakes.

Vie: Looking at the European Masters, which teams would you say look the strongest? 

Woolite: Definitely MAD Lions and GamersOrigin. I was really impressed by KlikTech as well since they came from the Balkan region which no one is familiar with. About winning the whole thing — anything can happen in offline matches.

Vie: The tournament so far showcased a lot of new, young talents who don’t get so many opportunities to play on the international stage. If you had to guess, who you’d say are the most likely ones to move up to the LCS soon?

Woolite: It is a hard question. I believe a lot of the players in the Top4 of the European Masters are LCS level. I’d guess Selfmademan [of MAD Lions] or Icebeasto [Illuminar] are really likely to go there but there are much more players that deserve it.

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

Woolite: Any team from this Top4 could handle bottom LCS teams, I think. Especially MAD Lions or GamersOrigin, they are showing really crisp macro. Looking outside of the Top4 the gap gets really big suddenly.

Photo via ESL

Vie: Not many expected your team to get this far, as most of your games you entered as the underdogs. Is it safe to say you have already reached your goal set ahead of the Masters?

Woolite: People saw our bad performance in groups so obviously they expected us to drop out fast. Our scrim level was much higher than that and we aimed to go AT LEAST to semis in this tournament. Also being the underdog put the pressure off our shoulders so we showcased our true level. We knew we can beat Movistar Riders and Millenium if we performed like we do in scrims.

Vie: Your journey was a bit of a wild ride — you just barely made it out of the groups, but completely exploded in the playoffs. It’s like we were looking at completely different Illuminar in the playoffs.

Woolite: I think we were not proactive enough in our earlier games. Even in our win vs Ad Hoc it was a very slow game. Once we realized that, we started playing more aggressively and picking for a more early-mid game. I think the teams in the playoffs didn’t expect it at all so I’m happy with our progression through the tournament.

Vie: Jeskla of the Movistar Riders trash-talked your team pretty heavily before your match. It must have felt great to eliminate them?

Woolite: The only reason Movistar Riders were in this tournament was because they won in the LVP semifinals against Giants who had no jungler (their toplaner Th3Antonio was jungling xD) so I don’t understand where it’s coming from. Their ten man roster obviously did not pay off.

Vie: Your first game on LAN was against GamersOrigin. What do you think of them? You got, well, destroyed by them in the groups. Did that add extra pressure? Or did revenge serve as a motivator for you to perform?

Woolite: GamersOrigin are really good this tournament and we know it. We got hard stomped in groups by them but it only made us stronger. We were much better prepared for them this time. I feel like all the pressure was on them since they are the heavy favorites. Our morale is really high after the wins and we want to continue plowing the enemies on our way.

Vie: Toaster and Pulsas have been pretty dominant in their lane throughout the tournament and yet you completely shut them down.

Woolite: I think it’s all about playing our game in this matchup.Delord and I have been playing for a really long together so our synergy is better. I also think GamersOrigin usually win as a team and not individually, so we have to out-macro them. I was always confident in my laning even when I had to play against FORG1VEN, so I’m not scared at all.

Vie: What do you think of the European Masters in general? Do you think it’s good for the growth of the region or was the old Challenger system more motivating? 

Woolite: This format gives more hype that’s for sure. It’s more interesting to see regions fight it out in a big tournament. I’m happy Riot is trying to promote this much more than before. I always felt like no one cared about Challenger Series but now a lot of people are engaged.

Vie: Thanks for your time, Woolite. Any last words?

Woolite: Thanks to everyone who was believing in us even after the group stage results. We will give our hardest on Sunday. This tournament means a lot to me personally since I have a lot to prove. I’m capable of showing that I can be a consistent player and you could already see a difference in the playoff stage. It’s a fresh start for me.

Illuminar Gaming will battle it out in the Final match of the EU Masters against Origen on Sunday, 29th of April at 18:00 CEST.

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MRS Jeskla: “Illuminar are pretty bad and we should easily win over them”

MRS Jeskla: “Illuminar are pretty bad and we should easily win over them”

Movistar Riders are brimming with confidence ahead of their first playoff game against the Polish powerhouse Illuminar Gaming.

We sat down with Movistar’s 17-year-old AD Carry Jesper “Jeskla” Klarin Strömberg just a few hours before their first match in the elimination phase of the European Masters 2018 Spring Split. It’s been a rocky start for the Spain based team in the international tournament, as they struggled to find the key to victory and lost in two of their three group stage matches.

In the tiebreaker games, however, Jeskla’s Movistar Riders picked themselves together and showed everyone why they were considered one of the strongest teams ahead of the tournament, defeating both Ninjas in Pyjamas and SPGeSports.

In the first game of the playoffs, they will have to go head-to-head with Polish Illuminar Gaming, for whom the group stage did not go so well either — they lost against both GamersOrigin and Penguins, and picked up a single victory against group underdogs Ad Hoc Gaming. Flaunting a lot of experience on their lineup, the Polish team will be looking to redeem themselves where it matters the most.

The young Swede, nonetheless, is not scared.

Vie: Your group certainly wasn’t of the easier ones. What did you first think after seeing it? What were your expectations ahead of the group stage?

Jeskla: I thought it wasn’t too bad. The only team that was good was MAD Lions and I thought we could beat them and that we were a lot better than NiP and SPG. I expected us to come second place but also there was a chance to come first aswell.

Vie: Looking at the European Masters, which teams would you say look the strongest? Any predictions on who will take the whole thing?

Jeskla: I think MAD Lions is looking the strongest and then maybe Origen? I am not really sure. I think no team is really looking that much stronger than others but I would say MAD Lions if I had to pick one team.

Vie: EU Masters so far showcased a lot of new, young talents who don’t get so many opportunities to play on the international stage. If you had to guess, who you’d say are the most likely ones to move up to LCS soon?

Jeskla: Probably Nemesis and Crownshot. [both MAD Lions]

Vie: So far your journey through the European Masters was a bit of a wild ride — your group stage didn’t go so well, but you really picked yourself up in the tiebreaker games. What happened there?

Jeskla: In our group stage, at least first two games, our confidence level on some of our players was pretty bad so that’s why we lost vs Ninjas at least, but we got the confidence back and just started to play like normal.

Vie: You came into this tournament as one of the favorites to qualify for the LAN finals, but your performance wasn’t that great at first. How far are the goals set for your team? What’s the absolute minimum you’d be happy with?

Jeskla: I think at least semifinal for us is very important to reach and we should if we play like normal. Reaching semifinal for me personally is also very important.

Vie: Some would say you got an easier end of the bracket. Do you agree with that sentiment?

Jeskla: Yeah, I agree with that. I think GamersOrigin is the only decent team on our side of the bracket.

Vie: Today you’ll be playing against the Polish IHG. What do you think of them? Do you think you can take them down and move on to the quarterfinals?

Jeskla: I honestly think they are pretty bad and we should easily win over them. I just prepare the same way I always do and I think we should easily beat them 2-0.

Vie: KlikTech became somewhat of a mystery this tournament. They win games they had no right winning and lose games they should’ve won. What’s the deal with them? Are they running on borrowed time or are they the real deal? 

Jeskla: I’m not really sure. I was very surprised, I thought they would be a bottom tier team in this tournament and I think a lot of people thought that as well. But they proved everyone wrong, so maybe they are a good team… I don’t know.

Vie: You are still very young, only 17 years old. What are your plans for the future? How big of a part will League play in it?

Jeskla: Hopefully it will be a big part of my future as I want to reach LCS as soon as possible.

Movistar Riders will be playing their game against Illuminar Gaming 20th of April, 21:00 CEST.

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NiP Larssen: “The goal is to make the LAN finals”

NiP Larssen: “The goal is to make the LAN finals”

Mere hours before their deciding match against MAD Lions E. C., we sat down with Ninjas’ star midlaner Emil “Larssen” Larsson.

The 18-year-old Swede has been playing competitive League of Legends in the UK for the past few years where he represented some of the best teams in the region. His last team, Diabolus Esports, now makes up the core of the new Ninjas in Pyjamas lineup.

It was a shaky split for Diabolus in ESL Premiership as they just barely made it out of the group stage, only to fall against exceL eSports in the quarterfinals. Together with his AD Carry Ludvig “XDSMILEYs6” Erik Hugo Granquist and jungler Marc “Caedrel” Robert Lamont, they departed the UK based team and joined with Finn “Blomster Finn” Wiestål in the top lane and Morgan “Hustlin” Granberg as a support to form the new Ninjas in Pyjamas.

After a strong start in the European Masters, NiP managed to take down one of the favorites Movistar Riders, only to succumb to ESL Meisterschaft Spring Split finalists SPGeSports.

Vie: Your group certainly isn’t easy. What did you first think after seeing it? What were your expectations ahead of the group stage?

Larssen: When I saw the group I thought that we got into the group of death, by far the hardest group in my opinion but I was still confident that me and my team can do well, so my expectations were that we could really place anywhere in this group, which we still can.

Vie: Which team would you say look the strongest here at European Masters? Any predictions on who will take the whole thing?

Larssen: MAD Lions to me are by far the strongest team since they play very clean and have a lot of different styles, they have very strong players in every role as well and play very well together.

Vie: EU Masters so far showcased a lot of new, young talents who don’t get so many opportunities to play on the international stage. If you had to guess, who you’d say are the most likely ones to move up to LCS soon?

Larssen: Nemesis and selfmade [both MAD Lions] are to me by far the best players LCS team could get from EU Masters in my opinion, they have very good synergy together and both are great players.

Vie: How far are the goals set for your team?

Larssen: For me, I think we can beat any team if we have a good day, my goals are set to make the LAN finals, but obviously there’s a long way to go.

Vie: And that game vs SPG… The “trading inhibs for a nexus” has become somewhat of a meme already. What happened there? 

Larssen: We made the call to backdoor and get the inhibs and then let me base and defend the nexus towers. Sadly it was a matter of seconds and was an unlucky outcome, I would say since it was very close to defend the nexus and then being able to end the game.

Vie: Of course your team core is fresh from the UK scene, namely Diabolus Esports. How did that deal happen to be? Whose idea was it to leave Igloo and Hadow behind?

Larssen: Diabolus did let us break our contracts early to search a new team for European Masters which I, xd smiley and Caedrel really wanted. We got NiP and got other toplaner and support since Hadow and Igloo are not on the level needed for this tournament.

Vie: So your deal with Ninjas is just for the duration of EU Masters?

Larssen: Only for EU masters.

Vie: You’ve been playing in the UK for a few years now and it hasn’t been doing too well so far in EU Masters. How do you feel about the current state of the region?

Larssen: The state of UK is pretty bad I would say, bad viewership which generates pretty bad players. But it’s the only region I can play in since I got school and better regions have gaming houses, the only time I can fully focus on League is on summerbreak which i did last year when i played in Challenger series.

Vie: “UK DOWN BUT NOT OUT”?

Larssen: About that meme, I don’t know a lot about it but UK teams will likely go down pretty quick.

Vie: Today you will face probably one of the best teams of the tournament — MAD Lions. What do you think of them? Do you think you can take them down and secure a playoff spot for yourself?

Larssen: I absolutely think we can take MAD down, especially since its best-of-one and anything can happen, bo1 are always a bit of a coinflip.

Vie: You said before that Nemesis is one of the best players in this tournament, and tonight you will face him head-to-head. Walk us through your state of mind going into this game. How are you preparing for the match? 

Larssen: Before every game, I always prepare the same way — by looking at how enemy midlaner prioritizes his champions. Going against Nemesis I’m confident like I am against any midlaner, even though I think he is the best mid out of LCS without a doubt.

Vie: So, let’s talk KlikTech. 

Larssen: Honestly, I think KlikTech is good, but not that good. I’m pretty confident that teams like us, MRS, Illuminar, for example, can take them down pretty convincingly, though I think their solo laners are pretty strong.

Vie: What are your plans after the European Masters?

Larssen: Hopefully I will go full-time League during summer break which is right after UK masters, so hopefully Spanish scene or higher.

Vie: Thanks for doing this! Any last words?

Larssen: Obviously thanks to NiP for allowing me to play this great tournament! 🙂

Ninjas in Pyjamas will play their tiebreaker games tonight at 18:00 CEST vs SPGeSports and 22:00 CEST vs Movistar Riders.

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WaR Orome: “I think Tynx and Milica are the two stars of the tournament”

WaR Orome: “I think Tynx and Milica are the two stars of the tournament”

UK’s Wind and Rain might be down, and they might be out, but their journey is far from over, according to their toplaner Andrei “Orome” Popa.

Wind and Rain, who were invited to participate in the European Masters 2018 Spring Split after a successful split in European Challenger Series, where they finished in the Top 4. This split, however, the UK based team played out of their minds in ESL Premiership where they topped their group losing only twice in the regular season and finished third overall.

The start of the European Masters was much less fortunate for the team as they succumbed to Nordic champions Team Atlantis and took a beating in a face-off with another UK team — Misfits Academy. Tonight, in a battle for their honor, WaR will battle it out against one of the strongest teams in the whole tournament — the French Millenium.

To discuss the state of League of Legends in the UK, their lack of success in the EU Masters, and the future of the game, we sat down with the Romanian toplaner.

Vie: You landed in a group with Millenium, Misfits Academy, and Atlantis. What did you first think after seeing it? What were your expectations?

Orome: After I saw the group I thought to myself it’s one of the easier ones actually. I expected Millenium to be the first team, MSF second and us third, but obviously we did not do so well against Atlantis.

Vie: Looking at the EU Masters, which teams would you say look the strongest? Any predictions on who will take the whole thing?

Orome: I’d say MAD Lions and GamersOrigin are definitely the favourites to win the tournament. Personally, I prefer GO over MAD because I love their aggressive style.

Vie: EU Masters so far showcased a lot of new, young talents. If you had to guess, who you’d say are the most likely ones to move up to LCS soon?

Orome: I think Tynx [of GamersOrigin] and Milica [of KlikTech] are the two stars of the tournament. I don’t see anyone else performing to their level.

Vie: So far your journey through the tournament wasn’t too successful and there’s some talk about you guys not getting enough practice before the event, not to mention you joining the lineup just a few days ago. What’s the story behind that?

Orome: Basically, the roster was decided after UK league ended, which was 1 week before the tournament. The team’s performance in the UK wasn’t up to expectations and we kind of broke down because of it. One week was not enough to fix the issues we had. Personally, I don’t think any player should be judged based on how this team performed given so little practice time.

Vie: It’s not just you guys, UK hasn’t been doing well in general. How do you feel about the current state of the region? 

Orome: In my opinion, UK league is not very good, I’ve scrimmed the teams there with our Balkan / Italian roster and we had really good results. I don’t know the exact reason for this though, maybe lack of players.

Vie: Even though this is more of a grudge match for you than anything else, today you’ll face Millenium. What do you think of them? How far do you think they’ll go?

Orome: In my opinion people overestimate Millenium, I think there are a lot of better teams in this tournament. I think they will go as far as semis if they get an easy quarter but I don’t see them advancing to the finals.

Vie: You’ll be going head to head with one of the most experienced toplaners in the whole tournament tonight — Satorius. Walk us through your state of mind going into this game. How are you preparing for the match?

Orome: It’s pretty clear to me that this game does not really matter for the standings so I will try to just pick an entertaining champion and do my best.

Vie: KlikTech became somewhat of a mystery this tournament. They win against every team they face and yet it’s still hard to estimate what they are really capable of. What’s the deal with them? Are they running on borrowed time or are they the real deal?

Orome: Since I come from the Balkan region KlikTech isn’t really a mystery to me as I’ve been playing against them for a good amount of time. I think their best asset is preparation. Their drafts are almost always optimal, and the players are versatile enough to play any style they need. That makes them really unpredictable from a drafting point of view. I would give them a 40% chance to win against the best teams in the tournament ( GO and MAD ).

Vie: Thanks for your time, Orome. Any shoutouts?

Orome: I’d like to give a shoutout to KlikTech for representing the Balkan region so well.

Wind and Rain play their final game in the European Masters tonight, 21:00 CEST against Millenium.

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exceL Venzer: “People who say that FORG1VEN is washed up are really delusional”

exceL Venzer: “People who say that FORG1VEN is washed up are really delusional”

We sat down with exceL’s 19-year-old AD Carry Alexander “Venzer” Kostadinov before their match with Origen in the European Masters.

exceL eSports made their way into the European Masters 2018 Spring Split after finishing first in ESL Premiership 2017 Autumn Split. Even though the team had some changes in its lineup, namely in the bottom lane, it did not do much to hinder exceL from maintaining their spot as one of UK’s best teams.

In their opening game of the EU Masters 2018, exceL overcame the reigning ESL Meisterschaft champions EURONICS Gaming, secured themselves a first victory and increased their chances of making it to the next stage of the tournament. Next, however, is where the real challenge starts, as the UK based team will be facing the highly anticipated Origen.

The Bulgarian Marksman shares his thoughts on the UK scene, playing on the European stage, facing FORG1VEN in the bottom lane, and defeating the unstoppable KlikTech squad.

Vie: Many titled your group in the European Masters to be the group of death. What did you first think after seeing it?

Venzer: When I saw the group draw I thought we got kinda unlucky, not the worst, definitely a group we could make it out of without too much hassle. Although it is a hard group to be first in I wasn’t too worried about dropping out in groups.

Vie: Which teams would you say are the strongest here? Anyone you particularly want to play against? Any teams you’d rather avoid?

Venzer: The strongest teams, in my opinion, are MAD Lions and GamersOrigin. Teams I want to play against are Origen to see how I measure up and how the team measures up individually compared to some really skilled players, and KlikTech because I want to beat my old support (EdinPriqtel). Teams I’d rather avoid are MAD Lions and GamersOrigin just because of how strong they are.

Vie: You entered your first match as the underdogs but managed to walk out victorious.

Venzer: I never thought we were the underdogs in that match, UK scene didn’t perform well as a whole on the first day but we didn’t even play and I think people are underrating us because of the perceived strength of the region as a whole.

Vie: Today you face one of the best teams of the tournament, at least on paper — Origen. Was one game enough for you to form an opinion? Do you think their loss against KlikTech was just a fluke? 

Venzer: I think the game with Origen will be coinflip, really. They have insane individual players but not that much practice together. I don’t think their loss yesterday was exactly a fluke since KlikTech are really good, but I do think that if Origen play to the level they could with those players they would probably be the best team in the tournament. I wouldn’t say you can call our match against Origen before it actually starts, we just don’t know enough about them to make an educated guess. But we can definitely beat them.

Vie: Facing FORG1VEN in lane must be both exciting and frightening at the same time. Walk us through your state of mind going into this game. How are you preparing for the match?

Venzer: I’ve actually played against FORG1VEN before, both online and on LAN, and I can say that the people who say that he’s washed up are really delusional. Sure he might not be in his prime, but he’s an insanely strong player. I wouldn’t say I’m scared of him but I definitely am a bit nervous. Preparing for the match isn’t really anything worth mentioning, especially since we have nothing to scout (they’ve only played 1 game together outside of scrims).

Vie: What about your teammates? Do you expect them to keep their own against this raw talent in every lane?

Venzer: I have faith in my teammates and I’m sure that they can show up. Would I say we’re stronger on paper than Origen? No. But we’re not that far behind, as to not win through superior team play and coordination.

Vie: Your game against KlikTech is coming up next, but they’re still somewhat of a mystery. They win against every team they face and yet it’s still hard to estimate what they are really capable of. What’s the deal with them? Are they running on borrowed time or are they the real deal?

Venzer: KlikTech are the real deal. They’re really strong players with a year of experience playing with this 5man roster (2 years with a different support). People who unironically say they haven’t been challenged yet and therefore haven’t proven themselves just refuse to face the facts, in my opinion.

Vie: Milica told us they know absolutely nothing about your team and let it slip they are not too concerned. Do you think that will be your ticket to victory against them?

Venzer: If they haven’t put the effort to watch over a few of our games then yeah, they wouldn’t know anything, but if he really isn’t concerned then his hubris is gonna come back to bite him when we play on Tuesday. I think they have very exploitable weaknesses that seemingly other teams haven’t picked up on or haven’t been good enough to punish, so they’re by no means unbeatable.

Vie: This is the biggest stage some of you have ever played on — what’s the mood like on the team? Are you excited? Nervous? Or just another day at the office? What are your goals for this event?

Venzer: I don’t know, the mood isn’t anything too different from what it usually is, we take all games equally seriously. Of course, there’s some nerves and excitement about getting to showcase how good you are in front of so many people against such good teams, but I wouldn’t say it’s something too unusual for us. Our goals for now are getting to the offline event (top4) and seeing where it goes from there.

exceL eSports will face Origen 16th of April, 18:00 CEST. Their match against KlikTech is scheduled for 17th of April, 22:00 CEST.

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KlikTech Milica: “We can win against every team in the EU Masters”

KlikTech Milica: “We can win against every team in the EU Masters”

Although relatively unknown outside of his home region in the Balkan Peninsula, Aljoša “Milica” Kovandžić and his team have been making waves recently in the European Masters.

After a monstrous performance in the Balkan League Season 2, Milica’s KlikTech remained undefeated in all 14 of the regular season games and breezed through the playoffs without dropping a single game in two best-of-five series. A performance that earned them a spot in the European Masters 2018 Spring Split did not stop there — KlikTech advanced through the play-in phase without tasting defeat, effectively extending their winning streak to enviable 25 games in the official matches.

It’s only natural that it would become a talking point among the League of Legends community in Europe, as well as many casters and analysts. Milica himself, however, has a different opinion.

“I think it’s bad if someone even talks about that,” Kovandžić told us in an interview. “I don’t really see that as an achievement. Our win streak is not that impressive in my opinion, because we didn’t play against any high-level teams to begin with.”

About himself

For someone who’s been painted to be the most badass midlaner coming out of the Balkan region since G2’s Luka “Perkz” Perković, the 21-year-old Serbian manages to remain humble, down to earth and is in no hurry to start talking a big game.

“I’ve never been strong with words,” he says simply. “I like to show more than to talk. I aim really high and in all this time I’ve been playing this game I haven’t achieved anything worth mentioning.”

His journey to becoming one of the best midlaners in the region is far from typical either, and it began in another game altogether — Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

“I always liked FPS games more and I kinda wished to become pro in CS: GO, but I started playing it too late,” Milica explains. “I was playing LoL for a longer period of time, so I realized that I have more chances to go pro here.”

Photo via Fortuna eSports

“I was playing AD Carry at first and later on I was just filling because there was no role assignment system like there is now. I would usually just say what I prefer but I would fill if necessary. After that, I was playing mostly jungle and only later I decided that I like middle lane the most,” he stops for a moment before adding: “The champions that were played and players who played those champions really made me want to play mid lane.”

After playing Solo Q for a few years, he started to get noticed by smaller and local teams before he joined Polish side AGO Gaming last year, where he got to play alongside LCS alumni Jesper “Jwaow” Strandgren and Eryk “HosaN” Wilczyński. Even though the team turned out to be a bust and AGO failed to qualify for European Challenger Series, it’s hard to be too sad about it, as it lead to Milica joining KlikTech.

About KlikTech

Even though they’ve been playing together with Toni “Sacre” Sabalić in the top lane and Nikola “Nikola Senpai” Đorđević as an AD Carry for nearly a year, finding longterm teammates in the jungle and support positions proved to be a difficult task. Although they’ve been playing with this lineup for only three months, Milica isn’t too concerned.

“Our teamwork needs polishing as well as our individual performance, but maybe teamwork prevails a bit,” he explains casually. “I think we are all good players, consistency is the only problem and it varies from person to person, some people play badly when they are nervous or lacking focus, but I would say every one of us understands the game really well.”

However, the players on the field aren’t the only ones Kovandžić puts his trust in. “I feel like our coaching staff knows how to prepare the draft for the given info really well,” he adds seriously. Having spent the majority of his playing career in the Balkans, he knows full well how lucky they are to have a coaching staff and analysts that will go out of their way to help them win.

“The state of League in our region is not that great. I don’t think there’s a lot of good teams, mainly because of infrastructure, teams can’t offer decent salaries so players can’t put league as their main activity and other stuff like good coaches, etc.”

Photo via Fortuna eSports

Going into the European Masters 2018 Spring Split, KlikTech are trying to maintain their usual routine. “Mood in the team is actually pretty normal, like a normal day, just some people might be a bit more nervous than usual,” Milica laughs before adding: “I’m pretty sure some of the teammates and coaches are pretty hyped up about some individual matchups, though.”

About European Masters

“The strongest teams are probably MAD Lions E.C., Gamers Origin, Movistar Riders, and possibly Origen,” he says. “No one has seen them play so I can’t judge, but individual players are definitely promising, it’s just about how well will they synergize.”

Milica’s KlikTech got placed into a group with one of those teams — the newly reincarnated Origen — as well as ESL Meisterschaft winners EURONICS Gaming and ESL UK Premiership champions exceL eSports. The former already had a taste of the Balkan aggression in the opening match of the tournament, where they had to admit defeat in a game that was taken out of their hands from the get-go.

“We actually scrimmed a lot against ESG and I think their midlaner is their best player. We never played against exceL but we can check their matches in UK Prem and Origen is still a mystery as a team, even though their players are all Superstars.”

“Personally speaking I don’t really care who I play against,” he adds quickly. “Our goal is always to win, it’s just a matter of how we play. Even though I think we are overhyped a lot, I still think we are a pretty decent team, and that we can win against every team in the EU Masters even if our chances are low.”

For the time being, the best-of-one format in which the group stage will be played out will remain the X-factor. “My honest opinion is that [Origen] are a top 4 team on paper, but they may end up 4th in our group because of the best-of-one format.”

About playing Origen

“These things are really hard to judge,” Milica sighs, not too excited about having to talk about Origen without seeing them play first. “Maybe they just won’t go well as a team.”

When asked about having to play against one of the most experienced midlaners in Europe, Henrik “Froggen” Hansen, Milica is much more willing to open up. “I think it’s gonna be a tough one, but not unwinnable.”

Photo via Fortuna eSports

“Well I’m a big choker, that’s something most people don’t know, so I might end up choking really hard against Froggen,” he laughs. “But I think I’m gonna be fine, in my opinion, we can win even if odds are in their favor.”

The most important thing for the team ahead of the game will be to find their game and not let their opponents take the lead, anything else would only be a distraction.

“Solo killing Froggen would probably be hard, especially on two lives Anivia. Maybe we should put him on a different champion, who knows,” he laughs again, excited by the idea.

Even though Origen will remain an unknown factor until the game with KlikTech, Milica and the team have a quite solid idea on how the game will go.

“Pretty sure our toplaner [Sacre] and jungler [Stefan] are gonna be the carries in the series against Origen and Nikola Senpai, EdinPriqtel and I will be the supports. Lane doesn’t win the game,” he says merrily, before adding, serious: “Sometimes it does, though.”

KlikTech will face Origen in their debut game 15th of April, at 22:00 CEST.

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