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.”
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.”
“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.
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.”
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.”
“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.