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.