Schalke 04 Upset: “I want to be able to go toe to toe with Rekkles and make my mark in the EU LCS.”

Hi Upset, thank you very much for your time. Before we talk about the future and the upcoming EU LCS Split, I wanted to ask about the past: You and Schalke 04 were able to do an unbeaten run in the Challenger Series Spring Split, only to be eliminated by Misfits Academy in Playoffs.

In Summer Split, Schalke 04 still managed to go 8-2 and reach the promotion matches, where you eventually 3-0ed Ninjas in Pyjamas. What did you learn over the past year, both from negative and positive experiences?

I’m happy about the way things worked out in Spring Split because I learned so much from them. Back then me and other players around me were very cocky due to our unbeaten run, we thought no one would be able to defeat us. So that defeat against Misfits Academy taught me to take every game seriously, to treat every opponent with respect.

I also learned a lot from VandeR about the way you approach lane, the way you play the game together as a Botlane. He was my mentor in a way.

Summer Split was more about putting my knowledge into practice, but I wasn’t quite satisfied with the way we played. I wasn’t able to play the kind of macro game I wanted, given that the individual quality of our team was rather low and it’s hard to play such strategies in Challenger Series. But I’m happy with the result and getting into the EU LCS of course.

S04 Upset
A relieved Upset after the 3-0 victory against Ninjas in Pyjamas

Do you like that you are reunited with your former Support VandeR?

I was in contact with Mitch while he was picking the roster, and I suggested the Schalke management to pick up VandeR while they were deciding on the roster. The two of us work really well together and we know each other a lot inside and outside of the game.

Given that you’ve been posting pictures with Nukeduck for months before he was officially signed, I’m guessing that you suggested him as well (laughs)? Nukeduck has been praised by many Midlaners, such as Perkz and Caps, but hasn’t been able to play on a Playoffs team.

Yes and I definitely think he deserves that kind of recognition from these players. Nukeduck’s problem was that he previously was stuck on pretty bad teams. I want to get him the level of success and recognition he deserves. He really is a fantastic player.

Right now, what are Schalke’s goals for the upcoming Split?

We want to find our team chemistry and strategy. We’re still a pretty new team, VandeR is the only one I’ve played with for a while. So we’ll need some time to find ourselves. Don’t be disappointed if we don’t stomp our opponents in the first weeks, but after that, we should be able to challenge even the best teams in the EU LCS. We intend to reach playoffs and we have fantastic coaching and support staff helping us to achieve this goal.

So that’s Schalke’s goal, but what are your own personal goals as a player?

Well for Schalke as an organisation, we want to reach playoffs. It doesn’t really matter whether we end the Split in 6th or 3rd place. But for me, personally, I want to reach the Top 2. I think I’m now surrounded by players who all have the personal skill level to achieve that kind of goal. And I want to prove that I deserve my spot in my Rookie Split.

Many German fans are very hyped about you entering the EU LCS, but there also are a few Portugese fans who are very excited about Minitroupax’ first Split. Do you see him as a rival?

Not really. I don’t think he’s a bad player or anything, but I definitely have the edge over him. And Vitality is really not a Top Tier team. I only view the best European ADCs as my rivals.

So, Hans Sama and Rekkles?

Rekkles definitely is the player I look up to the most. I think he was the best performing EU ADC of the past Season. I want to be able to go toe to toe with him and make my mark in the EU LCS.

Let’s talk a bit about how you got to work with another fantastic European ADC, Zven. During MSI 2017, you got to be a substitute for G2, being a “waterboy” according to Perkz (laughs). What was your experience like working with all of these fantastic players?

Yeah, Zven is someone I always used to look up to. Even back in 2015, I was always watching him play, tried to watch as many VODs of him as possible. So it was great working with him and Mithy as well. The way Mithy structures discussions is very organised. And I guess it’s true, I brought quite a lot of water to the players (laughs). I learned so much, it was a great time.

Upset and Perkz memeing about Upset’s time as a G2 substitute:

What kind of playstyle can people expect from you? We’ve seen one of your SoloQ-Accounts being renamed to “S04 FORG1VEN” and you’ve been described as “Mini-Forg1ven” by VandeR.

Well… If my team needs me to win lane for us to win the game, I will do that. But I can also play a more conservative style. I will play what my team needs me to play.

What are your personal comfort picks?

Without giving away too much from our scrims, I really enjoy playing Ezreal. But there also are a few others champions I can’t reveal yet.

Will we see some interesting picks on stage?

Yeah, I think so (laughs).

What was it like to stand in front of more than 40,000 Schalke 04 fans before their football match in the DFB-Pokal against FC Cologne? Was it intimidating or a rather positive experience?

Getting the support of all of these Schalke fans was amazing. Even though many of them don’t really know what esports is, they still support Schalke regardless of their area, so they cheered on us still. I think it was a real confidence boost for the entire team.

What is the reaction of distant relatives or people who get to know you now when you tell them that you play for Schalke 04?

Well, it depends on how old they are. Some of the younger people know League of Legends, they know about LCS and they might even know beforehand that I’m a professional player. With older people it’s a bit harder to explain the whole esports thing to them. That said, I’ve only had positive responses; they appreciate the fact that I’m doing something different than the “normal” route of going to school, going to university and getting a normal job.

If you wouldn’t have made it as a LCS pro, what would you have pursued as a career?

I was in 11th grade when I decided to go pro and I was in a Gymnasium, the highest form of German school education, getting pretty high grades. But I don’t know what I would’ve done if I wouldn’t have gone for esports, this was always my dream career. Probably would’ve finished high school, go to university in a different country to get more experiences, but I have no idea what kind of job I would’ve looked for down the line. Esports is and always was my dream.

It’s a dream job to many people indeed. Anything you’d like to say to the Schalke 04 or EU LCS fans?

Thank you very much for supporting us even though we haven’t played a single match on stage yet! Me and the team have received a lot of support on twitter and it’s great to see.

Thank you very much for your time!

Schalke 04 Upset
Photograph taken by: Michal Konkol / Riot Games
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Darius Matuschak

Darius is an esports journalist trying to nurture esports culture whenever possible. He got into esports while finishing his Bachelor in Journalism, and has been a regular EU LCS attendee since January 2017.

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