Origen’s Mid Laner Erlend "Nukeduck" Våtevik joined Lara Lunardi at the League of Legends European Championship to talk about his esports/sports duality, assembling a team and the differences of coaching experiences in sports and esports.
You come from a sports background growing up, right? What did you play?
In school I played football first, until fifth grade or something, and from there I played floorball and basketball.
It’s a scandinavian thing. It’s like ice hockey but on the floor instead of the ice and not with full gear and not a puck either, it’s like a small ball.
That’s new to me, we don’t play any of that in South America, so pardon my ignorance.
So I did both of those until about 2012 which is when I qualified for the LCS the first time and ever since I haven’t really gotten back to it.
"I really liked to play and I really like to practice, and the more I got better it felt better"
Were you playing sports and League of Legends at the same time? And how was it that the LCS crossed paths with you?
Yeah, it’s like a different form of competition, so when you do something and you get good at it, it feels really good to keep doing it, right? It’s that feeling of mastering something. I kind of had that thing in basketball where I really liked to play and I really like to practice, and the more I got better it felt better. For floorball I was mostly there for the community more or so, but especially in basketball I had a very similar start to it as I did to League of Legends, where I was always thinking about it, always wanting to do it.
How did you manage to qualify for the LCS back then?
I first played in 2012 in season 2 and I made it to high elo, and then in the Summer vacation of 2012, usually I would be outside by the sea since it’s nice in the Summer, but I was basically playing solo queue that whole season and at that point I felt I was really good and felt so confident, I was starting high school at the end of that vacation and at that point I had started high school for a year and had already decided that I would play professionally in League, “okay, that’s what I’m doing, I’m not doing school anymore”, but I had to keep going because you know, parents. I was only sixteen and I couldn’t decide it all by myself just yet.
From there, I was first in a team that wanted to play in the qualifier, but I was too young to play it because you would have to be seventeen before the season started to be eligible to play. So for the first qualifier of LCS I was sitting out and the second time around, the team I was in, I had already planned to join them when I was seventeen, but they got banned. It was Jensen’s team.
What was it like to be good enough but not old enough?
It felt bad because I had to prove to my parents that this was something to go for, because obviously if you haven’t heard about esports and your kid tells you that “ah yeah, I’ll just drop out of school”... So I had to prove to my parents that I could earn money from it and mostly that’s why timing wasn’t such a rush.
I was sixteen, I was playing online and had fun with that. Once my team got banned I decided to make my own team, basically. I played a lot of solo queue and a lot of online tournaments, I new people that were good players from different teams so I contacted ZoroZero, and from there we tried to find an AD Carry, that’s when Tabzz switched from mid lane to AD Carry. Basically I kind of assembled a team and we played the online qualifiers for the LCS qualifier and then we first had a hard Bo3 against a French challenger team, but we did win 2-1 against them, and then we faced the LCS teams, that was very bad actually, because they were so underdeveloped. I think most of them had really bad internet problems or didn't have PCs available all the time, and when we came in, our level was just so much higher than the LCS teams that we just rolled over the teams we faced.
Your current coach André "Guilhoto" Guilhoto used to coach basketball before he started coaching League of Legends. What are the main differences you experienced in sports vs esports coaching?
I think right now it’s important to note that we are playing at the very top level so all of us in our team already have some kind of background and know this game pretty well. When I was in sports, my coaches would teach me basketball or floorball, so the focus wasn’t on winning, the focus was on learning how to play, versus here, where we just got to win the games.
I would say one very different thing is that in sports you already have the basics set and every coach is supposed to teach the roles in a certain way, it’s kind of figured out. In League, the coaches don’t have a set place, so they learn as they go as well. It’s not like when you become an esports coach you know what works or you know what you need to teach your players, so you just have to try it.
Do you think with time coaches will start to figure out what works and what doesn’t and end up having more basics set as the scene matures?
It could happen, but the thing is that the game changes so much, the fundamentals change maybe every year, so at some point we’ll figure out in the really big picture but it should take a lot of time, and with the patches happening all the time it’s hard to really say.
Lastly, a word to your fans that are keeping up with Origen this split?
Thanks for the support!