Starting his career straight to the League of Legends European Championship, Pierre "Steeelback" Medjaldi had only been able to reconnect with his French roots last year, when he joined La Ligue Française with Vitality Bee. Inven Global sat down with Team Vitality’s Support to discuss his experience in the league and who we should be looking forward to seeing in EU Masters.
The French League of Legends community is known to be very dense. Why do you think the fans are so tightly knit?
When I returned to France, a year or two ago, I noticed that the French fans were very supportive and very passionate about esports. Vitality had a bad split this Spring, but they never stopped cheering for us.
I was still in school when I discovered League of Legends, but only started to play it seriously at eighteen years old. At that time, a lot of people in France were playing the game, and because of the language barrier between English speaking gamers and French speaking gamers, the community stuck together and grew really fast.
In 2019, you had left the LEC to join the LFL. What was your experience in the league?
When I joined the LFL a year ago, in 2019, I swapped from AD Carry to Support. I was welcomed to a new region, that I did not know so much about, with a new role, too. I was really surprised so many people knew me. Playing in Paris was very nice. Before that, I had been in Berlin for quite some time, which did not allow me to be close to my fans in France, so we would only interact via social media, never in person.
It was easy for me to get close to the people in the LFL, and on top of that, it was a very good split for us at Vitality Bee. The experience was incredible and it gave me the necessary confidence to keep me in the role I am currently playing.
Regarding the infrastructure of the league itself, was it much different than what you were used to in the LEC?
The infrastructure is very similar to the LEC, except when we played at the studio, there was no live audience. It was nice to not have the pressure of fans watching you play on stage. All five of us lived in a gaming house together, with our manager. The biggest difference was that I was in another country, but realistically, as a professional player, you don’t really notice the difference because you are always playing 24/7.
What have you seen in the 2020 season of the LFL that has caught your eye? Any upcoming talent?
Looking at the LFL now, I have been really impressed by the performance of GameWard, who just entered the league. They were thought to be the underdogs, but their split was very impressive. In particular, their Top Laner Enzo "SALUT A TOUS" Gonzalez, which means “Hello to everyone” in French, no idea why he is called that, anyway, he is a really good player, someone to definitely pay attention to. LDCL’s Mid Laner, Vincent "Vetheo" Berrié looks really good right now, with solo cleans on his enemies. These upcoming talents hopefully will handle the pressure well, because the higher level games will require that.
EU Masters started just this week. What can we expect from the league?
In EU Masters you can compare the level of every region. It gives you a good idea about which players and teams are the best. If you are interested in the uprising talent in Europe, this competition is definitely worth watching.It is hard to say where France’s level stands right now, but I would guess they are in the Top 2.