"My team supports me if I need it, and I will support them. It's a great environment"
Origen’s bumpy 1-2 Summer Split start was not what they had envisioned in Week 1, with defeats against the revamped SK Gaming and the Kobbe-empowered Misfits Gaming serving as early stumbling blocks in a new meta. However, their victory against G2 Esports on Saturday, June 13 was cause for relief – especially for German AD carry Elias “Upset” Lipp.
The victory showed that the squad could rebound from setbacks when they were backed up against the wall. After a worrisome loss to SK Gaming, where their tentative skirmishes failed to yield results, they dominated G2 Esports in a playoff rematch. Before that, they coped with the bitterness of defeat, especially as it went against their high expectations – which were amplified by positive scrimmage results.
Every competitor worth their salt would be upset after a defeat, let alone one that came against expectations to an SK squad that packed a surprising draft. “There would be something wrong with our competitiveness if we didn't feel bad about [our loss against SK],” Upset said in a conversation with Inven Global. “So, we made sure that we all bounced back.”
To Upset’s admission, the slow yet steadily secured victory served as a demonstration to Origen’s might: after the 32-minute mark, the squad tallied 15 kills to G2’s four, destroyed 11 towers to G2’s two, and asserted dominion over neutral objectives with four Drakes and two Baron Nashor takedowns. Barney “Alphari” Morris’ dominant play on Gangplank (7/0/4 KDA score) spiraled to the rest of the map, with Upset’s Aphelios (4/0/8) reaping the benefits alongside support Michell “Destiny” Shaw (2/1/9 on Lulu).
As important as their victory was, the way they achieved it, swifter than their sole victory in the Spring Split’s loser bracket semifinal – an overall 3-1 loss to G2, mattered more. That loss lit a fire within Upset, who felt that he could take on G2 and Fnatic, through hard work, at long last.
Upset had not felt that way in 2019, as Schalke 04 failed to contend against the top two teams and, ultimately, missed the 2019 World Championship. As bitter as that event was, he was not surprised: in his eyes, the German organization failed to provide him with the necessary pieces to contend at the top in Europe
“I just knew that we wouldn't be able to challenge the likes of G2 or Fnatic, or [to] be a top team,” Upset said. “It was quite obvious that […] we had a limit.”
But it was not for a lack of trying, as his performances ultimately drew praise from fellow players, coaches, and experts at large, with back-to-back All-Pro Second Team selections in the bot lane. And on the way there, he developed as a vocal in-game leader in combination with Support Lee “IgNar” Dong-Geun and Top Laner Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu.
“Looking back at it, it was definitely a developmental year,” he recalled. “I still learned stuff, and I made the best out of it. I grew more as a leader kind of person.”
Upset would not need to be a dominant voice in Origen’s stacked 2020 squad, which featured Alphari and former 2018 teammate Erlend “Nukeduck” Holm, as well as Worlds’ quarterfinalist Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir and play-in participant Destiny. Where other teams such as MAD Lions and Misfits Gaming banked on youth development, Origen aimed to contend.
Although their Spring Split ended with a fourth-place finish, it ended with relatively positive showings against Fnatic and G2, who they forced into Game 4s. That was enough to light a fire within the German AD carry, who opted to skip a vacation trip away from the Copenhagen headquarters – partly due to the COVID-19 situation, the inconvenience involved with a self-isolation period, and partly due to motivation.
If Origen were to do better – and he felt they could – he would work hard for it to happen. So, he immediately labored, playing 13 games per day to hone his mechanics. Once he found out that there would be no Mid-Season Invitational, he ‘grabbed’ Destiny for an assortment of solo queue games, discussed bot lane pairings, and improved their synergy as they worked together to sharpen their play. By the end of May, Upset occupied the top two ranks of the European ladder.
“It was a good thing for myself to make sure that I'm in super good shape when we go into the summer, and to have the motivation to put it into the game and keep grinding even though the season didn't end how we wanted it,” he said.
One would think that moving from Berlin (and Germany overall, where he lived until he joined Origen) to Copenhagen would cause issues, but he remained focused as the setting around the team remained familiar: his teammates surrounded him still, so did the organization.
“It's not just important for pro players,” he said. “It's important for everyone to have a good supporting network around them. It's even greater when it's your team, not just your parents, your friends, and your girlfriend.”
“The boys I'm with are supporting me if I need it, and I will support them. It's a great environment,” he added.
The boys needed to support each other as they bounced back from defeat against SK Gaming to beat Spring Split champions G2 Esports. “We talked to each other, and we made sure that we went with a fresh mindset [against G2], and not to let a bad feeling from the previous day influence that game,” Upset said.
Yet, for them to be in the conversation for the top spot in the same sentence as G2 and Fnatic, they have work to do. “We have a better understanding [of the game], but there is still a long way for us to go, especially considering G2's circumstances this week,” he said. “I still think that they are the best team in Europe.”
Origen’s best opportunity to refine its approach, following its defeat against Misfits Gaming on the third day of Week 1, lies in their faceoff against Fnatic: a roster that has barely changed from its 2019 iteration, with many highlighting the team’s improvement in terms of playstyle. But if their showing against G2’s slightly altered roster (with Rasmus “Caps” Winther’s return to the mid lane) is any indication, they might be on track to do more than catch up.
“They know how to react to situations really well, and we are getting there slowly,” he said. “[Our game against G2] was a good step in that direction.”
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