The 2020 LEC summer split resumed after a two-week break, but a roster move caught LEC fans’ attention as Jakub “Jactroll” Skurzynski joined Origen in a midseason roster move, competing with Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw at the support position. Origen’s decision to start Jactroll was met with criticism by the fanbase at large, but it has paid off at the tune of a 2-0 week, with swift victories over G2 Esports and Misfits Gaming.
Inven Global was able to speak to Jactroll following the team’s victory against Misfits Gaming, a game that earned him MVP honors for his devastating Thresh play. The following is a transcription slightly edited for clarity.
Let's start with something that I've noticed: Karol Bielecki? [Jactroll's solo queue handle is OG KAROLBIELECKI — Ed.]
It's an interesting story!
I've been avoiding to put Jactroll in my nickname. I was putting nicknames that I feel a bond with. When I watch a series, I identify with a character, I want to have his nickname in League of Legends. But Karol Bielecki is actually a real character, a former handball player. He's a Polish representative.
Why I'm having his nickname: he was a great player, in his prime; but then, in a match between Poland and Croatia, he got hit by an elbow in the eye, and he lost his eye. He became blind in one eye, and his career should have been over. But then, in two months, he recovered; he was wearing special glasses so that he didn't get injured like that anymore, and he was seeing from one eye.
Everyone thought that this guy was finished, that he should have just retired, and that he had no chance to come back into professional handball games. Then, the first game that he played professionally after losing his eye, he got MVP. He played fantastically.
I want to have his name on my League of Legends account because it reminds me of my story in LoL so far.
I can see some parallels here, although you didn't lose an eye.
Yeah! It's kind of metaphorical, you know? But he came back from something, and I also came back from a tough situation.
Also, him getting MVP on his first game, and you doing very well on your first and getting MVP on the second game against Misfits.
It's all written in the stars!
There's something you need to know: Kasper Hvidt...
He's a former goalkeeper, I know.
Yeah, and in 2007, Poland beat Denmark... [at the 2007 World Men’s Handball Championship — Ed.]
Most of the time, Denmark was better than Poland. [The two national teams] have stories between each other.
I wanted to be a handball player during my school years, but I didn't have a pro player's physical attributes to become one. In elementary school, I was a super, super good handball player, and I could have gone to the handball school of the second-best team in the Polish league. But then, when I progressed in school, a couple of months later, the ball became bigger, and I couldn't carry it in my hand anymore. I had to abandon that career.
Because you couldn't have the grip on the ball...
Yes. But I'm a League of Legends player, so I don't mind. [laughs]
"I'm pretty optimistic looking forward, and I'm pretty sure that we're going to be a great team. We just need to get to the playoffs first, and to show that we are much better in best-of-5’s than we are in best-of-1’s."
You had to deal with the end of a dream and had to keep on pushing despite that. Then League of Legends came up.
I have had a lot of other hobbies as well before I became a League of Legends pro. I wanted to be a fitness model as well, but something went very. very wrong as you can see! [laughs as he points at himself]
I have a lot of funny stories like this, but I like my life right now.
In the end, it seems that League of Legends was the thing that stuck, and you fought for it even more — kind of how Bielecki fought for his career in handball. Let's go at the start: I believe you were with Guilhoto at the start of your career! [Guilhoto coached Jactroll at Giants Gaming the year before most of the roster joined Team Vitality in 2018 — Ed.]
When I tried out for Giants, Guilhoto really liked how I played, so he gave me the position.
There's a bit of a reunion here! Things kind of happened since then, so what can you tell me about how it's been going on that front?
Honestly, I feel like we have never split up. We were good friends back then, and we are good friends now. Nothing changed; Guilhoto is kind of the same person as he was three years ago. Just that he's engaged with the girlfriend he had back then. He's still a little bit chubby, as he was before. So, yeah. [laughs as Guilhoto happened to overhear and comment]
[Guilhoto: What are you talking about? Chubby and proud!]
Chubby and proud, yes!
I'm still baffled that you were about to move to Poland when Origen contacted you, then you tried out, with things clicking. Xerxe said on the broadcast interview that he was surprised by how fast things clicked between you two. I'd like to know more!
[laughs] The main difference between Vitality and Origen is that the team that I am in, right now, has a lot more experience. We can create a bond easier because we've had similar experiences so far, more or less. We're all pretty good players, that's why it clicked easily. I don't know what else to say, but I'm very glad that it worked out.
It's also the first week so far — and you have two sides: we played only one week of scrims, but we're already a good team, so that's very very positive; but also, it's only one week on stage, and we don't know what will happen next week.
I'm pretty optimistic looking forward, and I'm pretty sure that we're going to be a great team. We just need to get to the playoffs first, and to show that we are much better in best-of-5’s than we are in best-of-1’s. We played against two good teams that are rivals for a playoff spot, and it worked out very well for us.
"My big problem in the past split was that I was reading a lot of comments on Reddit, and all I saw was hatred. That hatred was so big that it really got to me."
I could see that. I'd like to go back on the Karol Bielecki part, and on the things that you've had to overcome between the end of 2018 and now. Over that time period, everyone on Vitality went their separate ways except for Cabochard who is still there. I'm first tempted to ask how you think back about those days.
I have had a lot of fun on that roster. We all got along very well in our rookie split, especially me, Jiizuke and Cabochard. Attila and I were on very good terms in 2018, but we stopped having good contact in 2019 off poor performances on stage — and it went all the way around: the poor performance carried off to our relationship.
Cabochard and I are very good friends still, and I would love him to succeed. I want to see him on the Worlds stage, and the same for Daniele. I really like these guys, and I miss them. There's also Kikis: a big member of our 2018 roster's success, and he's a good friend of mine as well.
With Attila, we had a little bit of drama between us, and we are not in contact, but I hope he's doing well in Spain. Overall, I want all my past teammates to succeed.
On a related topic, I'm wondering if even way back in 2017, you were the shotcalling type, or whether it progressed over the years — under YamatoCannon, Guilhoto, or someone else.
Ever since my career began, I was always a talkative person. But I wasn't always the one creating a plan and micromanaging people. In my past years, I lacked the knowledge on how to play out macro. But this year, with the guidance of Duke and Mephisto, I gained so much knowledge. That's why my shotcalling abilities have improved so much.
Right now, I have the knowledge and personal abilities to shotcall and lead a team to victory. Before, I didn't have the knowledge to be that person, even though I was talkative and tried to talk about other stuff, [and] I wasn't the primary shotcaller.
So, big shoutout to Duke and Mephisto. Even though our results in Vitality were horrendous, I'm so much better as a player in 2020 than I was in 2019, or at Worlds in 2018. I couldn't really show my potential in Team Vitality for many reasons, but as you saw right now, in Origen, I had a very good performance both against G2 Esports and Misfits Gaming. I'm pretty sure I'll stay on track.
It still brings me to how you had a down moment on Vitality before bouncing back on Origen, on a moral standpoint. Or having things stacked against you, and bouncing back and finding the strength to be MVP as you returned. What can you tell me about this experience so far? And how did you push through those problems?
My big problem in the past split was that I was reading a lot of comments on Reddit, and all I saw was hatred. That hatred was so big that it really got to me. I couldn't deal with it at the time, and it affected my gameplay on stage and even in scrims.
Right now, I made the decision that I wouldn't read any comments. I cannot gain anything positive from it, even if I read some positive comments. In the past, I thought that those comments didn't affect me, but it really got to me in the spring split. After that, I made the commitment that if I got to play professionally again, I would not read Reddit comments again.
I'm happy that I played so well, because it creates momentum for me and for the team. That was very important for me. I was stressing out about playing very well on the first weekend, because it would shut the mouths of the haters that commented on my move to Origen.
Sometimes, people don't know that pro players are human as well, and that their comments affect them.
Jactroll and Origen seek to carry their momentum forward as they face Team Vitality and Fnatic on Week 7, and another 2-0 week would see them firmly entrenched in the playoff race. Be sure to tune in to the LEC on Friday, July 24 and Saturday, July 25 to find out how they will fare!