Each year, there are a handful of League of Legends players from all around the world that travel to Korea. From amateur players, streamers, to those that have reached the highest level of pro play, these bootcampers all come to Korea for one main reason; to climb the solo queue ladder on the KR server.
After his tenure with Fnatic as their mid laner until the end of 2020, Tim "Nemesis" Lipovšek, took some time off professional play to pursue different options. He was invited by Nicholas “LS” De Cesare to fly out to Korea, and after signing under Gen.G as one of their latest content creators, he safely arrived in Korea during the middle of April.
Inven Global quickly reached out to Nemesis for an intimate 1 on 1 conversation at the headquarters of Gen.G. From his most recent tenure as the mid laner for Fnatic to his second chapter in Korea as Gen.G’s content creator, Tim was brutally honest about everything.
Hello Nemesis! Welcome to Korea! How has your time been since you arrived in Korea?
So far, I like it here. I visited a lot of restaurants, some amusement park that was near IKEA that LS and I went to, went to go watch a movie at the cinema… Basically, lots of good food; steak, Korean barbeque, waffles, and frappes. Oh, and Subway, of course; it’s much better here than Germany. Korea’s too “broken”. [laughs]
Is this your first time in Korea? How long are you planning to stay here?
For now, I have a visa that allows me to stay here for 13 months. My plan is to stay here at least until the end of the year. Right now, there is nothing for me to do; I can’t go back to pro play at this point in time, and I have to wait until the season is over. Reasons such as KR solo queue, content with LS, among many other things, as opposed to staying at home and doing nothing; the answer was obvious.
Can you please share some of your fondest memories during your time as the mid laner for Fnatic?
The memories that stuck with me from my Fnatic days have to all be when we won games. All the games that we won, especially those that had a lot on the line, are the ones that stuck with me. Outside of game days, the most fun memories were with Pete, the camera guy on Fnatic, and Shaves, the strategic coach from last year. As a team, I remember having a lot of fun tree climbing.
I remember watching your reaction to the LEC segment that talked about underrated players, and Rekkles mentioned you.
When I watched it, I thought it was a little bit funny, because obviously, I have a lot more information about my previous teammates. I had a lot of one-on-one discussions with Rekkles back in Fnatic, so I know a lot more about how he thinks. Since last year, there’s been a lot of negativity surrounding my name, so when he mentioned me publicly like that, I was ecstatic.
Video source: 'yourRecomendations' on Youtube
I think a lot of people can relate to the sentiment that you’d have no problem continuing your career as a pro player. Can the fans expect you to be back in the competitive scene next season?
Right now, I’m focusing on being a great streamer/content creator. Going back to professional play is undecided at the moment because I have to see what kind of offers I’m going to get by the end of the year. For it to be worth it, it would mean that I would have to be offered a much bigger salary, because right now, I’m practically earning the same, if not more as a content creator for Gen.G.
I don’t want to go back to pro play if it means I’m going to join a bottom-tier team. I’ve experienced too many issues in such teams, and I’d only like to play with specific players of my choosing. I think that there are really good amateur players in the scene that I’d love to get a chance to play with. We’ll see how the future unfolds.
What made you decide to work with Gen.G after you took time off pro play? Given your status, I’d assume that you would’ve had many offers on the table.
LS was the one that got me in contact with Gen.G, due to his friendship with the COO, Arnold Hur. Crownshot and I talked with him, and because neither of us had good enough offers on the table, we felt that this was the best opportunity for us. Crownshot, however, moved on to join Vitality, and for myself, this was the best opportunity in Korea I could get. Arnold offered me a great contract with great conditions, so I said, “Why not?”
The Korean teams are slowly opening up to foreign talent, and there are talks of LCK teams starting to contemplate importing Vietnamese players. If the opportunity to join an LCK team presented itself to you, would you take it?
It would have to be really well-processed. I would have to understand every single aspect of the whole process, but in my current state, it would have to be more on the “no” side.
MSI 2021 is coming up. Most regions played on patch 11.6, and the MSI patch is 11.9. How has the competitive meta changed over three patches?
While there have been a lot of patches since the playoffs patch, they didn’t make any significant changes. Usually, such changes aren’t enough to outright stop pro players from picking champions that they want to play or are comfortable with; it’s not enough to bring them out of their comfort zone.
I’m not saying that the meta is going to be the same. There are going to be new champions that are going to rise in tier, while some are going to fall off. For example, with the nerfs that Hecarim has been receiving over time, and with the most recent changes on patch 11.9, I think that he’s not going to be picked as much as before.
Champions like Vladimir and Rumble will most likely see some competitive play because of their buffs. I’m 100% sure that we’re going to see Lee Sin being picked, mostly in solo lanes; I feel he’s going to be highly contested, if not banned. For the junglers, I don’t know if we’ll see Diana be picked, but I predict Morgana will be highly contested. Some champions, like Jinx, will still remain strong in the meta.
All of this will also depend on scrim results as well. How it usually works is, the strongest/scariest teams will play their own game in scrims, win most of them, and everyone else goes, “Oh, this team played this champion, so we have to play them as well”. All those that just copy others will just end up losing in the end.
You played a lot of Tryndamere on your recent stream: Are there any solo queue exclusive champions that have the potential/you’d like to see picked at MSI?
I think that over the years, Tryndamere has been one of the most under-researched champions in the game; he’s an old champion, and I think most players don’t like him because he gets kited easily, and the fact that he doesn’t run Teleport is weird. I’ve always been a Tryndamere fan; I think he’s been competitively viable for years now as a solo laner [top/mid].
He’s obviously strong in solo queue, and he just has to fall under the right conditions to be picked in competitive play. The reason why he’s gotten so much attention from me lately is because I’m close with a Challenger Tryndamere one-trick named RANGERZX in EUW, and I talked to him a lot about the champion and how he plays it.
People say that champions like Katarina are strong, but I don’t think she’s strong at all. The obvious one that comes to mind is Lee Sin. I’m confident that he’s going to be picked. Other than that, Gangplank should be higher on the competitive tier list, due to the Trinity Force buffs. I also think champions like Fiora are strong, but she’ll just be a niche pick. You need to be insanely good at the champion; that’s why only one-tricks can make her work.
Viego and Gwen will remain disabled during MSI. If they weren’t, where would you rate them inside the meta?
I think pro players will like Viego, but I don’t think he’s very good. He’s too conditional, and I think he has a bad kit; his kit is heavily relied on getting ult resets or getting his passive off. He’s one of the newer champion releases that I highly dislike. The champion doesn’t actually bring much; he can’t stay alive in teamfights and gets killed really easily because he’s squishy. He would work as a counterpick to a melee champion. He’s really oppressive against melee champions because of constant poke, AA range, and higher base stats.
Gwen however, I think is much better. I really like her. She was a bit weak when she was first released, but she got some hotfix buffs, so she’s much better. She’s one of those champions that’s going to constantly get better because right now, players are still learning and experimenting with her. If she was enabled during MSI, I’d say she’d get picked. She’s very simplistic but has a lot of skill expression, so I think she’s good for the game.
When compared to the West, the KR solo queue ladder is praised for being more competitive/higher in quality, while criticized for being more toxic. What has your solo queue experience been like on the KR server?
If I compare myself to a typical solo queue player, I personally have higher tolerance to toxicity and intentional griefing. When comparing EUW to KR solo queue, I don’t think one’s better than the other, but I do think there are differences. Korean players are much better mechanically; I can feel that the overall mechanical level is much higher.
However, I think that EUW players play out the mid-late game much better; the players are less prone to tilt, and flame way less compared to Korea. Korea has a different meta, where it’s more focused in the early game. The games are decided really fast, which also brings more skill expression because there’s more fights, which leads to more outplay potential.
For a while, people have been saying that getting high on the ladder, or getting rank 1, doesn’t matter. From your perspective, why is that so?
I think getting rank 1 hasn’t mattered for years now. It’s not just a recent sentiment. Players like Dopa, and even LS talked about the topic in recent days, but it hasn’t mattered for a while. Players can be complete garbage at the game, yet they’re still high Elo; this is because people figured out ways to abuse the system, one of which is dodging. I’m not going to call out any names, but in the past year, there have been many players that were rank 1, but were not good at the game.
What is your stance on dodging in solo queue?
I understand why people are frustrated that they have to wait so long to get into the game, while I also do understand that some games, you just have to dodge because it’s unplayable. It’s hard to find a middle ground on this issue. Other changes would probably have to be implemented so that dodging wouldn’t be such a big issue. Dodging is an issue, but it’s stemmed from other surrounding problems.
On patch 11.9, they implemented a new system where dodging three times would lock you out of the game for 12 hours. Do you like the direction that Riot’s taking? What are some of your solutions?
I don’t like the change, but I don’t hate it either. I’m the type of guy that doesn’t really complain about whatever Riot throws at me. For many years, I’ve always complained about the balance team, and I’ve hit a point where there’s no point complaining anymore; I either have to adapt or just not play. I’m a player that doesn't really dodge in solo queue; dodging for me happens very rarely, so I usually dodge only once.
It’s a very hard problem to provide an alternative solution. Draft plays such an important role, but most players are unable to learn it, which is blatantly evident in pro play as well. I want the ladder to be more competitive. Many will disagree with me on this, I think the division system is terrible. I like the old Elo system better than the current system, just like how it was back in Season 2.
Maybe get rid of autofill as well?
That too. I think rewarding players for getting high on the ladder should be a thing as well. By rewarding, I mean rewarding them like they did with Challenger jackets and backpacks; even money can be great. It’s nothing huge, but these meant a lot to the players; it meant a lot to me.
Something that you’ll be doing for content is in-houses against LCK academy teams. Can you give us some more context, as well as some of the other content you have planned?
Once everything is set up at the content house, me, LS, and the other players that live with us will start scrimming against the LCK academy teams. We’re going to draft and play in our own way, and stream it on our Twitch channels. People are expecting some insane gameplay from us, but we’re obviously not the best players in the world; I’m pretty sure I’m the only professional player in that scrim team. The goal is to show a different way of playing the game; from drafting, communication, to decision making, they’re all going to be different.
LS and I have other content plans as well; we’re going to create a podcast, and also do various IRL content. From simple vlogs like “LS and Nemesis visits a restaurant and rates their food” to visiting different landmarks, anything we can do in Korea, we’re going to try to do. There’s other content planned such as duo coaching on Patreon, VOD reviewing pro player’s gameplay, live-viewing, solo queue highlights, and much more.
I’ll also do content with Gen.G as well. I’m playing 1v1 against Bdd, the mid laner for Gen.G’s LoL team [This already took place on Apr. 29 — Ed.]. I’m also planning to do a lot of IRL content with other Gen.G streamers, so please keep an eye out on the Gen.G Youtube channel.
Is “Drafting Nightmares” going to be a thing? [League of Legends version of Kitchen Nightmares — Ed.]
[Laughts] Yes, but it’s going to be for the pro teams.
Goals for 2021 and beyond? What are some of the things you want to achieve?
This year’s my growth year. I want to grow my brand and reach more people. I want to make a lot of content for people, and want to make a lot of people's lives happy. I want to explore Korea, and also get high on the solo queue ladder. I will work hard to make this year a successful one.
Lastly, are there any special shoutouts that you’d like to make to friends, family, and your fans?
Thank you to all the fans for supporting me. I’m getting a tremendous amount of support from fans nowadays, and I’m forever grateful. A special shoutout to LS for helping me out in Korea, and everything else he does for me, as well as Gen.G for welcoming me into Korea and taking care of me!
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports