On a cold winter day, we headed to the boot camp of Isurus Gaming, from Latin America South (LAS). They’ve been in Korea for boot camp since the 5th of December. This was their second time doing boot camp in Korea and apparently, they were the first Latin American team to boot camp in Korea.
In the midst of their busy schedule, we were able to grab a chance to talk to the team; Nipphu, QQMore, Emp, Fear, Kindless, Newbie, and the assistant coach, NuNu. Some of the players were arguably the best in their positions in LAS, and Newbie was said to be the first Latin American player to reach Challenger in the KR server. All the members possessed a unique joyfulness and sense of humor that seemed to embody their home region.
Isurus Gaming has had a great year and is eager to show off their skills on the international stage. The players and coach of Isurus Gaming shared their thoughts about the boot camp and playing in the KR server, while asserting their goal for next year: going to (or winning) the Worlds Championship.
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Q. Can you introduce yourselves?
Nipphu: My name’s Franco, I’m the top laner for Isurus Gaming. My nickname’s Nipphu and I’m from Argentina. I’m new to the team.
QQMore: My name’s Diego and I’m the jungler for the team. My nickname’s QQMore and I’ve been in Isurus Gaming for 1 year.
Emp: I’m the mid laner for the team, my name is Benjamin, nickname is Emp. I’m one of the oldest members in the team with Newbie. I’m from Chile and I love being here in Korea. I’m 21 years old.
Fear: My name is Joel, and I’m the sub mid laner for the team. I’m new to the team; I joined the team two months ago. I’m 21 years old and my nickname is Fear.
Kindless: My name’s Benjamin, and I’m the AD Carry for Isurus Gaming. I’ve been playing here for the same amount of time that QQMore has been playing, and I’m 19 years old.
Newbie: I’m Leandro Marcos and I play support for Isurus Gaming. My nickname is Newbie. I’m from Argentina and I’ve been playing here for two years.
NuNu: My name’s Nuno, I’m from Portugal, and I currently serve as assistant coach for the team. I’ve been here for one year.
Q. Who has the longest career as a professional gamer?
(Everyone looks at Emp)
Emp: Yeah, probably me. (Pointing at Newbie) We started together, on another team. I had a different position; I was AD Carry and he was my support. We changed organizations and now we’re here and I’m the mid laner and he’s support. Yeah, we both have the longest career.
Q. How popular is the eSports scene in Latin America?
Emp: Nowadays, I think it’s growing. Now, it’s pretty popular because League of Legends (LoL) is popular in South America. Back when I was in school, no one knew anything about video games, but now many of my friends from school play LoL and people of my age who don’t play video games know LoL. I think the LoL scene has been growing, with the years.
Q. What drove you to become professional gamers? Do you have any interesting stories on how you became pros?
Nipphu: I’ve been in the scene for like 5 years, starting from season 1; friends introduced me to the game. I remember Rumble first came out, and I won like 8 of the first games I played with him. I was playing duo with my friend, he went AFK, and that was my first loss. I think it was interesting and fun; not at that time, because I really don’t like to lose. I think I became pro because I really didn’t like to lose.
QQMore: I was about 13 years old when I first started playing video games, and I really liked playing games. Before LoL, I played Dota, too many years that I can’t remember how many. I started my professional career in the last year of school. I put so much effort in the game, and I really wanted to become a professional gamer. Isurus Gaming gave me the opportunity to make that dream come true. My friends were all happy that I could have a career about video games.
Emp: I always have loved competitive games. My first game ever was Starcraft, and I used to watch the Korean competitions, so I was aware of competitive gaming. I always played many games like Starcraft and Dota, and it was just like a kid playing games. I wasn’t really trying to be a pro player, but when I grew up, around 18, I was at a very high level. I thought that I could really be a pro gamer. I put a lot of effort in the ladder, and I met Newbie in solo-q and we created a team. We played the challenger series and we one, and now we’re here.
Fear: I started playing professionally this year; I’m very new to the scene. I got here, I started climbing in the ladder. I went to the trials for the team, I played well, and I got in. That’s when it all started, around the beginning of this year. I started playing LoL around 2013. My friends played LoL a lot and I got really interested. One day, I decided to install the game and started playing at home. I found it really exciting and super cool. I never stopped playing the game, and I will be trying to play for more years.
Kindless: Before I started playing LoL, I played competitive Team Fortress. My friends stopped playing that game and started LoL because they got bored, or something like that. I’ve been playing the game since season 3. I was in a challenger team before, and after I became an FA, I started to play for Isurus Gaming. Once at a finals game, a problem occurred with the ADC, and I played in his place. Now I’m here, because I did well, I guess.
Newbie: Basically, I was introduced to LoL through a schoolmate. When I started to play, I didn’t enjoy it much because I didn’t know RTS’ well. But I started playing a bit more, and I started to enjoy the game. Around season 3 or 4 I first reached challenger in solo-q. Around that time, I first knew of the competitive scene and applied myself to reach higher heights and be a better player. I put in a lot of time and effort to become a first division player in the CLS.
Q. This is the second time Isurus Gaming is having a boot camp in Korea. Does it really help coming here?
NuNu: I think it helps, because the culture here is very different. Over all, the quality of the scrims is a lot higher. At the same time, we experience the Korean culture a lot, and I think the practice in the solo-q is regardless the best. The players have higher macro knowledge, in terms of mechanics, they’re the best here. It really helps to change our mindset and our culture; the coaches want to approach the game and improve how the players play.
Q. How good is Isurus Gaming? We haven’t seen Isurus Gaming in international scenes. Can we expect to see you in the international scene?
NuNu: For the last two years, we’ve been in the four finals. We won the spring split twice and lost in the summer twice. I guess what the fans can expect to see from Isurus Gaming is always the best. We strive
to play to the highest standards, to leave the best performance we can.
Q. What did you feel while playing solo-q here, compared to back home?
Nipphu: The players are way better. There are good players from many regions, from China, Taiwan, and Korean players, of course. There are very strategic players and they’re very good mechanically.
QQMore: Maybe the most similar solo-q I played before playing in Korea was Brazilian solo-q; in terms of population, there are a lot of players. Maybe they’re not as good, but still. In challenger yellow, the level is very high here, there are many pro players here, like Faker; there are many LCK, LPL players so obviously, it’s very different. The solo-q back in Latin America South is very poor, most players play in Brazil so we don’t have our own server to play in. We play on the Brazil server at 60 ms, but we play here at 8 ms, so there are many differences.
Emp: Apart from skill, I think the most different thing is that the matches are very fast. Matches end in 15 minutes. If you lose, you lose, if you win, you win. People don’t lose time; they don’t to play a game that is already lost. In South America, there are very few people, so it could take 20 minutes to play a game. Even if defeat seems certain, they try to play for more up to like 40 minutes, only because they waited so long to play and they have to wait a long time again. They don’t want to surrender. So in South America, if I have two hours of time, I can play only about two games; here I can play like four or five. It’s very good.
Fear: The biggest thing is that here, the players have knowledge of the macro game. If they get an advantage, the game is over. It will be really hard to come back from a game. Back at home, the people don’t know how to close the game. It’s a lot easier to make a comeback. That’s why the games last a lot longer, the players throw their advantages away because they don’t know how to close the game. Here, if somebody is fed, the game is pretty much over in like 15 minutes. In a way, that’s pretty good because we get to play many games; we either lose in 15 minutes or win in 15 minutes. I had the opportunity to play in NA solo-q, too. I was able to play with NA LCS players, but I can still say that Korean solo-q is still better. The mechanics are better and the macro games are still better.
Kindless: I think the same; the games are really fast. Back in South America, there’s a saying: “Never Surrender”. The people are so bad at macro, even if the game is 15 to 0, we can still make a comeback. Even when the ADC keeps on feeding, we can still make a comeback. Here, if the ADC is 7 to 0, the game is pretty much over; the enemy ADC probably won’t die, he won’t make mistakes. You always have to play at 100%, otherwise you will die in lane.
Newbie: The biggest difference is that the players here are more aggressive, so I can know my limits. So the quality of the game is a lot higher. Everyone understands the role of their positions. I reached challenger here, so I played a lot. I played against many players from LCK, LPL etc. It was a unique experience and I’ve learned a lot from it.
Q. Have you met famous players while playing solo-q, were there any memorable players?
Nipphu: I haven’t met many, mostly streamers.
QQMore: This year, I didn’t meet any players, but last year, I played with a lot. I played with Piccaboo, Arrow etc. Today, I played with Flame. I hope to play with a lot more players. I also played with the ADC of Gambit.
Fear: I played against Lava yesterday. It was good for me because it was really har
d to keep up with his rhythm and I learned a lot about the match-up that I played. I was able to play with the Fnatic players and Gambit players, too. I played with Broxah, a really good mechanical player, he was playing Nidalee. It’s really good because they apply so much pressure in solo-q because they know what to do to win, and I tried very hard to focus on the game to find what I can do that he can’t do better.
Emp: This year I didn’t face that many players. Yesterday I played against Marin, but last year, the most memorable match-up I met was Faker. It was around All-Stars, and Faker was playing his last game before he came back. He was just casual, playing a game, but I was like “Holy f**k, it’s Faker!!” He stomped me, but yeah, it was a good experience.
Kindless: I played with Flame and Sky. I played with one or two players from the LMS as well. Even if I’m in master, I still didn’t meet many players.
Newbie: Flame, Sky, and Beyond. I’m still climbing, so I haven’t had the chance to meet many players compared to last year.
Q. We will try something different now, on the count of three, point to the person you think you go best with in terms of synergy.
Uno, dos, tres!
Why did you point at each other? (To Emp and QQMore)
QQMore: Maybe the main reason we pointed at each other is because we played with each other since Dota; we’ve known each other since 8 years ago. Other than that, in game, we have a lot of synergy. We like to play risky plays.
Emp: Yeah, that’s it. We like to be involved in risky plays and do crazy stuff. If it’s a fifty-fifty situation, we take it. It’s like ‘I trust you, and you trust me? Let’s go.’
Q. (To Nipphu) Did you pick the jungle?
Nipphu: I kind of picked both of them (pointing at QQMore and Emp).
Q. Did you pick them because you wanted them to come gank the lane?
Nipphu: Kind of (Laughing). But I do feel that I have some synergy with them.
Newbie: I picked Kindless because we played together for almost one year. We know how to face different match-ups in the bot lane. I selected Emp as well, because I’ve known him for two years. When we cross each other in the map, we know each other’s intentions, we can create plays together. We have a lot of knowledge shared between us.
Kindless: I chose Newbie mostly because he taught me many things. When I first joined the team, I was a rookie and Newbie taught me a lot of things, like how we should play, synergy-wise. Since he was in a higher level, he helped me to achieve that higher level.
Fear: Since I am the newest member to the team, I wouldn’t say it’s hard to make the synergy, but it takes time to build up the synergy with other players. I picked Newbie because I knew him before I joined the team. We were really close friends. He taught me a lot of things and helped me to improve myself. Basically when I joined here, if I had to trust someone 100%, it had to be him.
Q. This time, point at the player who plays some champion that you really don’t want him to play.
Uno, dos, tres!
Fear: I picked Kindless and Nipphu. I picked Kindless because he kind of became a meme because sometimes he plays really well, and I want him not to play Miss Fortune. (Q. Isn’t Miss Fortune really strong?) Miss Fortune is really good, actually one of the strongest champion in the meta, but sometimes he overcommits to his ultimate, he misses positions, and he ends up getting caught. And I picked him (pointing at Nipphu) because he likes to cheese a lot, he’s a very cheesy player; he plays a lot of split pushers and I hate split pushers. If I were to pick a champion, it would be Kayle. He completely rolls over the game, split pushing. Really annoying.
Kindless: I picked Newbie because he tries to play Ryze support, and I don’t really like it. (Laughs) Before, we played together and we had a 3-game-loss-streak. I also picked QQMore, he tries to play Twitch jungle with Spellbook, he plays really cheesy, and I don’t want to play with him. (Laughs).
Newbie: I picked my ADC because he likes to play Lucian AD, which I think is one of the worst ADCs in the meta right now.
QQMore: I selected Nipphu, I don’t want him to play Jax with Kleptomancy. He likes to play Jax a lot, I know, but maybe with a different rune. With Kleptomancy, he gets really greedy. He tries to hit any time he can, so the jungler takes advantage of him.
Nipphu: I can’t defend myself on this one. (Everyone Laughs)
Emp: I don’t know which to pick, Nipphu with Kleptomancy or QQMore with Rumble jungle. I play a lot with them, and I’ve never won a game with his Rumble jungle. (Laughs) It’s impossible.
Nipphu: Since he mentioned my Jax and Kleptomancy, I’ll mention QQMore’s Twitch and Spellbook. In some games he dies, like ten times. (Laughs)
Q. Isn’t the coach’s opinion very important on this matter?
NuNu: Oh! This is hard! (Laughs) In a way, if I had to pick a champion for one of them to not play, for Nipphu, Jax. I would make him play Maokai because he needs to play tank. For QQMore, no Lee Sin. (Q. Lee Sin?) You don’t want to see it. (Everyone laughs) For Emp, it’s hard to decide, because even when he’s bad, it’s hard to say the champion’s the problem. Fear, that’s the hardest decision, so I will let him pass. For Kindless, Ashe because he always misses his arrows, and for Newbie, (stalls) he needs to play tank support as well. We need the tank.
Q. Now, who do you think will be the MVP for the next spring?
(Four pointed at Kindless)
QQMore: I picked him because previously, he didn’t fully show how he plays. He didn’t show a lot of things, and I think he will destroy the CLS next year.
Emp: I pointed to him as well. I think sometimes he really plays well, and sometimes he throws a lot, but still plays pretty well; but when he plays well he’s very good. I’m confident and trust that he will play very good all the time. I trust him.
Newbie: Since I’ve known Kindless since the beginning, I know that he’s always working hard to be a better player. He always tries to learn in the areas he lacks, so I think next year will be good for him.
NuNu: I picked him because if he learns to hit his arrows with Ashe, we start to win. (Laughs) On a more serious note, I think he’s a really hard working guy; everyone here is, and I think we have a lot of promise and expectations for next year. We will work really hard to show our true level and reach greater heights.
Q. The ADC’s opinion now? I saw you point at yourself.
Kindless: (Laughs) I was joking when I pointed at myself. I pointed at QQMore. Last year, I knew he was really good, he can outplay all the junglers, but we weren’t performing that well. Next year, if we help [since] we’re better, he can destroy all the junglers.
Nipphu: I didn’t pick the ADC and the support but I think they have a high potential, and they will do well next season. I chose Emp, because I’ve seen him from outside, and he’s the consistent one. He knows how to make the right decisions. I’ve seen him for a long time doing that, to be the MVP, I think he can do it again.
Fear: I think he has the leadership to guide the team through bad situations. He has done that before, like when we’re behind in the game, making comebacks. I think he has the mindset to do that. I have seen that from the outside, and now I’m seeing that from the inside, now that I’m in the team. He has what it takes to be the best player.
Q. We’d like to hear the expectations.
You can raise your hands if you think Isurus Gaming can reach the semi-finals in the CLS.
(Everyone raises hands)
Q. Then, finals?
Q. Win the Spring Split.
Q. Go to Worlds?
Emp: That’s our goal. We meet here, and we’re playing here to do that.
Q. Going to the quarter-finals at Worlds?
(Everyone stalls, and laughs. NuNu and QQMore raise hands)
NuNu: Yeah. (Everyone Laughs) The reason I raised my hand. One of the talks I always have with my players is that I always have to try to make them into a better version of themselves. So, in my eyes, I always work for them to reach higher goals, for higher achievements. Whoever we face, I always work for them to be at their best and achieve the highest.
Q. Now for the last question. You can say anything you want to say to your fans or family.
Nipphu: I want to say to my family that I love them. I’m glad to be here in the new team, and I’m thankful for this great opportunity that I have, with so many good players. And I want to say to the fans to keep loving us, so we can improve and reach our goal.
QQMore: Thanks to the fans, first of all, for supporting us, and to my family and the team, too. They always supported me, too, in good or bad situations. They were always there. I like when people watch our stream, I’m thankful for that as well, with all my gratitude.
Emp: Thanks to the fans, and my team. I mainly thank my team and the organization. This is my second time in Korea, and I’m glad to be here. I hope to be here again. I am really glad being here training, doing what I love. Gamsahapnida (means Thank you in Korean)!
Fear: Mostly I’d like to thank the fans, because being a new player for a huge fan-based team is hard. It’s hard to live up to their expectations, but they were very kind to me and really cheering for me when I was playing my first game here at Isurus. Second, to my family and friends for sending support from Argentina. Third, I thank the players and the organization for being nice to me from day one. The opportunity to come to probably the best region in the world and being able to grow as a player, too is mind blowing. I would like to keep it for the rest of my life.
Kindless: I’d really like to thank the fans and my family, for supporting me a lot. When I first started, I wasn’t doing well, I was new, I was bad several times, and their support helped me with a lot of things. Mainly I’d like to thank our organization, Isurus Gaming, and our sponsors. Thanks to them, we had the opportunity to come to Korea for our training.
Newbie: I’m really happy to be once again in Korea, I will always come back because it helps me improve and develop as a player. I would also like to thank Isurus Gaming, our organization, and our sponsors for supporting us. Thank you to my girlfriend and family, because they always support me, regardless of the place; and thank you to the fans as well.
NuNu: I would also like to thank the organization for believing in us, and for helping bring us here. I would like to thank my players for being humble persons, and for receiving me very well; I recently moved in with them to the gaming house from Portugal to Chile, and I’m very grateful to be here, helping them reach their goals. I would like to thank my head coach for believing in me and trusting me with this position. My family for supporting me. And I would like to thank one person in particular, Yoon Sung-young “Homme”, former Samsung White coach, for inspiring me to be a coach.
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