Splyce's Xerxe, on reuniting with Vizicsacsi in 2019: "In a way, I wanted to show him how much I improved since then."

Splyce have finished their regular season far beyond several people's expectations, in the thick of the playoff race and in position to reach the top four. In doing so, they have made a solid transition from nearly missing out on the LEC franchising – a transition that included a roster revamp ahead of the 2019 spring split.

Inven Global was on the scene, and we spoke with the team's jungler, Andrei "Xerxe" Dragomir regarding the coaching staff, his mindset's evolution, and more. Below is the full transcript of the interview, with very small edits.

It's been pretty interesting to enter this season not knowing who your teammates were going to be, until everything changed. In fact, I'm pretty sure you didn't know what team you were going to play in.

It was a rollercoaster of emotions, and I didn't know what was going to happen until Splyce got back into the LEC. I was happy to hear the news, because I really like the coaching staff; so, I was just happy to stick with the team.

What is it about the coaching staff that makes you glad to go with them again?

They are really direct when it comes to our issues, and they always try to push us. They don't get complacent when we start winning or doing good. They always get mad at us in a way, to make sure that we improve and we are never the same. Always striving for better.

How many times did that show during the season?

Every week! Every single day. After every single scrim, they let us know how we can do better, even when we [score a] perfect game. They always look for the tiniest mistakes, just to make it perfect.

That's overdoing it. Duke, hello?! *laughs* Besides that, the only player from last year's Splyce is Kobbe.

I was pretty happy to have him on board. He's such a good player, and he's always consistent. I knew no matter what happens that he would be good, no matter the roster. So, I had that security.

Then, you reunite with an old friend.

I was really happy about that. The first time I played with [Vizicsacsi] on UoL, it was my first year in the LCS. We had pretty damn good synergy, and we were winning most of the top-side fights, so I was happy to have him back on the board because I knew how much of an insane player he is, and how good his work ethic is.

You're not the same player that you used to be as a rookie in 2017, too!

In a way, I wanted to show him how much I improved since then. I was looking after him. So, I was like: Csacsi, this is my chance to show you how much I have improved since the last time we played together. I'm pretty sure he likes what he has!

Not just winning top side fights.

Winning the whole map! That's my motto.

It works out pretty well, considering that you have two guys who are super young on the team. [Norskeren] still has some development to undergo, and [Humanoid] is completely new to the LEC!

Csacsi and Kobbe are veterans. Norskeren had a whole year with Team ROCCAT, so I guess he's a rookie as well. Having two rookies is not that big of a deal, because I really like our coaching staff; they're really good at developing rookies. As you can see, now at the end of the season, the rookies are performing really good.

Oh yeah. It feels like the same thing as last season, although it feels like what was done in two splits last year has been done in one this year.

The players that we have right now have a bigger skill ceiling; they really want to improve. That makes the job easier for everyone, that we are all on the same page. We want to win, and we are just working hard every day.

I think we have a pretty good mindset when it comes to the game, because we take every game seriously. We try to give our best and play like we do on stage: have everyone give full information and be fully energetic. Obviously, sometimes it doesn't work, but that's normal: it happens in every team. But I know that everyone wants to win, and everyone is willing to put the work as well.

It's showing – and even last year, you almost went to Worlds, but Heimerdinger happened. This year, you guys are popping off from the get-go, and it also brings me to think: Even as far as your development, you didn't have to undergo all that you did last year.

I feel like I have a really easy time improving, because my coaches are directly telling me what I'm doing wrong, and they telling me: "You're trolling here. That's shit! That's bad!" If I don't do that, and if I take the criticism, I just work on it. It's really important [also] that my teammates are honest with each other as well, and that we don't sugarcoat the bad stuff. We just tell directly when someone is messing up a play.

We all want to win, right? Nobody wants to lose or hate each other. Even when we say bad stuff [to] one another, it's because we want to get better. That's how I work: I like to have criticism openly and directly, not sugarcoated.

No shortcuts to take.


Overall, you went through the season with the playoffs looming around. I still have to think about how this season went on your regard: it's not the same as last year – win one, lose one – and having something to work on all the time. Sometimes, you have a Blast Cone situation...

Yeah, sometimes you have a Norskeren Blast Cone, but you have to get over it! You have to make the best out of the situation, right!

Yeah! And overall, you guys are doing that.

That's how we work. We don't overthink it or cry over it. If something bad happens, we move on to the next play and try to figure out a new plan.

How do you feel currently, as a person?

I'm feeling pretty happy about myself and my development as a person and as a teammate, because I felt I improved a lot since last year. I'm really open-minded to discuss our issues openly, and I wasn't like that before.

Actually, why weren't you like that before?

I was a 17-year old rookie who had no idea what it was like to play in a team. I had to learn, right?

That's true. It's kind of weird how people grow up in the LEC/LCS nowadays.

In a way, yeah, but it's still cool to see how people are growing as players and persons. You see them develop into better humans.

It's been quite a journey for you too! You can see that every day when you look at Vizicsacsi, because you started with him.

We ended up in the same spot! Just with a different jersey, but it doesn't matter.

We would like to once again thank Xerxe for taking part in this interview – especially since he was ill on that day. Splyce take on SK Gaming on Saturday, Mar. 30 starting 17:00 CET. Be sure to tune in!

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