Last weekend, it finally happened. After spending compulsory time in the Greek army, Konstantinos-Napoleon "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou made his long-awaited return. The veteran AD carry arrived in the League of Legends European Championship wearing the jersey of Schalke 04 alongside his four new teammates, ready to take on Europe.
We spoke to FORG1VEN during the opening weekend. He told us about his time in the military, and what lessons from it he can apply to his return to League of Legends. Furthermore, he explained the role he is fulfilling on his new team, and what his future career goals are.
This is the first time on the big stage since you got into military service. What is like being on the stage after such a long hiatus in the LEC?
I mean, there is some pressure but I'm very relentless, so I don't care where I'm playing, what I'm playing or how many people are gonna watch and be in the studio. Obviously it's a very unique situation, because everyone that has retired... there aren't many that come back. I definitely had some sort of impatience to get back to things. Things aren't as they were. Even the studio is unknown to me; back when I played the set up was completely different. The first time I got here this year, I had to take a studio tour so I could be familiar with where everything is.
I'm always impatient for things like this, but when I got into the game I was pretty relaxed, I was in my element. I couldn't care less, and I tried to do whatever I could in order to win. Sadly we didn't. But it is what it is.
You mentioned that you were surprised at the new look of the LEC studio. What are the differences from back when you started?
I didn't know what to expect from the studio this year. I had seen things through videos, but as I said, I had to take a tour. I needed to find out where things like the toilets were, and where I had to go to when waiting. We used to wait in a different place, somewhere upstairs, and now we're backstage in between almost everything. There is a special section for the blue side, and one for the other. Even for doing make up, blue side has priority while the other side is waiting. I just learned that today. It's little things that I have to get used to. I treat the LEC like when you're at home, and you can close your eyes but still find your way to the fridge. I just have to learn.
Let's talk about your time in the military. What was it like?
It's the law, like for some professional Korean players we've seen. It's a very positive experience though, I would say. From my point of view it shouldn't be as long as it is, and I'm talking as a person who did ten months. Koreans do it for two years, so maybe I'm not in a position to complain. But the training, my life there... I just wish it was more efficient. Less time, more training. It is what it is—if you're not in a position of power, you can't control it. Like I said, it was positive overall. Obviously there were some negatives, like having to stop with everything in my personal life. It meant a full year pause. So it's not an ideal situation, but as soon as I was done I went looking for ways to get back to my old job.
What did you learn in the military that you can apply to your career as a League of Legends player?
The positives I have instilled from my real life, my youth, is that I was always a very disciplined person. I worked hard. I think that I learn fast, I observe everything in my surroundings. I try to be as efficient in my life as possible, like, I don't want to do wasteful things. I already had those characteristics, and those became even stronger through being in the army. It was very similar to how I viewed life. Not as extremely though, but I got to experience things I'd never have experienced otherwise. That was very valuable.
How did you approach getting back to League of Legends? And why did you decide to go back?
It was my old job. I was watching some games here and there, and saw that the level has increased. It's not as high as people told me, but that's just my experience from playing scrims. But obviously it's harder. I think the good players have become even better, while those who weren't as good have dropped further. There isn't a lot of room for error in a player. You really depend on your team, and it matters how you function.
In an interview with Abbedagge we did in December, he mentioned that you play an analytical role in the team. Why did you take on that role?
Every person knows their strengths. You have an idea how you can help teammates. Through all my years of experience and through all the games I've played from seven years ago until now, I've experienced a lot. Different metas, different players, different situations, different tournaments, different champions. I have played so many games that I've been in pretty much every situation. I believe I can always help my teammates, because I've been there before. Even if it's a new situation, I can compare it to something I've experienced in the past, and I remember how I treated it. So we can help the team better in a constructive way, in a more appropriate way.
Now that you're back, what do you think your career will be like, going forward?
I think everyone has an idea, a suspicion or a plan. I returned to the game for livelihood regions and not particularly to win something. I think that's very realistic to think like this. If the system wants you to be on top, you'll be on top, no matter what your skill ceiling or level is, or what you can offer for the game. I'm here to be as efficient as possible, to work as much as possible, to use all the positive characteristics I had back then. I'm still learning though. It's a daily process of going through situations. The only thing you can control, as a person in League of Legends, is the outcome of things. You can't control if something new is going to happen.
Images via Riot Games.
Storyteller by heart. If something is competitive, I am interested in it.