There are a lot of expectations stacked on FC Schalke 04 Esports as a team and organisation. Coming back into the LCS, many have looked at them as being favourites to take the top this Split, but how do players deal with that kind of pressure, especially when some of them are completely new to the LCS?
We had a sit down with Kiss "Vizicsacsi" Tamás to find out.
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Your first game was a bit weird since you weren't playing with the full team, but you seem to have some synergy already despite the fact that none of you have really played together before. Are you happy with the progress you've made so far as a team?
I don't feel that our performance thus far is so outstanding, but I do think that's quite acceptable for a new team. I think individually we play at a high level on each of our positions and I think that's why the expectations for us might be a bit higher than what we are delivering right now, but we have to remember this is a patience game.
Week 6 of Summer is when we should really start shining. For now, we're still going to play together. After every defeat and struggle, we try to treat it as a learning experience, and use it to move forward to become stronger as a team. I think it's the best way to improve as a player and I like it so far that we're handling things this way, even though the results are not the greatest right now. What matters right now is that we make it to playoffs, because we need that best-of-5 experience.
It's not the first time you've experienced this though, is it? On your time with UoL you've gone from being bottom of the barrel to top dog, and back and forth again. So you know the drill, but a lot of your teammates don't. For some of you, the entire experience of being in the LCS is new. Does this put you in a position of... maybe authority is the wrong word, but experience then?
No, not really. I'm actually quite a calm person and not very communicative or much of a leader in game. I tend to just give them my share of the information about my lane. And like you said, we have two very young players and one of them is completely new to the LCS. That obviously also matters.
We have to remember this is a patience game.
I think what I'm noticing for both of them is that they play better in scrims right now, but they need to learn how to transition from there to the LCS stage, which takes time and experience. So we need to be patient with them as well and give them the supporting room they need to grow. We are three veterans on the team who have all gone through this before. We’re used to the stage and we've had years of practice. So I think we have a good mix on a team and I think it's good that we can help the youngsters live out their potential.
Yeah that has me thinking, I mean, nerves absolutely have to be a thing so how do you work with that? How do you actively work with someone to help them not be at nervous, what do you do?
I think first of all you have to draw their attention to it. That it's actually happening. That's the first step. Then from there, you figure out why it's happening. Most of the time I think it's down to them putting pressure on themselves, like in the case of Upset we have to consider that he's regarded as one of the biggest talents coming into the LCS this year, so there's this pressure all the time that he has to perform, that he has to live up to this expectation. He needs to perform.
Pridestalker wasn't having an easy time either. In today's game, his red buff was stolen, which I think got him out of his comfort zone. So for him, this is something he needs to work on. Things will go bad every now and then and you can't let the pressure of the stage tilt you or make you lose focus, just because things aren't going the way you wanted them to. That's something we all had to learn.
We're seeing more and more teams employing different types of coaches these days. Outside the normal coach and maybe a team analyst, a lot of people are employing these so-called lifestyle coaches: people who teach you to deal with the psychological aspects of pressure in sports, as well as helping you with your daily habits. Does Schalke provide you with help for this? Do they have the infrastructure for that, or is it more a question of you, the players, looking out for each other?
No, we absolutely have coaches helping us with the many aspects of running the team. They actually put a lot of emphasis on the psychological development of the players as well. This is actually what most of our team reviews are about: how to handle pressure and stressful situations. So there's a strong emphasis on feedback, and I think we're handling that really well internally on the team, which in turn helps keep the team together.
Something also has to be done because Spellbook is easily the most powerful keystone right now.
I think if you don't have anyone like that on your team it's easy for the players to fall apart once a defeat or two have crushed morale.
Changing subject quickly, we saw this patch make a lot of changes to the bot lane. Various means of sustain have been nerfed, with Relic slowly creeping back out of the meta. Do you feel these changes reach you in the top lane or is that just business as usual?
No, it definitely affects my lane as well. Especially the introduction of spellbook has changed everything everywhere, I find. We have all these Teleports all the time now and it's becoming increasingly difficult to predict them. I think if teams learn to use this correctly we will see the game becoming a lot more aggressive. But it really is a lot more difficult to predict, what with the Summoner spell cooldowns that the spellbook offers. So it can be quite chaotic at times, but there are also a lot of surprise plays available.
Do you think this is a proper implementation then, or if would you rather see the cooldown reduction of the book reduced?
To be honest I think the cooldown reduction is the entire selling point. Without it, the keystone serves no purpose. Sure it's great to be able to swap for a Teleport, but if you have to wait five whole minutes for it to come online then that's worthless. Especially if you're trying to make a play because you have the same cooldown as your enemy so it makes it really easy for them to keep your timers in their heads. Whereas now because everything is a bit chaotic it makes it really difficult to track these players, and that's exciting. But obviously, something also has to be done because spellbook is easily the most powerful keystone right now and that isn't viable either.
If you don't want to get rid of a cooldown maybe change what it affects then? Because obviously Teleport isn't the big problem. The problem is Flash. With the added cooldown reduction everybody always has flash up which makes it now impossible to gank, and that in turn slows down the game?
That's definitely an interesting thought but I don't think they should remove the whole cooldown reduction, I'd be more than happy if they just nerfed that a bit.
One last question to see you off: is there any particular team in the league right now that you are looking forward to fighting?
Definitely Fnatic, because my old teammate is on that team and I want to beat him. I think that would be fun.