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Interview: NiksBrotha explains qualifying for the LCS


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Hello, Cloth5! At the conclusion of Season 3 and entering Preseason 4, some of you may be interested in what it takes to become a professional gamer in the North American Scene. Here’s a snapshot into the life with an interview of NiksBrotha, who was formerly a top tier amateur player. His team, Falafel Gaming (with DrTrevor, Valkrin, MrWish, and Azingy) almost qualified for the LCS by making the group stage of the LCS Spring Qualifier.

Introduce yourself.

Hi, my name is NiksBrotha. I have been playing this game since Feb of 2010 and I was very terrible at the game for the longest time ever. I got into league with a group of friends as a throwaway account and my friend made it for me. I actually never thought this game was good or was going to get this popular. The plan was to play a couple of games and throw the account away but hey I guess I stuck with it! I am from Canada and I was born and raised in India, I immigrated to Canada in 2007. I have had a fairly competitive background before league, I have played some competitive CSS even though it was amateur league on several different accounts and we did ok for the most part! We never won anything but always fun competing. League is my very first competitive game that I had played in to actually try and win or have some success in, rest were kind of just meh’s since there was pretty much no reward for it.

How difficult is it to find a serious team of 5 players that will do well in the amateur League of Legends circuit?

I believe it’s not hard to find a serious team of 5 players, but it’s hard to find a team that’ll do well. The problem is that you need to have 5 individuals who need to work together and get along well at the same time. I think it’s hard to find that match overall. The only amateur team recently that rose into the LCS as we all know is Cloud9 and they’ve been around for a while. In the near future when the amateur scene blooms even more I am pretty sure people will be ready to actually take it a lot more seriously than it should be, ranked 5s are barely even played by teams which Riot is trying to promote! The other problem that arises is the fact not every player has enough time to dedicate towards practicing 6+ hours a day at the least. A lot of gamers are students in college or just finishing off their college. I would imagine it would be a dilemma where they want to pursue an opportunity but at the same time fear failure. I sure did in the past so I can see how a newcomer would feel.

Did you and your team genuinely want to join the LCS, or did you only play because the team met Riot’s qualifications?

Yes, the moment we heard Riot make the announcement about the LCS we were all very excited and pumped up. It was pretty much every nerds dream come true, I mean come on now! How awesome is it to be able to possibly pursue a career playing video games? We genuinely wanted to join the LCS to prove ourselves and to get better so we could hopefully one day compete against other top teams from different regions. We also did play simply because we did qualify for it, I mean only a fool will pass up this opportunity when you have nothing to lose. Riot did make it hard on the 5s ladder as there were smurf teams trying to knock out other teams from being able to compete and that was a very tough challenge at first.

In the weeks leading up to the LCS Spring Qualifier, how and how long did you practice per day? How much did you research other teams?

We practiced around 6+ hours a day, everyone had very weird schedules and we also had the issue of some people not showing up. Practice time has to be the most important time for your team since if you miss that with people being in med schools, colleges, jobs etc .. then your team basically has no other way to improve themselves in a short period of time. Our team was very new and inexperienced. We always researched other teams that we felt we could learn from. Analyzing scrims was a habit whether done together or one person giving us a run down the next day, researching is just as important as playing the game. Near the last couple of days before everyone was flown out (except me ;_;) the team decided to not practice or take it too hard on themselves as it was everyone’s first LAN event and we did not want people going in with a lot of pressure or last minute questions.

How did your team prepare for tournaments? How many games did it take with a certain team comp for your team to feel comfortable picking it, and how did you decide what to pick for each game that you play?

Preparing for tournaments was kind of tricky since we had no idea which teams were going to be in the tournaments, there were quite a few if I recall and some teams may or may not show up in them. We decided to just come up with a couple of comps including poke, dive, sustain, teamfight and decided to practice with them until we were confident that we could use them in tournies. It took us a while to find decent scrim partners who weren’t just going to give away the strats and we hoped they hadn’t. We would use the said comps in scrims against teams of our skill level or superior and see how we matched up against them. There wasn’t exactly a certain number of wins or losses, it just came down to if the games were close or not and if they were possibly winnable. We were roughed up in scrims pretty hard but in close games.

I hate to admit it but we kind of sucked as a team when it came to picking in champ select. There was always a lot of confusion as to what we should take, we did not go with the practiced comps a lot of times and just picked to counter the enemy. Us counter picking the enemy screwed us over in reality because our comp would make little to no sense. We could go even in laning phase or win it but our team fighting or grouping would suck as a result. We might even lose really hard because we obviously have little to no practice with the comp.

How did you feel after your team lost LCS qualifiers? Did you feel that the team lost because of you, for example?

Man I was so excited to watch my team play since I couldn’t be there with them. I was unable to play as the support due to my passport issue and I was subbed in a week ago due to that. The games were not even close for the most part and that was such a bummer. We had spent in some decent amount of time trying to get this team to work, everyone did. I personally do take an equal blame for the loss because I wasn’t there to play with the team. We were forced to use 2 subs basically since our ADC was new as well. Bot lane had absolutely no synergy and it was such a mess. They were always out of position and constantly doing very dumb mistakes that a competitive player shouldn’t make. I still wish the passport issue hadn’t happened which was entirely my own fault to begin with but I’d like to thank my manager and friend, David Modica for helping me through with it regardless of the outcome. In the end the team didn’t want to continue since we didn’t qualify and people wanted to continue on with their studies.

Looking back, do you feel that it is difficult to earn recognition in the professional or amateur scene?

I definitely think it’s hard to earn recognition in the professional or amateur scene due to the fact people have no idea who you are. You have to prove yourself to them over and over again before they recognize you or start to root for you. I personally think teams like CoL, and MRN got a lot of crap from the reddit community when they were pretty good teams, yeah they weren’t exactly god tier teams but they still qualified and beat other teams trying to qualify to get into the LCS. They didn’t really get that much recognition as a team except for certain players. I respect amateur teams that are good just as much as the professional ones. Velocity IMO is also a good team who just needs more experience to bond and improve themselves. I think that’s the whole point of the LCS, to improve a region as a whole so they can compete at the world stage and represent their region.

If you were given the chance to be a professional gamer again with no strings attached (no passport issues, invited to LCS team, etc.) would you accept?

It would honestly be a hard choice for me. I think I would love to be a part of it but at the same time I do want to study and pursue a career in Psychology. I have already put off college due to several personal and medical reasons that I am a year behind. It’s very hard for me to convince my College’s administration as it is so I don’t think I can afford any more chances. I would definitely have to take a step back and think if it’ll affect me in the long run and then decide. For the most part I think I will take the offer as it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity and it would be a dream come true, but things change so you never know!

If given the chance, would you spend the time and effort to qualify for the LCS out of the amateur circuit again?

I would like to but at the same time since my citizenship issue isn’t sorted out yet, I don’t think I would put in the effort to qualify for the amateur circuit. If there was a Canadian circuit then I would definitely take part in that as it would cause no issues. I don’t regret practicing and going through the stress to try and make a team but if there were no issues with me getting into the US I would try my hardest and go back to playing for a team. My motivation levels due to the citizenship issues are just down the gutter right now.

Do you have any advice for players aspiring to go pro?

I most certainly do! I think people need to take this game more seriously and have a positive attitude. A lot of teams just fall apart because of egos clashing and someone being always right over the other. I don’t know if that’s the solo queue hate that carries over or just their online personality. I tried my best for mine to not carry over and be non-judgmental about everyone. Practicing is important so make sure you actually practice and have team comps ready to try out in scrims or ranked 5s. There’s nothing you lose trying out in a game that doesn’t matter. Scrimming partners who are consistent and give you a tough time are the one’s you should go with, but don’t decline someone who wants to scrim even if you feel they suck (unless they really do). Any practice is good practice. Try to get someone smart (preferably your manager if you have one) to analyze your replays. I found it better for someone who didn’t play the game to watch them since they can be the non-biased judge hopefully and point out your mistakes. It’s also very important to communicate with your team mates, if you don’t like something one of your team mates does then talk to him. It’s better to diffuse the situation rather to let it build up and explode eventually making one or more people leave the team or to have drama. Last but not least, have fun. I personally couldn’t play with a team who is very depressing and always serious about everything. It would wear me down a lot, a team that can enjoy their team mates’ company will do much better than the one who just considers them their acquaintances.

If you were able to join a top professional League circuit (LCS), would you drop out of school to play League of Legends?

I would drop out of school to play League of Legends only if there was a solid career and I had done the math already for it. I don’t want to drop out of school just to fail in the end as it would personally damage me emotionally and I don’t think I am ready to take that. If I am going to be in a successful player on a team that’s capable of staying in the LCS then I would definitely follow my dreams and play.

Shoutouts

I’d like to give some shoutouts to my friends who have played league with me and introduced me to it really. I’d like to give a shout out to FallenBandit, MstBons, Reality9, Got To Stay Vi for being cool bros and being good friends. I have know most of them for about 3 – 4 years, except for Vi because he’s bad at the game. I don’t talk to baddies. Ok I do but only on special occassions. I would also like to thank you for reading this interview, this is like my second interview ever and I am confident that it sucked ass. Thanks for reading it anyways, I hope you tried to enjoy it. I would also appreciate it if you guys and girls could check out my stream and follow/like it J My streaming times are late night right now but I usually post before I stream and I ALWAYS offer advice regardless of how “dumb” it may sound.  P.S. LADIES I AM SINGLE, PLS MESSAGE. Thanks!

You can find NiksBrotha on Facebook or streaming on his Twitchwww.twitch.tv/niks12.


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The eSports writing team here at Cloth5 extensively covers both the NA and EU LCS, OGN Champions, the Chinese LPL, and GPL. Providing game analysis and meta-shifting trends across all regions around the globe.

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