26 minutes in, 3 turrets behind, 5 kills behind, 5.6k gold behind, 4 drakes behind. At this point, MnM Gaming looked like they were about to lose Baron to Excel UK, and inevitably the match.
But one game-turning team fight saw MnM’s ADC player Joosep ‘MonkWillCarry’ Kivilaan’s DPS with Kog’Maw sway things in his team’s favour, and eight minutes later they took a gold lead and ended the match soon after.
Lee ‘Couple Sodi Pops’ Jones speaks to Monk after his standout carry performances in week 3 of the UKLC.
This game against Excel came on Monk’s comfort pick, and despite being so far behind for much of the match, the ex-eMonkeyz ADC was always confident of securing the victory.
“In the Kog’Maw game, I knew we were going to win from the draft no matter what, that’s just how I feel when I play Kog,” he said.
“We did have a plan to stall for late-game and I knew I could carry when that point in the game came.”
MnM’s following game of week 3 would be more of the same. The next round saw them go down 6.8k gold in 18 minutes to Enclave Gaming, where a 9/2/4 Kai’Sa performance would secure the match in MnM’s favour.
Despite his confidence in their previous match, Monk explained the manner in which they took down Enclave was not at all in the script.
“We expect to be third minimum at the end of the split and then look to smash playoffs.”
“The Kai’Sa game turned out to be entirely different from what we had expected going into the game after the drafting phase had ended,” he said. “We had definitely expected to have an early lead but we failed to do so.
“I was thinking about how we could get back into the game and eventually found ways to do so.”
This view echoed his opinion on the overall performance of both himself and the team over the week, describing how ‘the team as a whole was playing off of gut feeling a lot and improvising instead of having a plan’.
“This makes the games probably more entertaining to watch but they lacked a lot of strategical ideas,” Monk added.
“I think my own performance was fine, but I did not step up with my calls well at all so I feel pretty ashamed after the whole week to be honest.”
“My personal goal has always been to become the best possible version of a player that I can be, and I know that I can compete in the LEC if I improve a bit and work out the rougher edges.”
We asked Monk whether he felt any added pressure in these games after finding himself the main win condition, however he has “learned to suppress” the pressure, and will “treat every game as if no one is watching – the game is not more important than a scrim game, where you are just playing on your normal level”.
Monk went on to explain how he won’t necessarily always need to be the focus of the team as he thinks “all of the players on my team can carry if we get a better understanding of macro”.
“It just happened to be that we didn’t have good plans on how to play out the early and mid-game,” he explained. “Therefore, if you go to the late-game it is usually the ADC that can carry out of anybody, if the ADC is good enough that is.”
Unfortunately, MnM’s tower challenge finale against Fnatic Rising did not go to plan.
— MnM Gaming (@MnMGamingUK) March 3, 2019
MnM lost the game following a Veigar ADC pick from Monk, going up against FNC xMatty’s Yasuo.
“Veigar felt like a good pick in that game but I think we just failed to execute anything we had in mind,” he said.
Despite this, he did not rule out the possibility of future surprises, simply advising that “time will tell” when asked of the chances.
We went on to ask Monk about his expectations for MnM for the rest of the split, and whether or not them or anybody else will be able to contend with LEC academy sides Fnatic Rising and Excel UK.
“We expect to be third minimum at the end of the split and then look to smash playoffs,” Monk answered.
“I think we can contend with the academies but we need a bit more time in order to do so, as for the other teams in the league I don’t really know.”
Focus shifted away from MnM performances to more broad topics.
On the difference between the highly rated Spanish Superliga (which Monk played in last season) to the new UKLC, Monk said: “The Spanish scene is much better, though the UK [has] got better on its own right as well in the last half a year or so.
“Maybe in a year or two the UK league as a whole might catch up.”
While on the topic of different leagues, we asked Monk whether or not he thinks he has the ability to one day compete in the LEC.
“My personal goal has always been to become the best possible version of a player that I can be, and I know that I can compete in the LEC if I improve a bit and work out the rougher edges,” he said.
“In the Kog’Maw game, I knew we were going to win from the draft no matter what, that’s just how I feel when I play Kog.”
In closing, we posed the question of whether the ‘Monk will carry’ name was something that he consciously had in mind.
“It was actually just my in-game name before I had Twitter and Monk was taken so I just went with it,” Monk said.
Despite this, he does think it could come in handy for his career, adding: “It is a fun thing that can help with standing out, but at the time when I settled on it I had no idea what it would become.”
Monk’s and MnM’s next match will come this Wednesday on LVPUK’s official Twitch stream. All the action from the UKLC starts from 6pm.