We asked Barrage Esports’ veteran League of Legends players Flaresz and Hadow to interview each other – here’s what happened

At Esports News UK we sometimes like to do things a little bit differently.

During UK esports org Barrage’s media week in Manchester last month, Megalodontus took the opportunity to interview top-laner Cuong ‘Flaresz’ Ta from North America and Lithuanian-born support player (and UK scene legend) Mantas ‘Hadow’ Sukevičius.

But there was a slight twist… we gave them the questions and they interviewed each other. So let’s see what they had to say!

Part 1: NA vs UK: Flaresz & Hadow interview each other

Flaresz: How did you get your gamertag “Hadow’?

Hadow: I wanted to have a “hidden shadow”, I dunno why I liked it but I felt like it was way too long, so I kinda shortened it to “Hadow” eventually.

Hadow: Now you are in the UK, the land of rain, Brexit and Her Majesty’s Corgis. How do you like your stay here so far? Have there been any difficulties in adjusting?

Flaresz: My surroundings were pretty boring compared to Los Angeles. I’ve only been going to the gym, playing League, eating and sleeping. That’s pretty much it.

Flaresz: Tell us about your time growing up. What was your hometown and what was it like growing up there?

Hadow: My hometown is the second biggest city in Lithuania, which was Kaunas. It was way different to what I am doing now, but back there I was more of an outside kid where I would go and play with my friends. But I was a lot younger because I was 10 – and I was 13 when I moved to the UK.

Hadow: Would you ever consider moving here permanently?

Flaresz: I wouldn’t live here permanently. I think the life here is different from how I grew up. I like the diversity in LA, and I like to be able to see my friends and family because I don’t really have anyone here, so it’s highly unlikely I would live here permanently.

Flaresz: You’ve had a long history in the UK! So tell us: Is it coming home, Hadow???

Hadow: Uh…??? It’s home for now, no one knows what’s gonna happen. Brexit is Brexit, right?

Hadow: You are a true League of Legends journeyman, playing in the LCS then the OPL and now finally you’ve landed here. What differences have you noticed so far in the level of play?

Flaresz: Hmm, tough question. When I was playing in NA, there wasn’t a lot of imports yet, so the competition was still good regionally but it wasn’t as good as it is now due to imports. Not a lot of NA talent get the chance to play on an NA LCS team.

In OPL, it was not as competitive because a lot of the teams weren’t as good as even the amateur teams in NA. Only 3 teams were probably playing well or good enough to compete.

Right now in the UK, I can’t say much because all the teams I played, I hear a lot of hype but people generally play differently on gameday. I think it’s pretty similar because the teams don’t want to lose, so they usually just ARAM or NA-RAM, they just go mid maybe with one player just running into the team.

It’s pretty similar in terms of competitiveness but it depends on the player too. In OCE, I played more of a split push style at the of the end of the split, that’s how my team played around me.

Flaresz’s long career (credit: Leaguepedia)

Flaresz: You’ve played around the European Regional Leagues and you are a veteran of the scene. What is your opinion of the UK LoL scene?

Hadow: So the UK scene, this split I actually think it’s better than it was last split, so it’s getting better you could say in terms of competition.

Hadow also has a ton of experience (credit: Leaguepedia)

Hadow: What has been your most memorable moment in your long career?

Flaresz: I think my most memorable moment is probably back in 2015 season 5, where my team, NME Esports, qualified for the LCS. It was pretty big for me and for my team, since I was 17 and I was still in high school. The first day I played in LCS it was my graduation day. Qualifying and playing on stage was pretty good. 

Flaresz: What do you think needs to change for the UK LoL esports scene to gain more attention?

Hadow: A lot of things. Right now it’s like a circle right? There aren’t enough viewers because there aren’t enough personalities for people to like and follow, but people are not creating it and they don’t expose themselves.

Because they don’t expose themselves there’s no money, so there is no viewers, so it’s like a full circle. So someone needs to step up and eventually it should work out. 

Megalodontus, Esports News UK: Will you be the one to step up?

Hadow: F*** no!

Hadow: Why change your name back to Flaresz?

Flaresz: I changed my name [to Aetheres] because I just wanted to try a different name, but I changed it back [to Flaresz], because everyone still called me Flaresz. It was just just easier for people to say it and people will remember it.

Flaresz: In your long career, what has been your most memorable moment?

Hadow: I don’t really know what was my memorable moment, but I think a funny one was… I don’t remember the year, maybe it was 2015/16, back when you could still play online qualifiers to qualify for LAN events like Insomnia.

If you win, you get tickets. I remember there was a team like Perkz, Steeelback as ADC and some other big names like Taiki or something. I don’t recall exactly but basically there were 5 big names. I remember we won like 2-1 and we just knocked them out. Just the fact that it happened was funny. I swear this happened!

People were saying you did UK a favour because at that the time it was like, “UK teams against EU teams, let’s knock them out!” kind of thing.

Here’s a memorable moment of Esports News UK editor Dom Sacco involving Hadow: “At the Autumn 2015 League of Legends ESL UK Premiership finals, there wasn’t a press room, so ESL put me with the teams. I took a seat and sat there working for a good 20 minutes. I didn’t realise until later on that I actually had taken Hadow’s seat and was preventing him from practicing with his team! Sorry Hadow!” (you can see him at the back, to the left)

Hadow: When was your most challenging time?

Flaresz: I think the most challenging time is probably after Summer Split in NME, because I didn’t play that well. It was my first time and I was pretty young, so had I to learn to adapt and be more flexible, to be better in working with other people.

Because I was more of a introvert, so I don’t really like confronting others or be honest with what I want to say, so being in a team that is not doing well is not a very good outlook on your career generally – and it probably affected my career so far.

Because most people remember me how I played back in 2015, Season 5, which was the only thing they would know about me.

Flaresz: When was your most challenging time?

Hadow: To be fair, you could say every start of the split is a challenging time when you switch teams because a lot of the time it’s different players. Luckily I had the same coach (iHansen) for the last 3 splits but this split it’s a different coach (Surza). You could say it’s pretty challenging, not in learning the game but me adjusting to the different style of play and coaching. It’s different, interesting you could say.

Hadow: As a player who has been playing in the NA amateur circuit for the longest time, what do you think about its current state? How can it be improved?

Flaresz: The NA amateur scene is pretty bad compared to the ERLs, because there’s not a lot of orgs that want to invest. There’s not a lot of good competition because generally there is like 3 teams that are top teams or collegiate teams that played together in college.

There are 3 groups: LCS, Academy and the Amateur but it’s really hard for amateur teams or players to even get in the LCS, because LCS teams like to keep rotating veteran players around. I think part of it is also due to servers where the servers are far from each other. Some teams have lower ping, some players play on higher ping and that probably affects the solo queue.

But generally, the scene doesn’t have a lot of tournaments or prize pools like the EU Masters, and the playerbase is probably a big factor too compared to NA.

EU has a bigger playerbase because there’s so many countries and the internet is supposedly better too. I think the scene can be improved if NA creates something similar to EU Masters but they should a create a separate tournament where amateur teams and academy teams compete against each other with a prize pool involved.

Like in the regular season too, instead of NA academy where 10 teams compete with each other, maybe the addition of an open qualifiers for other teams that qualify for a secondary league.

Flaresz: Is your goal this split to reach the EU Masters, since you’ve attended it before?

Hadow: Without a doubt – and to do well in it.

Hadow: What are your personal goals with Barrage this split? 

Flaresz: My goal is to of course prove myself in the UK and the EU Masters. I want to at least get top 4 in EUM and win the UKLC this split.

Flaresz: Tell us the famous story of the ‘Hadow smurfs’!

Hadow: So my previous ADC XDSMILEY, who plays for GamersOrigin now, I think he changed his name to “Hadow Smurf v2” and he went: “Wouldn’t it be funny if we had a bunch of them?”

I think in the end we were up to like 16 or 17. I had a some players messaging me on Twitter asking me: “Hey, what does it take for me to change my name to ‘Hadow smurf’?

And I was like: “Sure bro, do what it takes!”

It was funny but it was bad at the same time because people were like, “f*** I have a ‘Hadow smurf’ in my game, I don’t know which one it is!”

It could be awful or horrible but it was a good joke at the same time and it was enjoyable!

Hadow: If you could only play 3 champions for the rest of your life, which champions are they and why?

Flaresz: I would choose Riven, Jayce and last one I’m not too sure… but probably Irelia. I think that Irelia is hard to master and has a lot of outplay potential.

Flaresz: Since you’re apparently 72 years of age, it’s time to find a bride. If you had to pick one champion to marry, which one will it be?

Hadow: Uh what. Which ones are not underage…?
Megalodontus, Esports News UK: Annie *troll face*? 
Hadow: No wait, what??? Which ones are not?
Flaresz: Soraka? Sona, Janna, Miss Fortune…
Hadow: Does it have to be support???
Flaresz: Riven…
Mega: Yuumi, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Hadow: Yuumi??? What the f- nevermind *looks up female champs*
Flaresz: Ahri, Akali, Anni-
Mega: Annie is out of the question.
Hadow: I think KDA Akali is nuts but Katarina…let’s go with Katarina, she looks good doesn’t she? I don’t know her personality, right.
Mega: I mean she’s an assassin.
Hadow: Perfect, talk s*** get hit, right?

Part 2: Rapid-fire question round!

Hadow: Chip butty or sausage roll?

Flaresz: Sausage roll.

Flaresz: British weather or NA weather?

Hadow: NA weather.

Not sure about NA weather being better

Hadow: Cats or dogs?

Flaresz: Cats.

Flaresz: Football or soccer?

Hadow: Football.
Mega: Good lad.

Hadow: Nandos or Wagamamas?

Flaresz: Wagamama.

Flaresz: Manchester United or Manchester City?

Hadow: I don’t a give a f***. Flip a coin and take one.

Hadow: Your childhood hero?

Flaresz: I don’t have – wait, I have one: Son Goku from Dragonball.

Flaresz: Fish and Chips or Chicken Tikka?

Hadow: Chicken Tikka.

Hadow: Blackjack or poker?

Flaresz: Poker.

Flaresz: Favourite sport?

Hadow: Basketball.

Hadow: Best state in NA?

Flaresz: State? California.

Flaresz: Salt and Vinegar crisps or Prawn Cocktail?

Hadow: None! Salt and Vinegar is nasty and I don’t like prawns. I’d go with Cheese and Onions!

Hadow: Donald Trump or George Bush Junior?

Flaresz: I don’t care. Hmmm… Obama!

Flaresz: What’s the best team you’ve played for? 

Hadow: Should I say Enclave…? Um alright, Barrage!

Hadow: Funniest person at Barrage?

Flaresz: Erixen I think, or Jeff.

Flaresz: Tea or coffee?

Hadow: Tea. F*** coffee.

Hadow: Best League of Legends play you’ve witnessed?

Flaresz: *long pause* There’s so many good plays because I’ve watched the scene for so long… Smeb I guess. When he was with the ROX Tigers at Worlds, playing Kennen.

Flaresz: The Queen or Jeremy Clarkson?

Hadow: The Queen!

Image result for queen elizabeth not amused

Hadow: Favourite food?

Flaresz: Ramen.

Flaresz: Favourite film?

Hadow: Bad Boys… wait, there’s a really good motivational movie called Coach Carter. Really good movie, you should watch it.

Hadow: Handshake or fistbump?

Flaresz: Handshake.

Flaresz: Who’s your best League of Legends player?

Hadow: Faker.

Hadow: Favourite hobby outside of League/esports?

Flaresz: Badminton.

Flaresz: Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones?

Hadow: GoT was the best show ever, until Season 8.

Image result for GoT judging dragon
The dragon judges Hadow’s assesment

Hadow: Favourite UK accent?

Flaresz: I…don’t have one. They all sound the same.

Flaresz: Describe me in one word.

Hadow: Asian!

Hadow: Febiven or Forgiven?

Flaresz: Febiven.

ENUK’s Top 3 Hadow-based articles

Flaresz: Favourite Marvel movie?

Hadow: X-Men.

Hadow: Love Island or Big Brother?

Flaresz: …what? I don’t really know, so you can choose for me.

Flaresz: What country do you want to visit most in Europe?

Hadow: Greece. I think the the Roman architecture is insane…
Mega: Rome is in Italy.
Hadow: Is it? Italy it is! Why did I think Greece has the ring with the gladiators?
Flaresz: That’s Rome. That’s the Colosseum.
Hadow: But I thought it was in Greece?
Mega: Yeah they do have a Colosseum in Greece.
Hadow: Do they?
Mega: They don’t *troll face*!

Hadow: Peaky Blinders or Top Gear?

Flaresz: Uh…? I don’t know any of them, either one is fine.

Flaresz: Which team in LoL do you dream of playing in?

Hadow: SKT T1.

Hadow: What’s the best org you’ve played for?

Flaresz: SIN Gaming from OPL.

Flaresz: Weirdest person at Barrage?

Hadow: Jeff!

We thank Barrage Esports once more for allowing us to conduct this extensive interview. You can watch them play in the UKLC every Tuesday and Wednesday at https://www.twitch.tv/dreamhacklol

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