Interview: mousesports Candyfloss, Jeskla and Tolkin on facing Fnatic Rising in the EU Masters, playing in the UK League of Legends scene and LIDER’s infamous champion pool

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Last summer, Berlin International Gaming [BIG] emerged victorious in the EU Masters, claiming glory not only for themselves but also for the jubilant DACH region. This year, the emergence of the Prime League in place of the old Premier Tour sounded the warhorn with a clear message to the other ERLs: Come and get us.

Featuring a league structure consisting of 10 teams all stacked with talent, the DACH region enters the Spring 2020 EU Masters loftily shouldering the boon of being the very best region. And mousesports, who placed second, are without a doubt one the favourites to make a deep run.

Megalodontus speaks to British coach Candyfloss (left), Swedish botlaner Jeskla (middle) and German toplaner Tolkin (right) about their Prime League journey, their time in the UK and thoughts on the EU Masters.

It’s been nearly a month since the Prime League finals concluded, where you guys took 2nd place. How do you look back on this split and what challenges did you face?

Candyfloss: The beginning of the split was a huge learning process for myself and the team. We experimented with different team compositions, and we were not accustomed to each other’s playstyles.

As the season progressed, we developed a stronger identity and a greater understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which ultimately led to our 10 game win-streak.

Despite the ending being bittersweet, the season was ultimately a success and we will remain focused and look onwards to the EU Masters.

Tolkin: At the start of the split we definitely struggled with how we want to play the game, and how we can define our identities as players and teammates. Once we had a solid grasp of the meta it felt much easier to approach the game and we went on our 10 game win-streak.

I very much like how my team came together. And although we lost to Schalke Evolution in the finals, the last time we beat BIG in the old Premier Tour finals, they ultimately won the EU Masters. So eventually, we will have our revenge.   

Mousesports were projected by many analysts and fans to be at least top 2 coming into spring with your roster announcement. Tell us how this roster came together during the offseason.

Tolkin: I honestly have no clue how it happened. I just remember one day Candyfloss said this could be the potential and most likely roster, and I just thought: “That guy is absolutely smurfing.”

I was very excited to be part of a roster with two LEC players and EU Masters winners, an MSI Champion and that guy, Tolkin. 

Quick round: If there was one player from the Prime League that might end up in the LEC this Summer, who would it be?

Candyfloss: Our substitute, Rueven.

Jeskla: Might actually be our coach since he’s been grinding solo queue a lot lately, and he seems to be playing out of this world so I would say Candyfloss!

Tolkin: I think the most likely candidate is support Labrov from BIG. Although, I have heard some rumours about toplaners being considered. 

“Fnatic have incredibly talented players with great teamplay so there’s no doubt they’ll be tough opponents. But at the end of the day, we don’t care who we face. Our mindset is to go out there and do whatever it takes to win, no matter who the enemy is.”

Candyfloss

Candyfloss, since your days as a jungler on MnM, you’ve coached in the NUEL and then gone on to coach in the ERLs. From your short stint in Ninjas in Pyjamas to GamersOrigin, you finally joined mousesports, where you led them to the title last summer. 

What are the biggest differences in your opinion when it comes to coaching in these leagues compared to the UK? Do you still keep up with the UKLC and your old team MnM Gaming?

Candyfloss: The difference is enormous but that’s a reflection of the time period and my purpose for playing, rather than the skill level of the leagues. When I played in the UK scene, it was simply a hobby. We didn’t have coaches nor did we practice as a team. For me, League was an outlet from university.

Now as time has passed, the infrastructure has developed massively. I still retain the same passion I have for the game, but now it’s a job where results are expected and the pressure is high. Previously, it was just four friends playing together for fun. Nowadays, the responsibilities are bigger across all leagues and I must do the best I can to put my players in positions to succeed, and reach their goals both individually and as a team.

In regards to MnM, I had a great time with the organisation and they were always good to me, but honestly I don’t watch much UKLC outside of BT Excel and Fnatic Rising.

Jeskla, you played for Excel Esports in both the LEC and academy, how do you remember your time there and do you still keep up with their progress?

Jeskla: It was a huge learning experience coming into this team, since it was my first time playing in the LEC, and I didn’t realise how big the actual difference was between the National Leagues and LEC.

But I learned a lot from last year and even though things didn’t work out as good as I thought, and some very unfortunate things that happened, it was still a really good experience and I grew a lot as a player and as a person.

I watch their games every now and then. I’m still really good friends with most of the Excel players so of course I still cheer for them!

How has your experience with mousesports and the Prime League been so far? Tell us what it’s like to be partnered with the lord and saviour himself, promisq! 

Jeskla: It has been really nice in general playing under mousesports and I’ve had a lot of fun playing in Prime League. Even though it hasn’t gone how I expected all the time, it’s still an overall enjoyable experience.

Me and promisq have known each other for quite a while now and we played a lot together even before coming into this team, so it’s really nice and we have the same ideas on how to play the laning phase. It’s just been a really nice situation that we ended up on the same team.

Tolkin, you played for Excel but that was quite a while back in 2016/2017! What were your most memorable moments playing there? And for those who knew you in the UK scene but might not be familiar with what you’ve done since then, how have you developed since? 

Tolkin: I actually played on Choke Gaming in the UK scene before playing on Excel, and I have very fond memories of getting absolutely stomped by a Renegades topside consisting of Alphari and Maxlore!

I always liked the atmosphere in the UK scene. For example, I really enjoyed watching Worlds together with the other players in a bar after the ESL Premierships finals. People in the scene seemed a lot closer than the German scene in comparison. 

Ever since returning to the German League of Legends competition, I have won the league three times and I am looking to make it four in 2020. 

On to the main topic: the EU Masters. With everyone pinning high hopes on the DACH region’s finest, what are your expectations going in this split? How do you think all 3 representatives might fare?

Candyfloss: We are here to win. We have our eyes on the trophy and I’m sure FC Schalke 04 Evolution and Team GamerLegion will feel the same way. The DACH region is the strongest ERL from top to bottom and I believe all three teams are in a good position to go deep into the tournament, especially Schalke whom I’d say are big favourites to win it all.

Jeskla: I believe the DACH region will be the strongest out of all national leagues, with all three representatives having the ability to go far in the tournament. For us personally, our goal as a team is to win the entire tournament.

Tolkin: There is no point in competing if you don’t aim to win, and I am sure the other two competitors from the DACH region feel the same way. Representing the strongest ERL there are high expectations, especially for Schalke Evolution as they won the league, making them big favourites to win the EU Masters as well. 

“Even though things didn’t work out [with Excel] as good as I thought, it was still a really good experience and I grew a lot as a player and as a person. I watch Excel’s games every now and then. I’m still really good friends with most of the Excel players so of course I still cheer for them!”

Jeskla

You’re in a group with reigning UKLC champions Fnatic Rising. What do you think of them and how do you think you’ll do against them?

Candyfloss: Fnatic have incredibly talented players – xMatty and Magifelix in particular – with great teamplay so there’s no doubt they’ll be tough opponents. But at the end of the day, we don’t care who we face.

Our mindset is to go out there and do whatever it takes to win, no matter who the enemy is. We have to trust ourselves and each other, and then we’ll be in a comfortable position.

Jeskla: I think Fnatic Rising have great teamplay and they played really well in the UKLC finals, but I’m confident in my team that we will perform well at EU Masters.

Tolkin: Any first seed out the ERLs needs to be respected but especially Fnatic as they do have very strong players. I don’t believe there are very big individual or mechanical differences between the top teams in the different leagues, so at the end of the day it will come down to superior teamplay.

And I think since we are from the better overall regional league we have the advantage in that regard. 

In case you missed it: The EUM Spring 2020 preview on the UKLC’s chances plus four guests from the ERLs

Schalke Evolution’s toplaner Sleeping mentioned that he thinks the UKLC might be the second strongest region coming into EUM, and Fnatic Rising too think the UK & Ireland are very underrated. What are your thoughts on the UKLC coming into this edition of the EU Masters and are there any regions or ERLs you think are ones to watch? 

Candyfloss: When you factor in the depth of the league from top to bottom, the UKLC cannot be the second strongest ERL. That’s not the fault of BT Excel or Fnatic Rising who are both fantastic teams that could win the EU Masters. But after that, the level of teams falls off a cliff.

For example, take DACH’s last place team, SK Prime, and put them in the UKLC. I’m confident they’d be a top 3 team who will be fighting for a spot at EUM. If you forget about the rest of the league and focus purely on the EUM teams, then I think Sleeping has a fair argument.

Outside of the DACH region, I’m most looking forward to seeing GamersOrigin play. It was an absolute massacre in the LFL Finals and if they retain the same form I’m sure they’ll be gunning for the top spot. 

For fans, people should keep a close eye on GamerLegion who are not afraid to stray away from the meta completely and pull out champions you’d never think of.

Jeskla: The UKLC has two really strong teams in Fnatic and Excel that should do well at EU Masters – aside from that I don’t think the league is very strong.

Overall, I think all the main national leagues are quite evenly matched and most of the teams can take games from each other, so it will be an interesting event with some upsets.

Tolkin: I think calling the UK & Ireland the second strongest is a bit too far. No doubt Excel and Fnatic are strong teams and contenders for EUM and I don’t think anyone underrates them. But the league consists of more teams than the top two. For example I believe the 10th placed German team SK Prime would have put up a fight for EU Masters spots if they had competed in the UK scene. 

I personally think it will be really fun to watch GamerLegion’s games. An old teammate and friend of mine plays for that team and they are absolutely crazy when it comes to pick and bans. And that is not just limited to leaving Hjarnan’s Heimerdinger open.  

When it comes to other ERLs, you always have to look at the strongest French team. In previous events it was LDLC who many regarded as a very strong team or the favourites for the entire tournament, but they always ultimately ended up disappointing.

This time GamersOrigin absolutely smashed the finals in the LFL so I am very interested to see how well they will do.

“Although we lost to Schalke Evolution in the finals, the last time we beat BIG in the old Premier Tour finals, they ultimately won the EU Masters. So eventually, we will have our revenge.”

Tolkin

Last question before we end, this is more of a lighthearted one. How has the experience been with coaching/playing with LIDER’s extremely assassin-focused champion pool? 

Candyfloss: The problem with LIDER is that he can play every champion in the game to perfection. As a result, we intentionally avoid meta champions like Azir and Zoe… otherwise it’d be too easy!

Tolkin: This LIDER guy is just too alpha to pick what people consider ‘normal’ or ‘meta’. You just have to make use of your players’ strengths and allow someone who is as mechanically gifted as LIDER to excel at what he does best. And once a week, that might even mean he will have positive KDA.

Any closing thoughts? 

Candyfloss: Cheers to all and stay home, save lives.

Jeskla: Hope you guys will cheer for us and we will do our best.

Tolkin: I really hope this EU Masters will be as hype as the previous one, even though it’s not going to be held with an offline final. So stay home and tune in.

We thank our three guests for doing taking time out of scrims and practice to do this interview, and we wish them good luck. You can catch all the EU Masters games at twitch.tv/eumasters starting on April 22nd.

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