Image credit: Lolesports Flickr
After an ultimately disappointing Spring 2021 LEC Season by Fnatic’s standards, the team made moves that shocked the European League of Legends (LoL) fanbase: letting star jungler Selfmade go, switching Bwipo to jungle and acquiring a new face from the European Regional Leagues (ERLs) in Adam ‘Adam‘ Maanane.
For those who only watched the LEC, 19-year-old Adam was an enigma. For those who watched his games with Karmine Corp in the French LFL and the EU Masters, Adam was an exciting transfer. Adam’s meteoric rise from the lower divisions to the LEC in less than two years is like something out of a fairytale, and he talks about how his family reacted to his transfer, his thoughts on rising up through the French league and who he wants to meet if Fnatic qualifies for Worlds 2021 following the Summer 2021 LEC playoffs.
I’d like to start by talking about your background and how you came to be as a player. As I understand, you studied medicine back in France and wanted to be a doctor. Tell me how you went from there to becoming a pro player.
I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was a child. I went to high school to get into a medical university and I was confident in what I wanted to do in my life. But when I entered university, I had already reached Challenger in LoL.
One day, my friend asked me why not try to join a team by creating a Twitter account and make a Challenger LFT post. I think they told me that without any deep thoughts, you know? I thought to myself, “ok, why not?” and I tweeted it. After that, the CEO of a team contacted me and asked if I was interested in joining his team. I accepted the offer and so far, because of that, everything that’s followed has been going pretty well!
Also, as medical studies require something akin to 10 years to complete, I could start it again but I don’t think it’s in my plans [now] because if I have a good playing career, I don’t want to spend 10 years to become a doctor.
How have you been settling in at Fnatic and the LEC so far? Has it been within expectations, or has there been a lot more pressure than you expected?
When I decided to accept the offer from Fnatic, I think I was already aware of what to expect in terms of scrims and official matches. I would say so far, scrims and official matches have not changed too much compared to the LFL.
I don’t want to feel any kind of pressure because of a match – and this was something I felt when I was with Karmine Corp. It’s something I didn’t want to feel ever again – the idea that I can’t perform as best I can because I’m affected by the pressure.
Since the beginning of the LEC, as far as I can tell from my first game against Misfits – even though we lost – I was playing really aggressively on Viego and I just wanted to to play at my best. I didn’t care if it was my first LEC game… I mean I care a bit, but I tried not to of course. I just wanted to play my best and it didn’t matter who we were up against. I want to be able to play at my best every time.
Speaking of your first LEC games, now that you’ve joined Fnatic, you have to do content with them. I saw the video of you trying to teach Fnatic’s LoL content manager Pete Nguyen how to play Darius! How are you enjoying that so far? Has Pete gotten you a BMW since you didn’t win your first LEC game?
We don’t have that many content days, to be honest, it’s just the ‘Fnatic Teaches Noob’ series and sometimes we have to do team content, and I think it’s overall pretty enjoyable as a team during content days. It builds relationships and strengthens bonds between players, and I think as a team it’s really important, so everyone feels a bit more comfortable around each other.
And so far, no, they don’t want to give me a BMW! I’ve asked them a lot, but they say that we have to win Worlds first. So I guess we have to win Worlds first so I can get the BMW… even though I don’t have my driver license. It’s fine, I will have it soon!
Well, I think if you win Worlds you’ll be getting more than a BMW…
Yeah, I guess so!
What’s it been like going from playing at home with Karmine Corp (KCorp), with your immediate friends and family, to moving to Berlin? How are you handling not seeing your friends and family?
Of course, I really miss my family. At the beginning of the LFL, I was playing from from my parent’s home and at this time when the LFL started, they didn’t even know what I was doing. They didn’t know at all because I wasn’t telling them about it, because I didn’t want to talk about League of Legends to them. I don’t know why, but yeah, I didn’t really want to bother them about it.
Also, at the beginning of the LFL, I was asking my family not make too much noise during my matches, so I could play with my teammates and not hear them!
At the end of March, I think it was a bit before the LFL playoffs and we already finished the first in the regular season, I decided to move to an apartment in Paris. This is the first time I was living on my own and my girlfriend also came over to live with me. Two months later, I won EU Masters with KCorp and Fnatic contacted me saying they wanted me in their team, so it all went pretty fast! I I left my parent’s house in March, and in May, I arrived in Berlin. So yeah, it’s been amazing.
On a side note, how did your parents react when you told them that Fnatic were going to sign you? Surely, you must have told them that you’re going to play LoL at the highest level in Europe.
Even though I wasn’t talking too much about LoL to them, once I became the LFL champion they started to hear about it because there were some news articles that were talking about me. And there was a news article that talked about me going to Fnatic and there was money involved, so of course when there are more specific things about your son, you’d show little bit of more interest, you know? (laughs)
Even though they didn’t know everything specifically, they knew that was money involved, and that’s why this move mattered a lot to them. At that moment, I had to explain to them what LoL is and what my job entails. Since then, my father has spent like the last two months reading articles and trying to understand League of Legends, and it’s the same for my mother, actually! It’s really insane because now they know what’s going on and they even watch all my LEC games on Friday and Saturday.
My parents are really big fans of mine and they support me a lot. They follow my Twitter and tweets, they watch my games and send me messages after it. It’s pretty cool!
That’s really nice to hear. When you were in the LFL, many people say it’s the strongest ERL, with France producing talents like yourself, Nuclearint and SLT going into LEC, and some UK talent moving to the LFL, like coach JustJon. What do you think of the LFL?
I would say that right now, I think the LFL is still the strongest ERL. First of all, there are a lot of import players in the LFL so the league is ultra stacked in every team and that makes it ultra competitive. I think the level of games sometimes can be pretty high in the LFL too.
There’s something specific about France’s LoL ecosystem that is really good for for new players. The French ecosystem is well-suited to players who have a lot of ambition, natural talent and for those who want to improve. The French fanbase is also really huge and maybe this is how I got to the LEC.
I joined KCorp, performed pretty well and I gained a lot of followers, and my stream’s growth was insane. The French community can hype players a lot and that really benefits them. I think it benefited me a lot, the hype that I got from the LFL.
I would say also that I started in the French third division in January 2020. Two months later, I won a tournament in the third division, and then a team from the second division contacted me and asked me to join them, which I accepted. Then I spent a whole year in the second division and we ended third, which allowed us to to go into the LFL. Thank god Kcorp kept me in their team for the LFL so I didn’t have to do anything. And yeah, the hype is more than insane with KCorp, we peak at 100,000 viewers every time on stream.
And this is this is how it is, the French scene, French community, French ecosystem… the French everything is like really, really insane for players and their development!
The hype during EU masters was indeed very real. On Karmine Corp, it’s not been too long since you left. I know you’ve said that you’ve kept up with them, what do you think of them the moment with Cabochard in the top lane? Do you still keep up your teammates?
I watch KCorp games every time I get the chance to. They’re still first in the LFL right now and I’m really glad because they’re just really good. But right now, I think it’s a bit hard for them because they seem to have some problems.
When I analyse their drafts, I think that they’re not too comfortable with the meta right now, so they might need some time to adapt. But I think that if they manage to bounce back from these difficulties, they will finish first in the LFL and smash EU Masters. If they perform at their best, I don’t think any ERL team can match them at the moment.
[Author’s note: This interview was conducted around Week 6 to 7 in LFL’s regular season]
Do you still speak much to your KCorp teammates and who were you closest with?
I don’t really talk with them too much now, but sometimes I still like and reply to their tweets. It’s really important to me that even though I joined Fnatic, I want to keep the links between them and me.
I joined another team but they’re still all my friends and I like everyone on the team, and it’s really important to me that no one forgets that. I would say that the one that I talked the most in the team is Cinkrof.
I know Fnatic has a big fanbase, but KCorp’s fanbase, the KCorp ultra or the ‘blue wall’ are really quite something on social media. Do you miss having them around?
I miss them of course. I mean, I always miss KCorp but the ultras still follow me on Twitter and I still see them on my stream all the time. Even though they’re not on as much as they used to be because I joined Fnatic, a number of them are still here. It’s good that I have a new fanbase with Fnatic, which, when mixed with the KCorp fans, makes my overall fanbase even larger. So yeah, it’s cool!
I’d like to get your take on the NLC very quickly, since you faced BT Excel in the EU Masters finals last spring. What do you think of the NLC’s strengths and do you think another NLC team can reach finals to win the EU Masters this summer?
Well… talking about the NLC, I rarely see tweets about the NLC. To me, the NLC is a really low-hyped competition. I mean, the only teams I know so far in the NLC are BT Excel and Fnatic Rising. I don’t even know what’s going on in the league to be honest because I never see teams talking about their wins or what’s going on on Twitter.
I think that the NLC should be like the the third or fourth best ERL. To me, I would say there is the NLC, SuperLiga and Ultraliga, which are good but not as good as the LFL and Prime League, in my opinion.
Well, Dom won’t be too happy to hear that (it’s fine, I’m fine, I’m not hurting… – editor’s note). Alright, the last thing I’d like to ask you about your time on KCorp was the process of transferring to Fnatic. Did the KCorp staff help you a lot before the transition to Fnatic?
Not too much. Going to Fnatic was my choice and the moment I told them that, I was already aware of what was going to happen. The most important part is they actually respected my decision. When I told them that I wanted to join Fnatic, they did everything they could to organise my departure to Fnatic. They could have actually tried to keep me because of my contract and they could have refused Fnatic’s offer, but they didn’t. They decided to let me go because one of KCorp’s core fundamental values is to never block a player that wants to go higher.
KCorp as an organisation wants to send players to the LEC, they want to be proud of the players that they send, they want to be proud of the players that they developed and thus they let me pursue this move.
I agree that KCorp really helped me at the beginning of the LFL, because it was the first time I entered a professional work setting, so I needed a bit of time to adapt. I was feeling a lot of stress at the beginning of matches, so I wasn’t as good as I am now. I really needed to improve but KCorp, the staff and all the players gave me their trust so I could feel as comfortable as possible. Shanky really helped me with my stress, Striker made me improve a lot as a player and the players really made me feel comfortable.
Would it be possible for you to draw any comparisons to coaches Striker (KCorp) and YamatoCannon (Fnatic)? Are they very similar or different as coaches?
I think Yamato is quite different. Yamato is the type of coach who always gives speeches, like really motivational speeches. Compared to Striker, he doesn’t give speeches but will motivate us in other ways.
In terms of game understanding, I think they’re kind of similar. I think that they have a pretty similar point of view in terms of what’s going on in the game, but are still different in terms of how they treat their players. This is all I will say (laughs).
That’s absolutely fine, and I’m very happy that you’re honest about it. I know that your long-term goals are to win Worlds and the LEC, but I’d like to ask you about your individual goals as a player – how does Adam want to be remembered in the eyes of the fans? Does he want to be the best top laner in the world or does he want to be something more?
I would say that Adam right now would want to want to go to Worlds directly this season, and he would like to show the world that there’s a top-laner in Europe that can match all the legendary players in Asia. That would be my dream to be honest, I want to be remembered as one of the best top laners that Europe ever had and one of the top laners that could really lane well against the the Asian top laners!
Hypothetically speaking, I don’t want to jinx anything, but let’s say Fnatic makes Worlds this year and you get to go to China. Which team or top-laner would you like to face?
I would say… I would like to face Nuguri from FunPlus Phoenix and maybe Xiaohu from Royal Never Give Up!
You can follow Adam on Twitter here. The LEC 2021 summer playoffs begin on August 13th, you can catch all the action on the LEC Twitch and LEC YouTube channels.
Megalodontus is a miraculous survivor from the mass extinction and somehow learnt how to use his stubby fins to operate complicated mechanical equipment and drink tea. Worryingly for cryptozoologists, he’s been writing League of Legends articles too.
A self-taught writer who’s had the privilege to work with good editors who aren’t terrified of his pearly whites, Megalodontus is often seen writing either independently or for various websites such as this one. When not writing, he usually runs it down mid in real life and is fascinated with watching paint dry.