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InnerFlame: "NIP is top 2 in Europe right now"

By Philipp 'Phil403' Neubauer
Feb 4, 2014 01:00

ImageJoe "InnerFlame" Elouassi is the manager for SK Gaming Prime, our new League of Legends amateur team, formerly known as Team Kappa Prime. He talks about the team, their goals, the difference of LCS and Coke League teams and more!

The Team:

Philipp "PhilxRapid" Neubauer: Hello Joe! You guys recently joined the SK Gaming family. How did you guys get together in the first place?

Joe "InnerFlame" Elouassi: The team got together before me. I knew Stefan 'Sixx' Hackl since the end of Season 1. He played in a team with friends and I managed a team that I've created and we used to play against each other a lot whilst being at the same TeamSpeak server so we've known each other for a long time. I met Fabian 'Exileh' Schubert our midlaner and Sixx at Tenerife at the LCS event where Exileh played with his old team ESC Gaming.

I managed Jesper 'Phlow' Svenningsen in a team I made and I always had a lot of respect for him as a player so I thought that I would like him in the team. Mozilla was the captain of the team and of course I needed to get his respect before they decided to take me on as a manager. I explained my history and of course got the recommendation of Steve. I kind of knew the guys but not all of them.

Philipp "PhilxRapid" Neubauer: This is a very multicultural roster with two players from the German EPS scene. Any favourite or outstanding picks we can look out for?

Joe "InnerFlame" Elouassi: Besides his Zed, if Exileh gets Yasuo, which I don't think he ever will, he can pull out a very good performance with him. I don't want to reveal too much but we played Gragas and Pantheon jungle in the FACEIT invitational but that's becoming pretty common.

Philipp "PhilxRapid" Neubauer: Who is the current shot-caller/captain of the team?

Joe "InnerFlame" Elouassi: Team captain is Mozilla. When it comes to shot-calling everyone talks but if he says something, everyone follows it unless there is like a valid reason not to. I would say that he's the most experienced in the team and I believe he's the oldest as well so he gets the most respect.

The Challenger Series:

Philipp "PhilxRapid" Neubauer: So you finished second in the recent FACEIT tournament. What are your thoughts about the match? Were NIP too strong or were you guys just not prepared enough?

Joe "InnerFlame" Elouassi: Well we lost the first game against Unicorns of Love who beat Cloud 9 Eclipse and we played them in ranked a little bit and we've actually lost to them. So we were still unsure how strong they really are so we kind of underestimated them. Ninjas in Pyjamas have more experience and some of them have played against the likes of Faker. Their rotations are really good but we are adapting quickly and learning a lot every game we play against them.

Philipp "PhilxRapid" Neubauer: Most challenger competitions are notorious for late payments, schedule conflicts, DDoS attacks etc. Do you believe the Coke League will set a benchmark with regards to how the Challenger scene should be approached?

Joe "InnerFlame" Elouassi: Yes, since it is run by Riot and due to Coca Cola is such a known brand you don't want to put it in a bad spotlight.

Philipp "PhilxRapid" Neubauer: What goals have SK Prime set for themselves?

Joe "InnerFlame" Elouassi: Obviously, we would like to win the next split of the Coke Zero League. Unfortunately, we faced NIP in the quarter-finals and I would say that we would certainly have made top 3, which qualifies us for promotion for the next split, if we hadn't played against NIP.

Firstly we want to get to the promotion tournament and then to the LCS. Right now, we are playing ranked just to keep up in training and to secure the top 10 placement to be able to play in the next split of Coke Zero League.

The LCS:

Philipp "PhilxRapid" Neubauer: How big is the gap between challenger teams and LCS teams in terms of skill in Europe?

Joe "InnerFlame" Elouassi: I think NIP is top 2 in Europe right now with Fnatic in first place. They would have gone through to the LCS if they would have made it to the second promotion tournament. The thing is, that it varies from patch to patch how good you can be in the current meta and I don’t think that NIP were that good last patch. Every single one of ZoroZero's champ pool is good right now and that makes a difference.

I can’t be too revealing but we and a few more teams had pretty good results against the LCS teams but obviously, it is different if you play them in scrims or at a LAN event. There it comes down to quite a few things like experience and stage nervousness.

Philipp "PhilxRapid" Neubauer: What is the key component in the making of an LCS worthy team?

Joe "InnerFlame" Elouassi: In my opinion and Mozilla said this first but I totally agree with him, there are two types of players in competitive gaming. One is the extremely mechanical skilled player and the other type is maybe not that good mechanically but smart so he doesn’t get into risky and bad positions. Obviously a team like SKT T1 K has players that have both, mechanical skill and a good game sense. From time to time you could find one or another player that has both but you have to be really lucky to find them. Ideally you get a mixture of both type of players in your team.

Philipp "PhilxRapid" Neubauer: We have witnessed the shocking performance of Alliance in the first couple of weeks. What do you think they should improve or change in their team in order to live-up to the hype generated around them?

Joe "InnerFlame" Elouassi: None of the players is a real leader, most of them are highly mechanical players who are really, really good in SoloQ where they can carry with that and most of the time they do individual decision making in rotations so I don’t think their rotations are that good. But I think, if they can sort that up they will do really well.

Philipp "PhilxRapid" Neubauer: Do you think the rumour about Tabzz and Froggen swapping positions would help them? If it's true obviously.

Joe "InnerFlame" Elouassi: Obviously Henrik 'Froggen' Hansen is one of the most mechanically skilled mid players and definitely good enough to fill the role mechanic wise. But then again it is a completely different role where they are not similar at all. The reason why I put Erik 'Tabzz' van Helvert on the AD position at Sinners Never Sleep was that he was mechanically skilled and I knew he could mechanically play ADC but then when you look at all the other AD-Carries, they've been playing it way longer than Tabzz so he still needs time and as like the champs get buffed from patch to patch every AD player has to adapt his champion pool so maybe Tabzz has some comfort AD`s already but when the game changes he needs to expand his pool and get more comfort picks. I think he doesn't have the champ pool just yet but definitely the mechanics, where Froggen needs the experience to fill the position satisfactory. I couldn't say that a role swap would help, but time will tell and they are both skilled enough and Tabzz definitely proven himself that he is one of the best mids when he used to play it.

Philipp "PhilxRapid" Neubauer: Given the interesting beginning of the spring split, what are your predictions for the top three spots in the end?

Joe "InnerFlame" Elouassi: Fnatic definitely at one. You can argue that Alternate was in the same situation last year but Fnatic is a way more experienced team. They had a great start and you could almost say that they will snowball it throughout the rest of the split. I would put Gambit Gaming in second and ROCCAT in third place but it will be very close between those two.

Philipp "PhilxRapid" Neubauer: Any shoutouts at the end of the Interview?

Joe "InnerFlame" Elouassi: I would like to thank all our sponsors, SK Gaming, my girlfriend and anyone else I missed out.

Philipp "PhilxRapid" Neubauer: Thank you for the Interview! If you want to be updated about SK Gaming Prime make sure to follow Joe on Twitter.

SK Gaming Prime Lineup



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