Oct 8 2016 - 8:52 pm

Likkrit on hating League of Legends, being the Russian imaqtpie, and being the most toxic player in EU West

A wildcard team making the quarterfinals of the League of Legends World Championships was pretty unlikely
William Copus
Dot Esports

A wildcard team making the quarterfinals of the League of Legends World Championships was pretty unlikely. The possibility of that team beating the tournament favorites to do it was pretty much unthinkable. But Russian wildcard Albux NoX Luna has made both of those things a reality.

Coming into Worlds as the typical underdog and expected to go 0-6 in their group, Albus NoX Luna have confounded all expectations. Taking a win from Korean champions ROX Tigers as well as NA LCS high flyers Counter Logic Gaming, ANX were the first team to book their spot in the top eight.

Amidst the incredible performance, the team’s support player Kirill "Likkrit" Malofeev has emerged as a fan favorite from relative obscurity. His charismatic attitude and motivational speeches have earned him an eager fan base.

Dot Esports sat down with Likkrit to talk about their practice routine before Worlds, how he got into playing League of Legends, and how he feels about his newly found popularity.

How did you originally get into League of Legends, what's your story?

Well I use to play World of Warcraft with my guild mates. One of them introduced me to League of Legends and I was like "what the fuck, I don't like this game" and I was pretty done with it for like two years. But after, when WoW starting being tiring, I actually tried to give competitive League a shot and went for full try hard getting from Gold V to Diamond I in like two months.

What is the perception of esports in Russia? Is it frowned upon, is it accepted? What’s the feeling around esports where you come from?

Well in Russia not a lot of people care about esports. It's not as popular yet, and if you talk about League of Legends people are caring about it even less. We have other major esports disciplines in Russia. And if we are talking about my family, my family doesn't like esports but they still support me. When your son or your brother is in a World Championship, it makes you proud.

Do you have any experience in other games like Dota or Counter-Strike?

I didn't even go semi-pro or even competitive level, but I have played a lot of World of Warcraft and this game taught me discipline and try-harding and that's what I believe to be my first practice [for competitive League].

A lot of people have compared you to imaqtpie, because of the hair and your motivational speeches. Did you know who imaqtpie was previously to all this?

Well as far as I know he use to play as ADC for Dignitas, if I remember right. Maybe I'm wrong. I know who he is. I know some of his best quotes, like his quotes about EU, some quotes about motivation and stuff. I actually don’t watch him a lot, but I know that he's hyped.

So how do you feel about being called the Russian imaqtpie?

Not the worst [thing to be called], not the best one.

Some teams in North America have been vocal about the amount of practice they are required to put in, and when you guys say you prepared by chilling and playing World of Warcraft. How many hours a day do you guys typically practice on average?

Every team member has different hours but we usually play something around five to six hours of scrims per day and about five or six, maybe more, of solo Queue.

Your team had a tough time qualifying for Worlds, narrowly beating out Lyon Gaming for the spot. What has changed from their that saw you beat ROX Tigers?

Actually, nothing has really changed. We just tried to improve as much as possible and got the time to relax for a while. Because we are a wildcard team we were really tired. So it was hard. And if we talk about wild card, we were considered leaders there and during Worlds we were considered under dogs, being an underdog is much easier.

There have been reports saying that you guys were not able to get any scrims before worlds. Did you manage to scrim at all? What was your preparation like?

Well we actually had some scrims. Like two in two weeks, and those scrims weren't anything compared to how Worlds was. So I wouldn’t actually call them real scrims. Mostly we were playing World of Warcraft. Me and smurf and some other guys on our team were just chilling and clearing our minds for victory.

So your preparation was literally clear your minds by playing other games?

Yeah, sure.

Who were the two teams you scrimmed?

We have scrimmed with Baskonia and Millenium. Baskonia is like a top three team in Spanish leagues, and Millenium is like top four in the EU Challenger Series.

You specifically have had some target bans against you with Brand and Tahm Kench. How does it feel when you have your specific champions target banned?

Well I'm pretty fine with it, because when you ban a champion you ban it not only for your enemy but also for yourself. Bard and Tahm Kench are pretty good solo picks. If people ban Brand they take one champion off from us, and that’s a really good ban. I find that my team gets comfortable picks because of it.

Do you have any players personally you look up to or watch to learn from?

Well actually it’s pretty hard for me during this Worlds because I consider [Kang "GorillA" Beom-hyeon, ROX Tigers support] to be the best or probably one of the best support players in this tournament. I think that he plays better than me on several champions, but I'm not really sure how I am suppose to learn.

Since you have come to Worlds your popularity has exploded, with your Twitter followers more than tripling. How are you going to capitalise on your new found fame?

I'm not really sure for now, because I have beeing streaming for more than a year now and I still don't have donations because I turn them off. I’d like to be a streamer who streams for his own joy rather than for his public. If we talk about capitalizing, for me, if you are trying to capitalize and make it your actual profession, or even extra way to get money, you need to take it seriously. And if you talk about me as a streamer, I'm not really taking it seriously.

Would you like to do League long term? Are you thinking that far ahead.

It's a wonderful journey, I really like it. But there are other worlds and I want to explore as much as possible. The first thing I would do is actually get an education because I quit my university to go pro.

How did your friends and family react when you told them you're quitting university to persue league of legends?

As you can guess, negatively.

You said in a recent ESPN interview that you were considered one of the most toxic players in EUW. I saw a tweet from february that said "can someone please remove Krepo from my Solo queue, thanks." Later you tweeted "ok I’m fine, give me back Krepo, but get Loulix out." So which one would you pick to have on your team? Krepo our Loulix?

Whew...that's a pretty hard question. Well if Loulix is on Lee Sin I will grab him. If Loulix played anything else I would prefer Krepo, and go Evelynn in jungle because whatever.

Since you came to Worlds, you’ve been the subject of a lot of memes. Which one is your favorite so far that you've seen?

If we talk about the news ones, because some memes are just copying Russian memes, the best one is about Russian Jesus actually. I really appreciate it. And actually a meme calling me a good guy is pretty wonderful as well! I like that this Worlds has given me an opportunity to get a fresh start towards fans and the community. Because, you know, being toxic is not so good.

So you're taking it all and when you go back it's a fresh beginning, it's a new you?

Well I hope so, but I'm not sure what will be tomorrow. So If tomorrow I'll be toxic again then I'll try my best to be a good guy but you don't know how it goes so I can't predict.

Do you have anything else you want to say to your fans, and the community?

I just want to say thanks again to everyone who supports us and me personally because having people support you is really important. That's all. 

Today - 8:37 pm

Armada takes out Genesis 4 Melee crown

His win at Genesis 4 helps solidify his claim as the best Melee player of all time.
Xing Li
Dot Esports

We've seen this story before. Adam "Armada" Lindgren vs. Joseph "Mang0" Marquez for the Genesis Super Smash Bros. Melee title.

Once again, Armada emerged victorious.

Both players are idolized in the Smash community for their stunning success over the years. But if any venue has been the site of their personal rivalry, it's Genesis, where the two have met in the finals again and again. There were other talented players in the field, but this is the matchup most fans wanted to see at Genesis 4.

Armada had the easier path to the final by virtue of his 3-1 victory over Mang0, which sent his rival to the loser's bracket. Armada had a relatively easy time, absolutely controlling stages and strangling life from his opponents. His run seemed relatively routine until he ran into Jason "Mew2King" Zimmerman.

Mew2King was on-point with grabs and air attacks on his signature Marth. Many times, Armada was stalling on Peach, trying to get into winning situations. Mew2King had a lead and momentum.

But Peach is hard to finish off and Armada's stalling got him to a deciding fifth game. Even then, Mew2King had chances, but missed key inputs. Small mistakes compound against a talent like Armada, and he punished Mew2King relentlessly.

In the loser's bracket, Mang0 survived by grit and guile, coming back from numerous deficits. First, it was against William "Leffen" Hjelte, where Mang0 mounted an insane comeback to tie the set at two games apiece. But Leffen came out strong in the deciding game and quickly took a two-stock (life) lead. Down to his last stock, Mang0 found his way back to the middle of the stage and went ham, somehow ending Leffen's run. The comeback ignited the crowd, with fans hugging and high-fiving at what they just witnessed.

Things wouldn't get easier. Juan "Hungrybox" Manuel Debiedma, valiantly playing with a broken finger, used Jigglypuff's burst to take big stock leads. But Mang0 continued to control the center of the stage to take Hungrybox down. He then beat Mew2King—reeling from his loss to Armada—to set up the finals rematch.

Fans wanted to see a show, but it was a different one than they might have expected. Though these two have gone back and forth in extremely close sets over the years, Armada has been on a tear for the last several months. And the final against Mang0 was no different. Instead of a close, tightly-fought match, fans got a coronation.

Armada had an answer for everything Mang0 threw at him. He floated around and seemed to take no damage. It was perhaps his most convincing win of the day.

Melee has been ruled by the Six Gods (which includes all the aforementioned players) for years now. But Armada is beginning to separate himself from the pack. He stands alone at the top at the beginning of 2017—if he ends the year in the same position, he could cement himself as the greatest Melee player of all time.

Today - 3:29 pm

Our predictions for the Evo 2017 lineup

These are the ten games we think will make it to Las Vegas... and the four that won't
Steve Jurek
Dot Esports

Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to officially enter Evo season.

Organizers for Evo, the largest fighting game event in the world, will reveal the event's 2017 lineup on Tuesday at 9pm ET. Thousands of fans will be watching intently to see if their favorite game will be played on the fighting game world's biggest stage. There is a bit of uncertainty about this year's lineup, as several new games—including King of Fighters XIV, BlazBlue: Central Fiction, and Injustice 2—all have strong cases to be part of the Evo 2017 lineup, and the nine games that were part of Evo 2016 all have strong arguments to return to the event.

Earlier this month, lead Evo organizer Joey Cuellar asked which seven games fans would like to see at Evo 2017. This led many to believe that only seven games will be featured at this year's event. While that's certainly a possibility, Evo staff have a tendency to try and do things bigger than they did the year before. I feel that this year will be no different, as I believe a record-setting ten games will make the final list.

Here are the 10 games I believe will make the cut for the Evo 2017 lineup, along with a few that won't.

Will make the cut

Street Fighter V

After a launch year that included poor reviews, missed sales targets, and an embarrassing rootkit fiasco, it is safe to say that 2016 was not a great year for Street Fighter V. However, there was one area in which the game was unquestionably successful: tournament turnout. A record-setting 5,100 players took part in last year's Evo tournament, which is more than the number of players who participated in the second- and third-largest tournaments in the event's history combined. Despite its freshman struggles, Street Fighter V's status as an Evo game is as safe as can be.

Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. for WiiU

The increasing prominence of Smash games at traditional fighting game events has not been without controversy, but it's a trend that isn't going away anytime soon. Last year's two Smash games were the second- and third-largest events in Evo history. Over 2,600 players entered last year's WiiU tournament, while over 2,300 entered the Melee event. With support like that, it's impossible to imagine a 2017 lineup without either game.

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3

To steal a line from a popular fighting game talk show: Marvel lives! The Marvel community did everything they could over the past two years to reignite interest in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, and Capcom's December announcement of Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite poured gasoline on that spark. There's no doubt that we'll see at least one more Evo with the insanity that is Marvel 3.

Injustice 2

Injustice 2's May 16 release date will surely make Evo organizers a bit nervous. With just two months between the game's release and Evo 2017, the game's entertainment value will hinge largely how well-balanced the game's cast is at launch. A poor initial balance could lead to a repeat of the original Injustice's Evo debut in 2013, an event in which three of the top six finishers played Superman. Still, those fears won't be enough to dissuade Evo organizers from including the game in the 2017 lineup.

Tekken 7: Fated Retribution

It's strange to think that Tekken 7, a game that hasn't seen an official North American release, can be making a third straight Evo appearance. Yet here we are. Bandai Namco, the Tekken series' publisher, has done well to drum up interest in the game with its regional King of the Iron Fist tours. That effort will pay dividends on Tuesday, and they'll pay dividends once players can finally get their hands on the game. Speaking of...

 BONUS PREDICTION: Tekken 7 console release date will be revealed

Tekken publisher Bandai Namco has promised to announce a console release date for its much-anticipated fighter some time this week. The company has been coy about exactly when that announcement will come, but Tuesday's Evo lineup reveal show seems to be the most likely choice. With popular figure Mark "Markman" Julio - who has appeared on the reveal show in each of the past two years - now working with both Evo and Tekken in official capacities, this appears to be a no-brainer.

King of Fighters XIV

The King of Fighters series is always a favorite among international Evo viewers, so it would be incredibly shocking to see the recently-released King of Fighters XIV left out of the 2017 lineup. 

Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- and BlazBlue: Central Fiction

Evo has historically had one unwritten rule for "anime" games: they only get one spot in the lineup. That rule was broken in 2015 when both Guilty Gear Xrd and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax were included in the event, but only Xrd returned last year. I feel that this year will see that rule broken again, as the BlazBlue series has a strong new entrant in Central Fiction to join Guilty Gear Xrd's still-strong -Revelator- update.

Killer Instinct

This may be the toughest call on the list. With the amount of developer and community support shown for the game four years after release, Killer Instinct is the type of game you want to see succeed. Microsoft is now backing the competitive scene in a big way as evidenced by the upcoming $30,000 Killer Instinct World Cup in March. I feel that momentum should be enough to see the game make the cut again despite being the game that had the fewest entrants at Evo 2016.

Will not make the cut

Pokken Tournament

It's tough to imagine a game going from over 1,100 entrants at Evo 2016 to not even in the 2017 lineup, but that's the fate that I believe Pokken Tournament will face on Tuesday. The game's community has shown up to events in force, but so have many other communities. Pokken felt like an odd choice last year, but with so many other games in contention,this year it feels like the odd one out. 

Mortal Kombat XL

There is precedence for Evo including two different NetherRealm Studio games at one Evo - both Mortal Kombat 9 and the original Injustice were a part of Evo 2013. But with so much crossover between players from the two series, along with the abundance of potential choices at Evo's disposal, I think that we've seen the last of Mortal Kombat XL at Evo.

Ultra Street Fighter II and ARMS

The Nintendo Switch will likely have at least two fighting games available by the time Evo rolls around, but don't expect to hear the name of either game on Tuesday. Many tournament players love Super Street Fighter II Turbo, but its re-release as an "HD Remix" was not particularly well-received by most of that group. It's doubtful they would be more receptive to Ultra Street Fighter II, a game that appears to be an HD remix of HD Remix. And as fun as it would be to see players like Justin Wong and Daigo duke it out with motion controls, there are far too many 'legit' fighting games in the running for a spot in the lineup to take a flyer on ARMS.