The hardest part of writing this piece was deciding the title. The truth is that Imaqtpie is the most difficult player to understand that I've ever been a fan of. Normally, when I write tribute articles I try to find an underlying storyline that carried its way through a player's career.
For instance, Imaqtpie is perhaps the only player to completely flip the community script. Oftentimes, when fans settle on an opinion, a player is extremely hard-pressed to change their opinion. For much of Season 2, Imaqtpie was regarded as a lazy troll who held back his team's star solo laners. By Season 3 he had become the face of the Dignitas franchise (along with scarra) and one of the most beloved pro players worldwide.
Like I said earlier, Imaqtpie's career contains too many storylines to fully explore. However, a few stood out to me above all others. As a player Imaqtpie has probably been historically underrated. As a streamer, Qt played the fool but actually provided rare insight into the community mind. Overall, Qtpie strikes me as someone who has truly found his flavor and place in the world. It may be impossible for fans of his gameplay or his stream to fully understand him, but there is no doubt in my mind that we are seeing a genuine product.
The Underrated Hypercarry:
I have always felt that Imaqtpie’s play has been historically underrated. I already went through Dignitas’ early time in my scarra piece, and I will mostly avoid talking about that time period since Season 2 was when Qtpie began gaining notoriety. Fans of his stream would be delighted to learn that one of his signature champions in Season 1 was Heimerdinger. His other signature champion was AP Caitlyn.
In Season 2, Imaqtpie was possibly the most underrated player in competitive play. For all the talk of Doublelift’s hard carrying in Season 2, Imaqtpie’s team was occasionally more blatantly built around him. In Season 2, Dig would frequently play a comp where Voyboy played Lulu top, Dom played Nunu jungle, and scarra played Soraka mid. This comp was entirely devoted to protecting Imaqtpie’s hypercarry Kog’Maw. Although it is easier to carry in a 4 support comp, it also places an incredible amount of pressure on the player in question. However, Qtpie performed extremely admirably and oftentimes drew bans on Kog’Maw or Dignitas’ solo laners. Qtpie was also one of the most notable Draven players in the competitive scene. He was one of the first to debut the champion and played it to great success in Dignitas’ lone OGN season, drawing a permanent ban throughout his time there. Dignitas’ season ended with a disappointing 2-0 loss to TSM at the Regional finals and a 0-3 record at Worlds. This sour end to the season, in addition to Imaqtpie’s extreme unpopularity in Season 2, probably contributed to many fans forgetting a truly great season. Qt did more than his fair share of carrying in Season 2 and this was compounded by Dignitas’ weak support role. L0CUST’s issues with Korean solo queue are well-documented and Patoy was still an unproven rookie for much of the season.
Seasons 3 &4 were a renaissance for the long-haired AD Carry and many fans began appreciating him for the Dignitas star that he was. An outsider looking back and seeing the perception of his skill rise alongside his streaming popularity may assume one of two things. Either Imaqtpie was always great and fans were finally recognizing him or that fans were propping up a mediocre player due to personal feelings. The truth is that even though Dignitas was always underperforming, Imaqtpie was truly a World-caliber player for much of Seasons 3 & 4.
"Qtpie...he was never rated high enough. He should always have been 1 or 2 and in a lot of situations 1 because Doublelift does not have as good decision making as he does. What's surprising for a lot of people is that Qt makes a lot of decisions for the team; he shotcalls from the AD position. Because a lot of times...we won't be as good at seeing the game. He just conceptualizes the game really well so he's an AD Carry shotcaller. Until he started streaming people just didn't really understand. I would always hype him up...and he would always give a lot of other AD Carries trouble." - scarra, Grilled Episode 81
Look at how hard Imaqtpie carries his team on his beloved Ezreal in this clip. Then consider that he was also the team’s shotcaller.
These problems were also compounded during Season 4, when KiWiKid moved to support and CruzertheBruzer joined as the team’s top laner. In the Spring Split of Season 4, Dignitas’ other players (particularly scarra and Crumbz) occasionally enjoyed periods of strong play but the team was almost entirely Qtpie-or-die. It was only after Shipthur and ZionSpartan joined the team that Dignitas was truly unleashed. The team jumped out to an incredible record and led the League for much of the season before imploding at the worst time. They would ultimately lose a messy but narrow series 3-1 to eventual North American champions TSM.
A Unique Flavor
"It's true that he has his own type of style of how to play ADC. It's a running joke that qt saves all his escape abilities to jump into the fight rather than run away. It's also true that he sometimes picks whatever he wants, without a care in the world, often times countering himself in lane...qt as a person really just doesn't care about anything and does his own thing, who am I to say whether that's stupid or not? ...when I was on Dig was when I learned that qt is at least somewhat intelligent, which makes his trolling even more scary and dangerous." - Patoy, Text Interview with Thorin
The best players in any sport are able to play any style. This can also be seen in LoL, where players such as Faker and KaKAO are able to excel on all sorts of champions and play many different roles for their team. However, the second best group contains those who find their style and never deviate from it. By playing a unique style and forcing their opponents to adjust to it, players can force a seemingly more skilled opponent onto uneven ground and take the win. (This can be seen with SHRC’s run to the World Finals off the back of inSec and Uzi’s insane aggression.)
Imaqtpie was always the master of this. His gameplay and skills combined to form an extremely unique style that involved aggressive frontline attacks on mobile AD Carries. To me, Qtpie’s style was defined by a number of completely unnecessary risks that could be punished heavily. However, if they went unanswered, they would push the odds further and further in his favor. Oftentimes, this style would give opposing AD Carries a lot of trouble. Opponents were un-used to playing against such random aggression in lane and would have a difficult time. (As scarra mentioned earlier, players would often have great trouble against Imaqtpie, but would refuse to acknowledge his skill as a player. Perhaps this is because they thought his aggression was a result of not knowing how to play rather than a deliberate playstyle choice.)
I think that this aggression has contributed to his undeserved reputation as an uncaring or foolish player. Although, his style would usually surprise other teams and lead to Dignitas victories, it could also backfire spectacularly.
In teamfights, it was often a similar story. Nobody would ever praise Imaqtpie for his spectacular positioning, but somehow he was able to constantly apply damage from unusually close range while escaping his enemy’s clutches. In the Summer split of 2013, Qtpie tied scarra for 2nd most kills in the NA LCS (after Vulcun’s mancloud.)
Overall, Imaqtpie was always a consistent carry for Dignitas throughout his career and occasionally contended for the best AD Carry in North America. His playstyle often gave him unique opportunities to carry Dignitas in both the laning and teamfighting phases. Throughout this, he also operated as Dignitas’ primary shotcaller and decision-maker. Throughout LoL history, only the legendary WeiXiao was also known to play both a hard-carry ADC role while also making all of his team’s decisions.
The Insightful "Fool":
"When I interviewed him I felt like I had a realisation that it's not that he's trolling all the time when he gives his opinions, it's more like he often is actually giving his real opinion, which may be unorthodox, but the manner he is doing it in makes people assume the entire thing is a joke" - Thorin
In one sense, the best way to describe Imaqtpie’s stream is to take it at face-value. Imaqtpie was a motivational speaker, a leader of men, and a preacher. An outsider who never played LoL looking in wouldn’t really understand these things. He would only see the fool on camera and suspect that the 20,000+ men following him were also fools. The beauty of Imaqtpie’s public persona is that he never pandered to the community. Instead, he sought to guide and mock the community that followed him through comedy and irony. All of the jokes and comments just appeared to be random occurances on stream, but each small event helped me better understand both the game and Imaqtpie himself. Qtpie's stream gave us an incomplete but genunie window into his soul. What I saw was someone who never forgot how lucky he was to be a professional video gamer.
"no you should be grateful the community cares about us, if you dont want to interact ill take ur fans" - Imaqtpie, Twitter
LoL has the closest following of any professional sport. It is virtually impossible for an ordinary NBA fan, no matter how determined, to attend practice with Kobe Bryant. Streaming has made this possible for LoL fans. Many players often chaffed under the constant criticism but qt never did. As mentioned before, Imaqtpie bore the full-brunt of community hatred in Season 2, but returned to become a media stand-out in Season 3. In spite of this, he never expressed any anger towards the community (although he frequently made fun of it.) He always cared about his fans and was also someone who never publically criticized another team or player (something few other players can claim to.) For all the talk of pro players being friends with each other, the Dignitas squad with Cruzer, Crumbz, scarra, Qt, and KiWi was the one that struck me hardest as true friends. Even after Qt’s skill (and arguably popularity) had far surpassed scarra’s, he still constantly gave his oldest friend credit for introducing him to League of Legends.
But even though Imaqtpie never sought to lead the community (his claims of being someone who “just loved streaming” oftentimes rang true) he ended up becoming the leader regardless. Pretty much every new popular community joke these days originates from Imaqtpie’s stream and people pay almost exclusive attention to the things he says. It’s funny that Imaqtpie’s streaming success came from what (in my mind) made him such a great player. He just stayed who he was, in spite of the circumstances completely changing around him.
As I mentioned earlier, Qtpie is a strange case. The combination of his playing career and streaming success have made him something of an anomaly, as he means something very different to a large number of people. If he ever reads this, I wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors; I’m sure he can succeed at whatever he tries his hand at. (Maybe not as an analyst though.)