This is the second installment of Challenger Spotlight, an interview series dedicated to telling the stories of the rising talents of Challenger making their first steps into competitive. Today we have Nicholas “Ablazeolive” Abbott, a 17 year old midlaner hailing from Toronto, most recently seen in action on Zenith eSports and Mentality Gaming. He is a fresh young midlaner finding his identity in a dire time for North American mids.
Talk about your history with League before competitive. Why did you start playing, what got you hooked on the game, how did you hit challenger? Was it a struggle or did it come kind of naturally to you?
I have played league since season 1 and played on and off for about 6 months before I actually started playing it all the time. I do not remember why I started playing the game initially but coming from Warcraft 3 it was an easy transition to make. What got me hooked was just how much fun I had playing it, and I enjoyed all the different champions and abilities that they all had. I hit challenger for the first time in 2015 and ended off the season still in it. I would say that it was not a struggle because I almost always did well in my games even if I did not win. This gave me the motivation to keep trying so I’d say that it came pretty naturally.
Your ID is pretty unique, if I may say so. Where did it come from?
I got it from the Xbox 360 as my then gamertag had already been taken. For some reason the choose an alternate name algorithm came up with Ablazeolive despite my original gamertag being pwnpwnpwn. What is extremely weird is that the other three possibilities were just pwnpwnpwn### so it was an unexpected occurrence that I thought was too cool to let pass.
Your last team was Zenith Esports, and as we know you unfortunately fell in the first round of the NACS open qualifier. Do you think it was a fluke? How far do you think you should have gotten? What do you think was the downfall of the team?
I would not say it was a fluke, but I did expect us to do better than we did. The other team played very well and deserved to win. The problem was we failed to adapt to our opposing teams strategy, and when we needed to be decisive we failed to be and unfortunately it lost us both games.
From my perspective, the other player that seemed fun to watch on Zenith was bmxspecks. How was playing with him?
He is a really awesome guy with an amazing attitude about the game. He really helped me get comfortable with the team and unintentionally I learned a lot about how I should approach the game just by being and playing with him on the team.
Why should a team pick you up? What about your play or your personality do you think make you a good player and/or teammate?
A team should pick me up because I have such a high ceiling. My mechanics are insane when I am on my game, and my knowledge of the game is so great that I can easily and quickly expand my knowledge and style to new and better ones. I also think that I have a very easy to get along attitude, which helps when synergy comes into play, but also helps when being taught by a coach or analyst.
Name one player in NA you’d really like to play with (could be LCS, CS, or outside) and why.
I’d really like to play with C9 Sneaky, I think he is really funny and his sense of humour mirrors my own. I have watched his stream for hours and often times when I end up against him in solo q I watch the game afterwards and see what he said and if his analysis was the same as mine. Also I like when I make a big play and he says something flattering. He also is extremely skilled which goes without saying, so if I could play with anyone it would be C9 Sneaky.
After the relegation of Dignitas and Shiphtur, there remains just North American mid left in the LCS. Do you agree with the assessment that mid is the region’s weakest role? Why do you think that might (or might not) be?
I would say that it is probably not true, I think that people import a lot of mid laners because it is the flashiest role in terms of playstyle and it is the easiest role to compare players with. Just by importing players I think it artificially increases the talent of NA mid laners in general, so I would say that is not true.
Do you think you have a distinct style in the midlane? How would you describe it?
I don’t think I have a distinct style from game to game, I think one of my greater qualities as a player is having no stereotypical playstyle. I can play all of the champs in the mid lane and all their play styles suit me well. That being said in general I do think that my early game is weaker than my mid game, which is weaker than my late game.
Last question: What motivates you to go pro?
I want to go pro because it is the only thing that I am truly passionate about. Ever since I was a kid I have wanted to go pro in some form of game and League was the one that resonated with me.
Thanks for your time, Ablazeolive, and best of luck in the future. You can see more of Ablazeolive on Twitter @AblazeoliveLoL, and on Twitch at https://www.twitch.tv/ablazeolive_. Check back soon for future installments of Challenger Spotlight.