Challenger Spotlight: Winter
This is the fourth installment of Challenger Spotlight, a series dedicated to telling the stories of the rising talents of Challenger making their first steps into competitive. Today we have Olivier “Winter” Lapointe, an 18 year old support hailing from Quebec. He has played for several challenger teams including a brief stint on Cloud9 Challenger in late 2015, and is eager to improve himself to a higher competitive standard.
Minor edits to Winter’s responses have been made for clarity.
Your bio says you are from Quebec, which seems to me to have a pretty active local League scene, unlike most other places in North America. Have you ever attended LANs or otherwise connected with that scene? (If so, could you elaborate?)
I am not so close with the "Québec scene" anymore, but I did some LANs for fun with friends. It is always fun to see other players from Québec around some cash prize. When I was lower elo, I was more connected with that scene than now, but I still look sometimes to see what is happening in this scene.
On your Twitter, I saw awhile back that you spent some time laddering on the EUW server. Was it ping or something else that prompted you to try this? Having played on both NA and EUW, could you say the servers differed gameplay wise?
I played on EUW because my timeline is EST and Challenger players are most likely PST. I was awake at like 10 am EST and the queue time was too high. I was spending one hour to play one game and because I was challenger I would lose 20+. I decided to play in EUW even if the ping was pretty high 100 to 120. For the gameplay, I think both are the same but EUW is a little bit more toxic, but tryhard a little bit more, but this is basically the same NA>EU.
During the HTC Invitational last winter, you briefly played on the Cloud9 Challenger squad with Meteos and Keith among others, but the roster seemed to struggle as there were rumors the players did not get along well or did not care too much about the team. Was the team ever going somewhere or was it kind of doomed from the start? Did you learn anything from the experience?
I played only one or two weeks with them, so I was not very comfortable playing with this team at that time. I quit not because it was doom or something like that, but just because I was not feeling comfortable and if I am not comfortable, I am not going to play my 100% game potential, so I decided to quit. That was just a personal choice. Plus, I had another plan on the side. I have not learned that much from it, but I am really sorry to the staff for quitting suddenly like that and not giving time to them to find a new support.
Biofrost was just picked up as TSM’s new support, joining veterans such as Aphromoo and Adrian at the top of the league; Matt, Hakuho, and BIG (Babyeator) are some younger NA supports just entering the LCS that show promise. Do you the amount of NA support talent compared to other roles which are commonly imported (such as mid) means NA supports are stronger? Or is there some other reason?
I do not think we need to import supports because we have great talented supports here in NA, but most likely teams do not want to import supports because of the language barrier, which can make communication harder. Supports are shotcallers most of the time and if they have some difficulties in english, players can have difficulty understanding him and that can provoke some misunderstandings in game.
MSI saw the first significant breakout of mage supports outside North America in recent memory, even resurrecting picks such as Nami and Sona. Are we headed toward more equilibrium between supports
I think Mage supports are back in the meta and most of the melee champion will disappear from the meta, because they get countered too much by ranged support. In certain matchups, melee supports are still good, such as Braum vs. Janna. So I think it will be more ranged support this meta and melee support will be out for now, except in a couple matchups.
Do you think you are oriented to or prefer one side or the other, ranged/utility/mage vs. melee/tanky/initiator?
I do not really prefer one side or the other but back in time I was more of a melee/tanky initiator, but I extended my champion pool and opened my mind. Now I am playing what the meta is and deal with it, but I still like my old Thresh, even if he was not that great those patches. This meta ranged/utility/mage support is back and I am very happy, because back in season four, I was playing a lot of those and I missed playing those champions like Karma, Zyra, etc. It is always good to have some changes in the meta, otherwise the game would be boring.
Have the recent large patches changed the way support is played in any significant way? Whether it be itemization, champions, or playstyle in general.
With the recent changes on some items, instead of rushing locket or banner every game, I prefer to take Aegis, go Athene’s and finishing my Aegis into Banner or Locket after, you have like 45% CDR around 15-20 minutes. That does not change the item path of melee support, but does change it for healer/shielder support. Also, with that path you do not even need to take Lucidity boots anymore, because you stack CDR so fast. Like I said earlier, with those large patches, support meta is now more oriented on mage/healer/shielder supports like Zyra/Sona/Karma, who can build AP items and still get a lot of CDR, because of Abyssal Scepter changes, Zhonya’s Hourglass and Athene’s.
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?
I am a great mechanical support who can win the game alone with CC champions, but also can play both melee/range supports, and I have a great champion pool around 15 champions. I can be the second voice of the team in game, I am learning fast and want to learn, and I am pretty easy to work with and teach. I am very motivated to get at least NACS this split and try to get a chance in the LCS.
Are there any supports you look up to or model yourself after?
My models are Aphromoo and Adrian; they both have their own style and they are very different. Aphromoo is more like a mechanical support, who will make good hooks and do more mechanical outplay and engage. Adrian is more like a passive support playing Janna/Soraka/Braum. He is a support who is going to play to protect his adc, his position is pretty clean and he takes low risk play. I am trying to combine both in my playstyle, so I can be a complete support, who can play both styles, aggressive and passive.
What motivates you to play competitive?
For me to get to the big stage would be an accomplishment of all the sacrifice I have made during the past year; taking a break from school, neglecting my family, friends, school when I was in it. That would prove I was not wrong about everything I did and prove people who doubted me during this year. My second motivation is to play against all those greats players, who I have been watching for the last couples years and learn from my affrontement vs. them because I want to get better.
Any final words or shoutouts?
Everything I said is not the final answer on the meta. I am probably wrong on some point, this is what makes league fun right? Everyone has a point of view and no one is unbeatable, so you always have something to improve on to get better. Put your finger on it and improve it or you will stay static and always get the same result.
Thanks for your time, Winter, and best of luck in the future. Catch more of Winter on Twitter @TheWinterLoL. Also check him out on Twitch and Plays.tv under the same name.