One of the most anticipated moves of the League of Legends offseason in Europe became official today.
Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage has joined Origen, runner-ups in the Summer split of the League Championship Series (LCS) and semifinalists at the World Championship, confirming a report by the Daily Dot last week. There’s just one key detail that’s different—team captain Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez is not retiring as a player completely. He plans to stay in the lineup as the team’s sixth man as he spends more time running the franchise he founded last year.
Whether that means he will be playing regularly alongside Schrage or never plays a game again remains to be seen, but at least for IEM San Jose, which begins in nine days, Origen will feature Schrage.
In a video explaining the situation, Martínez revealed that the addition of Schrage came from an attempt to find a player for IEM, because Martínez himself had not practiced during his vacation time since the end of Worlds. But then he realized that this kind of situation will become more and more common. He decided that bringing in a substitute for IEM was just a “patch,” and this situation wouldn’t be uncommon in the future. So he sought someone as a full-time sixth player.
“One of the problems that I had as well was that I still love playing and I really want to play,” Martínez said. He considered retiring, but found it difficult to part with the game he still loves, so this was a potential solution. “I cannot completely say I am retiring because I really love the game still. I really enjoyed playing with the guys. But at the same time I felt that I have to decide what was the best for Origen and what was the best for me.”
With a sixth man in the lineup, Martínez can feel more comfortable focusing on the business side of Origen without it affecting the team’s results. But he clearly hopes that he still has time to maintain competitive form and compete.
“In the end it’s about Origen’s success than about me wanting to play and wanting to have fun,” Martínez said. “This is not the end for me. I still love the game. I want to play as much as I can and I will try my best to be the best fit out of the two players, to play the most games.”
Of course, with Schrage in the lineup and competing full time, that may be difficult for Martínez. The 18-year-old mid laner emerged as a star on Unicorns of Love entering 2015, leading that team to the finals of the Spring split and a fourth place finish in the Summer. Schrage was certainly the start of the Unicorns lineup, and it will be exciting to see what he can do with a more talented and experienced lineup surrounding him.
“Im proud to be a new member of Origen,” he said. “For the next season of Origen, because I’m still a young mid laner, and a young guy who just came into the scene, I’m sure I can learn a lot. What I expect is learning new macro play and new strategies, how to approach or handle things, because all of the Origen crew and players have a lot of experience and are high skilled individuals. I’m sure I can learn a lot from them.”
A player of Schrage’s caliber probably had other options during this unpredictable offseason, including landing places with guaranteed starting positions. But if he can maintain his form with Origen, expect to see a lot of him manning the mid lane for one of Europe’s top teams.
Screengrab via Origen/YouTube