By the end of season seven, Norwegian mid laner Erlend “Nukeduck” Våtevik Holm had made a name for himself as the most underrated player in Europe.
Nukeduck started playing League in season one, achieving platinum rank that year. But he really made a name for himself as the primary carry on ROCCAT in 2015, and then Team Vitality last year. But now he’s making his biggest move yet—jumping straight to FC Schalke 04, a team that just made it back into the LCS. Nukeduck spoke with Dot Esports about the switch and his hopes for the new season.
Being called “underrated” can be seen as a backhanded compliment. But Nukeduck didn’t see it that way. Choosing to focus on the positive, he said, “it’s always nice to have people recognize your work.”
His time on Vitality really proved his potential. No matter how much his teammates struggled, Nukeduck could be found holding down the fort in the mid lane, desperately trying to carry his squad to the playoffs. But Nukeduck was never discouraged by the struggle. “I will remember my stay in Vitality as good times,” he said. “We were constantly struggling to break into the top teams and it just didn’t happen. It’s hard for me to say what we should have done differently. However, individually I learned a lot and hope to show more this split with Schalke 04.”
Nukeduck won’t be joining a Schalke roster bereft of talent. The team made big splashes in free agency, retaining promising young ADC Elias “Upset” Lipp and surrounding him with veteran players. The biggest name to join, outside of Nukeduck, is former Unicorns of Love top laner Kiss “Vizicsacsi” Tamás.
“What attracted me to Schalke was the roster combined with the coaching staff and infrastructure,” Nukeduck explained. “I think [Vizicsacsi] has always been a good top laner and recently he has been carrying me in solo queue with Maokai and Ornn. I’m excited for the project Schalke is building for 2018.”
Nukeduck isn’t worried about chemistry issues on a team with so many established players that may have differing styles. His goal is to be a unifying force.
“We have so many veterans, [my role] will just depend on what they want to do,” he said. “If my team needs me to be a leader I’m ready to step up and if they need me to take more of a backseat role that is fine for me as well.”
Judging from their social media banter, Nukeduck’s new teammates are definitely taking his addition to the roster in good stead.
For season eight, Nukeduck demurred when talking about his personal goals. For the team, he hopes that Schalke will use the Spring Split to work on fundamentals and synergy in preparation for summer. Roster changes aside, the new runes and other changes have made League a whole new game.
“The new runes are giving whole new life to the game and personally I love it!” Nukeduck exclaimed. “The game is way more dynamic. I can’t wait to start scrimming on this patch.”
And as for everyone’s favorite OP mid laner? “Zoe I think she is very strong when mastered,” Nukeduck said. “She is also very fun to play. My in-game-name actually is ‘PICK ME ZOE PLS.’ But I have to admit she might be a tad too strong.”