Following a busy year starting in the challenger series, reaching a dream play-off finals against Fnatic and ending in a gruelling gauntlet, we caught up with our toplaner, Paul “sOAZ” Boyer, to discuss both his and Origen’s year so far.
Thinking back to when you left Fnatic, how easy or hard was it to move to Origen?
It wasn’t actually that difficult. The new season was very close to starting after I left Fnatic so I didn’t have that many choices. Also, I pretty much knew the Origen team. We weren’t sure who the ADC was going to be, either Tabzz or Niels, but I knew it was going to be a good team, so I had the choice between finding a new organization and probably missing the spring split or joining Origen.
Did you ever doubt your decision or even start thinking that you might not qualify for LCS before the spring split started?
No I never really thought about it. I was just concentrated on the games, same as if it was the LCS. You think about qualifying, but otherwise you try not to think about doubting or questioning yourself as much as possible. You just focus on the games and try to practice.
So you then end up in the challenger series. How was the transition from playing with the best in Europe to emerging teams?
There wasn’t actually a huge difference. As we were a new team, even if we had good players, our level like all other new teams started from scratch. We had different individual levels, but as the meta back then was also very much focused on teamplay, there wasn’t actually a huge difference.
And how did you find the formation of Origen as a team, such as putting in a new structure?
It was a bit hard to being with as with a new team and a new structure, there weren’t necessarily the same resources as in a more stable organization. Therefore it required a lot of patience. At the start, xPeke looked after quite a bit of the company structure, as he still does so if we’ve got any concerns we can always ask him, but still as a small organisation it’s a case of being more patient if we need anything.
So you join Origen and end up in Tenerife. What was the lifestyle like compared to Berlin and the LCS?
It wasn’t necessarily more relaxing, we were quite far away from everything around us, similar to now in Berlin, but life wasn’t that much more different apart from there as more sun!
Looking back at the challenger series finals, did it feel as important and as nerve racking as other finals?
It was more stressful to qualify for LCS than anything else! During the series, we had some matches that were honestly more stressful than it was playing against Fnatic in the play-off finals. Against, Fnatic, we were the underdogs and nobody really expected us to perform, whereas in challenger everyone expected us to win which adds more pressure.
How was it getting back into the LCS?
We call came into the season with different goals, and obviously the team’s objective was to try to qualify for the play-offs. My personal objective was to play in the finals which we ended up doing vs Fnatic which made it even better. We lost but it was very close. I was kind of happy. We were happy that it was so close vs Fnatic but as it 3-2 we were still a bit upset that we didn’t win. But getting back into the LCS was fine, no problems.
And how do you feel that Origen performed throughout the season?
We performed well. When we started the split, the community, be it on Twitter or Reddit didn’t necessarily think that we’d finish top two. People had us down as a top four or top five team. Basically more of a middle team than a top one. So overall I’m happy that we exceeded expectations.
How did it feel then being back in the LCS but with a different team?
It was actually really pleasant to play in a new team as you get to meet new people and learn how to play and live with them. I really enjoy that side of things, learning how they play, the different styles and mentalities they bring to the team, making the whole environment very refreshing. So to begin with it’s really pleasant and then eventually once you know how everyone works then five or six months later it became the norm for me. I learnt a lot from playing with new players.
What are your thoughts on Fnatic?
They are a better team since getting Rekkles back. I think they are a really good team, they also have difficulties like every other team, their strength is that that they don’t need to win a certain lane like TSM. So if Bjergsen has an off day, as the play-maker and shot caller, if he falls behind, the whole team does. However looking at Fnatic, they have a really strong top, mid and bot lane so they have a much easier time
Do you think Fnatic have a good chance at worlds?
They will pass groups and then it depends. I think Fnatic have a chance to make it to the world finals , 50/50 in semis but I don’t think they will win the tournament. It’s a bit like before worlds every team is starting from scratch and then it’s the team that can adapt the most to the new meta and patches.
With the new patch 5.16, how do you think this will affect the game during worlds?
Top lane won’t change much, we might see a bit of Fiora. The bot lane will change with Mordekaiser. Jungle might change a bit but otherwise not too much.
Do you think we will see Mordekaiser at worlds?
I think he will be OP if he isn’t nerfed beforehand.
How optimistic are you going into worlds?
Again, it depends, really depends on the group stages. With our seed, we’re probably going to end up against two huge teams so it will be really hard as we need a top two finish.
What do you plan on doing for your break after worlds?
I’m not really sure what I’m going to be doing as I don’t know what our schedule is, but I want to go back and spend time with my family in France.
Any messages for the fans?
Thank you for all your support once again throughout the season.
Posted by Will Kelly – @willokelly. Images from flickr – Riot Esports. Art by Sandpenguin.