Building Something That Sticks

Pierre Medjaldi

I’ve always wanted to build something in my career. Having played for a number of different teams, I just want to find a place where I can stay for the long-term and build something with players I’m confident with. At Giants, I might have found that.

It’s what I admired most about YellOwStaR’s legacy, I learned so much from him during our time playing together. He wasn’t the best mechanically, but his confidence, his game knowledge and his decisiveness made him invaluable to that Fnatic team; far more so than a player with good mechanics. His legacy at Fnatic is what I’m looking to replicate at Giants.

It’s something I’ve been looking for since the 2015 Mid-Season Invitational. It proved to be the end of my time with Fnatic and to this day, is the only international event I’ve played in. It was a tournament of mixed emotions; I was leaving the team sooner than I would’ve liked, but not before I had played against some of the best players in the world, won an EU LCS split and grown massively as a player.

The evening of our MSI exit, I went back to my room and decided to dedicate myself to this game; I was going to use everything I’d learned to climb back to the top. I moved to America for a split and even though I wasn’t in the spotlight, I played one of my best competitive splits and reached the top five of the NA solo queue ladder, it confirmed to me that I could return to the LCS.

I hadn’t been playing my best League of Legends at Fnatic, though in fairness, it was my first time on stage. When I returned to the EU LCS with Unicorns of Love and then Team ROCCAT, I felt like I had everything I needed to compete at the highest level and that I was performing well. Vitality knocked a lot of my confidence and now I’m trying to get back to where I was before I joined them.

I’ve played for a lot of different teams now and constantly adapting can be challenging. At Fnatic, it was all about team fighting, whereas at my next LCS team, Unicorns of Love, it was all about the laning phase. At every team you go to, you have to change your playstyle, but you don’t have a lot of time, maybe a month – and that’s assuming that the players gel together in that time. There is always the struggle for synergy; finding the perfect match is the hardest thing about building a competitive team.

In my opinion, teams change their rosters too frequently. I think the problem right now is that when someone has a bad split or isn’t performing, teams will look to cut him instantly, without trying to understand why it is that he’s underperforming. There’s no confidence in players to turn things around; teams are always looking for the hype, the next prodigy.

There are a lot of factors to look at when bringing a player in. One team’s strategy can be to play around one player entirely, where he’ll be left to fend for himself on another roster. Teams are slowly starting to understand that changing players every split maybe isn’t the best move.

I want to build something solid; something that sticks. The best teams are the ones that stay together and find their own unique playstyle. It’s important for players to be together for a long time but its something that’s lacking at the moment in the EU LCS; players change teams too frequently and it’s the most frustrating thing having to keep starting from scratch. At Giants I think we have a real opportunity to do it differently, we can last for longer than a year.

It’s so valuable to have players that are able to work together. As the competitive game becomes less focused on the individual and more about the team performance, it plays to the strength of teams like us. As friends, we communicate naturally with one another, we work together comfortably and it’s very important to have this. At Giants we play as a team, it doesn’t matter about the individuals.

Being able to play as a team is far more valuable than a team full of talented individuals. Of course, if you have a star-studded roster and they can synergise as a team then you’re going to do really well, but that’s so hard to achieve. The game is no longer about being able to outplay your enemy mechanically, it’s about being able to communicate and rotate around the map as a unit.

From my previous experiences where I’ve entered a team and I didn’t know what to expect, you’re essentially just hedging your bets that it’ll work out. In Giants, I knew most of the players already – I knew Betsy and Djoko very well from my past teams, I’d watched Ruin play and I was aware of Targamas as a fellow French player; I knew what I could expect.

I think I’m underrated as a player – last year, my performance wasn’t great, neither was Djoko’s – but at Vitality, nothing was really working for anyone. I understand why we were underrated coming into this season if all you’re going to base it on is your previous split.

I’m really focussing on myself this split and my personal growth as a player. We’re a strong team, definitely capable of reaching the playoffs if we continue to work hard. We’re building something.

Image Credit: Riot Games

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