“I have been fighting for years to preserve my reputation.”
Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou’s road to the League of Legends World Championship stage has been a rocky one. Long considered to be among the best Western AD carries, he’s never competed at a Riot-sponsored international tournament. It’s been his white whale. Despite years of top-level play, he’s never played there.
That is, until now. He and the rest of H2K fought their way to Worlds with back-to-back top 4 finishes in the EU LCS. Now, they’ve got a chance to prove themselves.
Because of his lack of international results, Europe’s most aggressive AD carry thinks people often forget about him. And, true to form, FORG1VEN is sick of it.
“There are other people that blame me [for my team’s losses] or aren’t appreciative of me or how I helped European bot lanes through all these years,” he says. “They don’t appreciate all the effort I’ve put in or all the teams I’ve played on or all the skill levels that I’ve tried to show.”
Despite his time on the then-dominant SK Gaming, multiple playoff appearances, and all-around gifted mechanical play, he still doesn’t feel appreciated.
“For example, me and [Oskar “VandeR” Bogdan] weren’t even considered for top 20 players at Worlds,” he says. “I find it really funny that we weren’t even considered among the best Western bot lanes. But we are. We definitely are.”
But in a scene whose definition of success is almost entirely results, many believe that FORG1VEN simply doesn’t have the resume. He disagrees.
“You can’t just write off a history or domination of a player. It’s absurd, and it’s really upsetting for me. And not only for me, but my support as well.”
The path to redemption for FORG1VEN has already begun. He and H2K ran back a slow start in the second week of Worlds, going 4-0 (including a tiebreaker) to earn the first seed out of Group C, beating out EDward Gaming, ahq e-Sports Club, and INTZ e-Sports. Next up, they’ve got Wildcard surprise Albus NoX Luna in the quarterfinals.
“I was certainly thinking that we are not going to go 3-0. 4-0 was even a bigger shock,” he says.
When asked about how he felt about playing against a Wildcard team late in the tournament, FORG1VEN seems disappointed. He wants to prove that he can compete with the best in the world.
“I’m not looking forward to playing against anyone. I just want to play against the team that is considered the bigger challenge,” he says. “Playing really good against better teams [than yours] makes your reputation a lot better and gives you the psychological advantage going into future games against them and others.”
So far, he believes, that underdog mentality has worked. But while he thinks the public doesn’t give him enough respect, he has noticed opposing bot lanes making room for him, notably against EDward Gaming.
“The reputation that I have as a player forced EDG to play wrong in almost all of their games, except one where they played against top lane,” he says. “Both times, I played against a guy [Kim “Deft” Hyuk-Kyu] who didn’t even buy a Tear [on Ezreal]. He got a lot of pressure and a lot of numbers in bot lane, not only in terms of ganks, but in wards and mid lane roams. Not actually doing them, but attempting them. Hiding in fog of war, or dropping a ward behind them for Teleport plays, etc. But he didn’t play for his team.”
While FORG1VEN was praised for his play against EDG, he believes that the story isn’t complete without proper outside criticism of his opponents.
“I didn’t see anyone criticizing my counterpart, who is supposed to be the best AD carry on the best bot lane in the world,” he says.
His critical nature towards other players gives him faith in his own play.
“I’m always going to be confident,” he says. “Especially when I play against people on stage, at least in bot lane, that weren’t special. They’re just ordinary players in our lane. My confidence will go higher and higher.”
So while he doesn’t believe any AD carry at Worlds is untouchable, he does think that there are strong players in the position.
“I certainly think that at ADC there are a lot of good or great players,” he says. “Sneaky, Bang. I think Uzi’s good. TSM didn’t have the greatest showing, but they were decent in scrims. CLG, their bot lane, was pretty strong too. I respect them a lot.”
What makes him good this year, though, is his ability to strengthen his teammates. He draws pressure to the bot lane with his aggressive play, freeing up his teammates to do what they need to do to win. And he has faith in them to perform, something he doesn’t believe every team has.
“I think there were a lot of great showings, at least individually,” he says. “But it’s a team game, especially this year. Unfortunately, if you have a weakness, or have one guy that’s weak on your team, he can do you harm. All the effort will go to waste.”
While FORG1VEN is still the outspoken semi-villain that he’s always been, he’s been trying to tone down his outbursts. But when it comes down to it, if there’s anything he can say or do that will help he or his team reach the top, he’s going to do it.
“I’m still arrogant or cocky in a way, but a bit less…I can definitely be a bit more controlled in terms of how I give impression of myself. Except sometimes on Twitter,” he laughs.
Taylor Cocke would love to see FORG1VEN in a Worlds final. Follow him on Twitter @taylorcocke.