FC Schalke 04 got its first victory in the LEC against no other than G2 Esports. The quick improvement by the team comes just days after bot laner Konstantinos-Napoleon “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou decided to step down from the main roster.
2020 has been rough for Schalke and its fans. The team is currently 1-7, stuck in ninth place. The only team worse than Schalke is the winless Team Vitality. Coming into 2020, Schalke was expected to perform better than a 1-7 result. Many analysts placed Schalke as one of the teams that would comfortably advance to the playoffs.
The expectations were high, but the reality hit the team like a truck. In the first three weeks of competition, the team looked disconnected and lost on the map. Schalke announced its first roster change ahead of Week 3 in the 2020 LEC Spring season. The team promoted jungler Lukas “Lurox” Thoma from the academy roster.
Despite the change, Forg1ven wasn’t happy with the roster.
“On my 7+ LoL career I always played to win and be competitive. As of now at least, current roster doesn’t fit this principle. Schalke is unable/unwilling to make changes to fit that goal, so we mutually agreed that I stepdown until and if they are willing to do so,” Forg1ven wrote on Twitter.
Schalke promoted Nihat “Innaxe” Aliev from the academy roster. After the second roster change, Schalke showed a significant improvement to its overall performance. On February 15, Schalke earned its first victory in the season over G2.
In the match against G2, Schalke showed a more proactive style. The team was resilient and dealt deftly with G2, a team that doesn’t give room to breathe to the enemies. The victory was due in big part to Innaxe and top laner Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu. The rookies of the team are taking an important role. In the most recent edition of Mic Check, Innaxe and Lurox were the ones asking their teammates to calm down and play more slowly.
Knowing what we know now, it’s only natural to question who was truly the problem.
In a recent interview with Inven Global, Schalke 04 head coach Dylan Falcon said that the team is focused in solutions and not problems. Falcon also mentioned that Schalke decided to go for players willing to take risks, and that the team understood the potential consequences. In the end, the team made the best decision possible and changed the roster.
Considering that information, why did Forg1ven say that the team wasn’t willing to change? Is it possible that he was the one unwilling to change his own attitude?
Forg1ven is known for having a toxic attitude and being uncooperative. In 2015, at the peak of his career, Forg1ven was suspended for four games due to toxic behavior. At the time, Riot Games discovered that the player was reported in 70% of his games for abusive language.
A small fraction of fans on Twitter were quick to defend Forg1ven, blaming the rest of the team around him. That same team that is now winning without him. Forg1ven clarified that he didn’t create a bad atmosphere in the team and Falcon confirmed that the player proved to be more mature than his reputation would indicate to some.
The season is far from over and seems like Schalke has found a combination of players that works for them. Given the circumstances, it seems unlikely that they will bring back Forg1ven any time soon.