Origen's impressive undefeated run at Intel Extreme Master San Jose introduced the world to their new triple threat. The final piece, mid laner Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage, returned to IEM San Jose with a new team after an impressive world stage debut in 2014.
Following his win with Origen, PowerofEvil spoke to theScore eSports about how the new team dynamic is shaping up and his hopes for next year.
Did Origen expect to win the entire tournament?
I personally didn't. I was confidently going into the matches, but I expected close series. I was expecting a close series against TSM, a close series against CLG after their performance against Jin Air. Surprisingly, we won without dropping a single game, so I'm pretty happy about that.
It seemed like every set went the minimum number of games in length. Do you have any thoughts on why that might be?
I think if you have the pace of the game in your hand, and you got a lead, and you're playing smart with good shotcallers and good rotations, which, the shotcalling in Origen is surprisingly good. I'm kind of adapting to it still from UoL, but if you have the good rotations, good shotcalling, you can nearly always win from a snowball.
You mentioned adapting to Origen, but it looks like you're fitting in pretty well. Were there any expectations the team had of their mid laner that you weren't used to?
I think the biggest adaptation for me was the shotcalling. I wasn't really used to that. If mithy, for example, was calling for "push bot, push mid, we rotate into the jungle," and stuff like that, I need to get used to that and adapt to it fast. I think we found ourselves yesterday, our last day of scrims, for the matches today. We don't have the best synergy yet, but the shotcalling is pretty good right now.
So you just clicked as team as recently as yesterday?
Yes, just yesterday, that was the point where we actually felt really good about shotcalling, rotations, and stuff. I felt the full potential of the synergy at once. I think it's coming in the next months.
It sounds like you feel like there was a moment where everything clicked. Can you talk a little bit about that moment or what you had to understand in order to achieve it?
For me, personally, when the moment clicked, it was about Amazing and mithy doing calls. Maybe they are both doing different calls. I think sometimes I personally need to make a decision—am I going to follow that or that? I think yesterday I realized how I could better decide and make better decisions than the days before, and I think I always went for the right decision afterwards.
I know on Unicorns of Love, you played slower games with stacking Tears, and Origen, at Worlds, also focused more on the late game. Here, it seemed like your team was much more aggressive. What led to that adaptation? Is this something the team was already doing when you started practicing with them?
Origen gives me the freedom of choosing TP and getting some map pressure or they will support me if I want to go for the Ignite or the Exhaust. In that case, they try to back me up with wards or just map pressure with level two ganking. I think Origen just tries to make me feel comfortable, and it's working out.
xPeke said you'll be rotating with him. What is your expectation for how often you'll be playing mid for Origen?
It depends on who can adapt to the meta better. You can't really predict it for now, and there will be a lot of different changes: nerfs, buffs, so it's hard to predict.
One thing in the patch notes kind of made me think of you a little bit. The AP ratio efficiency of the Rod of Ages increased. I know you like to play a lot of champions that build that like Swain or Orianna or maybe even Cassiopeia. Do you think that will put you in a good spot for next year?
Cassiopeia I feel is really strong because Will of the Ancients costs less, Abyssal costs less, two really good items on her. It kind of depends on the game and what team compositions are. The new mastery, Death Fire Touch, is really strong on her because every poison tick pops it.
There are a lot of buffs to different champions. Orianna is always there. I didn't play Viktor much, I think Viktor is kind of out of it. I didn't feel he is too strong anymore, but I guess I need to experience that in the preseason.
It sounds like you guys have mostly been focusing on 5.21, then, not the preseason?
We tried to scrim as much as we can on the old patch, but in EU, we didn't find too many scrims. Mostly, we changed between playing scrims on the new patch and on the old one, which was kind of hard. We played with different items, against different champions, so as soon as the day before last, the time it took to fly to NA, we started scrimming more, and had all our time scrimming on the old patch, so that was helping us a lot to get ready for IEM.
What do you think is the biggest difference you feel on Origen besides the shotcalling in terms of team dynamic from Unicorns of Love?
I think sOAZ and Niels make us a triple threat team. I think sOAZ can carry games on his own. Yesterday, we saw his Rumble, or Niels with his Tristana play. I just think we have a lot of strengths and not many weaknesses, so I think I can always fall back to playing Orianna, but just not as an engage with Shockwave. I think I can just stay in the back with speed buffs on Niels, and just enable him to carry the game. I can be in a safe spot.
It's the same if I'm playing Cassiopeia, I can make Flash engages or on Kassadin I can split push to victory. I feel really confident when I'm playing with them.
There's a perception that if you do have a triple threat team, it can sometimes be hard to coordinate and distribute resources. Do you feel like that's challenging on Origen?
I don't think so. sOAZ is someone who, if I asked him to go for something defensive on top lane so I can carry, I think he would go for it. He's a guy who is smart and quite team-oriented. He would lose his good matchup for my good matchup, for example.
Niels, I don't think he cares too much about the matchup, so it's the same with regards to him. We have an engage support with mithy. I really like engage supports. And Amazing is always providing a lot of vision and being at the right place at the right time. I think it's good.
You played Kindred as a flex. Mostly, your team played it as an AD carry. What do you think are the differences and benefits of playing it in each role?
Niels said that she doesn't have any bad matchup other than Kalista because Kalista can stack the spears in her. The minute the ultimate runs out, Kalista can kill Kindred instantly. He said against any other matchup, it's really good.
He said it's a lane bully, and I think the stacks are kind of working similar. One game he got a lot—like five or six even as an AD carry. So I don't think stack differences matter too much. I think it's just a mobile AD carry, a little like Kalista and Vayne.
Kindred might fit a bit better in the AD carry position than the jungle position. I think in the jungle position you need something a little more tanky. That's why sometimes we saw it build Trinity in the jungle. Gragas is something also that's just strong.
Overall, it seems like Origen is in a good position, and from this interview, it seems like everything is gelling well. Do you think the environment will continue to be conducive and natural?
For now, we're going to have our team vacation in Amsterdam, just some time having fun. After that, we all go back home. After Christmas we start scrimming, and I don't think the atmosphere will change a lot.
Do you have any goals for this coming LCS?
Last time, with UoL, I reached second place in Spring split. This time, I want to win it. Other than that, reaching Worlds is my goal, and I'm pretty sure that I can achieve that with Origen.
Kelsey Moser is a staff writer for theScore eSports who covers LPL and the EU LCS primarily. You can follow her on Twitter.