The legendary Japanese LoL player, Evi, sets out on a new adventure as the first Japanese player in the European League. LoL Ninja explores the driving force behind his steadfast determination.
LoL Ninja: Hello, Evi! How is life in Europe?
Evi: Hello, LoL Ninja! I’ve already gotten used to it quite a bit.
LoL Ninja: How’s the grub over there? I was worried you wouldn’t be able to chow down on your fave sushi.
Evi: No, the food here is great! Plus, I’m so busy every day, I barely even think about sushi haha.
LoL Ninja: Yeah, that may be true. I think your transfer to the LEC was a really tough decision. What was the deciding factor for you?
Evi: To be honest, I was already planning on becoming a free agent even without an offer from Team Heretics.
I spent five years with DFM and while there were definitely a lot of good things about being with a team for that long, there were also some drawbacks.
When you get too comfortable in one environment, it can be tough to recognize what’s pushing you to grow as a player.
LoL Ninja: I see. So even if the offer from Team Heretics wasn’t there, you were already planning on leaving DFM.
Now, I heard that Mr. Peter Dun, who became the head coach of Team Heretics this time, considered acquiring you when he was the head coach of Splyce from 2017 to 2019.
Was the deciding factor for choosing Team Heretics the love call from Peter, the head coach?
Evi: Yes, Peter was a major factor in my decision to join Team Heretics. His presence was a huge influence on my choice to join the team.
LoL Ninja: Was he that much of a big presence?
Evi: Yes. He has been following me since 2017. It was not just an offer to chase headlines, but I felt that he really saw my abilities as a player.
LoL Ninja: Yeah, I don’t think it’s just a matter of “Evi, a world-famous thumbs up guy, will sell our jerseys!” type of thinking.
Evi: Well, I think there are certainly business-related aspects to it, but I felt like that wasn’t the main focus.
LoL Ninja: What kind of conversations did you have with Peter Head Coach before reaching the agreement?
Evi: The first time I talked with the team manager on a voice chat, just to have a casual conversation. Peter suddenly joined the chat, saying he was off today but decided to drop by. I was happy to see him there.
We then discussed what each of us expected from a player and a coach. I asked Peter about his thoughts on my champion pool, since he’s been following me since 2017 and I was curious to know how he sees me as a coach, for example, if he was okay with me not picking certain champions, like Aatrox, at Worlds.
LoL Ninja: What was his response?
Evi: Peter said “It’s not a problem that you don’t play Aatrox. The problem is not understanding Aatrox. It’s important to understand the mechanics, strengths and weaknesses of Aatrox, and be able to counter him.”
He also talked about my champion pool, “When G2 Esports won MSI in 2019, Wunder picked Pyke at top. Even at this year’s Worlds, Zeus from T1 picked Yone. Strong players always have pocket picks that defy common sense. Whether you play meta champions or don’t is not the issue. Your Lillia was great too.”
LoL Ninja: That’s a very reasonable answer!
Evi: Yeah, I thought so too. After hearing that answer, I felt that I could trust Peter. That was a big reason.
LoL Ninja: I see. Playing on the same team as Jankos wasn’t a deciding factor then.
Evi: They decided to sign Jankos after me.
LoL Ninja: How did you feel when you heard that Jankos was joining the team?
Evi: Man, I was like “What?! That’s crazy!”. I mean, Jankos is a legend. He’s been playing since before I even became a pro player. I was seriously blown away.
Life is just full of surprises, you never know what’s gonna happen. Just a few weeks ago I was playing for DFM, and now I’m on the same team as Jankos.
LoL Ninja: Yeah, it must have been surprising! So, you mentioned that the decision was quite difficult. Can you tell us specifically what was challenging about it?
Evi: Yeah, one was definitely my love for LJL. It’s a tough thing to leave behind, you know?
I mean, I was raised there and I feel like I owe it to the LJL to give back and help make it better. They feed me, I carry them. But, you know, I’m sure there’ll be new winds blowing soon.
Another thing was the language barrier.
I wasn’t too worried about in-game communication, but more about everyday conversations and feedback. Gotta hit the books and catch up, you know… hey there, Japanese Interview Now! (Evi was speaking with the team behind the monitor)
LoL Ninja: Who were you talking to just now?
Evi：I was talking to Jack, the ADC player.
And then there’s the part about actually performing. Can I perform well in a totally different environment? That’s the unknown.
LoL Ninja: How confident are you feeling?
Evi: Yeah, I’m confident.
To be honest, even if I can’t keep up now, I’m confident I’ll catch up. When I face a strong opponent and I can’t win now, but I’ll defeat them someday! That’s when I’m at my most passionate. That’s why I came to LEC.
LoL Ninja: It’s great to hear words that sound like you, Evi! By the way, was it difficult to make the decision to leave your family behind in Japan?
Evi: It wasn’t difficult at all. In fact, my wife was the biggest supporter. She said, “Go for it! You definitely should go!”
LoL Ninja: Wow, awesome wife, man!
Evi: She was even like “Hey, I want to come along!” haha.
So I asked the team manager if they could help us find a place to stay if my family comes to Europe and they said “Of course, we’d be happy to help.”
LoL Ninja: That’s comforting.
So, we talked about LJL earlier, but I’ve been wanting to ask this for a while. It’s about DFM’s new top laner, who’s taking over from you, Evi.
Because you were just too great, I imagine it must be tough for the new top laner. The pressure must be huge, and he might not get a fair assessment no matter what he does.
Evi: I just want to say that you can’t avoid growing in the best environment that is DFM, so just relax. I wasn’t strong from the start either. Just work hard and grow, become stronger! Not now, but in the future! That’s it.
LoL Ninja: Thank you! please give us a message.
Evi: I don’t want to make a grand farewell speech, but I want to express my gratitude.
Your unwavering support has been the driving force behind my journey, and I couldn’t have made it this far without you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
I am excited to take the stage at LEC and keep on fighting!
It’d be awesome to run into some Japanese teams at MSI or Worlds!
We are always with you, Evi! gozaru.