It has not been a great League of Legends European Championship (LEC) split for Astralis so far. Everybody would assume that a team this far down would throw in the towel but their new, ambitious young jungler, Doğukan “113” Balcı, believes that there is still a chance for them to hang on and make it to the next stage of LEC.
We spoke with Balcı about their game against BDS, predictions on how the season will go, his LEC experience, and the most important topic of all: his emote usage.
Aykut Sapaz, BLIX.GG: Hello 113, thank you for your time.
Doğukan “113” Balcı: You’re welcome.
BLIX: Before we talk about this match, I will ask you the question in everyone’s minds: What is your keybinding for emotes? That’s what everyone is wondering right now. Is it your mouse, or a button on your keyboard? How do you do that?
113: It is bound to the “T” button, a habit from CS:GO. I used to spam emotes all the time in CS:GO. And I do it for APM, I don’t swipe to select the emote. The emote pops up simply when I press T. So, I spam emotes just for APM, to keep my hand warmed up, not in a BM or disrespectful way. That’s it.
BLIX: Wow, that is pretty interesting, you know, since everyone perceived it as more of a BM.
113: Nope, it’s not BM.
What went wrong in the game?
BLIX: That was an interesting match. The problems started to emerge in the jungle at level 1. Were you expecting such an aggressive game with smite fights?
113: Well, there were 3 smite fights and I lost all three of them. The first one at the Red, I couldn’t win because the enemy used flash-auto-E combo and also, I wasn’t expecting it. I could’ve won the other smite fights, especially the ones in Herald or drake. Both our game plan and what he wanted to do was- I mean if they would’ve gone five mid, I was planning to invade the enemy Blue on my own. So that was our game plan, but they played our game plan on us. I should’ve guessed. It’s all my fault.
That was the reason we lost the early game, Wukong reached level 6 before me and they won the drake fight, etc. That’s it, it was a really weird game due to level 1.
Image: Riot/Michal Konkol
BLIX: It really was a weird game. At some points, it seemed like you still had a chance because Kobbe was pretty ahead. Were there any moments in this game that you thought caused you the match? When was the breaking point?
113: Well, when we lost the 4th drake, it was kinda obvious that we probably were going to lose the game. They were very ahead of us, we couldn’t get positions at drakes whatsoever. And when you look at the other team’s comp, they all had champions that required flanks. Sylas, Wukong, Jax, and Jhin can play from mid and Heimer as well. If you give these two champions flank, you can’t win any drake fights and that was what happened because we couldn’t push any of the side lanes since we were behind due to having a bad early game.
We would probably win if I could’ve played better, the level 1 thing did not affect the game that much- I did not give a solo kill. I should’ve played better after that. The drake fight was kind of the breaking point for the game because they took our summoner spells. Herald was another one, kind of. We started on Herald, and they got it, etc.
BLIX: So, you’re saying that in every fight, one by one, the game was dismantled away.
The second half of the season
BLIX: This was Astralis’ 5th loss, half of the season is over, and it seems like things are going kinda… How do you think this can be fixed? What are the things that should be primarily worked on in this situation?
113: I mean, we have to win the next 4 matches, there seems to be no other way, and there really is not much to say. We need to play better. Honestly, practice was going pretty well, everyone thinks that we are the worst team and that we are in last place, but we were beating most of the teams in practice and our win rate was around 60-70%. However, we weren’t able to reflect that on our performance on the stage, and we are 0-5. I guess we are 0-5 now.
There are 4 matches remaining and we need to win them all by playing better. There isn’t much to explain to correct.
BLIX: So, you’re saying, in general, more practice and better playing?
Image: Riot/Michal Konkol
BLIX: We’ve seen Astralis in the previous seasons gaining a bit more power, taking down strong teams, altering placements, and rising late in the season. So, we’ll see, you still have a chance. No eliminations yet. But which teams do you think will be eliminated? Which team or two teams could be eliminated?
113: I mean, well… I don’t know, it depends on whether Excel wins or loses today. I don’t know for sure if they won yesterday, the scoreboard. I know that we are in last place but there were some teams- the good teams should defeat the worse teams on the scoreboard for us to come out. And we need to win every game. If you ask me who would be eliminated as of now, I thought Heretics would be eliminated at the beginning of the season, but they are doing good now.
I also thought MAD Lions would be eliminated as well, they were doing worse in practice. Right now, Fnatic seems to be in a bad place I guess, we also have a match against Fnatic. Maybe we can eliminate them. I can say Fnatic, but I don’t know about the second, Excel maybe. We have a match against Excel as well. If we win those two matches, we can eliminate them and move up.
The LEC experience
BLIX: We’ll see. You have a lot in your way, all eyes are on you right now. How does it feel to be in the biggest league, in LEC, what it’s like?
113: I don’t think there is a significant difference. It feels normal, I think, at least for me. I’ve played in the French league, the Spanish league… Of course, there are better players, they make fewer mistakes and punish mistakes harder. But, as I said, I don’t think there is much of a difference, many players came to LEC from ERLs and EMEAs, rookie players.
I used to play against them too, and I’m playing the same way now. It doesn’t feel very different, it’s just that there are some players that feel different in the way they click, play, etc. For example, I would say Caps and Hans Sama. They feel different, they play a lot different than the other players in terms of clicks, mechanics, etc. Yeah.
BLIX: I’m glad it’s an environment that you’re used to. What about playing in front of an audience? How does it feel on the stage?
113: Well, I have played on the stage many times in the past, in the French league and Spanish league. So, I didn’t feel a big difference, only on my first match- against Heretics, I was excited. My heart was beating so fast. I think it also affected my play a bit. I should have won us that match. I did not play that well afterward. We should have won that match especially after getting first blood. I did not play that well after that.
As I said, I am used to the stage and there are not many fans on the LEC stage, there are not many slots. So, it is not disturbing in terms of noise and also visually.
BLIX: Alrighty. I’m glad the studio is convenient for play, and we’ll see whether Astralis can do a Schalke miracle run or not. Lastly, would you like to say anything to the Astralis fans?
113: To be honest, we don’t have a huge fanbase. I don’t know where this interview will be published, but I can tell my Turkish fans to keep on supporting and I love all of them so much, even though you are a minority. That’s all.
Feature Image: Riot/Michal Konkol