The second seed from the French LFL, Team BDS Academy, are currently one of the two undefeated teams at the Amazon European Masters 2022 summer. The other is the LFL’s fourth seed, GameWard, which they will be facing on September 21st after they swept fellow LFL team Vitality.Bee 3-0 in the recent quarterfinals match.
Mid laner Steven "Reeker" Chen is a newer addition to their team, signed for the Summer Season after his spring stint with the MAD Lions. He spoke to us after the match against Vitality.Bee and talked about some of the players and teams at this EU Masters, a message for his former teammates at GameWard and the differences between his time at MAD and BDS now.
Megalodontus, BLIX.GG: First and foremost, thank you so much for doing this interview with us at BLIX.GG. The game against Vitality.Bee. I know you've talked about it quite a bit on the post-match interview on broadcast, so walk me through some your takeaways from the game and were you guys expecting a straight 3-0 victory coming into the match?
Steven "Reeker" Chen: I cannot really speak for the team, but for me personally, I was feeling a stomp. I knew that they were having many issues in the draft and also when it comes to teamfighting, some of their carries are not really able to dish out the damage that’s needed. Even if the game went badly for us, their teamfighting will always be inferior to ours. Additionally, we just played the map better and we were stomping lanes.
BLIX: Since you guys seem to teamfight very well, who do you think are the best teamfighting teams in EU Masters so far, at least from what you can see?
Reeker: The best teamfighting team, hmm…I mean, back when we were playing the LFL, LDLC OL was always really good. But now that they played against Dusty, I don't know if they had a bad day like we did against LDLC in the finals. Normally, they should be good teamfighters.
For the other teams, honestly, I haven't really watched them that closely. I just watch the draft, my coach tells us they do this and that and then we watch replays. Normally…I play Teamfight Tactics when other EU Masters games are going on [laughs]!
Solo queue is really weird right now… because the LEC contenders are gone, there are no specifically good mid laners playing solo queue and it's also on another patch. If I played Azir on the live patch, It will be much different to when I would scrim with it, so I don't want to potentially confuse myself.
BLIX: Is this the secret to be a really good mid laner or player in the European Regional Leagues (ERLs) then? Just play more TFT?
Reeker: [laughs] I mean, I’m watching the streams from a lot of Royal Never Give Up players like Shi "Ming" Sen-Ming, Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-Hao and Yan "Wei" Yang-Wei. Xiaohu spams solo queue but all the other ones are also spamming TFT, which gave me a good feeling, you know? The team that I really like, all of them are playing TFT and even streaming it!
“Even when I was a rookie in the LEC, I had a playstyle but I was not really able to express that playstyle in MAD… It was mostly also probably MAD thinking since I was a rookie, they needed to teach me how to play the game and other stuff. But I knew how I wanted to play and it was a bit different to what the team wanted. It's hard because I just didn't fit but I liked the people at MAD.” - Reeker
BLIX: That’s the headline then, just play more TFT!
On EU Masters
BLIX: Moving on, when you mentioned mid laners. In your experience in EU Masters so far, who do you think are the best mid laners or players in your opinion?
Reeker: For mid laners from the remaining teams, I would say Lee "Ruby" Sol-min from Unicorns of Love Sexy Edition is pretty solid. I think Ruby is better than Paweł "Czekolad" Szczepanik and Jérémy "Eika" Valdenaire, assuming Unicorns wins their match. But if I had to pick one, I would pick Ruby but I think overall Eika is also pretty solid.
For players outside of my team, it’s quite hard. I would probably pick someone from Unicorns or LDLC. Kim "Winsome" Dong-keon for USE, and Martin "Yike" Sundelin or Thomas "Exakick" Foucou from LDLC.
BLIX: You’ve mentioned USE a few times and as someone who has played and won the Prime League before, what do you think of the strength discrepancy between the Prime League and the LFL right now?
Reeker: We had SK Prime in our group and they weren’t too good. But I think Unicorns is an exception because they play the game differently and they have very good players, in particular Ruby and Winsome. I think the gap for USE compared to LFL teams is not big. But for the other Prime League teams…that gap is sizable.
BLIX: Onto the next match, you will be facing GameWard and two of your former teammates in Dawid "Melonik" Ślęczka and Philippe "Akabane" Le from Berlin International Gaming in 2021, in the same stage of EU Masters as well. What do you think of this matchup and do you have anything to say to them?
Reeker: Honestly, I would call myself their senpai so…I think they are no match for us. Vitality.Bee beat GameWard in LFL and we just swept Vitality. So if they’re reading this, I would say to them it was a nice journey, but it ends here now.
BLIX: Let's see what they say!
Fitting in with BDS.A
BLIX: Moving in line with the EU Masters, you joined BDS.A from your time in the LEC with MAD Lions. I’d like to ask generally, how are you fitting in with the team so far? Because you guys look exceptionally strong at the moment.
Reeker: I think when I was in LEC, I didn't really get to show the player that I really am. It's hard to nail it down to one thing, but generally, I didn't really feel comfortable and I didn't fit in in that environment. That it is currently working a lot better in BDS, it does make me happy and it also brings results not only for the team, but also for my individual performance.
BLIX: What would you say are the main differences being with BDS.A that has made you feel more comfortable to be the player that you are at the moment?
Reeker: Even when I was a rookie in the LEC, I had a playstyle but I was not really able to express that playstyle in MAD. After I got benched I realised, “okay, this is how I actually want to play the game”. I found what works for it and I could visualise it.
It was mostly also probably MAD thinking since I was a rookie, they needed to teach me how to play the game and other stuff. But I knew how I wanted to play and it was a bit different to what the team wanted. It's hard because I just didn't fit but I liked the people at MAD.
At BDS, I think I fit in better personality wise and also in here, I am not a rookie, right? I can finally tell people how I want to play the game and I think that has been the biggest difference.
BLIX: Touching on that point a little bit then because in BDS.A, a team with experienced players, would you say you’re the leader of the team, like the primary shotcaller and the one who makes the general plans? How does the team work?
Reeker: Yes, I would say so. For the early game, I play my lane out and then Théo "Sheo" Borile does his own thing. But when it comes to the mid-game, I think I'm the one giving the team some structure and how we want to play the game as a team.
BLIX: This is interesting, because I recall there was an interview quite a while back and your former teammate Norman"Kaiser" Kaiser mentioned that they “needed more of a voice in the mid lane”. From your time in LEC and with MAD Lions, was this something that you actively worked on coming into BDS.A?
Reeker: I don't think it's something I actively worked on, it was more like, it came out again. At MAD Lions, it wasn’t easy to express myself, so that aspect automatically went down as well. But in BIG for example, I also was doing what I do now very confidently.
BLIX: For BDS.A, and they seem to work quite in tandem with the LEC team. How closely would you say that you guys work with the LEC team in comparison to MAD Lions and their academy team?
Reeker: I would say it's about the same because when you're in the LEC, you don't want to actively swap players, right? BDS said they would like to have a good connection between the players, but I think it's not that easy when you're not that close. For example, I wouldn't just randomly send Ilias "NUCLEARINT" Bizriken to ask him about some matchups he played. I mean, it's a bit cocky to say it but I think highly of myself and eventually, I would like to fight for the main spot.
We have scrimmed each other at the start of the season and we even managed some good results against them on occasion, but at some point we scrimmed each other less and less. But also, in the break between spring and summer we did go to Korea together, all ten of us. I think during that time period, there were some new friendships made there. It’s just for me, I'm not that close with the main team.
BLIX: So, for yourself, right now you guys are in a very good position for EU Masters and you got second in LFL. Generally speaking, what are your goals now and what are you working towards?
Reeker: For me, I want to get back into LEC where I can express the playstyle that I was missing. Because it's no secret that I was really, really dogshit in MAD Lions. I'm not sure everyone knows, but for me personally, yeah, that was not me. It was only my nametag there.
BLIX: Fun question before we end then, do you think MAD Lions will make it out of Worlds 2022 Play-ins?
Reeker: I mean, there's two out of the group that can make it out and they have RNG in their group, so they would probably finish second place. I don't know if there's another team that can threaten them…
Well, DRX is in the same group…
Reeker: Oh my god, DRX is there? I think…this is hard but, it's like my gut feeling. I think they will not make it out.
“I think the gap for USE compared to LFL teams is not big. But for the other Prime League teams…that gap is sizable.” - Reeker
BLIX: Well, at least you're honest If nothing else. We've come to the end of the interview, do you have anything else you’d like to say or any shoutouts you'd like to give?
Reeker: Thank you. My family's watching every game so I would really like to thank them for their support. Also, my girlfriend who has nothing to do with League of Legends is watching my games too, so I’d like to thank her [laughs]. It's kind of cute since she doesn't understand anything!
Thank you, Reeker, and best of luck going forward. The EU Masters Knockouts resumes on September 21st, and you can catch it on the EU Masters Twitch channel.