Gilius: “I don’t see a reason why we would not take the Spring Split seriously”
Schalke 04 won’t be needing a Miracle Run in the LEC Spring Split, it seems. Whereas both Splits last year kicked off with a much-memed 0-4 (and worse) start, the team bounced back strongly from a meager opening weekend to win both of their games in the second week. Even G2, who had started the Split dominantly, bit the dust against the Royal Blues. A big relief for Schalke’s jungler, Erberk “Gilius” Demir.
On Sunday, after everything was said and done, Gilius sat down with us for an interview. He told us how Schalke 04 had pivoted quickly after an underwhelming opening week, and what allowed them to shift gears so quickly. Gilius also spoke about his team’s mindset heading into the LEC this year, and how he has taken on a new role to help the team to succeed this year with two new players on the roster.
Hotspawn: Welcome Gilius, and congratulations on the 2-0 weekend! That must have felt pretty good, especially after the underwhelming start in the first week.
Gilius: It definitely felt good. After the Super Week, we were very, very unsatisfied as a team with how we were playing, and how we had transitioned our scrims to the official matches. We sat down, had a crisis talk, and talked about the fact that we would need to change a lot of stuff. How we play the map, and how we play together. Our communication was very poor in the Super Week as well. And I was part of that. I was talking little because I thought that, with this roster, it might be better if I talked less. This is what I felt from the scrims.
Usually, Broken Blade and LIMIT would just take over the comms and I could just farm camps and chill. But then I quickly realized that I am actually a big part of this team. The guys told me this in person too. They were like: “You have to be the main guy for us to work. You have to coordinate a lot of stuff. You have to pick up our slack as a jungler.” I’m really happy doing that, so I started to do it. I think it works better.
Hotspawn: That’s an interesting development. I remember watching the Schalke 04 2020 documentary that Odoamne and Dreams were the ones trying to get you guys in line. So, how has that dynamic shift been for you, where you have to speak more?
Gilius: Well, in the documentary it could be taken wrong. It was mostly Odo and I who were making plans. I was never to be heard in the voice comms, but I was the guy in the background planning, and Odo would make the final call about what’s best to do. So Odo was definitely the shotcaller. But I mean, in the final Miracle Run games, there were even games where Abedagge was just shotcalling everything. [Laughs] The guy would go 10-0 on Corki and still shotcall.
But yeah, when you change one to two players, it’s a huge change actually. You think ‘Oh, it’s only two guys’, but for us, it’s a lot. Odoamne was a big voice, so when he’s gone we have to change stuff; maybe I need to talk more now? And actually, even when Odo was on the team, I think I could have done a lot of stuff that he was doing. I think he was doing a bit too much for a top laner. I kind of felt bad for him too. The guy would have to talk so much, even though he has to actually play his top lane. So now, for me, I’m getting used to this new role.
Hotspawn: You mentioned that Schalke 04 had a crisis talk too. That’s pretty early on in the season when you still have many weeks to go, and you can also think ‘alright, rough start, but we’ll come online later’. Why did the alarm bells go off already?
Gilius: The big difference is that Schalke 04 has always had the mindset in the last years that the Spring Split is to build synergy, and that it’s a work in progress. Results are not needed: we just need to find ourselves. The Summer Split is where the stakes are at. And this concept makes sense for a team like G2 or Fnatic, in my opinion. They have the star power to just tryhard in the Summer Split and get a good seeding for Worlds. I told everyone, and I think all of us agree on this, that the Spring Split actually matters for us. Schalke 04 has always struggled in the last best of five that mattered for Worlds. You can just avoid that by being successful in the Spring Split and gather more Championship Points.
So I told them: “Yo guys, let’s just give it our all in the Spring Split already and make the Spring Split finals.” Then we can do the same in the Summer Split, and we’ll have a much higher chance to go to Worlds, right? I don’t see a reason why we would not take the Spring Split seriously. We didn’t go to Worlds. I can see someone like Wunder playing WoW, but that guy plays all year. He’s busy. I can see why Jankos streams. I can see why Fnatic members take it chill in the Spring Split. But we have to go all-in from the start already, I think.
Hotspawn: Going all-in from the start does, of course, come with a risk. There’s a chance you will burn out before you get to the games that matter. I mention it because it’s what G2 players have said happened to them in 2019, for example.
Gilius: So, burning out… How do I explain it? I think it’s from person to person. It depends on how much you actually love what you’re doing. I don’t burn out in this job because I just like playing video games, and I actually like playing League of Legends. Even though there is a lot of fucked up shit in this meta, and solo queue brings out the worst in me, I just enjoy playing. I like sitting at home, just chilling and playing, listening to music. As long as I enjoy the game, I think I’m not at risk of burning out.
For my teammates: I think they’re all professional enough to know their boundaries. I see some teammates play less, for example. But they look the healthiest. Then there is a player like me, and if I play the number of games that the person who plays very few games plays, I would play like shit. So it’s a very person-to-person thing. Everyone has to be professional enough to know what he’s capable of. Burning out is in the back of our minds for sure, but think we can deal with it.
Hotspawn: It’s good to hear that your teammates already have found their groove and know their limits. Talking a bit more about the team itself: we saw a very driven, high-energy Schalke 04 during the Miracle Run. What is the atmosphere like now?
Gilius: We have the mindset that we’re taking it game by game, and we’ll try to improve. There are still many things that we can do better. But from a motivation standpoint, it’s on the same level as during the Miracle Run for sure. People are just excited to play. Broken Blade brings a lot of fun to the team. This guy has a joke for every scenario. I don’t know, it’s just so fun, you know? LIMIT is an ex-teammate of mine, and I really wanted him to join us. And man, this guy has evolved so much as a person. He’s a lot calmer, he’s so professional now. When I ask him about his routines, he’s like: ‘Yeah, I have to do this and that to perform,’ and I’m like “Hell yeah!”, you know? And then when he does his routines, whatever the fuck it is he wants to do, he performs. I’m really happy right now.
Hotspawn: You seem really happy. You’re glowing when talking about your teammates.
Gilius: Yeah, it’s good. It’s probably the first-ever roster in my career that I was just so excited about in the offseason. I’m so happy to play with all of them.
Hotspawn: You mentioned the growth that LIMIT has gone through since you last played with him. But you must also have developed over the past years. Events like the Miracle Run, or having to fight yourself back into the LEC. Do you notice how you have developed?
Gilius: Sometimes LIMIT also tells me how I have changed. In some scenarios, when someone is going at me in the review room and they’re going wild at me. LIMIT told me: “I was expecting you to fight back, or become emotional.” But he said that I am a lot calmer nowadays, and a lot more open-minded. I don’t take things too personally in the team. I think I’m just easier to work with. I don’t cause trouble, I try to just do my job. I’m still a bit annoying, probably, when it comes to in-game stuff when someone is doing something bad, or if it’s not according to how I wanted to play it. I can be annoying and point out a lot of mistakes. But yeah I think the biggest difference isn’t skill-wise or anything. I’m just different as a teammate.
Hotspawn: Though you guys did step up a lot this weekend, the Split is still long. What are the pointers you have for the team right now? What do you keep doing, and what needs to be improved further?
Gilius: I mean, in the Super Week there was me playing Lillia. That did not work out, right? I don’t know. In scrims it was going well, but when I picked it in official matches, it was just terrible. Honestly, I don’t know what to focus on. The game is really simple. It’s about consistency. We have to adapt a lot; there are many patches that will come, and we’ll have to learn them as quickly as possible. We have to be ahead of the meta and play what we’re good with. If I suck on Lillia, we should play it less. Stuff like that.
Hotspawn: Viego will join the squad not too long from now, so if you want to stay ahead of the meta…
Gilius: Oh yeah, shit. [Laughs] I have to learn him, he’s a jungler. I should probably start today, actually. I should use my day off to learn this champion.
Hotspawn: Alright Gilius, thanks very much for joining today. Is there a message you’d like to share with the Schalke fans?
Gilius: First of all, thanks for the interview man. To the Schalke fans, I would like to say thanks for the continued support. Even when things don’t go well, you guys are there. And when things go well, you guys are going wild on social media. So thanks, keep cheering for us, and we will work hard to make a lot of progress and accomplish something this year.
Schalke 04 Esports play their next match in the LEC against Rogue on Friday, February 5, at 6 PM CET.