LIMIT: “We’re just trying to find ourselves right now”
Schalke 04 is going through a rough patch. Just last week it was announced that the organization has sold its LEC slot to Swiss team BDS as Schalke’s football branch is in financial peril. Over in the LEC, Schalke 04 has slipped to the bottom half of the ranks. While the team did take down Fnatic in the fourth week, the squad’s inconsistency saw them drop an all-but-won game versus Astralis.
Support player Dino “LIMIT” Tot joined us for an interview to discuss his team’s struggles so far in the Summer Split. He went in-depth about the indecisiveness that’s plaguing the team when they have leads, but also spoke optimistically about the steady progress they’re making.
Hotspawn: It was a mixed weekend for Schalke 04, LIMIT. What are your takes from the games?
LIMIT: I mean, it kinda sucks that we lost to Astralis. We were supposed to win that game. I feel like, in scrims, we take those games ten out of ten times and just close it. But I don’t know, it’s just a few mistakes that snowballed into us losing a free win. It sucks. The win could’ve put us in like a five-way tie for fifth place, or something like that. Now we’re lacking one win behind them. It’s not a terrible position, but it does kinda suck, you know?
Hotspawn: During the Astralis game, it felt that you guys were very indecisive, not sure what to do with your lead. I had the same feeling when watching you play against Excel in week one. Do you notice that indecisiveness too?
LIMIT: It’s kind of a common occurrence for us and we’ve been trying to fix it. Either with approaching it directly in scrims, by changing the champions, how we play, maybe giving more agency to certain players… It’s something we recognize as a problem for sure. We’re actively trying to fix it. It’s one of the biggest issues for the team.
Hotspawn: Can you explain what’s going wrong in the team to cause these indecisive moments?
LIMIT: Well, let’s say in scrims and stage games are kind of known to be different from each other. It’s different how the teams play. Sometimes the losing team just YOLOs it and they just give you a win. They just run into you and kill themselves and give you a bigger lead. In scrims, everyone obviously wants to win, but they play differently. They get a bit more creative if they don’t have the champions to just go into the enemy and hit a hook or a stun. That’s something we had some issues with, you know? Getting stuff done when we could have an easy tool to start off with.
Hotspawn: How has this changed from before, then? I remember Schalke 04 being pretty determined in victories in the Spring Split.
LIMIT: The meta maybe impacted it a bit. There’s more possible for solo laners and jungle rather than what we had before, where it was more on the support. You could just pick Alistar, do your combo and start a fight. You can do this now, but it’s not as good as before. The meta changes, champions change. Now, you can get punished, maybe you’re not even able to hold the game, until you can get a good teamfight. So right now, we’re just experimenting and seeing what works, what fits for us.
Hotspawn: Within a lineup, there generally is a player who is the main shotcaller. How is this organized within Schalke 04? Is that maybe an issue with closing out games?
LIMIT: A designated, prime shotcaller is not something we really have. We’re all chipping in and saying what’s going on, kind of, and discussing what we’re supposed to do. In the early game, it’s mostly Kirei and then in the mid-game Broken Blade and me. But Nuclear[Int] and Neon also give their input. It changes with the champions too, right? Nuclear gets a lot more active when he’s playing Twisted Fater or Ryze. It fits those kinds of champions so he should also talk more if he plays those champions.
Hotspawn: This lineup has quite some experience combined playing League of Legends professionally. So you can maybe expect issues to be pointed out and addressed quickly. How does the team go about fixing issues?
LIMIT: The issues are addressed the moment we spot them. We, as the players and the coaching staff, see them and feel them. We’re like “Man, we really suck at this part, we should probably address it and check what’s up.” [Laughs] It’s not that we’re not seeing that the problem is there, or that we’re not addressing it. It’s just that… maybe we’re not actively pushing to fix it. It’s kind of hard to explain.
As you said, we have experience, so it shouldn’t be that big of a problem. In a vacuum, where single players can do stuff themselves, it’s obviously different. But when you play in a team with different individuals, who might have a different game overview than you, it can get messy.
Hotspawn: So you’re still figuring out how to play as a squad together?
LIMIT: Well, recently the mid lane got a big meta shift, especially with the changes to the mage items. We’ve been playing AD mids and AP jungles in scrims for two, three weeks straight and we were doing fine in them, actually. With the meta changing we have to adapt and kind of relearn the game again. We’re just trying to find ourselves right now.
Hotspawn: Something people might be wondering about is how the announcement of Schalke 04 selling their LEC slot to BDS affected the team. We know that most of your contracts would run out at the end of the year anyway. Still, did the sale impact you at all?
LIMIT: Not really. We talk about it, obviously, it’s the future of the team. But when it comes to practice, when it comes to LEC games, no one talks about it and no one mentions it. I don’t know if anyone thinks about it or if it gets into their head that this is happening, but for me, I don’t see it as a big issue or as an excuse for what is happening.
Hotspawn: You don’t let it affect you.
LIMIT: Nah, I don’t it affects anyone really.
Hotspawn: Looking forward, as you said, you’re not too far behind other teams and we’ve seen Schalke 04 recover from worse positions, albeit with a different lineup. Given the progress you’ve seen from your team, what are realistic expectations for the second half of the Split?
LIMIT: I feel like the games we played against Fnatic and Astralis were a decent indicator of what we can do. I agree that it really should have been a 2-0 week for Schalke, and I think people would talk differently or feel differently about us then. We’re on a steady improvement rate now. I think in week two or three we stagnated a bit and dropped some games, which sucked, but what can you do? [Laughs] You have to accept it and move on. But now I feel that we’ve addressed most of the problems that we had before. We changed—and we really needed to change things, of course—pretty fast.
We’ll see. Also, with the LEC coming back with on-stage games, it will be a good way for us to reset. We can go up from here.
Hotspawn: Are stage games going to give you a benefit?
LIMIT: I like playing on a stage, especially the LEC stage. I just feel good there. I think we’ve all played on-stage except for Nuclear[Int], he didn’t play a single game on stage. Ever. [Laughs] So it’s gonna be fun to see how he does and how he feels. It might take some time for him to adjust, but maybe he just goes there and smurfs. Hopefully! But I’m excited to go there and play. It’s a different feeling than just staying in the office and playing the LEC games.
Hotspawn: To round up, is there anything you’d like to say to the Schalke 04 fans?
LIMIT: Just thanks to everyone. This is the last Schalke Split—I’m not gonna say ever because who knows what happens in the future, right? But it’s the last one for now. We’re all gonna try to make it a good and memorable one at least. We had a strong Spring Split and I just hope that we can round it up with a good Summer Split as well. And who knows? We’re only at the halfway point, so everything can happen. Keep cheering for us and be excited for another miracle run. [Laughs]
Schalke 04 plays their next game in the LEC against SK Gaming on Friday, July 9th, at 6 PM CEST. You can watch the game live on the official LoL Esports website.