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Tore: “I’ve had a pretty rough Split, individually”

Tom Matthiesen

Excel Esports is on the right track to make it for the LEC Playoffs for the first time in the organization’s history. Halfway through the Spring Split, they have a positive record of 5-4, and are making progress steadily. Still, there is a lot of room for improvement, so too realizes Excel’s support player Tore “Tore” Hoel Eilertsen.

Tore and Excel have a 5-4 score so far.

Can Tore and Excel finally make it to the Playoffs this year? Image courtesy Riot Games.

Following the team’s victory over Vitality, Tore sat down with us for an interview. The Norwegian spoke about the game, and how he sees his team progressing so far in the Split. Tore also spoke with candor about the scrutiny he has been under so far, why he thinks his performance has left a lot to be desired so far, but also why he remains hopeful for future weeks.

Hotspawn: Welcome Tore, and congratulations on the victory against Vitality. I have to say though, as a viewer, this wasn’t a very entertaining match to watch. How was it for you, as a player?

Tore: I think this game there were just two teams that were playing a bit too scared. We didn’t play too well, and neither did they. It was a low-kill game where we both just let everyone pass, kind of. We’d give them this, so we could take that. We didn’t really contest anything. We also really screwed up our Herald. It was just a bad game for both teams overall, I think. The reason we won is because we executed the team fights better, and we had a more decisive mindset at the end of the game. I guess that was the difference-maker.

Hotspawn: A win is a win, but when a game is so boring as this one, do you get the same amount of joy from winning it as you would from a different game?

Tore: Yeah, a win is a win. I mean, the only thing that was exciting was this massive team fight in the late-game, right? We played really scared, both teams. Maybe we were both joking a bit towards the end too. It happens.

Hotspawn: You ended the third week with a 2-0 score, and with the win against Vitality, you’re now on a three-game win streak. How is momentum like that perceived by you and the team?

Tore: It feels good to get a win streak of course, but it’s going to stop one day. No win streak lasts forever. For us, I guess it’s just given us more confidence. It feels really good to win games, right? Right now we’ve only won against the weaker teams, I’d say. If we do the same thing that we’re doing right now in the next part of the Split, we make it to the Playoffs. I guess we just have to keep going. We still have to take wins off the teams from the top, which is the one thing we’re missing. We’ve been struggling quite a bit with that.

Hotspawn: You’ve been playing official matches with this iteration of the roster for a few weeks now. As someone who has been on many rosters, what do you think of the growth of the team?

Tore: I mean, we had some pretty rough games. I remember another game like this one: it was against Misfits. We were completely panicking since the first minute, and we were playing horribly. We never played like this before, you know? I mean, we still get the win, right? So it’s nice, but we really play a lot worse on some days than we should.

I think it’s mostly because of the nerves. One day we play terribly against Misfits, and the next day we completely stomp SK Gaming playing really chill. Our voice comms are completely different then. It’s just that we need to find a way to keep going. Time maybe will help with that, as we get more experience from our matches together. It will help us, and I think it always did in previous Splits as well. Later in the season, it felt a lot better to play. So I have high hopes.

Hotspawn: It’s interesting that you mention nerves. You have three players on the team who have played official matches before, so where do the nerves within the team come from then?

Tore: For me, at least, I sometimes play really badly because I’m mega stressed. Maybe I’m playing a tough matchup or whatever. It can be a lot of things. But for me, playing online has not been so good. I don’t really find a lot of comfort in it and I really miss playing on the stage. But the situation is what it is. I think it can affect your teammates a lot if there’s one player on the team who’s communicating differently. So if you have a rookie on your team who is maybe choking a bit in the game, it could affect the team comms a bit. For us, I don’t think it’s been very bad, but in two or three games we had very terrible comms and I think it really shows in our gameplay.

Hotspawn: Since you mention your own performance: it has come under heavy scrutiny from the community. Do you pay any attention to that at all, or do you shut that off?

Tore: I think I stopped following the League of Legends Reddit and Twitter in like 2018. On Reddit specifically, I know there’s like a bunch of threads. I used to read them myself when I wasn’t a player yet. A lot of people are random fans, and what they write or when they shit-talk, it’s always going to be completely useless for me to read. So I don’t feel like I need to read it. Some people even DM me—you get a lot of DMs on Twitter, whether you’re a famous player or not a famous player. Every player gets it. If you have a good game, you get people praising you, right? But I mean, it’s whatever.

From watching football, the football threads on Reddit are very spicy too, I imagine. There are people completely flaming players for when they screw up, when in reality the guy is a good player and does a lot of good stuff. When a player screws up, people take advantage of that and make fun of him. But I don’t really care, honestly. I think it’s funny. I wouldn’t have it any other way, I think.

Hotspawn: It’s a very smart decision to avoid that type of criticism.

Tore: Yeah. I mean, I think criticism from your peers is something you should really take in. They know what they’re talking about because they’re professionals. If I’m getting flamed by my team or by my coach, I should take that. I should not ignore that.

Hotspawn: So let me then ask you, what do you think of your performance so far?

Tore: I think I’ve had a pretty rough Split, individually. There are some champions which I feel really comfortable on that I think I play well with. It varies a lot from Split to Split. But this Split is definitely the one I’ve been struggling with the most, I think, in terms of my individual performance and champion pool issues. But it happens. The only thing I can do is learn from it and try to improve. So I’m not too worried about it. It’s not that every night I think, in my bed, that I’m having a rough Split. I’m still working hard on my mistakes, and I think that, as long as I’m aware of my own problems and I’m not ignoring them, I think I’m fine.

Hotspawn: To round up the interview: Excel seems to be on a path where they’re finally going to reach the Playoffs. I don’t want to jinx it, of course. But if you look at the competition’s development so far, and compare it to that of Excel, how likely is it that you make it to the Playoffs?

Tore: It seems highly likely. I don’t want to think that far into the future—I just take it game by game. But yeah, it seems that some teams are already imploding. We just played against Vitality, and they had to change a player. I don’t think that they did that because of how they played, but maybe it’s because of how it’s going behind the scenes. You never know for sure, but that’s what I can imagine. I think, for us, we’re staying close as teammates. We’re good friends and we’re improving. The mood is really good. Maybe it’s because of the win streak we had. But even before that, when we had rough Splits, staying together as a team really helps. Then there is no chance that we’re gonna explode and that everything will start going downhill.

Excel Esports play their next game in the LEC against MAD Lions on February 19 at 7 PM CET.