The strength of the wild card regions is always among the topics of conversation during the League of Legends World Championship. Albus NoX Luna, out of the CIS region, is expected by many to finish last in Group A, and the team dropped its first game Thursday to the ROX Tigers.
Afterward, Slingshot’s Vince Nairn had the chance to talk to mid laner Mykhailo “Kira” Harmash about his expectations for the tournament, playing the first game and how he got into League.
Vince Nairn: It seems like every year at worlds, there is this entire conversation about what do the wild card regions need to do to get respect. Was that something you guys were thinking about going into the first match? Do you guys feel the pressure to do well for the wild card regions?
Mykhailo “Kira” Harmash: No. I think it’s because we just wanted to be here. That’s why we play. It doesn’t matter that we’re a wild card or something like this, we just want to be the best and do our best.
VN: This is your first time at worlds. What’s the overall experience like? How do you feel just being here?
MH: It’s almost the same just different teams. Almost the same as the wild card league, just different teams.
VN: From the standpoint of production and how many people are here, do you notice a difference?
MH: Yeah, there were less people at our finals, so yeah. Still I don’t care. I just want to play a game.
VN: How would you sum up the game overall? It seemed like you guys had a really good start, but the ROX Tigers were just really good. How would you sum up the game overall?
MH: OK. I think it was our first time when we won our early game in 100 games. So it was like, “Wow, we are winning the early game. Oh my god, what to do?” And then I failed the dive. After I failed, some things happened, and we lost. So yeah, its really cool that we won early, but what to do after, we understand but didn’t play it well.
VN: Was it almost stunning or shocking a little bit that you guys had a good early game like you said for the first time in 100 games. So did it almost take you guys off guard?
MH: Yeah we were shocked about Stejos. He won the early game and he did it solo. I just came, I was mid and pushed but I didn’t do anything else. He was destroying everyone it was really fun.
VN: Everybody’s predictions are saying that you guys are gonna be last in the group. How do you guys handle that and not let it bother you to just focus on what you’re supposed to do?
MH: We watched the game between CLG and G2, and CLG won we thought “anything can happen.” We did good in scrims, so we just need to do our best and no one will care.
VN: How did you start playing League?
MH: My friends started to ask me to play. I played but only twisted treeline because I had a daughter. I played half a year in twisted treeline not everyday, only when my friends asked. After I played 5v5, for a while, I knew the game because I played a lot so I played ranked after I was a semi-pro player in another game. After that game died, I thought “OK, let’s try League of Legends.”
VN: What was the process like getting to the point where you were to then get on a team? Did you have to do a lot of searching, or was it just based on the ladder?
MH: First time it was by sight. I was gold, almost plat, and I found some team that tried to play to challenger. We were really bad, but after a few months we beat Diamond teams. We started out as five streamers that were diamond, not even masters. We played first qualification, we failed. We played second qualification we won, and our first league was like “OK guys, you are playing together, get experience and after we will win.” And we won. It was a “wow we are amazing” moment. After this everyone in CIS started to call me Russian Faker or just best mid laner CIS. After that it wasn’t hard to find a team. They really hyped me, everyone wanted me, and I was like “I’m not so good.”
VN: How long ago was that? How long have you been on this team?
MH: I’m still there, but we started with two totally different rosters. That was two years ago. In half a year we changed two members. And after we got Smurf, we changed three members. And after this we changed again three members.
VN: What was the most important part along your path to getting to worlds? One specific game or moment?
MH: The really important moment was to win blue side at wild card when 9 games in a row blue side won, and we had to play 10 games on the red side. At our league we were 0-2 at grand final we won three in a row, and it was like, “Finally! We can win three in a row! We don’t need to lose three in a row.” The most hard thing is to win game by game by game. If you win one game you need to understand that you need to win the next one. That’s really hard.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games