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Deep Dive: Altec's Story

Argoroj

Argoroj

Wed 11th Oct 2017 - 12:53pm

Humble Beginnings

 
Photo courtesy of Riot Games' Flickr!

In the same vein as most, Johnny ‘Altec’ Ru began his League of Legends journey through word of mouth. “My first encounter with League was when I visited my cousin’s house and he was playing it," he recalls. “I had no idea what was going on in the game, but it just looked really fun.”

This single spark set the ball rolling for one of the LCS’s longest-standing professional players. “I’ve always looked up to the pro players in Season 1 and 2. Ever since I had my first LAN event, I couldn’t help but want more of the feeling I had when I competed,” says Altec, “I was able to meet the pro players and was overwhelmed by the atmosphere of the competitive scene. Eventually I just worked hard, and was able to join a team.”

Altec’s professional career began with landing a spot on vVv Gaming in April 2012. His talent was recognized, and he soon saw a stint with Curse Academy in Season 3, followed by TSM as a sub. He played for The Walking Zed, ultimately failing LCS qualifiers for Season 4, a lineup which then became Cloud9 Tempest.

Boots to Fill

 
Photo courtesy of Riot Games' Flickr!

Altec’s next big career move landed him on Evil Geniuses, taking the place of since-retired yellowpete. Praised for his mechanical prowess, he was deemed a strong candidate and suitable replacement. For the next year, and through EG’s rebranding to Winterfox, Altec persevered as a strong marksman, albeit with mixed results. Regularly hyped in the scene as a player brimming with potential, Altec faded in and out of spotlight, landing middle-of-the-pack achievements with teams overall.

Regardless, the desire to prove his worth remained unhindered, with Altec landing his next role on the newly-formed Gravity Gaming during the summer of Season 5 with a lineup that saw excellent results earlier in the season, but a less remarkable conclusion. This paved the way to NRG, where Altec first played alongside now-teammate Shrimp. Strong performances lead to his adoption into Cloud9 Challenger, which decimated the Challenger League and blitzed through LCS Qualifiers with flying colours. This LCS slot and lineup was passed over to FlyQuest, where Altec began Season 7.

Team Dignitas


Photo courtesy of Riot Games' Flickr!

With a well-rounded roster headlined by worldstar top-laner Ssumday, players Altec and Adrian were transferred onto the Team Dignitas lineup early in the Summer Split during their 5-1 upswing. “Everyone on the team was really welcoming,” Altec adds, “Ssumday and Chaser would always ask if I needed anything.” He was reunited with former teammates Cop, Saintvicious, Keane, and Shrimp from Gravity and NRG. “Being reunited with my old teammates felt pretty normal,” he remarks, “While it did bring back some memories, at the end of the day, we’re all here to win.”

Team Dignitas’ roster changes got off to a shaky start, with the team losing their next 4 games and dropping to 5-5. “It sucked. Losing 4 games straight right when I joined felt horrible,” says Altec. The roster soon stabilized and saw some great victories throughout the rest of the regular season, landing 5th place during the regular split with an 11-7 score. Addressing Team Dignitas’ return to form, Altec explains, “A huge part was bringing Adrian in. It gave the team a huge confidence boost, especially myself. When a new player joins the team, it gives a huge aura of motivation for others to work harder and improve.”

Altec’s stellar performances this season can be attributed to his chemistry with Adrian. “We have always wanted to play on the same team together, but never had the chance until we both joined Dignitas,” Altec explains. “Playing with Adrian, he was able to enable me to play a lot better and have a lot more confidence. We were able to do really well against every botlane during the regular split.”

The statistics back this up. Looking at the Summer Split’s bot laners in the regular split, Altec secured top 2 in gold difference at 10 minutes (+106), team damage share (27.5%), and kill participation (75%), all while maintaining the highest CS per minute (9.3). Comparing himself to the other ADCs in the League, “I think I’m good enough to be top 4. It’s important to highlight that ADCs rely on their support partner. Adrian and I are definitely a top 3 botlane in NA.”

Falling Short


Photo courtesy of Riot Games' Flickr!

Despite a decent regular split, Team Dignitas didn’t make it much further during the Summer Playoffs, securing 4th place. “Top 4 doesn’t really mean much to me because I wanted to play in finals.” Team Dignitas played Team SoloMid during semifinals, falling 1-3, which was followed by a 3-0 sweep from CLG for 3rd place. “I don’t think we were outclassed. We were just not as practiced as they were,” Altec explains. “And even though we lost to TSM in the semifinals, I want to point out that they won NALCS Summer. Looking back, I think we were just overconfident. We beat C9 in the quarters and we 2-0’d TSM in the regular season. We were highly overconfident, and didn’t take practice as seriously as we should have."

With TSM and IMT having secured the first two of three seeds for the World Championship, Team Dignitas’ last hope of making Worlds 2017 was to make it through the Worlds Gauntlet. The dream of the world championship was cut short with an upset 3-0 sweep by his former team, FlyQuest. “Even though we lost to FLY, I was happy for my former teammates because they played better and deserved to win.”

Reflections

 
Photo courtesy of Riot Games' Flickr!

Although Altec believes he still has plenty of room for improvement, he holds an appreciation for his team’s successes. Recounting his time so far with Team Dignitas, “I don’t think I have a game where I played extremely well. I’m just really glad during the regular season that we were able to beat every team besides Cloud9, and that Adrian and I showed really great performances together.” Addressing his strengths as a player, he added, "Teamfighting. I have good awareness in fights, and I'm able to excel in teamfights compared to laning". Conversely, Altec addresses his challenges this split. “The biggest challenge I have faced would be leadership,” Altec explains, “Having language barriers makes the game harder to play. Since Adrian and I have the best English on the team, we both had to step up and be a lot more vocal.”

Taking another step back, Altec discusses his personal growth over his career so far. “During the start of my career, I only really ever thought of myself and playing well. Nowadays, I play for myself and my team. Every player has to make sacrifices for their teammates in order to win, and that’s something I totally understand now.” On the importance of being a team player, he adds, “I didn’t realize that having a leader or being a leader is such an important role. I’ve always been in the backseat.” He says, “Over the past few years I’ve been able to become more assertive and vocal, and I want to keep improving this aspect of myself.” Addressing the fundamentals of any successful team, he explains, “Trust is really important - Being able to trust each other and having confidence in one another to make plays work.”

While learning technical, in-game skills through grinding practice is linear, we can see that in Altec’s case, non-technical concepts like leadership and trust are garnered through life experience and exposure - skills that transcend League of Legends.

Looking Forward


Photo courtesy of Riot Games' Flickr!

Altec has been an active player for several seasons now, and doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon. His passion for League remains, and continues to drive his personal development. “Being able to watch - and having thoughts of one day being as good as other teams - motivates me.”

Expanding on his motivation, he adds, “I’ve looked up to WE WeiXiao ever since Season 2. He was the greatest inspiration for me back then.” For those who don’t know, WeiXiao is a since-retired Chinese bot-laner who played for World Elite, often regarded as one of the greatest AD Carries. “I wanted to become the best ADC after watching him play, and I’ve worked towards it ever since.”

On his goals for the future, Altec explains, “I want to be able to be a really consistent laner. Being able to play both aggressively and defensively consistently well is the main focus for me.”

For many, eSports careers only last a couple of years, with players moving on or burning out. For some, a career without making it to the top would be considered failure. For Johnny Ru, this isn’t the case - his passion burns as bright as ever and his plethora of experiences have shaped him into an effective player and leader.

“Thanks to all the fans for their continuous support. Without you guys, I would not be here. I will improve during the off-season and come back stronger.”

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