When looking back at Risto “SirNukesAlot” Luuri’s experience in the European Challenger Series (EUCS), it can be summed up as a series of unfortunate events. After being reversed swept by Huma in the Spring 2016 EUCS Finals and losing to Giants in the Summer Promotion tournament, SirNukesAlot went on to have a lackluster appearance with Nerv. After that, he decided to go back to finish up school and give university another chance, which meant putting League on the backburner. But his competitive drive couldn’t be quelled and, after a chance meeting with Charly “Djoko” Guillardin, he was given an opportunity to try out for the Giants Gaming roster.
Now back on the competitive stage, SirNukesAlot is ready to help Giants take aim at playoffs. We caught up with him to talk about his time in university, playing in the LCS, and if he thinks traditional bot lanes still have a place in the meta.
You used to play for the Challenger roster of Copenhagen Wolves. What was it like playing in Challenger back in 2016?
SirNukesAlot: In the first games, I was really nervous like I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but I felt comfortable and I felt like we did really well. But actually, we ended up in fourth place and it was pretty close. When we finally got to the Playoffs, we played against the first seed, Millenium, and somehow we just stomped them. I got confidence from that.
We played in the Finals and we started the series with a 2-0 lead against Huma. In the third game we got a huge lead, but then people started throwing and we didn’t know what to do to recover and we ended up losing. The fourth game went the same way. In the fifth game, I believe we were in the base or something and four people were like, “Go back, go back!” while one person was saying, “Go in, go in!” We tried to go in but we got aced and then we lost.
After Copenhagen, you played with Nerve and a little known EU mid laner called Caps. Did you think that, if he got into the EU LCS, he’d be a dominant performer?
"He’s kind of a coin flip player. I couldn’t believe Fnatic picked up a coin flip player. I just thought: 'Well… that’s interesting.'"
SirNukesAlot: When I got onto the team, I saw the names Caps and Upset. Caps was really good in solo queue, so I was happy with that and with Upset as well. But when we started playing, the first games Caps was kind of feeding them and not playing very well. Then, in the last few weeks, we were like, “Okay, we need to win these for sure.” Then, I think Caps kind of trolled one game and then also trolled the last game.
We ended up like fifth or sixth place and it didn’t end up so well. But then I saw Caps in Fnatic and I was like “Wow, how did that happen?” In solo queue you know he sometimes feeds and sometimes he does really well. He’s kind of a coin flip player. I couldn’t believe Fnatic picked up a coin flip player. I just thought: “Well… that’s interesting.”
Is the SirNukesAlot story one where you've tried really hard to win games but everyone around you trolled?
SirNukesAlot: Yeah, I mean, I guess it’s not an intentional troll. It’s just that for them it was their first time in the EUCS so they were nervous and maybe tilting a bit.
When you joined the Nerve roster it was in the middle of the Challenger Split. What was it like to join a team that was having a rocky go of things?
SirNukesAlot: I just thought that we’d pick it up and get some wins there but I don’t know. Maybe they didn’t have enough time, because when I joined CW we started practicing one or two months before but with Nerve, it was like I joined and then the next week I had to play. That didn’t end up going so well.
After Nerv failed to qualify, you decided to go to university. Why?
SirNukesAlot: So, after Nerve, I thought, “I’m gonna chill from League.” I had been tryharding for six years straight, never taking a break. Since I had half a year off from League, I thought I should focus on my last year of school. After I finished my exams and such, I tried to get back into League, but it was kind of hard. I didn’t know that if I took such a long break that it would be so hard to get back into it. I thought I could get Challenger back really easy, but I was stuck in Master and Diamond and I couldn’t get out.
"I was starting to get real panicky. I was really wondering what to do with my life."
I decided that if I couldn't get back into League I’d go to university because my friends were going and it was really important to have an education. I went to university and I studied for like two to three three weeks -- I was getting pretty depressed. My dorm room sucked because it was so small. The thing I was studying, I didn’t feel I was understanding anything in class. I was starting to get real panicky. I was really wondering what to do with my life; no school, no league.
One day I came home from school. I played a League game and I got a huge motivation boost.
I started playing like ten games a day. I just started spamming League so much with the motivation I had. I was gaining a lot of ELO. From there I decided to quit university to focus full-time on League.
How did you end up on the Giants roster? Were you actively looking for a team?
SirNukesAlot: I think I posted that I was looking for a team, but I think it was playing with Djoko in Solo Queue. We played in the same game. I was Alistar and I was playing really well, so he decided to give me a tryout.
What about the Giants organization made you want to join despite knowing how the team was previously performing?
SirNukesAlot: I think that all the players have good potential and, for me, the main thing was to get in there. It doesn’t matter what team, I just wanted to get the experience here and prepare for the future. But Giants? We have some potential but we need to find the right way to unleash our potential.
What are your thoughts on the state of the meta?
"Before I knew exactly what I was doing in the bottom lane but now, with all this random stuff happening, I feel like I don’t know how to play."
SirNukesAlot: So, at first, I thought I was having a mental boom or something. I see a Vlad or a Yasuo bot I’m like, “What are you doing?” Before I knew exactly what I was doing in the bottom lane but now, with all this random stuff happening, I feel like I don’t know how to play, who to pick or when to roam. I think we’re getting used to it. I think nobody really likes the gold funnel strategy. Someone compared it to lane swaps back in Season 6.
When Giants lost to Vitality, it was to a very interesting bot lane of Lux with Pyke. Do you think a more traditional support can win against these bruiser or wizard support bot lanes?
SirNukesAlot: Yeah, I think some marksmen are still fine, but I think that it’s really different. For example, in the LCK they have a lot of traditional ADCs who want to push and just play a mage. But I think bot diversity depends a lot on the matchups.
Touching on the same week, you had a win where, after the pause, Betsy backdoored the Nexus. Was that the game plan all along?
SirNukesAlot: I think there was a fight at the dragon. I remember Djoko had died really fast in mid before the dragon. For me, I thought, “This game is lost.” However, Steeelback was saying, “Look at the minions, we can end!” I remember H2K was all going in on him and, because of the Nocturne ult, I couldn’t see what he was talking about. I kept thinking, “This game is through.”
When we paused, I’m just having these thoughts: “Okay - this game is over.” Then we unpause and I can see everything. I’m just like “Oh… Betsy is already in the base and nobody is defending. Okay, we can win this.” But yeah, the plan was to go for the win before the pause.
As a team, how do you guys process a win like that?
SirNukesAlot: We knew the match up and we were going to show that traditional ADC was good there. I think we made so many mistakes. Everyone on our team was playing pretty scared. That’s why it was cool that we won, since earlier in the game we were just too afraid to do anything. For me personally, it was my first time back on the stage and it was pretty scary.
Even after playing Vitality, it was still like that. Then after the game, I rewatched our play and I was like, “I know them. I shouldn’t be so scared anymore.” It was all about being too scared to play as a team, I believe.
You have a pretty long season ahead of you. Do you think Giants have what it take to turn the season around and hit a Playoff spot?
"I think we have a chance to hit playoffs this year.
SirNukesAlot: Yeah, I think we do, but last week we tried to make some changes because what we were doing wasn’t working. Also, maybe Riot will change the game to get rid the gold funnel and mage bot lane. So, maybe that will help us. I think we have a chance to hit Playoffs this year.
What do you think your weaknesses and strengths are as a player?
SirNukesAlot: Weakness? Maybe not realizing stuff quickly and maybe my communication skills. My greatest strength is laning and micro. I think I know what to do in the early and mid game.