After an incredible 2018 season that almost saw them make it to Worlds, FC Schalke 04 are looking to double down on their form and deliver a successful 2019 LEC campaign. Part of that is bringing back jungler Jonas "Memento" Elmarghichi, who spent the past season with Team ROCCAT, and he’s heading into the new season with a renewed sense of purpose – as well as a new passion that could rival his love for League.
Ahead of the new season, we caught up with Memento as he discusses what he got up to in the off-season, re-teaming back up with Upset and who he has locked in his sights when LEC returns in January.
Hey Memento, what are you up to right now?
Memento: Right now I'm enjoying my off day and taking care of some personal business, then I'm gonna play some solo queue.
You’re returning to FC Schalke 04 after a season with ROCCAT – what did you learn from your season away from the club?
I've matured a lot since the last time I was with Schalke. I learned a lot of new aspects of the game in ROCCAT, and I think for the first time in my career, I feel like I'm working towards becoming a complete player.
Playing in ROCCAT helped me improve my game knowledge an insane amount; Blanc and Profit were really smart about the game, so they helped me understand the game at a higher level. Fredy122 also understood macro at such a high level, and I was really impressed. Not only did I learn about the game, but I also learned a lot about how people work, how I work as a player, and how the best way to improve as a team is. For that I'm extremely excited for my future with Schalke.
“I want to bring the best out of my teammates’ potential, and be open minded to everything while also helping us grow as fast as possible.”
Are you looking forward to teaming up with Upset again? What do you think you’ll be bringing to the table?
I'm excited to work with him again because I think he's one of those players who are not afraid to push his leads, and I'm the same player – I love pushing my lead to the limit. I think what I'll be bringing to the team is more aggression from the jungle, and at the same time, allowing my laners to play more aggressively. I'm also bringing a lot of teamplay as well – don’t mistake my aggression as if I only want to play aggressively, and run head first into enemy jungle – I still want to play calculated and good macro at the same time. Outside of the game I want to bring the best out of my teammates’ potential, and be open minded to everything while also helping us grow as fast as possible.
How is the squad gelling together at present? Are you all primed and ready for the new season?
I've only been with the team for a week now but I'm loving it so far – I think we have a good match of personalities, and they all seem easy to work with while also being really good players. From what I've seen, we're improving fast and I think we'll be more than ready for the new season. I think this is a team where I'll be able to bring out my full potential.
“In terms of skill, I believe this season will be the most intense and most exciting.”
Who do you think is the strongest jungler in LEC? Are you aiming for that top spot?
I’m extremely excited to face Team Vitality’s jungler Mowgli. I also think Broxah improved a lot last year, so I want to see how he works now without Caps. I don’t think any jungler is particularly strong; I think the jungler is just a reflection of the team. However, I am excited to face those two in particular.
I think all junglers in Europe are good in their own way, and it’s always fun to face different junglers. For the first time, I don’t feel threatened by any jungler; I don’t think anyone is that much better than me, or particularly worse. I believe in myself and my ability to learn and overcome any problem, rather than raw skill. I'm always aiming for that top spot ever since I joined the LCS, and I'm more focused on becoming a great team than individual performance. If we're a good team everything else will come naturally.
All of the teams are looking strong heading into the new season; are there any that you have your sights set on particularly? Who do you think will be the squad to beat?
In terms of skill, I believe this season will be the most intense and most exciting – there are no teams that are really weak. Fnatic has always been a team I'm looking to beat, because I've never been able to win against them. I think the squads to beat are gonna be G2 Esports, Misfits Gaming and Fnatic. I love facing good players, and even better, I love winning against them.
“I want to push my limits even further next season while also becoming a better person and teammate.”
Two of your former ROCCAT teammates are now at Rogue; are you looking forward to taking them on? Having played with them, do you know what to expect from them?
Yeah I can’t wait to make fun of those clowns, especially Profit; that guy made me pay for so many dinners for him in Korea ‘cause he had a rigged random game so he never lost – me and Norskeren are looking for revenge, for sure. HeaQ and I were really close in ROCCAT so I'm thrilled to give my best and destroy him. They also have my old coach, Fredy122, so I really want to beat them. On a side note, their jungler Kikis demolished me last time I faced him, so I'm looking for revenge there too.
What are your thoughts on the current meta? Do you expect it to change much when the season starts next month?
I'm loving the meta so far. It’s explosive, it’s fast and a lot of carry junglers are being played right now, but I expect Riot to do a tank patch in the Spring like they have done every year – so I'm getting ready to whip out my Sejuani soon.
“I think Abbedagge will be the one to keep an eye on – he's extremely talented, but even better, he's easy to work with.”
Tell us about your off-season; what did you get up to? Did you do anything that will help you when the season starts?
#myoffseason I picked up boxing, Started reading books, Traveled to Antalya, London, Barcelona and lastly Morocco which was my favorite. I got to go back to my roots, meet old relatives, Visit family who passed away and do alot of self reflection. I loved this offseason pic.twitter.com/BThG5IEYZp— Jonas Elmarghichi (@S04Memento) 7 December 2018
My offseason was amazing, I did a lot of self improvement stuff: I picked up boxing which was the most fun I've ever had playing a sport – I got a bit too excited about boxing that I wanted to go pro in it! So right now I have quit boxing to focus only on League, but I'm definitely picking it up again during the next off-season.
I also traveled to multiple countries and cities, including Antalya, London, Barcelona and lastly, Morocco; Agadir and Casablanca was with my parents, which also was my favourite, because that’s the place where my career kind of started. Three years ago in 2015 I was in Morocco and was struggling with going pro, but after being in Morocco for a month, taking a break from League, I came back and saw the game in a different way and I managed to climb to challenger on multiple accounts after that. So going back there made me realise how much I had been ‘slacking’; I didn’t play as much solo queue as I used to, and my mindset had changed over the years.
I was in Morocco during the free agent period and it was extremely stressful because I wasn’t getting many offers, and you heard news about other players being signed all the time, so it got me thinking that I might not have a job for next Split. It made me self-reflect on a lot of things I had done wrong this year. I'm extremely grateful to be able to play in LEC and get a second chance – I want to push my limits even further next season while also becoming a better person and teammate. So overall definitely the best off-season so far for me.
Who do you think will be the one player to watch this season?
I think Abbedagge will be the one to keep an eye on, I've played a lot of duo queue with him and I can see the potential in him; he's extremely talented, but even better, he's easy to work with. I think if we help him and he works hard he'll definitely become one of the best mids in EU. I think all my teammates are extremely talented and I'm very happy to be a part of this team.