The new decade offers Origen a much-needed fresh start, as the organisation suffered a mighty fall from grace in 2019 after failing to qualify for Worlds despite finishing as runners-up in Spring.
Origen made some of the biggest roster moves of the off-season with Elias “Upset” Lipp – who led Schalke 04 to multiple Play-off Finals – joining as ADC, and jungler Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir signing on after taking Splyce to the Worlds 2019 Quarterfinals.
The latter has come into this season full of confidence following on from what he describes as the best year of his career so far, but he’s not ready to slow down anytime soon. Xerxe’s experience from competing at Worlds clearly helped last weekend as Origen opened the season with a surprisingly dominant victory over touted title contenders Fnatic. The Romanian went into the game expecting to win, but he was surprised at the nature of the match:
“I would say it felt easy in-game,” Xerxe explains. “It felt so easy we had to give them Baron just to make it a bit more exciting. Actually, now that I think about it in hindsight, there were good teamfights, but there weren't that many kills; the game was pretty slow overall."
Xerxe jokes that Copenhagen has better food delivery services than Berlin, and that contributed heavily in his decision to join Origen, but later says he couldn’t say no to the roster that was being built:
“When they approached me they were already talking with Upset, so just looking at the roster from last year I knew they were a good team, and I knew [Mitchell "Destiny" Shaw] from Worlds because we scrimmed against his old team,” he says. “I knew everyone and what they were capable of, so to me, this just felt like a no-brainer. With this team I'm going to achieve great things in 2020."
“I feel like we're actually such a flexible team, where we can play through everyone. We can play all stages of the game.”
Having come from the Oceanic Pro League, Destiny was, to many, a major question mark over this new-look roster, but Xerxe already had faith in him and was impressed with the support’s debut. “He's an insane playmaker, he's always going to find the perfect engages,” he says. “It was his debut here, and he played flawlessly in my opinion. He was insanely good. I'm just so happy to see him play so well.”
Going forward into 2020, Xerxe is feeling an extra sense of freedom after previously carrying the burden of extra shot-calling to make up for his former team’s lack of experience. Xerxe believes that duty held him back. “I still think I was performing really well,” he explains. “But I also knew that if I could focus more on myself, I would have been even better.
“The good thing about being in Origen is everyone has so much experience, so I'm going to do my job and shotcall, but I don't feel like I have to do as much as I had to on Splyce.”
Xerxe had a difficult job last year as he had to protect his teammates in order to be set-up for the late game where the squad was at its strongest. Now however, he believes his new team can play any style that’s necessary:
“I don't feel like we have to stick to one identity necessarily; like we don't have to put a label on it and say we only play for Upset, or we only play for [Barney “Alphari” Morris]. I feel like we're actually such a flexible team, where we can play through everyone. We can play all stages of the game."
While Week 1’s victory over Fnatic could prove to be crucial for Origen going forward this Split, the real test will be this weekend’s games, as the squad faces off against two teams who are both currently undefeated: Rogue and reigning champions G2 Esports.
“We are going to challenge G2 this year.”
While the young squad of Rogue should not be underestimated, all of Origen’s players will have their eyes firmly set on taking down G2. Especially as the Worlds 2019 runners-up are in a transition period of sorts after moving Rasmus “Caps” Winther into the bot lane.
Xerxe believes his team can keep up with G2 this year, but first wants to take advantage of G2’s recent swap in this week’s game: “I think we have a good chance of beating G2, especially now that Perkz and Caps swapped and Caps is relatively new to bot lane. Obviously, they're Worlds finalists so they will be good no matter what, but I think we can get to their level. We are going to challenge G2 this year.”