Mateusz "Kikis" Szkudlarek has had an incredible year to date, but for the 22-year old jungler from Poland, he’s not reminiscing about the past – he’s got 2019 firmly in his sights. After making it to Worlds earlier this year with Team Vitality, Kikis has since signed with LEC newcomers Rogue, surrounding himself with an all-new squad, and he’s got lofty expectations for himself and his new teammates.
Kikis has not been one for stability, having played for an impressive number of teams (including the Unicorns of Love, G2 Esports, Fnatic, and of course, Team Vitality), but now, with a three year deal behind him and a new season in sight, he’s thinking long term – and from the sounds of things, he can’t wait to get started. With the new season right around the corner, we caught up with the new Rogue signing to find out his thoughts on building out a squad, what goals he already has in mind, and who he thinks is the best jungler in the LEC.
Rogue are something of an unknown quantity in League of Legends. What made you want to switch?
Kikis: Rogue is a new opportunity for me. After jumping from team to team I decided to sign a three year contract here to have some stabilisation in my career with building a legacy from the beginning. This organisation has one of the best structures and ideas for long-term success, and I wanted to be a part of it.
What are you up to at the moment? Have you hung out with the team yet? Who are you most excited to play with?
I am writing from a bootcamp we decided to have in Korea, so I’ve already met the team for a week. People are really troll here outside the game and do care about the game and the team as well, so we just talk all the time and discuss real life or in-game stuff if we are not scrimming or spamming solo Q. I can't wait to see what we can do together with Sencux since we have been around for a long time, and we are both very experienced when it comes to the game – and mid-jungle synergy is the most important in the game.
"This organisation has one of the best structures and ideas for long-term success, and I wanted to be a part of it."
What was your experience at Worlds like this year, and do you think you’ll be repeating the trip soon?
To be honest, it felt much less stressful than I expected it to be. I thought I was going to shake on stage since usually, every new step in my career has stressed me a lot, but I was just playing really confidently and trying my best. I learned a lot since I was only playing jungle for four months at the time, and going up against junglers that had won international tournaments taught me a lot. That’s an advantage that I’m going to have against junglers that did not manage to go out there.
"I can't wait to see what we can do together with Sencux since we have been around for a long time."
How have you been training since Worlds?
I took around two weeks off from my PC since I have been playing for the whole year, and I needed to recharge, but once I got to Korea I have been playing 14 hours a day as usual and focusing on meshing together with my new teammates.
"I am going to be better than everyone in my region."
Which champions are we most likely to see in the jungle next split, do you think?
I think it’ll probably be much the same, but there still will be a big patch before, and people figuring out different ideas – so over a month before the LEC starts, it's really hard to predict what’s gonna be played exactly.
Who in your view are the best junglers in Europe right now and why?
I don't really care who is best, or who people think is best – I believe that either I am, or I am going to be better than everyone in my region.
What are your expectations or hopes for a finishing position in the Spring Split?
Playoffs are for sure. Anything more than that is going to be decided in the process and time we have during the split, and how much hard work and dedication we put into it. I wouldn’t join here if I didn’t think we have a chance for top three this year, since the next Worlds is something I will make sure I am a part of.