“I want to build a legacy for myself in Europe...” Elias “Upset” Lipp says calmly. The 18 year old German ADC is the sole remaining member of the 2017 FC Schalke 04 EU LCS team. It feels easy to discount him, surrounded by star talent like Vizicsacsi and Nukeduck. Yet, even on a roster so full of talent, Upset seems more ambitious than ever. As a rookie in the EU LCS, Upset’s career has already shown him many ups and downs, great victories and crushing defeats. As the teams make their final preparations for the new season, we take a look back.
The Road to LCS
Upset garnered significant public attention during his time on the Giants lineup for IEM Gyeonggi in 2016. In his first match versus Team Liquid and his first match on an international stage, Upset seemed unlikely to showcase an all-star performance when he early picked Ashe. The safest bet would have been playing a safe laning phase, followed by series of Enchanted Crystal Arrows and assuming a supportive role behind Giants mid laner Na "NighT" Gun-woo’s Cassiopeia. Yet when NighT was repeatedly forced out of fights Upset was always there to take his place, flashing into the fray more often than he flashed out. For a veteran, this may be labeled as insignificant but for a rookie on his first international stage, facing down legendary names like Reignover and Piglet, it set the tone for the year to come.
Opting not to stick with Giants and forfeiting his place in the LCS, Upset instead joined Schalke 04 in the Spring 2017 European Challenger Series (EUCS) and hit the ground running. Schalke 04 earned a 10-0 record over the course of the regular season and Upset himself was the defining factor in the team’s success. Overconfidence however, would prove to be a slow and insidious killer as the team's perfect run came crashing down with a 1-3 defeat at the hands of Misfits Academy in the 2017 EUCS Playoffs . While the public was confused at how the 10-0 lineup crashed and burned, Upset saw where he and Schalke 04, had failed:
“When it came to the offline stage we had nearly zero picks and bans preparation and very little game plan. And even though everything looked great on the outside, things weren't as great internally, so we didn't really come together as a team on stage.”
The loss and the conditions that led to it would prove to be a learning experience for Upset, although perhaps his greatest period of growth loomed on the horizon.
While the Schalke 04 roster licked it wounds and readied for the next season, Upset was loaned to G2 as a substitute for MSI 2017. Upset never played a game on the starting lineup yet the experience was in no way a loss for the young ADC.
I’ve always been like a Zven fan, when I was there they actually taught me a lot and I could learn a lot how [Zven] plays, so I think it was a really positive experience for me.
This time Upset and Schalke 04 did not falter in the CS playoffs: they found their victory, taking down Team RB and their botlane of Sedrion and kaSing with a clean 3-1.
The Promotion Tournament would prove to be the final hurdle for Upset, as Schalke 04 suffered a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Giants. Fans of Schalke 04 grew concerned. Once again all of the Schalke 04’s ambition rested on a single best-of-five.
The concern proved unjustified. On Friday the 25th of August 2017, Schalke 04 demolished Ninjas in Pyjamas in a clean 3-0 sweep to earn their spot in the EU LCS. Upset had finally made his way into the top level of European competition.
This experience of learning under the G2 roster and the heartbreak that came with his loss in Spring took Upset to a new level. With a new Schalke 04 roster behind him he set his sight once again on the EU LCS. However, regular season of the 2017 EUCS was not the same easy 10-0 that Upset experienced in Spring. Yet Schalke 04 remained a clear favorite, finishing alongside Giants with a 8-2 record. Upset remained a star performer, bearing the majority of the team’s damage burden at a whooping 31.6% and rounding it out with a 8.2 KDA.
Often, when you see a rookie picked up, it is for their mechanical talent as teams are content to train up a player’s game knowledge in hopes of outclassing the opposition. While this can be a great strategy, rookies can struggle to adapt to the highest level of competitive play. Many promising players have made it through the wild brawl of top level solo queue and the team play of Challenger just to falter when they set foot on the LCS stage. Upset is confident he will write a different story. While he is mechanically gifted, mechanics aren’t what make him special.
My knowledge of the game and how I can help my team shot-call plus give input on how we should play… That’s what separates me the most from other ADCs - especially rookie ADCs.
Upset conquered his long road to the EU LCS. A new league stacked with fresh ADC talent lies in front of him and he will need to perform better than ever to compete. Fellow rookies Sheriff and Minitroupax stand ready to block his way. Veterans Rekkles and Hans Sama remain at the top of the food chain. This will be Upset’s hardest test.