NME Otter: "If I didn't make it this time with this team, I would not have continued"

Travis talks to NME Esports Otter about his time trying to make it into the LCS, finally getting in, and the team he made it in with.

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Last Wednesday, NME Esports earned first place in the League of Legends North America Challenger Playoffs, officially obtaining their spot in the LCS and replacing Coast.

I sat down with Otter moments after their victory to discuss his path to pro, what fans can expect from the team, and more.

GameSpot: How would you describe your journey getting into the LCS? You’ve been trying this for a long time now.

Otter: Alright, well—it was probably the most excruciating thing just because…it’s one of those things where everything has to be “right.” Like, every situation has to just work out correctly for you to win the game or win the series. It’s really, really hard. For someone that’s like me—I’m a person that wasn’t really happy. If there’s one thing wrong with the team, it kills me inside until it gets fixed and a lot of teams are completely complacent with how they’re doing. Sure, they want to get better but they don’t actually strive to get better. They just kind of play. They just keep playing, so it’s just like—with that alone, it was hard for me to find a team that I actually was able to stick with and play with. So it’s pretty hard.

Were there moments where you said to yourself, “I didn’t make it into the LCS yet. How much longer do I want to commit to this?”

Yeah, this was a hundred percent my last time. If I didn’t make it this time with this team, I would not have continued. I would’ve been done because I’ve already had two decently close opportunities that fell through or maybe I wasn’t good enough. And it’s heart breaking every time it happens.

There are a lot of people who are counting out the challenger teams and saying, "anybody who comes out of that scene right now is just going to be another Coast." How do you expect NME is going to do? Is there a chance you might end up being Coast 2.0?

I mean, there’s always a chance that any team will be Coast 2.0. But I feel like we’re a team that adapts really well. We adapt really well to the meta and to what our opponents are playing so I think when we’re in the LCS and when we start scrimming other LCS teams more regularly, I think we’ll fit right in.

What are your expectations for this coming split? Do you see your team contending for a spot at Worlds?

Nah, I don’t see us contending for a World’s spot, but I am hoping for at least playoffs.

How do you think you’ll stack up against the other AD carries? AD carry—and maybe mid—might be the role that creates the most conversation in North America. There are a lot of big names there. How do you think you’ll do?

I think I’ll just be a middle of the pack AD. Yeah, just middle of the pack.

Why is that?

I can do everything that they do, but there’s a few things that I can’t do. I need to think about this more specifically, I guess. For me, I guess I’m an open book that can play anything. So any time there’ll be a meta shift and there’ll be different picks coming in for ADCs, I’m able to adjust to it really well. I feel like a lot of ADCs aren’t really like that. You’ll see that a couple of them can only play a handful of ADCs, or even just one champion in that role. I’m not going to say who, but in that sense, I’m already better than some of the players.

It’s so much less interesting if you don’t say who.

Yeah, I’m not going to though.

Could you say a team?

(laughs) No. No, no, no. That would just give it away and I don’t want to do that.

What is it like being on NME from a team perspective? People can see what it’s like in the game and on the Rift—but what’s it like hanging out behind the scenes with these guys? Are you all colleagues? Does it feel like a family? What’s the atmosphere like?

It feels like we’re all really good friends. Everyone gets along really well. You would think that we wouldn’t because some people have completely different personalities but we get along really well. We’re definitely more than colleagues. It may sound a little weird, but yeah.

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Out of all the guys on the team, who do you think is going to be become the fan favorite?

Probably Trashy. We’ll see if he’s more open. If he presents himself like how he actually is in real life, then I think he would be the fan favorite.

Why is that?

He’s really goofy. A really goofy troll. And he also sometimes doesn’t know his limits of his conversations because he’ll take things a little too far and I think people will like that. I think it’s pretty funny sometimes—other times it’s just like come on, man.

I was talking to Nien earlier and he has sort of a cult following and you seem to also have this cult following as well. Is there anything you’d like to say to the Otter fans out there?

Thanks for sticking around, everyone. I love you all. You’re the big reason why I was able to keep going. I don’t think I would’ve kept going if there weren’t people that were saying, “You can do it.” Thank you guys.

I know you haven’t seen the teams yet, but give me your predictions for your first week in the LCS—your first two games. What’ll be your score?

We’re going to 2-0. Haha.

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Travis Gafford

Travis writes and makes videos about League of Legends, which is a game where 5 people try to crack open a crystal.

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