A rough start for the LEC side has been given a bigger blow in unusual circumstances.
Schalke 04 has had a disastrous start to the 2020 League of Legends European Championship (LEC) season as the squad has failed to record a single victory in its first six games. The organisation’s biggest signing of the off-season was the return of the legendary yet polarising ADC Konstantinos-Napoleon 'FORG1VEN' Tzortziou who spent two years away from competing full-time as he fulfilled his military service in Greece.
However, after a poor start the bot-laner has stepped down from the roster with no return date in sight. In a seething statement on his Twitter, the Greek superstar explained: “In my seven+ year LoL career, I always played to win and be competitive. As of now at least, the current roster doesn’t fit this principle.
“Schalke is unable/unwilling to make changes to fit that goal, so we mutually agreed that I stepdown until and if they are willing to do so.”
This is the second substitution Schalke has made this season as Erberk ‘Gilius’ Demir was dropped last week in favour of Schalke’s academy jungler Lukas 'Lurox' Thoma though the organisation had already planned to occasionally sub him in.
Filling in for FORG1VEN will be former Excel and Unicorns of Love ADC Nihat ‘Innaxe’ Aliev who competed in the World Championship Play-Ins last year. Innaxe and Lurox have both impressed with Schalke’s Academy team in Germany’s highly competitive Prime League. The young squad has had the opposite fortunes to the LEC team as they currently sit top of the Prime League with a flawless 7-0 victory. However, Innaxe will have to pull double duty and play in both as, unlike Gilius, FORG1VEN will not be dropping down to play in the European Regional League.
After the sixth loss of the season, Andrei "Odoamne" Pascu admitted in an emotional interview that the defeats were starting to chip away at the team: “I think there’s some issues happening, that weren’t there in the first two weeks. I think, just going 0-4 took its toll on us and we’re just starting to play more and more scared of losing. I don’t know, we’re not really decisive anymore, no one is pulling the trigger and I feel like I can’t really do it myself. It’s just pressure you know.”
Last season, Schalke made a good start to the Spring Split but eventually faltered and failed to qualify for the Playoffs. However, in the Summer Split the team bounced back and made it to the semi-finals of the Summer Playoffs before narrowly missing out on a place at Worlds - a competition that the organisation is still yet to attend.
With the Spring Split less important than ever before, Schalke still has plenty of time to recover. While FORG1VEN may want to return to the team if they do start picking up wins, he may not get that chance if Innaxe makes the most of this opportunity.