Schalke 04 during Week 4 of the LEC

On February 13, Schalke 04 announced several roster changes. Erberk “Gilius” Demir was dropped in favor of Lukas “Lurox” Thoma, and Nihat “Innaxe” Aliev stepped in as the botlane player. Within minutes of the announcement, Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou made a post on Twitter explaining his decision in stepping down.

Schalke had plenty of problems in the first three weeks of the LEC and they entered Week 4 with no wins after six games.

FORG1VEN’s decision to step down

Forg1ven sees his team as not competitive. He wants to win, but apparently the Schalke roster is not a team that is able to do so. Going to the organization and requesting changes due to your beliefs, especially when a player has experience like FORG1VEN, isn’t unheard of. We recently saw a TSM player and co-owner make changes coming into the 2020 season, so a partnership between player and management to change the team isn’t new. We even see it happen in G2 to some extent too. Obviously, Schalke was unwilling to make the changes, leading FORG1VEN to put himself on the bench.

Will FORG1VEN step back up? Potentially. If he sees his team perform well, then you can understand him wanting to step back in. But will Schalke let him? If they’re performing better without him, why would they bring him back in? We don’t know what ‘step down’ means. He could still be part of the team, helping as an analyst and working with Innaxe. Or he could have completely stepped away from the team.

For someone like FORG1VEN, who has always seemed to be quite an emotional player, this decision could not have been easy. The fact he is willing to bench himself rather than perform at a low level says a lot.

With FORG1VEN being so emotional, he more than likely takes out his frustrations on his team. This is something he has been accused of many times. If the team is already suffering from losses, which surely damages morale, then having someone on the team that flames them isn’t exactly going to help. Losing FORG1VEN may not help Schalke games, but it may help them outside of the game, helping to create a better team environment. Although he claims he was not toxic and didn’t create a bad atmosphere.

Will losing FORG1VEN help Schalke succeed?

Probably not.

FORG1VEN is a veteran, and a veteran is what a team like Schalke needs. Schalke showed a lack of direction in games, almost flopping over and losing the game. They have shown no proactivity, no attempt to play a game in their own style. The problems that face Schalke are not around FORG1VEN. His first week back in the LEC saw a scoreline of 7/6/9, they had lost both games but statistically, it can’t be put down to FORG1VEN. After six games, he has a KDA of 1.8, and a Damage Percentage of 22.8.

Yes, these are just statistics, and watching his actual play may see some blame go to him. The game against Fnatic in Week 2 definitely showcased some mistakes, it felt like watching a solo queue game at times. Having a decent KDA suggests that he’s fine, mostly; but with such a low percentage of damage dealt, you need to question how much he’s doing in-game. Is it simply due to him playing too safe, protecting his KDA? Or has his team struggled to put him in a position to shine?

As a team, they have struggled. To blame it all on FORG1VEN is unfair. He has not been a deadweight holding everyone down. The fact he was getting the blame for this does not make sense.

Has he lived up to the expectations? No. The expectations placed on him were unfair. Everybody saw him as a returning legend, and he would return to that legendary level. The LEC even placed FORG1VEN and Rekkles as a huge matchup for Week 3, but it definitely did not live up to the hype. At the end of the day, FORG1VEN had been drafted into the military, he had been away from the professional scene and the game for years. To expect him to come back in such strong form was simply unfair on him.

Twitters reaction to FORG1VEN stepping down

Generally speaking, people took sides in regards to this announcement. Whilst most people defended FORG1VEN as a decent player, nearly everyone was unhappy with how professional the announcement was.

Edward “Edward” Abgaryan, a veteran player who is now with Gambit Esports, defended FORG1VEN, blaming Schalke’s struggles on other team members. paiN Gaming’s Felipe “brTT” Gonçalves stepped in to take it further, claiming that if FORG1VEN wanted to win he shouldn’t have joined Schalke. Edward’s response described that FORG1VEN wouldn’t have had a choice, after being away for so long he would have taken any offer given to him.

The other side of the response, however, reflected more on his choice to ‘give up.’ With KC “Woodbuck” Woods saying he should have stayed on and proved himself, working alongside his teammates to help them improve.

He had played with Schalke for six matches, he has been with them for three months. The general consensus is that he threw in the towel too early. We don’t know what happened behind the scenes and it’s possible this has been brewing for a while and FORG1VEN has been trying for weeks.

How did Schalke perform without FORG1VEN?

Week 4 was Schalke’s first week without FORG1VEN. We don’t know how long the team had to play with the new roster, but although they lost to Rogue, they picked up a win against G2 Esports.

After their loss to Rogue, Schalke tweeted, “hope you can see the progress compared to previous weeks.” It didn’t seem that people saw these improvements. During the game, Schalke did not take a single turret.

Against G2, however, they seemed more reactive, actually replying to plays from G2. As they slowly got a lead, they were able to make plays and be proactive. This change in play maybe wasn’t due to having dropped FORG1VEN, more due to actually being in a position to do things.

We can only see how things play out in future weeks as to whether this is a one-off, or if this is a resurgence for Schalke 04.

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