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Likkrit on Wildcards, Taking Risks and Korea

Albus NoX Luma’s support Likkrit was largely unknown before Worlds. After all, this was before ANX made history. No one paid too much attention to the Wildcards, until they grabbed the other regions by the throat and made it clear that they wouldn’t be ignored. Between INTZ upsetting EDward Gaming and ANX’s run out of groups, people have started to pay attention to the boys on Albus NoX Luma. One member of the team stood out during the pomp and ceremony of the tournament: ANX’s support, Likkrit.

Likkrit went on stage after his win and encouraged fans to support the down-on-their luck European favorites, G2 Esports. Since then, Likkrit’s risen to fame as the Jesus of League of Legends (he’s since pointed out that he’s considered one of the most toxic players on EUW). While they were unfortunately defeated in a 3-0 series against H2K, they can head home knowing that they’ve made history. Red Bull sSports had the opportunity to talk to Kirill "Likkrit" Malofeyev after ANX were eliminated from the tournament about how it feels to make history, but fall short of the ultimate prize.

Some players would be overjoyed if they found themselves under such an intense spotlight, but Likkrit disagrees with that perspective: "I don’t care about fame. Yes, some people will like me and some people will hate me. It doesn’t make sense to me, because the most important thing is the game." While Likkrit has been characterized as a benevolent support, his focus remains on the game — a priority that leads him to making some audacious statements. Another side effect? Making history wasn’t quite enough for him. "I hate losing," he says. "I can’t begin to explain how much I hate losing."

That being said, ANX is already looking to the future. "The good thing about it is you can only improve. Now we know what we need to do next time to perform better, and I’m pretty sure that we’ll manage to do better the next time we play. I’ll be remembering this every single day of my life, but I’m also proud that we managed to do this. It’s a great step — not only for us, but for all regions."

Wildcard teams are not able to participate in tournaments [that provide] serious competition." There are scarce opportunities to compete internationally, he points out, and one of them is All Stars. Meanwhile, local tournaments are online. "It’s like a completely different game," he says of the transition to an offline international tournament. "If we managed to practice for three months on 0 ping, we would be on Korean level."

That would be one of Likkrit’s audacious statements, which he admits, "It’s a bit cocky ... but I believe in it."

ANX were able to take games early in the tournament with a bold and aggressive style, but they adapted in week two and were praised as the "real deal" in terms of macro play. Even in the worst possible scenario, a 3-0 defeat, ANX stayed true to form: They took risks, stole barons and kept their heads high. When asked how he maintains that mentality, he pauses; his first significant pause in the interview.

"The one who doesn’t take risks, doesn’t win," he finally says, and this has been the philosophy behind ANX’s gameplay throughout the entire tournament. "When playing against the best, you’re forced to take a risk [...] and sometimes it takes you to the quarterfinals of the World Championship."

Sometimes, those risks were locking in a Brand support. Likkrit also speaks to the power of a Taric. "You wait for your opponent to make a mistake," he says. Taking risks and off meta picks are part of what established ANX’s legacy at Worlds, but they’re more than just risk takers. Despite a disappointing loss against H2K, they still established themselves as the "real deal" in the second week of Worlds, taking down some of the world’s top teams during their run.

It’s been a wild journey, but when asked what’s next, Likkrit answers simply: "What’s next is we go home and finally take a break." He lays out the gruelling schedule that ANX had to take to get to Worlds: They played in their own league of CIS before competing against the rest of the Wildcards. "So, we’re going on vacation."

After that, he gives a glimpse of ANX’s master plan to return to the world stage next year. "The first thing we do after vacation is go to Korea." After being denied scrims, you might think that they might be looking for a traditional boot camp, but ANX are bucking the trend: "Not to play in scrims, because scrims weren’t very useful for us. We need to get used to playing on 0 ping. In Russia, there won’t be a LAN server until next year [...] and it’s virtually impossible to play 0 ping anywhere else. We’ll just try to improve our individual skill."

One thing is for sure: When ANX returns to the stage, they’ll have a far bigger following than when they entered Worlds. The small tiger has turned into a beast that can’t be underestimated.

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