A couple of months ago, he was set to become a journalist after studying abroad in England.
But the release of a new shooter game put him on a completely different path and one week from now, Vytis ”mineral” Lasaitis will compete for 300 000 dollars in Atlanta, as captain of the Luminosity Overwatch squad.
”It’s hard to say what kind of expectations I have, but we wanna take it as far as we can”, he tells Aftonbladet Esport about the ELEAGUE finals.
The last couple of days, Vytis ”mineral” Lasaitis and his five teammates – two Swedes, two Germans and a Fin – have been bootcamping at Inferno Online in Stockholm, preparing for their biggest challenge yet: The ELEAGUE Overwatch finals where 300 000 dollars are on the line and the very best North American and European teams will fight it out. Bootcamping marks the first occasion where the team has met face to face, but despite only playing together for three months still feel at ease with each other.
”Everything is clicking, we had been playing together for a while and we’ve know that we would be living together. We’re moving to a gaming house in Toronto, Lasaitis says about his first time meeting his compatriots.
”It’s a bit surreal”
For the captain himself, becoming an esport professional was nothing he had planned. Finishing his degree in England he was set to launch a career in journalism, but when Overwatch was released it appealed to the former TF2 player. Along with a couple of friends he started looking for organisations and for a coveted Beta access. After a string of teams, him and his team have now landed in the North American organisation Luminosity Gaming where they have turned full-time professionals.
”It still hasn’t quite sunk in. When we enter that stage it’ll feel… I’m still in the stage where I get up in the morning and it feels crazy that my work is gaming. It’s a bit surreal, but really fun, the 24-year-old says.
”EnVyUs are the obvious number one”
During Gamescom 2016 in Cologne, the first major Overwatch tournament in Europa, with a prize pool of 100 000 dollars, was arranged. In Atlanta, three times as much is on the line and eight of the best European teams will go up against eight of the best North American teams. According to Lasaitis, Europa has a big advantage when it comes to the rankings.
”Gosurankings are a bit skewed, but if you look at the top 10 it’s fairly accurate. EnVyUs are the obvious number ones, then we have other teams that are pretty close. Reunited, Fnatic, Rogue and Cloud9.
Would you say that you’ll be fighting from an underdog position?
”Yeah, it’s a bit like that. We’ve only been a team for three months so we’ve had to catch up. In the rankings we’re around place seven and ten. We can still lose against lower ranked teams but we’ve shown that we can challenge the better teams too.”
Do you notice the same banter between Europe and North America as in games like CS:GO and League of Legends?
”Yes, the fans will of course wanna see a bit of that, but with the exception of LAN tournaments you don’t really know how the regions stack up against each other. The tournament where all the best teams were present, Gamescom, showed that Europe is dominant.”
”The meta changes constantly”
But unfortunately, according to Lasaitis, the tournament brackets aren’t optimal for a EU vs NA prestige fight. The European teams will face each other in two groups containing four teams each, and North America will do the same on the other side of the bracket. The two regions won’t face off until the grand finals.
”It’s a bit of a shame we don’t get to see that until the finals. But the teams are in constant contact with Blizzard regarding how we can change the competitions, so I think it’ll work itself out in the future”, he says.
During your bootcamp, what have you been focusing on improving?
”The hardest part is all the balance changes, the meta evolves constantly. We’ve been a bit behind in that regard and have been trying to counter the meta that’s been on the rise, playing heroes that have been overpowered and we didn’t really wanted to play but realized we had to. We have to get used to the new meta and a more passive playstyle. We have to move together as a team instead of focusing on individual skill, and we have to improve our coordination. For a new team that’s used to an aggressive playstyle it’s a big adaptation.”
”North America are a bit weaker now”
As Luminosity enters the biggest Overwatch tournament so far, both for them and the game itself, the captain doesn’t really know what to expect when it comes to their performance. But he knows what he’ll be happy with.
”It’s hard to say what expectations I have. All the European teams are really great so anything can happen. North America are a bit weaker now. If they were to power rank right now I think two of their teams and eight of Europe’s teams would be in it, so if we make it out of groups I think everyone would be happy. But we wanna take it as far as we can”.
Luminosity enter the tournament on September 28th when they face off against Misfits. For a full schedule and info, check here.
Det här är Luminositys Overwatch-lag
Arthur ”EISSFELDT” Marx – DPS
Dominik ”Ruster” Waffler – Tank
Vytis ”Mineral” Lasaitis – Support
Kalle ”Zave” Haag Nilsson – Support
Tim ”Mannetens” Byhlund – Flex
Jani ”Tseini” Kähkönen – DPS