Léo “Lounet” Maurice has been managing LDLC Team on the esport scene for a few years now. A former professional League of Legends player, he began his career in 2011. Reputed as an excellent support, he made some French teams happy as a player! He had taken the role of coach, then manager in order to bring his experience to the team. The day after the announcement of the LFL (the official League of Legends competition in France) and the involvement of the LDCL Team in it, he agreed to answer our questions.
KYKLOS: Hello Lounet! How are you doing? How are you? For those of you who don’t know you yet, can you please introduce yourself?
LOUNET: Hi! I’m fine, thank you! So my name is Leo, I’m 25 years old and I’m the manager of LDLC team. I mainly deal with the League of Legends and Fortnite teams. Before that I was a professional player on League Of Legends.
K: How was it then to become a pro player and get spotted?
L: Personally I joined my first team in 2011. At that time there were not many players so if you were in the top elo you could easily be recruited. And most importantly, everyone in the top 500 knew each other. In this case, I got closer to French players who already belonged to teams like aAa etc. and that’s what got me started. My first team was called ALS, with Skyyart among others. Then I played for aAa and also Sparta.
K: And did you give up everything to become a pro player at that time, or did you keep studying at the same time?
L: In 2011 I was in BTS (French diploma after the baccalaureate), so I was studying and playing a lot. Once I got my BTS, I took a break to become a pro player. This break lasted 3 years, which is my entire career as a player, and I went back to school for a year afterwards.
K: You are the manager of the LOL team of the LDLC structure. What do you think of this first edition of the LOL Open Tour? And more generally, as you have been involved in esport on LOL for a long time, what do you think about the structuration of the scene?
L: Before there were only LANs to practice sports. And I think we used to desire to go to LAN even more than we do now. At the same time, at that time, that was the only way to compete against other people. There was no LCS or other real competition. Nevertheless, IEMs already existed and that was very interesting because all the best European teams were gathered. Then appeared the leagues, now the franchise system, and there it goes even further with national online through the LFL.
K: By the way, since we’re talking about it, what’s your best memory of this Open Tour?
L: Lyon Esport. The game was keenly contested, we won in the end against Gentside! But it was tensed!
K: And more generally, what would be your best memory in any competition?
L: Honestly, I would say it was the competition in New York. I was an ADC at that time, it was my first international competition, it’s an incredible memory. You think you’re going to the States to play your favorite game… It was crazy!
K: How do you turn from players to staff? Is it more of a natural transition?
L: Basically I went into coaching-staffing when I learned that the InFamous team was looking for a manager (I had already stopped my career as a player!). I took the opportunity, as a volunteer because I wanted to stay in eport and experience something different. In this case, I liked it, we reached a good level which allowed us to be spotted by Melty, and when the structure closed we went to LDLC.
K: And as you put on both hats, what do you think of the trainings that appear and allow, according to their words, to specialize and learn about esport?
L: I don’t really like it. I’m not sure that’s useful. I think that the people who offer these trainings are not necessarily legitimate because they do not often come from the community.
K: Well, be honest: how do you hire someone like YellowStar?
L: I didn’t take care of it (laughs). He even contacted us. He wanted to work with us and with the list of achievements and experience he has, he really brings something.
K: What do you think about the explosion of Fortnite and esport that is starting to appear?
L: I think it’s a fun game to watch. And even I, as a manager, when I’m behind the players, I feel the adrenaline. It’s more mechanical and instinctive than LOL in the sense that you play on several dimensional levels. The esport level is also complicated because you see online tournaments with a cashprize of 100K euros whereas in LAN it will not even be 10% of this amount, whereas it is what requires more resources. And then with one update per week, which usually brings new items, it increases the difficulty of being a pro player because of the constant adaptation. But at the same time we understand Epic Games when they do that because we have to renew the hype for non-professional players.
K: We noticed that the esport on Fortnite was also punctuated by the very large number of turnovers within the teams. After each LAN we see dozens of players claiming to be free agents. What do you think of that? Would it be related to the youth of the community?
L: As with the beginning of LOL, Fortnite players have not experienced esport before. And the money at stake is so huge that it can quickly go to a player’s head and cause altercations with his teammates, pushing him to leave the roster.
K: What do you think about the evolution of esport in general in relation with what you have experienced?
L: I think the evolution is good. But some people don’t realize the progress that has been made! Especially in terms of comfort…. In my days, we were not paid for the hotel when we went to LANs for example. And for the players it’s safer from a financial security point of view. Now players can have contracts with regular income etc.
K: Not long ago you participated in the Game of Legends. We saw that mechanically, you’re still great. Does that mean you still play the game?
L: A little bit. It works by period. There are times when I play a lot and others less. For example, I play a lot Overwatch, but when the new season on LOL starts, I will go back to LOL a lot more. I’m trying to keep a high level Diamond / Master.
K: And finally, your ambitions with LDLC for next season?
L: We still want to do Top 1 and win the Masters! Winning is our motto, so we’re going to try to keep it!