It’s a comparison not often made, but FORG1VEN very well could be EU’s answer to NA’s Doublelift: strong mechanics, always shining on his team, even if the team seems to lag behind other teams, and very… emotional in loss. But it’s hard to say anything about FORG1VEN’s actual talent other than “by far.” Similarly, then, FORG1VEN’s been at once praised and chastised, not only by his teammates but by Riot itself, as FORG1VEN received a $1000 fine for breaking multiple parts of the Summoner’s Code (i.e. being toxic.)
FORG1VEN’s eSports career began back where many others did: Counter Strike 1.6. While he played that on a semi-professional level, becoming somewhat of a star in his local Greek scene whilst also making his way to a few LANs with teams, ultimately his desire for the game waned and he found League of Legends, which he jumped right into. In Season 2 ranked play he got 2200 Elo and continued on from therein, constantly playing at the upper echelons of the infamous Ranked play until eventually finding himself on teams that we’ll get to. If ever there was a Soloqueue hero for EU, it probably was FORG1VEN.
However, it was announced, in what seemed a surprise not only to the production staff of the EU LCS but to Pulse who was interviewing him, that FORG1VEN will be forced to step down from his arguably best split yet due to being conscripted to the Greek army. In what was arguably the second saddest moment in LCS broadcast history (Dyrus’ retirement takes the cake, in no way belittling this,) FORG1VEN told the viewers that he would have to leave in March and would possibly be playing his last game in the EU LCS for over a year (a 9 month required service would mean he would be unlikely to be picked up until at the earliest next spring split.)
Many fans probably first encountered FORG1VEN on his stint with the lower tier team of Copenhagen Wolves, who took him on as a replacement for Rekkles, who left for Fnatic. A relatively uninspiring tenure with the Wolves still showed that FORG1VEN was one of the strongest ADCs in Europe, even with a weaker team behind him. Still, as in a lot of things in life, a step in the door was all that FORG1VEN needed to make his breakout into the EU LCS.
FORG1VEN’s probably second most successful time with a team was his stint with SK Gaming, a then household name in the EU LCS (the second dancer of the old El Classico, always contending with Fnatic.) The 2015 EU LCS Spring Split saw SK Gaming take first place for the regular season, where they seemed to just dominate the EU LCS (and I racked up many Fantasy victory’s thanks to it…) SK Gaming, however, fell apart when the playoffs hit, only managing to get a Fourth place finish for themselves against H2K gaming losing 2-3.
While history shows that SK Gaming ultimately seemed to crumble after this split, their Summer Split was horrendous to watch, one could argue that this was because of the loss of FORG1VEN to then Gambit gaming. However, that’s not entirely certain, as Gambit also had a terrible split, going 7-11 overall, only one win over SK Gaming. It was also during this split that Riot dropped their four game ban on FORG1VEN, arguably sinking Gambit’s ship for Playoffs.
Gambit eventually dissolved, selling its spot to Vitality and our story shifts again to another team: H2K. While it’s true H2K managed to get to World’s, the then roster didn’t impress in any ways and largely was forgotten amongst the noise. H2K rebuilt themselves, while many analysts unanimously thought they had ‘won’ the offseason with their roster moves. Acquiring the Polish teammates in Jankos and Vander for Jungler and Support respectively seemed a solid upgrade over a failing Loulex, and maybe Kasing. But, it was their acquisition of FORG1VEN that really made the roster a true contender for the top.
While a worrying showing at IEM X Cologne may have had fans worried, given the rosters relatively little practice time together, it was easily excusable as a bump on the upward looking road. Nobody could look at H2K’s recent performances as anything but dominant, and an 11-3 record in a three way tie for the top is impressive. Anyone following this split will know that FORG1VEN has played a pivotal role in H2K gaming’s rise to the top, and while it is true that EU found themselves missing many familiar talented faces this time around, it’s still a feat worthy of the talent that FORG1VEN brought to the table.
But as seems the fate of the bad luck FORG1VEN, just as things were finally looking up, they crashed hard. Almost everyone in the community has seen the interview, we all know how hard it hit him, and it’s hard to think of him having to go like this, on these terms. Not just for him, but for his teammates as well. This is a harsh blow from ‘reality’ to their breakout into the top of the EU LCS, even after having VISA issues with their ‘mob-boss’ Ryu.
While the team has expressed that they are doing everything they can to have the conscription pushed back, a hopeful prospect given the limited time that was given to FORG1VEN, it is uncertain exactly what the fate of FORG1VEN will be. To date I do not think any eSports professional has had to deal with forced conscription into military service and attempt to justify avoiding/delaying it over their current occupation. It, if nothing else, will be a telling chapter of eSports-Government relations going forward. But the simple fact is that FORG1VEN will be missed, he really seemed to, as a player, having grown from his toxic self into a respectable member of the competitive community this split, and it’s nothing short of tragic to see his hard work taken away from him.