Can LEC’s Origen Reach the Top?
Origen is the only organization in League’s history that managed to reach the peak of competitive League in Europe, and then crashed and burned so hard that they were relegated. Teams mostly do things the other way around (like Misfits Gaming in 2017, or the current Team Vitality line-up in 2018), and even if they do eventually fall from grace they never really bomb to that extent. Even though their recent 2019 start was lackluster, a lot of people are still wondering — can LEC’s Origen reach their former glory?
With Origen, things were always different. If anything, you have to admire their approach. They either come to play and dominate regardless of the opponent, or they fail to mount an offensive and just roll over. There’s no middle ground and no mediocrity, and if you’re not watching their games for the top-tier play, you’re surely watching for the fiestas. Their 2017 Spring Split “barnburner” against Team ROCCAT ranks as the second longest game in LEC’s history. It took Origen 77 minutes and 57 seconds to destroy the opposing Nexus.
So you can imagine the hype that was accumulating after people found out that Origen would become one of LEC’s ten permanent partners. The road to their acceptance was long and, quite frankly, incredibly confusing. But they wouldn’t be Origen if they did things the way people expected them to. After all, their Twitter account was run by none other than team owner Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez’s mother, which eventually became a meme gold mine.
It didn’t take long before Origen released the first batch of news once they were officially accepted in the LEC. First of all, the entire organization was basically sold to Astralis’ parent company RFRSH Entertainment. In other words, they bought out the complete Origen brand in hopes to enter the LEC under a recognizable moniker. The organization then proceeded to sign a very interesting mix of players.
Barney “Alphari” Morris in the top lane, Jonas “Kold” Andersen in the jungle, and Erlend Våtevik “Nukeduck” Holm to round out the upper side of the map. They brought over Patrik “Patrik” Jírů from H2K, as well as Alfonso Aguirre “Mithy” Rodríguez from Team SoloMid. A fairly solid team, at least on first glance, and their first two weeks of LEC play proves it. But for a team that has such a storied history, being “solid” isn’t good enough.
So can LEC’s Origen reach the top? Let’s take a closer at each individual player and what they bring to the table.
First of all, these are all veterans in one way or another, excluding their AD carry Patrik. But the fact that they’re veterans doesn’t necessarily guarantee success, and we’ve seen teams fail more often than not when it comes to these “super teams” and leader-heavy rosters. Combining multiple shot callers and leaders seems like a good idea, but it rarely pans out. They’re all entering the team with different levels of motivation, ways they want to play the game, and even capabilities.
Finally, as unfortunate as it might sound, some of these players peaked a long time ago, whereas others aren’t nearly as capable as fans would hope. That’s the risk when you combine household names — fans expect immediate results, even though that might not be what the organization is aiming at.
The thing is, even though these are all familiar “old school” names, their play is not instilling any confidence. Far from it.
Their top laner Alphari quickly made a name for himself when he stepped foot on the LEC stage back in 2017 thanks to his stellar play and lane dominance, but he never really reached the heights many thought he would. He always had a ton of potential, but he never maintained a particularly high level of play. Whether that was his own fault or something that generally plagued Misfits as a whole is a completely different matter.
He’s solid, but far from a top 5 player in his position. Even though he isn’t playing particularly well, he’s still a solid performer overall. After Alphari, however, things don’t get any better.
Kold has been around for quite a while. In fact, he’s among the old guard within the LEC coming into 2019, but the last time he was able to make a splash was in 2016 when he was able to reach the World Championship under the Splyce banner. That was two full years ago, and a lot has changed in the meantime. Kold was unable to leave a mark in 2017, and his 2018 was equally as bad. His move to the Unicorns of Love baffled many, primarily because he didn’t really fit Unicorns’ playstyle. He’s more of a cerebral, subdued, and calculated kind of jungler, whereas the Unicorns preferred the old “group mid and skirmish” type of play.
To be fair, he was the shining light on that roster more often than not, but he failed to impress regardless. Right now, it’s downright impossible to rank him even in the top 6 in his own role, and for a team that’s supposedly looking to make waves in 2019, that’s a problem.
Many people will argue that this Origen line-up hinges around Nukeduck, and they’d be right. But not a lot of people objectively viewed his performance throughout the last couple of years. But let’s focus solely on 2018.
He was consistently near the bottom end when it came to statistics. His KDA was rather unimpressive at 3.3 (fourth worst), and the same goes for his Kill Participation at 64.7% (second worst). But it is his Damage Per Minute that is most shocking — he was the absolute worst with 393 DMG/min (for comparison, Caps dealt 559 on average), and his Damage Share Percentage is also underwhelming, to say the least.
But he was fourth “best” in Gold Share at 25.5%, just barely behind the likes of Rasmus “Caps” Winther and Luka “Perkz” Perković.
So he gets a lot of resources, dies a whole ton and doesn’t even do a respectable amount of damage in the process. How is that a top-tier player? He had all the right ingredients for success and yet he failed. Yet again.
Sure, he clocked in the highest number of unique champions played, but if he’s an unimpactful player, then it doesn’t matter if he can play every champion in the game. It’s better to play just a handful, like Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro, but at least have the ability to swing the game in your team’s favor. With Nukeduck, good impactful performances were few and far between.
His laning stats were good, but he never really dominated in lane. He got by, and often accrued symbolic leads but didn’t do much with them, if anything. He rarely dispersed his leads to the side lanes, and barely had an impact on the map, especially when you compare him to the upper echelon of the LEC.
In short, he’s was just there.
That’s really not the kind of player that you want to have within your ranks, especially not when he has to go up against the likes of Caps and many others. Being “just okay” and “serviceable” isn’t enough in order to make an impact.
Rounding out the veteran portion of the line-up, we have none other than Mithy and depending on how you view his level of play in 2018 that can either be abysmal or, at best, underwhelming. Now, if you’re looking for a seasoned player that’s revered for his shot calling and in-game leadership then look no further.
But to say that his most recent regular season was underwhelming would be an understatement. Mithy basically “inted” (intentionally fed) more often than not, and even though he played with Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen over the last four years, you would never guess it based off of their non-existing synergy in the bottom lane.
His leadership can be a huge asset, but in the incredibly deep European support pool, it seems as though he doesn’t have what it takes in order to compete with the “young guns.” In fact, you could basically rank him as a bottom three support when compared to his peers — he’s currently “boasting” a 1.1 KDA after just four games.
Finally, we have Patrik, formerly known as Sheriff. This is a serious step up for the young AD prospect, and he fully deserves it. There’s not a lot of pressure on him to perform because he’s paired with four grizzled veterans, and that’s definitely the best kind of environment for a young rookie to grow and develop in. He displayed a lot of potential throughout last year, and he did so while playing on a team that spent half of the season as the laughing stock of the region.
That’s what you really want to see. Even though he was “stuck” with teammates that were deemed as seriously mediocre, his individual talent was immediately evident. His level of play left zero doubt in everyone’s mind that he was a highly skilled prospect. Coming into 2019, Origen was definitely as good as he could have gotten, and it’s a great upgrade from his previous squad. At the very least, he’ll have the opportunity to learn from some of the most experienced players the region has to offer.
At the same time, his inexperience and aggression could be just the thing Origen needs — and that’s more of a long-term thing. All of his teammates are known to be passive to a certain degree. If they can all find a common language, a unique approach to playing the game, they could stand a chance. But that’s the one thing they’re currently lacking — a coherent identity.
Right now, they’ll have to fight tooth and nail to get into the playoffs. They’re supposedly a beast in scrims, but it seems as though they can’t replicate that level of play on the LEC stage. It doesn’t matter if they’re dominating behind closed doors. In three of their last four games, they were downright abysmal — both individually and as a five-man unit. Their current line-up doesn’t seem good at anything in particular. They’re not early game mammoths, nor are they late game team fighters.
Could they eke out advantages through incredibly clean macro? Absolutely, but that can get them only so far. We’ve seen how much success Splyce attained in 2018 and they only fought after forty-five minutes went by. The meta doesn’t exactly reward teams that are “just” clean in execution. They need to have more tools at their disposal, and Origen doesn’t look that flexible nor capable.
In short, a lot of things have to go right for this team as a whole in order for them to stand a chance at being competitive.
This Isn’t Origen
Make no mistake; this isn’t Origen. This incarnation doesn’t carry over anything that made Origen great — or mediocre, for that matter. It’s basically a completely new organization, run by completely different people. The only thing that was carried over is the logo, nothing more, nothing less.
So you should treat this team as an entirely new entity, not something that’s building on the storied (and fascinating) history that Origen managed to create over the last couple of years. There’s no room for nostalgia this time around. Don’t allow a single logo to impair your judgment — this is a completely new undertaking from an organization that is only starting its journey within the competitive League of Legends realm.
Expecting too much from them just because of their name could be a recipe for disaster, or at least for extreme disappointment.
In fact, you could kick things up a notch and wonder why these guys are getting so much leeway from the community? It boggles the mind that someone can be mediocre for years and still get a fair amount of hype with each new roster move. “Oh, now it’ll be different,” and yet it never is.
Fans are still reminiscing about the Origen of old, not what it is today. On paper, this roster has a chance at being solid, but it’s hard — impossible, even — to imagine them going blow-for-blow with the upper echelon of the LEC. Right now, with the meta being “unlocked,” and teams still finding their footing, Origen has a solid chance at registering a couple of wins. But as the split progresses, however, they should fall into place, which isn’t a shame by any means. After all, this isn’t really the Origen of old, but rather an acceptable middle-of-the-pack team in the making, that could — at best — compete for a playoff spot.
So can LEC’s Origen reach the top? Perhaps, with time and immense effort. But don’t bet your money on it.