By Petar Vukobrat
December 2, 2019
Let’s take a closer look at the upcoming 2020 Origen roster, and whether or not they have what it takes to compete at the highest of levels. It’s no secret that Origen failed immensely in 2019. In the end, the question of whether or not they could reach the top of the region was answered — and it was a resounding “no.” To their credit, they fought harder than most expected, and they nearly got the job done.
Their failure was, in many ways, as bittersweet as possible. We all saw their potential, and we expected more from them, especially once the Summer Split came along. But Origen never found an identity to call their own. They never decided on a singular way to play the game and were, as a result, struggling more often than not. It was a confusing couple of months as well. On paper, they had everything they needed: a talented low-econ top laner; an intelligent, highly cerebral jungler who had exquisite pathing; a legendary mid laner who could seemingly play any champion; a young, mechanically gifted AD carry, and a veteran support who was both their in-game leader and shot-caller.
On paper, this was the perfect team. Multiple revered players and a metric ton of experience. A perfect mix of young and old. But things simply didn’t “click.” When they won, it was mostly through intelligent macro play — a subdued, calculated triumph. But in order to crack the very top of the LEC, they needed a hard carry, an immeasurably talented phenom who could bend the rules, someone like Rasmus “Caps” Winther or Luka “Perkz” Perković. They needed an individual who could push them over the finish line when they needed it the most.
And yet none of their players fit the bill. They certainly tried, that’s for sure, but it wasn’t enough.
So coming into 2020, many wondered how the final Origen roster would look like. By the end of the Summer Split, one thing was evident: Origen needed to change in more ways than one.
And, to their credit, they certainly upgraded during the off-season. The organization decided to sign two exceptional LEC veterans and import a support player from Oceania. Now, that last sentence isn’t exactly hype-inducing, but if Origen felt Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw deserves a starting spot, we’re inclined to believe them.
Let’s take a closer look at the finalized Origen roster:
Top Lane: Barney “Alphari” Morris Jungle: Andre “Xerxe” Dragomir (a transfer from Splyce) Mid Lane: Erlend “Nukeduck” Holm AD carry: Elias “Upset” Lipp (a transfer from Schalke 04) Support: Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw (a transfer from MAMMOTH)
Overall, this is a very strong, highly capable line-up on paper. In practice, however, it doesn’t seem all that better when compared to their previous one. Xerxe is definitely one of the best and most capable junglers in the region, so signing him was kind of a no-brainer. He’s flexible, creative (almost to a fault), can play virtually any champion, and is always present at the right place at the right time. Xerxe has been a top-tier performer ever since he signed for the Unicorns of Love. He certainly grew and improved in unexpected ways, which eventually culminated with a spectacular showing at the most recent World Championship in Europe.
By the same token, seeing Upset in an Origen jersey will definitely feel strange. After all, we’ve only seen the AD prodigy compete under the Schalke 04 banner; he was their poster child. But it seems that Upset is still getting a bit too much leeway from the community — he was set up for success on multiple occasions but he has yet to leave a mark. Schalke always had a competitive line-up, and even when the organization opted to rebuild from the ground up, they always used Upset as the foundation — they built the roster around him.
Now, no one’s saying he isn’t a top-tier player, but he certainly doesn’t deserve any hype or overwhelming praise. Upset often trash-talked his peers and adversaries, but he himself never stepped up when it mattered the most. He can certainly create clutch plays from time to time, but his champion pool and overall impactfulness rarely blew anyone’s mind.
He’s certainly an upgrade over Patrik “Patrik” Jírů but not by much. His vast experience will certainly help Origen, but unless Upset steps up and performs as well as many expect, this Origen bottom lane won’t be particularly dominant.
The second half of the bottom lane equation is Destiny — one of the best supports the OPL has to offer. He’s certainly a talented individual who has already attained a fair bit of success in his previous region. That said, the LEC is a completely different beast when compared to the OPL.
Finally, it feels like this Origen roster lacks in the exact same areas as the previous one — horsepower. They’ve exchanged one cerebral jungler for another, an aggressive young ADC for an aggressive veteran ADC, and have upgraded in the support position (at least when it comes to mechanics).
All of this begs the question: is this enough? Will this Origen roster be capable of throwing down with the likes of G2 Esports and Fnatic? It certainly doesn’t look like it. It seems like they’re destined to hover near the very top, but once the going gets rough, history is bound to repeat itself.
Despite this, they have a fair bit of potential, and a roster that has so many veterans will certainly be competitive right from the very get-go. How high they’ll eventually climb still remains to be seen, but don’t expect too much from this incarnation of Origen.
If they synergize in the right way, a finish in the Top 5 is basically a given. To some, that’s perfectly acceptable. To others, however, that’s a disappointment. There are many LEC regulars who hope that Origen will one day become a bona fide contender, rather than a well-rounded gatekeeper.
But who knows, maybe these three changes will make a world of difference. That’s certainly what everyone’s hoping for, as a more competitive LEC will benefit everyone involved.