I had the chance to sit down with Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider, the jungler for Copenhagen Wolves. He replaced Ilyas 'Shook' Hartsema in October 2013 and, while not having any prior experience with the LCS, he quickly adapted and is a highly respected jungler now. His former teams consisted of names such as Team Acer and against All authority.
Super Week just ended, and what a week it was! Any general thoughts on it? Do you prefer it over the standard LCS weeks and why or why not.
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: Super Week has been really exciting, especially while sitting in the players lounge spectating the standings change drastically over the course of 3 days, with Alliance going 4-0 while SHC went 0-4, showing improvement and decline in the EU teams. I have to admit I do enjoy playing two games a week more though, since the preparation for two games is quite a lot less compared to the preparation for 4 games. It becomes a lot more stressful, especially on the 2-game-day (Wednesday). As a spectator however, the Super Week obviously provides a lot more action and therefore more entertainment value, so I can see why Riot implements it 3 times this split.
Your fanbase has grown more and more, especially after LCS Week 7. We all remember the amazing plays on Nocturne and Lee Sin with a kill participation of 86%. How does it affect the further game, knowing your fans love you and your team. Do you go a bit more daring, feeling confident or do you stay true to your initial tactics and gameplay?
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: Getting praise on social media and recognition from fans obviously gets to your head to some extent, but it doesn't affect my game and original play too much, asides from single occurences (our Alliance loss). You start to put a bit of pressure on yourself to make plays the fans love you for, instead of actually actively trying to win the game. Routine will help a lot in this though, after all I am just a rookie.
Positive side of fan support obviously is the happiness it brings when people recognize you as a player, and it helps me stay motivated for more practise overall. Especially after a good week, like week 7 when I was praised as one of the top European junglers, makes me wanna try harder to become the undoubtely best.
If Gambit hadn't banned Lee Sin in the game on Wednesday, would you have banned it? You and Danil 'Diamondprox' Reshetnikov are both amazing Lee Sin players and he is a threat in either of your hands.
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: I don't think we would have. Me, and in particular Danil 'Diamondprox' Reshetnikov, have a lot more to offer than just Lee Sin - even though we are both known for it. His Evelynn is in my opinion his strongest champ, as the global presence and the way Gambit uses its pressure, creates early game disadvantages for every lane and makes ganking a lot harder. His Wukong was not too bad either, he had a lot of impact in teamfights. He has too many threatening champs, you won't counter him by banning Lee.
On day three of Super Week you seemed to always know where the enemy jungler was, cutting them short and engaging them in fights. How did you know the precise position or was it just lucky coincidence?
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: I have had a lot of experience facing Matthew 'Impaler' Taylor from the challenger scene games, therefore it was a tad easier for me to predict him than most junglers.
Overall, junglers that have made it to the highest level of play, including me, all tend to have a keen sense of where the enemy jungler is supposed to be. They analyze lane matchups, wave pushes and everything around it almost subconsciously while receiving active information from the team members and combining it into the aforementioned keen "game" sense. Having a good night of rest and some coffee obviously helps the cause!
What do you think about the current meta? Especially in top and botlane there are a few favored champions at the moment, being the tanky Shyvana, Trundle and Renekton as well as the three big supports Leona, Thresh and Annie. Does it get very repetitive for you as a player to play against the same champions over and over again?
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: I do enjoy the current meta as the focus seems to be on carry type junglers, and that favours my playstyle a lot (Lizard Elder Lee etc.).
However, I do have to admit that I get tired of facing and playing with the same champions over and over again, especially since top lane becomes more of an island where they just tend to farm while harassing each other once with an autoattack or two per wave. But this may change soon as almost all of the defensive masteries have been nerfed, therefore leaving room for carry tops as well (i.e. Jax/Leblanc).
For bot lane, I do think that innovation is still possible regarding the changes on the AP support item (Spellthief's edge), as more APish supports will shine through besides Annie, and therefore bringing fresh wind into the duo lane. But for the past weeks, yes, it has been quite repetitive and maybe even a tad annoying, but the best picks found will always prevail. So I can't blame anyone for it.
You mentioned the changes on Spellthief's Edge, affecting other AP Supports. Now we have seen Morgana sometimes being picked in the LCS, do you think champions like Zyra for example have a chance for a comeback? Also, with Talisman of Ascension being a core item in most support builds, will they really start picking up Spellthief's Edge in favour of the Talisman?
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: Good question. Zyra has always had insane utility, and with Spellthief's Edge becoming more favourable I do indeed believe she has the ability to make a comeback, alongside of Nami and Karma. Annie may even become a permanent ban, given the strength of the updated version of the Spellthief's Edge. Tanky, engage heavy supports with little AP scaling will still prefer the Talisman of Ascension, but supports with good AP scaling and decent range should prefer the Spellthief's Edge. But only time will tell.
Can you evaluate a bit on how you work together as a team outside of League of Legends? You live in a gaming house, is anyone the alpha-wolf that generally leads or are you, in the end, just a big pack enjoying your time together?
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: As far as the gaming house living is concerned, me and Viktor 'cowTard' Stymne tend to go home during the offdays, so my information about these days is limited. During the game and preparation days however, we usually are just one big howling pack, playing, eating alongside one another and enjoying each others company. There is no one really taking command, but the house's team mother undoubtely is Titus 'LeDuck' Hafner, our coach, as he takes care of groceries and anything related to the gaming house.
When you first picked up League of Legends, you didn't like it due to the cartoony look that it has. What made you change your mind in the end and give it a go?
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: Main reason may actually be boredom, as I did not really have any other games to play during the time I picked up League. However, I have always enjoyed the predominant competitive aspect of League of Legends, shown in streaming broadcasts of season 1 tournaments, that I began watching while I started playing it. So I just needed a bit of inspiration, which was provided by George 'HotshotGG' Georgallidis and other American pros with their play.
Your first main role was ADCarry, with moving on to Jungle later. What made you do so and which role do you enjoy more?
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: Danil 'Diamondprox' Reshetnikov became known in the European scene while dominating it with M5 on junglers such as Lee Sin/Shyvana and Udyr. I began imitating him as he left a lasting impression on me and actually managed to rise the solo queue ladder much more quickly than I did when I was an AD carry.
Therefore I concluded that I would have success much more and faster in getting known as a talented player by playing the role that helped me most climbing the ladder, as it also somehow seemed more fitting to me as a person to impact the complete map at all times. I have always wondered if I would have made it to this level as an AD carry, but I do not believe so as I have never enjoyed shooting people with ranged auto attacks as I did counterjungling and being up in enemies faces all over the map.
Let's move away a bit from League of Legends, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: Spending time with friends and family, going out, playing a bit of basketball here and there, and obviously, more video games.
What other games do you play? MMOs, other MOBAs, RPGs? And on the pc or on a console?
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: Asides from League, I only tend to play FPSs online. Usually I stick to single player games whereas Fallout comes to mind as well as the Metal Gear Solid Series andFinal Fantasy X-XIII.Therefore my playing time usually is divided in console and PC gaming. Lately however, especially with the LCS, I have reverted to playing PC exclusively.
Since you have entered LCS, how has contact been with your family and friends in the days where you have games?
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: Contact with friends has been a bit off, even though those who are also really interested in me as a member of the LCS have been fairly active trying to keep up with me, as they see some of the stress coming with this extraordinary job. My family has been more than kind, calling daily and keeping track of my games, and they have been a great help to me.
From the sounds of this, your family is very supportive of what you are doing. Has this always been like that or were there times where they wanted you to pursue another career, finishing school and getting a decent "normal" job?
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: They are and always have been really supportive. Even though they always had some doubts in mind that I may not make it to this level, especially after my old German team in Acer broke apart. Obviously parents always want the best for their kids, therefore they suggested other options, but they have never been too pushing about them and rather let me find my own path that eventually became an LCS spot.
Glad to hear this, must make your life a lot easier at the end of the day. Before you started playing League of Legends you played Counter Strike:Source at a competitive level as well as basketball! What made you transition from sports to eSports and how would you say the 2 scenes differ in the competitive scene?
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: I have never been too high of a level. I managed to crack Mid Elo and played some ladders and managed to do plays here and there, obviously not to the extent of my League effect. Nonetheless I'd say that it seems to be a lot easier to find a decent team to begin with in League, as there are just a lot more active players, therefore enhancing any progress you are having towards becoming a great player.
Basketball however has influenced me a lot towards getting along with 4 other individuals and trying to create plays on the map - just as I did them on the court.
As far as transitioning to eSports from sports, I had a knee injury,which made me sat out for about 3 months and I couldn't really practise. Doing what I already did (playing video games) just became more and more time consuming, and when my injury healed, I never made a real comeback to sports as I already was more into trying to be the best at CS Source than at basketball.
Do you think that, without the knee injury, you would be where you are now? Or would you have just continued with basketball in the competitive scene, maybe never even touching League of Legends again? And do you regret what has happened or are you happy with the position you have as of now?
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: The knee injury slowed me down, and while I wouldn't consider myself a basketball prodigy, I would probably have made it to a higher level, probably 3rd League if I kept trying hard. By the time the knee injury was gone, I was already too out of shape and had a lot of practise deficit and never was the same as before. Obviously I am really happy with where I am now, a top tier league player is definitely better than a 3rd class basketball player, at least in Germany.
Your motto "Hard work beats talent" is in relation to Kobe Bryant's domination in basketball. Now you mentioned earlier that you looked up to Diamond from Gambit Gaming when you where relatively new to League of Legends. Do you still look up to him or has it possibly changed to another person?
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: I still look up to him, he seems to do everything effortlessly, and that is probably due to preparation or a mindset that I have yet to achieve. Obviously my focus has shifted towards some of the Korean junglers such as Bae 'bengi' Seong-ung and Lee 'KaKAO' Byung-kwon for mechanical skill, but after all, Danil 'Diamondprox' Reshetnikov is the one shaping the meta more often than not, as he seems to have a next-level game sense on what could be the next flavour of the month champion and that is something I admire.
So, your Lee Sin or his Lee Sin?
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: The everlasting question! I honestly can not tell, I think I am mechanically better and more flashy, while he seems to be a bit more efficient. I call it a tie for now until I beat him in a streamed 1 v 1 matchup or dominate him on the LCS stage with Lee Sin.
Now that would be an interesting game to see and I am sure your fans, as well as Danil 'Diamondprox' Reshetnikov's, would love it! Anything else you want to say? Shoutouts to fans, sponsors or friends?
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: Shoutouts to Copenhagen Wolves, to our sponsors of Steelseries, Obutto, Komplett.dk and Coolermaster, and a big thank you for all of the support that fans have given me and my team so far!
Thanks again for the interview and all the best to you and the Wolves! Keep on howling!
Maurice 'Amazing' Stückenschneider: Thanks for having me.
Image credits: na.lolesports.com, thunderbot.gg, hackingham.com, leagueoflegends.com