Tipsters are highlighting the 2020 vintage of Legacy Esports to be the team to beat early on. Star players Quin “Raes” Korebrits and Leo “Babip” Romer talk with Snowball Esports about season expectations and what it takes to be the best.
With the oft-transient nature of player movement in the Oceanic Pro League, it’s always an exciting time anticipating who has the best roster “on-paper”. The new wrinkle in the off-season speculation game was the exodus of players, thanks in no small part to the new LCS Academy rule with play-in region players.
It was a lengthy, circuitous route to the rosters which left OPL fans with an ever-increasing thirst for knowledge of the new rosters. As the dust settled, Raes and Babip found themselves on together on a roster in a process the players themselves found circuitous.
While playing alongside Raes was definitely his intention, Babip admitted the roundabout path he took to get there wasn’t exactly what he had in mind coming into the 2019-20 offseason.
“During the offseason, Quin and I, along with Fudge (Ibrahim Allami) wanted to build a team with ourselves as the core,” Babip explained to Snowball.
“When Fudge got the opportunity to join an NA Academy team, we parted ways exploring our own individual options. In the end, we got back together and with this Legacy roster we have confidence that we can win and succeed internationally.”
Babip is a player whose history with Legacy is storied to OPL fans – he entered the league widely touted as a future star, and was taken under the wing of now-GM Tim “Carbon” Wendel in a sort of apprentice role.
The prodigal son returning home story almost writes itself.
Raes had a more personal reason to land at Legacy specifically. Having been on the end of some tough OPL Finals losses, Raes sympathized with Legacy for having their share of their own tough finals losses.
Ironically, two of Legacy’s toughest finals losses are inextricably linked to Raes. In 2016, Legacy had to field Harry “Cardrid” Archer as a substitute ADC after Calvin “k1ng” Truong received a competitive ruling, allegedly for directing abuse towards Raes while he played for the Dire Wolves.
Then, in the second split of that same year, having been traded to the Chiefs, Legacy were crushed 3-0 on the back of a Caitlyn masterclass from Raes. Between that, and the promising roster Legacy constructed, Raes ultimately called it an “easy decision to make.”
Joining Raes on this promising roster is Jonah “Isles” Rosario, having graduated from Mammoth Academy, by way of a brief stint on Avant. This will mark the second year Raes pairs up with high-promise young rookie after a great showing in the OCS.
In 2019 he brought Bill “Eyla” Nguyen up and helped him to an excellent first season as he showed him the ropes of the bot lane on the Chiefs. Having been the young-mechanics-crew ADC himself just a couple of years ago, Raes’ growth into a teacher while maintaining his dominance in his own role shows the consummate professional he’s become.
Raes acknowledged the experienced supports in Bryce “EGym” Paule, Mike “Cuden” Le, and current Origen support Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw in his own development and is happy to now be on the other side of the teaching dynamic. He’s confident that, in working together, Isles will develop into one of the best supports in Oceania.
The Legacy roster was rounded out with a couple of Koreans – former Mammoth top laner Jihoon “Topoon” Kim has OPL experience already, but joining him new to the region is former Gen.G and Kingzone DragonX trainee Minsu “EMENES” Jang.
Babip said he was initially anxious about playing with an import mid-laner – problems like the language barrier and frustrations around communications can often cause more problems than their mechanical skill can solve.
But only after a couple of short weeks practicing and preparing with the team Babip has said he been quite relieved playing with EMENES, saying “not only is he extremely good individually but also easily takes on board criticism, works through issues and cares about team improvement.”
Team improvement is one thing that is on the minds of Legacy as they take their roster of disparate parts and form a genuine team out of them. Raes and Babip both cited rosters with consistent parts as their biggest threats to this roster. Dire Wolves were mentioned by both players as being a threat due to their team-work and pre-existing synergy.
Raes also mentioned another team highly touted during the pre-season: Order. They have organisational familiarity with Ronan “rare7” Swingler and Jake “Spawn” Tiberi and brought in Chiefs trio Brandon “Swip3rR” Holland, Jordan “Only” Middleton and Eyla.
Although it’s only early days with teams being just a couple of weeks into scrims and we’re yet to see how teams look on-stage, it’s clear they’re both on the same page in their belief teams that work together the best will perform the best.
Performing at their best is something that has followed both players around their careers. Both are former OPL champions and will be leaning on their experiences to return themselves and Legacy to the top of the pile.
Babip said learning and evolving from his recent international experience will help him get back to the title and stay on top. By facing better players and learning how they punish elements of his game he previously was able to get away with, he’ll stay at the top.
Much like in the way we’ve heard in traditional sports that the focus on the “one-percenters” is where the work that will deliver tangible results comes from, Babip believes attention to detail on the smaller things will set teams apart.
He said there isn’t “anything, in particular, to focus on, there are a ton of small things in relation to gameplay, communication and studying the meta” will put the team where they want to be as the split and the year plays out
Raes is a player famous for taking over games and being a dominating force for his team. It’s something that’s a core part of his mindset and approach as to how the game should be played.
I asked Raes if he felt any extra pressure to remain dominant now he was the ‘on-paper’ undisputed best player in the region, a status that could paint a much larger bullseye on him with the youngsters looking to take his scalp.
True to this nature, he said everyone should want to dominate games, and
“being the best and having the everyday expectation to dominate games adds no pressure to my performances”.
A famous Wil Durant quote tells us “Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” Raes and Babip have shown throughout their careers they are excellent OPL players. In 2020 they will band together with Topoon, EMENES, and Isles to deliver Legacy their first OPL title.
The Oceanic Pro League returns today.