After exceL Esports’ unfortunate exit from the European Masters, we had the pleasure of speaking with their man in the jungle, Taxer, and get his thoughts on the tournament.
ExceL were somewhat of a surprise package over the last few weeks, managing to qualify for the knockout stage from a difficult group containing Origen and KlikTech and reaching the quarter final stage.
Along the way, Taxer’s efforts were a blessing for his team and his ability to notch 3 baron steals within their 9 games exemplified this. We were able to speak with Taxer and get his take on the European Masters, exceL’s performance as well as his own plans looking to the Summer split.
NTS: Firstly, we would like to say congratulations for reaching the European Masters quarter-finals, especially having made it out of a difficult group. What expectations did the team have coming into the tournament? Would you say you’ve exceeded those or do you think you could have made it further?
Taxer: Coming into the tournament I was expecting us to do well. I honestly feel like we didn’t show our best at all, but we still managed to get a decent placement in the tournament. In my opinion, we under-performed a lot in the quarter finals, but Gamers Origin deserved the win 100%.
NTS: You came up against a legend in the form of inSec during the group stages. Despite him perhaps not being at the top in recent times, was it nerve-wrecking at all facing a player of his stature?
Taxer: It wasn’t nerve-wrecking at all. I respect inSec a lot, but in game he is just another jungler I must try to beat.
NTS: You managed to steal baron on 3 occasions during your time in the tournament, 2 of these within one series against Team Atlantis. What’s the secret to a successful steal?
Taxer: The secret is to press your smite button, when nash is low enough. Nahh it’s honestly all about luck and the ability to react fast. In the end its a 50/50 and I just got lucky. With that being said I think it’s also about bad execution from the enemy team. They should have been able stop me by setting up the nashor properly.
NTS: You even picked up a new nickname along the way; the King of Smite. What were the reactions like from your teammates when you managed those steals?
Taxer: My teammates were going crazy and yelling. They were happy. They even memed it after like: “Game plan for next game is fall behind and let Taxer steal nashor so we win the game!”
NTS: You played an impressive 6 different champions in the tournament in only 9 matches. Is this flexibility in picks something that was planned beforehand or did the different champions feel more suitable in each respective pick/ban phase?
Taxer: In the tournament I just pick what is best for the team and what my coach thinks is the best. I personally don’t like playing tanks, but I just want to win, so I play whatever the team needs me to.
NTS: You currently play in the UK with exceL Esports but you hail from Denmark. Riot recently provided statistics on Danish participation in the EU LCS, with 11.6% of all players coming from Denmark and at least one or more Danish players competing in 63.5% of all EU LCS matches. What do you think could be the reason that so many European pros are made in Denmark? Have you experienced a different culture towards competitive gaming there compared to other countries you have played in?
Taxer: One of the big reasons is our welfare system and our relatively good economy. We get paid to study and that gives us the freedom to use our time on stuff like gaming. The society in Denmark also look at gaming in a very positive way. We have schools that specialise in Esports and it’s generally accepted and well known to everyone, which means parents in Denmark usually are supportive as well.
NTS: The European Masters has taken the place of the Challenger Series as a canvas for new talent to show itself. How do you think exceL as a team has benefited from this exposure and what has this done for you as an individual?
Taxer: I think exceL as a team has benefited a lot from the tournament. ExceL finally got the chance to show themselves on a European stage instead of the UK scene. I personally think my name has been spread a bit from the UK to Europe, which is nice. I got a chance to show myself to a larger number of viewers than what I’m used to.
NTS: ExceL have only moved to a gaming house in the last couple of months and are the first UK team to do so. How are you finding this setup? Did it take some time to adapt or would you say it’s been a smooth transition?
Taxer: I am the only player on the team that doesn’t live in the gaming house, because I still study in Denmark. Overall, I think the gaming house is good for teams and I look forward to moving in once I’m done studying in summer.
NTS: The new UK based Forge of Champions is coming in the Summer and we think it’s safe to say that eXcel had a positive Spring split (finishing 2nd in the ESL Premiership and reaching the quarter-finals of the European Masters). Will you be looking to stay with the team moving into the Summer or is it perhaps too soon to say?
Taxer: I will stay with the team and eventually move into the gaming house as well. One of my dreams is to play in the LCS, so I’m just waiting to finish studying so I can focus on League full time.
NTS: Lastly, in your opinion, does tomato ketchup belong in the cupboard or in the fridge?
Taxer: Fridge of course wtf.
You can follow Taxer on Twitter here.