One of the few Lithuanian professional League of Legends players Vytautas „extinkt“ Mėlinauskas has stepped down from Team ROCCAT’s starting roster this week. He was replaced by former Fnatic support Lewis „Noxiak“ Felix. Before extinkt took off back to Lithuania, we had a chance to talk about his unexpected return to the EU LCS, his new role and plans for the future.
For those, who do not follow the League of Legends scene too closely, the most noticeable achievements of extinkt date back to season 2 and 3. Back then he played on various high-profile teams, including Team Curse Europe and Ninjas in Pyjamas, before he announced his retirement in summer of 2013.
„I started playing at the time, when ELO rating first emerged. I had no plans to become a professional, was playing just for fun, and then I noticed that I was doing well. When I reached the first rank on EUW, I decided to find myself a team,“ – extinkt recalls. He was approached by Aurimas „Angush“ Gedvilas, with whom he started playing on the Lithuanian-only team „Leethuanyan“. At that time a chance to scrim against stars like SK Gaming seemed to be a huge excitement for the squad. „When we won once, we felt like Gods,“ – he laughs.
The team was doing better and better, at some point Svenskeren joined their roster. In 2012 the team, which previously played under the flag of Absolute Legends, got an offer from Team Curse to represent them in Europe. This is how they set foot into the LoL elite at that time. „When I look back, I realize we could have achieved much more,“ – extinkt admits. After a round of sore losses the team fell apart. extinkt says he considered stopping to play entirely. He was a substitute player for DragonBorns, but then regained the interest and even tried to qualify for the EU LCS with Samurai in Jeans. Their dreams were cut off by Copenhagen Wolves, with Bjergsen on their roster.
Although extinkt used to be a midlaner, he agreed to try playing top, once he received the Ninjas in Pyjamas offer. „I was considering to start studiying in September, but decided to give NiP a try. After a month I realized I did not like the position at all. It was during the lane swap meta, when you were always left by yourself. As someone coming from the mid lane, I wanted to have more influence on the game,“ – he explains. Vytautas had the urge to begin his studies though, so he started studying Econometrics at Vilnius University and is currently in his third year.
Coming in as a temporary stand-in
As we spoke, Vytautas did not hide, it was not in his intention to stay on the ROCCAT roster, especially with lectures going on: „I made the decision not to play a while ago and the team was looking for my replacement.“ He goes on to explain that he agreed to help out ROCCAT after almost three years of not playing competitively – more due to personal reasons than anything else.
„I was mostly playing for fun with friends or ARAMs. In December I was contacted by ROCCAT’s manager flyy, as he asked me if I could be one of the official subs. I said: „Sure, why not.“ They told me that the chance of needing me is very low. However, after Edward’s visa issues flyy, who I know from the Curse times, messaged me that they needed me. It was on Monday and on Tuesday I was already in Berlin“, – extinkt tells.
The probably most bizarre part of this is that Vytautas has never played a support before and did not even like the role. However, there were other things that lured him to Berlin: „I wanted to feel what it’s like to be on the LCS stage again. There are still many old players around, I wanted to see them, laugh about old times. I was curious to see how the pro player’s life looks now. It’s fun but, honestly, not to my taste. I knew I would not stay for long and was not losing anything by trying. It was for fun and conveniently enough I was on holiday from the university. It is over now. I did not want to take a year break from my studies, when the team is not doing incredibly great. Six losses in a row seemed like an end of the world to me. It definitely hinders self-confidence.“
Learning to support in a matter of days
It might sound odd, but extinkt was not confused by learning a new role within such a short time. He explains that one of his strengths has always been the quick grasp on the game and champions. „I asked Edward for all his masteries and runes. Playing as a support, it is more important to have a good understanding of your lane partner, so you would do the same thing without words,“ – he says. During the weeks extinkt played at the EU LCS, he also had to learn to work with two different ADCs – Safir and later Tabzz. However, ROCCAT managed to pull off a win in week 6 against Splyce.
„At first, playing support was like a joke to me, but in the end I think it worked out better than I expected. I am surprised we lost so many games. After the 25 minutes mark we would always panic and get lost. We were usually ahead in the early game, but then ended up playing scattered. Airwaks was controlling early game and ganks and I was responsible for vision control, so I did not need to overtake all shot calling duties“, – extinkt explains.