WIth Mirage Elyandra currently making their way through the 2022 Ligue Française de League of Legends, head coach Damien “Damles” has his work cut out for him. We caught up with Lesage to chat about the challenges of entering a new competitive space like the LFL.
Fabrice: You became the head coach for Mirage Elyandra for this season, how do you feel about this role and about starting a new chapter of your journey with this organization?
Lesage: When I joined Elyandra, the goals for the organization were not that high, but my personal ambitions were very high: I wanted to get to the top. The spot in the LFL wasn’t talked about back then, but when it happened it was logical for Vincent “Shaolan” Dalagi to want to keep some of the players that got us into the LFL. So Shaolan decided to keep his staff, which has already built a level of trust between us. Another change to my career is that I am now on a full-time schedule.
Can we say that it is a new chapter and how do you feel about that?
It is totally a new chapter. It is a step from the semi-pro world into the pro level, and we now have more expectations. We have to give more of ourselves because we are fully focused on the game all the time.
Which teams are you most excited or anxious to face, and why?
It goes without saying that Kcorp and Vitality are our biggest competition, but I don’t think we are anxious to face any team because I think we can take games off everyone. It’s not necessarily the teams that are considered favorites that are going to give us problems. As a team that’s considered underdogs, our goal is to win every game, and to play against good teams actually takes some of the pressure off, because I think that we can do well against them. We are not particularly concerned.
How is the preparation going?
We are scrimming and making sure that everyone is at their best. We take the classic approach, but we also put a lot of work into the mental preparation and well-being of our players.
What will be the team’s focus for the upcoming season?
Like every year, it will be to perform at their best, and for the staff to give the players a competitive environment so that they are able to bring out their maximum. I think that with the individual qualities of the players we have if we make sure that everyone is happy and supported, we will perform at our best and achieve good results.
Your lineup contains many veterans like Cody Sun who have a wealth of competitive experience. How will they impact the rest of the team?
We have three veterans at different levels. There is Liyu “Cody Sun” Sun at the North American level, and Jonas “Memento” Elmarghichi and Oskar “Raxxo” Bazydło who are veterans of the European scene. They have great competitive profiles, and they will help the rookies develop. We didn’t take Cody Sun for the experience alone, he is a very good player and we can see it every day in scrims. He probably wasn’t put in the best conditions last year. Cody and the other veterans will help Kim “RangJun” Sang-jun and Lucas “Badlulu” Piochaud perform.
What personal goals do you want to achieve?
I want to make sure that the team performs the best it can with the players we have, and of course to win the maximum number of games possible. If I feel that we have won all the games that we could win, then I feel that we did a good job.
What are your thoughts on the competition this year?
I think the level of competition increased compared to last year in the sense that teams that ended the last season in 4th or 5th place and kept the same level could possibly finish in the bottom three this time. We have a very good roster, and yet we are considered underdogs.
Finally, if you could have one message to say to your fans and ultras, what would you want to tell them?
As I said, we have the potential to make unique accomplishments and pull off upsets. I think that every game will be different and I think supporting us is a good idea because we are one of the teams that can take victories away from the bigger teams, whether it is in the mental aspect or in our will to win. Supporting us may be more difficult than teams like Kcorp or Vitality but it will be more rewarding. What I want to say is to continue to support us and celebrate with us as we win against the bigger teams and pull ahead.
This interview has been edited for clarity, style, and pacing.
Mirage Elyandra have already started to make their mark in LFL 2022 as they were able to defeat Karmine Corp (Kcorp) in the second game of the first week. They currently have a 1-1 record.
To keep up with Lesage you can follow him on Twitter. Stay tuned for more player and creator highlights.