Forg1ven: Villain or Antihero
We take a look at the career of one of the most controversial and gifted Western LoL players—Forg1ven.
Few League of Legends players are as polarizing as Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou. From his debut in the EU LCS to the last games at the World Championship stage, the superstar AD carry always engaged viewers with his impeccable play and larger-than-life personality.
In the age of Europe rapidly losing its talent to other regions, Forg1ven managed to glue thousands across the world to their screens. What made him so special?
When Forg1ven entered the EU LCS as a part of the Copenhagen Wolves lineup, it was almost as if he came out of nowhere. Compared to established European AD carries like Rekkles or CandyPanda, he was a rookie that only had Challenger League experience under his belt. And yet, he avoided the trap that so many LCS newcomers fall into. Forg1ven wasn’t there to hold out in the bot lane and play cleanup in team fights. Instead, from the very first minutes, Forg1ven was playing to win.
It was then that Forg1ven developed the style that would define him for years to come—his trademark lane dominance. With his flawless mechanics, Forg1ven could put even the best AD carries in the region on the back foot. However, unlike other lane-focused marksmen like Doublelift, Uzi, or WeiXiao, Forg1ven didn’t use this play style to get advantages for himself. Sure, he would take the kills and CS leads if he could, but the goal was to push his opponents out of lane and start taking turrets and dragons for his team.
Even in his early days, Forg1ven didn’t care about anything other than winning and his gaze was already set at the top.
First to Leave
Ironically, it was this mindset that made the Greek AD carry so hard to work with. Forg1ven was a very demanding player. He’d often speak his mind or point out mistakes in a very blunt, no-nonsense manner. In a game where so much revolved around being the best, Forg1ven’s passion shined bright—so much so that his teammates would end up getting burned.
A puzzling trend emerged where teams would part ways with Forg1ven because he was a ‘difficult teammate’, but his actual colleagues seemed to have nothing but praise for him. In retrospect, it made sense. After all, it’s hard to criticize a player that’s so focused on perfecting his craft. But working and living a day-to-day life with such an overbearing personality would be a tough thing to handle.
Of course, there’s also the other side of the coin. Forg1ven himself has mentioned on many occasions that he wasn’t satisfied with playing on middle-of-the-pack teams. Throughout his career, he was always looking for something, or rather, someone. People who shared his burning desire of becoming the best.
One thing that made this goal so difficult was that Forg1ven wanted to achieve it on his own terms. There was a strange duality in his approach to the game. On one hand, he could be one of the most demanding players that asked nothing short of perfection from his teammates. On the other hand, if Forg1ven had trust in his allies, he was prepared to step away from the spotlight and lock in team-reliant picks like Sivir or Jinx.
The same line of thinking translated to out of game things. While Forg1ven was often dissatisfied with his teammates and their dedication to the game, he’d never campaigned for them to get benched or for the roster to be built around him. He didn’t want to cost anyone their job. He just wanted to play League of Legends.
Unfortunately, the road to the top is paved with sacrifices. League’s competitive scene is often times just as much about playing well as it is about internal politics. Forg1ven’s strong convictions and unwillingness to settle for compromises would result in organizations leaning the other way and removing the Greek AD carry from their rosters in favor of other players. Forg1ven took most of these blows well but it was clear from his public statements that things were starting to wear on him.
Lightning in a Bottle
At this point, it was rare to see Forg1ven stay on a team for more than a single Split. However, out of the many lineups he’s been part of, there was one that stood out the most. Of course, we’re talking about H2K. This team seemed to have everything that Forg1ven could ever dream of. A stable, low-maintenance top laner in Odoamne, a superstar jungler in Jankos, a hyper-aggressive support in Vander, and—the icing on the cake—another veteran carry in Ryu.
If there was a team that could work for Forg1ven, it was this one. While the regular season went well enough for H2K to earn a bye to the semifinals of the 2016 Spring Split, the playoffs themselves were a different story. The team caved under the pressure, first losing 2-3 to Origen and then falling in a similar manner to Fnatic in the 3rd place match. As if to add insult to injury, Forg1ven and H2K also ended up going separate ways at the end of the Split.
With his former teammate, Vander, saying how he’d rather leave the team than play with the Greek AD carry again, it seemed that Forg1ven’s longstanding career was coming to an end. But fate still had a surprise in store for him.
One Last Ride
After a short stint at Origen, Forg1ven once again found himself teamless—this time right in the middle of the season. It seemed that everything was finally over, but a call for help from his old team, H2K, made Forg1ven brush up his mouse and keyboard, and return for the remainder of the Split. A Split that would become one of the most important moments in his career.
With Forg1ven’s help, H2K managed to finish third in the EU LCS and, through a combination of luck and good play, qualify for the World Championship. Not only that, but Forg1ven managed to reconcile with his teammates and longstanding rivals in the process. Things were finally looking up for the Greek AD carry.
H2K’s World Championship run ended up being the best out of any Western team. The team went all the way to the semifinals where they ultimately fell to Samsung Galaxy; but even with this result, H2K did their home region proud. It was even more surprising that after such an impressive showing, Forg1ven announced that he’d be once again parting ways with the team. Perhaps some bridges are not meant to be mended, or perhaps the superstar AD carry was once again looking for that one perfect team.
Shades of Gray
Many things could be said about Forg1ven. He can be selfish, brash, and stubborn to the point where it’s detrimental both to himself and to his teammates. But he’s also a player with a set of strong convictions and a burning passion for the competition, and these traits alone earned him a lot of respect.
The best indicator? Despite the fact that Forg1ven took a step back from the competitive scene and essentially put his career on hold, thousands still follow his every move, asking the same question: When will he make a return?
What do you think of Forg1ven’s League of Legends career? Let us know in the comments!