17-year-old British League of Legends ADC player Matt "Deádly" Smith has gone from as he puts it 'a random in solo queue' to playing at Misfits' Berlin gaming house as a sub for their LCS team in a matter of four months.
Before that, he duo queued with his mum and even played football competitively with Nottingham Forest. Dom Sacco chats to Matt about his interesting story so far - and what's next...
- Name: Matt "Deádly" Smith
- Age: 17 (born August 28th 1999)
- Nationality: British
- From: Nottingham
- Elo: Challenger 350lp (main account), Master 200lp (smurf account)
ENUK: Please tell us about your background and how you got into competitive League of Legends.
Deádly: When I first moved from Nottingham to Spain at the age of eight, I started playing video games. The first computer game I played was Tibia, I played this with my whole family including both my parents and all five of my siblings.
I skipped two years of school when I moved to Spain, but we eventually moved back to Nottingham where I have been bought up since.
Eventually real life friends told my parents about League of Legends. My mum started playing League and after a couple of games she told me to play one of her bot games when she had to do something. Since that time I have been hooked - and my mum still plays League to this day.
We played solo queue/duo queue from season 2 to season 4, we we went from 900 mmr to getting silver and then eventually both of us reached Platinum. Then in season 5 pre-season I got into Diamond 1 90lp. At the time Master was not out, so I was only 10lp from Challenger).
Since then we have not played ranked but instead we play Arams together. In my spare time while I was playing League of Legends, I was in secondary school and at this time I was looking up to pros, but had no idea I could get a career out of it myself.
"I don't play to get known or become a 'star', I play with my team and to become a better player."
So how did you go from there to the UK scene?
At this point i was around Diamond 1 and to be fair I had never heard of a UK scene until gashandslash told me about it. I then tried out for TCA as [former TCA support player] Raizins saw me as some young talent from solo queue. Sometimes we duo queued, so to be fair I owe a lot to Raizins, as it was him who chose me out of some other well-known ADCs at that point.
I was also playing football competitively and getting a small salary while I was playing for Nottingham Forest Academy. So at this point I was focusing on three things, but then I decided to drop playing football as I just didn't find it fun anymore.
I decided to invest more time in League, since I knew I could make a career out of it at this point.
So basically I have to thank my mum for getting me into League and then Raizins for getting me into it competitively haha.
Which teams have you played with?
Currently I'm playing for E-Monkeyz in LVP2, and as a substitute for LCS team Misfits. I am also living in the gaming house of MSF Academy, where I played a couple of scrims against LCS teams and proved to be some future talent.
I have only been in competitive League since the start of August 2016 (when I was 16 and played for TCA), and after this one LAN at i58, I got a name for myself. Since then I just felt that I could actually be a good ADC.
After the UK split I got a lot of offers from all scenes, from TR/RU to German/Spanish scenes, I also tried out with some well known LVP teams such as G2V and BKN.
How do you rate yourself in comparison to other players in general in the UK scene, and at LCS level?
I don't rate myself in either the UK scene or at the LCS level. I feel like this is a mistake a lot of players make - if you compare yourself to others you are limiting yourself to people to measure yourself against.
For myself I don't even measure myself as top two UK player, never mind the LCS. I just want to play to become a better player and to learn more than others.
"I don't rate myself in the UK scene or in the LCS. I feel like this is a mistake a lot of players make - if you compare yourself to others you're limiting yourself to people to measure yourself against."
You are still a very young player. Did this give you extra pressure, what with being named 'prodigy' in the UK scene and getting the call-up from Misfits?
Normally young players feel pressure as they are playing against veteran players etc, but I felt different when I played against these type of players.
I didn't feel pressure at all, nor did I when I went onto a stage for the first time. The reason being is that I don't play the game to become a 'known player' or a 'star', I play with my team and to play to become a better player.
So, being called a 'prodigy' felt pretty good at the time and then being called up to Misfits just hyped me up even more.
I knew at this point I could become someone that can inspire others, as I went from a random in solo queue to being in a gaming house with people such as Kakao and igNAR in a matter of four months.
How's it been subbing in for MnM in some of the recent ESL Premiership games? Did they approach you to join?
I was approached by MnM, when both me and XDSmiley were trying out for Baskonia. Basically the person who didn't get into BKN was going to play for MnM, both me and XDSmiley agreed with this, and I was intended to play for MnM for this split.
But then I heard about how bad the prize pools are and that there isn't a UK Masters this split, and I still had another offer on the table with eMz. They offered me a lot more than MnM did, so me and Phurion decided to go together.
What are your thoughts on the UK League of Legends scene?
My thoughts on the UK LoL scene is that it's actually pretty underrated. There are too many memes that bring it down though. The scene is known for being bad for its past, however currently I think the scene is really bad as there isn't a healthy competition and the exposure/money that the scene gives for teams is not very appealing to both new and old players.
There is no valid reason for people to play in this scene when even the second division of LVP can offer more.
"I was playing football competitively and getting a small salary at Nottingham Forest Academy. But I decided to drop football as I didn't find it fun anymore - I knew I could make a career out of League of Legends."
Who are your favourite pro players in League? Have any other ADCs or players inspired you in particular, and why?
I don't really have a favourite pro player in League, I just had players that i would look up to or use as inspiration, one of which was XDSmiley. He was known as one of the top ADCs in the UK scene before I entered.
Another ADC that I looked up to was Zven (from G2), as he was a player like me in a sense - just 10 times better. He got picked out of solo queue to play with veterans, whom he learnt a lot from - and has become the best ADC in EUW.
Which players have guided and helped you as mentors in the UK scene, and why/how?
The players who have helped me in the UK scene have been Raizins as I've explained before, and Skudzy.
Skudzy is a player who helped me in real life more than in-game. He was basically my dad at LANs.
"I have to thank my mum for getting me into League of Legends and I owe a lot to Raizins for getting me into it competitively."
my mum is legit so supportive omg pic.twitter.com/nzSpGBbAli
— Deadly (@Deadlyl0l) February 8, 2017
What are your long-term aims and ambitions in League of Legends/esports?
My long term aim for League of Legends is to make it into LCS, and to play games on the stage, I want to make a name for myself in that sense.
Do you have a Challenger jacket? If so, what's it like? We'll never get one, you see...
Nah I don't have a Challenger jacket, I ended the season too low elo.
Deádly (centre) says he owes a lot to Raizins (right), who spotted him in solo queue and brought him to TCA
What are your thoughts on the state of League of Legends right now and the current meta?
My thoughts on the state of League of Legends right now is that it's in a stable condition, in which nothing is too overpowered.
But some things can be buffed/nerfed, mostly items, as lethality is a major part of this meta: most ADCs have to go down this build path to have an impact on the game.
Follow Deadly on Twitter here and on Snapchat via matthewluke8
Image source: ESL UK Flickr/Joe Brady