It's been a while since our last player profile piece here at Esports News UK, but we're ending this drought with an interview with an experienced UK League of Legends player.
Dom Sacco talks to 21-year-old high-Diamond (peak Masters) support player, Dan "Aux" Harrison, who has just helped Excel pick up a 2-0 in the first UK Masters Summer 2017 match this week.
Please tell us about your background. What are you like and where did you grow up?
I'm from Newcastle upon Tyne, lived there my whole life. I started to get into sports like rowing, rock climbing, tennis and swimming when I was a teenager and after competing in them I developed somewhat of a competitive streak.
I've always enjoyed games and when the opportunity came to mix that enjoyment with competition, it was definitely something for me.
How did you get into League of Legends and which teams have you played with?
I got into League of Legends because a friend recommended it to me, I'd just quit playing World of Warcraft but I'd enjoyed playing arena mostly in that. I started off getting placed in silver 4 (obviously the rank of legends - Dom), I favoured support because I'd played healer in WoW and eventually I worked my way up.
My first real team was GLB eSports, their manager Plausible approached me on Reddit where I'd been posting a fair amount and asked if I was interested in playing for his team.
After playing under GLB for around six months and not really achieving much, me and one of my teammates ChrisTFer went to Overwatch. We had a lot of success but eventually the team (Choke Overwatch) disbanded, and feeling burnt out, I returned to League of Legends.
How long have you been with xL and why did you decide to join them?
After coming back to League of Legends from Overwatch, I was struggling to find a team for the Premiership.
After xL lost their support at the last second, I lucked out and got a trial. They were happy with how I played and I've been with them ever since. I like to explore my options between seasons which xL has always been fine with, but so far they've always been the best option for me.
I found it sad to see Joekerism leave xL. What was it like laning with him and how do you feel knowing that the 'Jauxerism' duo is now over?
Joe was a really solid laner, I think we could go toe-to-toe with every bot lane in the UK scene and I have some good memories of us getting 2v2 kills and quite a few times where he'd flash then 4th shot on Jhin for solo kills.
I'm slightly sad for it to have ended but we're still in touch and honestly I don't think me and Joe complemented each other super well, after seeing him and Magne play together I think they're a great match.
Unfortunately Magne isn't going to be playing with Enclave for the split but Nightmares looks really good as well, so I'll be looking forwards to seeing how Innaxe and I match up against them.
"I feel like we are one of the stronger rosters in the tournament and we will definitely make the top four for playoffs. Our goal is to win the entire event."
Congratulations on qualifying for the UK Masters and winning your first match. How does the team feel regarding its chances in that competition?
Thank you, I feel like we are one of the stronger rosters in the tournament and we will definitely make the top four for playoffs. Our goal is to win the entire event but I feel like MnM's roster once again should be favourites in most people's minds.
That being said, Innaxe and Shikari are hoping to get revenge for their defeat in the ESL Premiership last season against them, and everyone else on the roster shares their determination.
What are your thoughts on the current state of UK League of Legends?
I think this split seems to be a lot more competitive than last split just based on the talent that's come in thanks to the fact UK Masters is back.
Everyone seems driven and of course that has already spawned a lot of trash talk which in my eyes just makes things interesting. Also both Multiplay and ESL have seemed to take on board criticisms about the format from last year's tournaments including having four teams in playoffs which I'm very happy about.
That being said, there is obviously a big difference between the UK and some of the top national leagues.
I'm hoping for more support and funding to be brought in to the UK scene in the future, as I think there is a lot of talented players here who deserve a chance to showcase that and to motivate them to keep playing in the UK scene.
Who are your favourite pro players and orgs in League? Who inspires you?
I'm a big SKT fan, it's just insane to see them playing so dominantly through the last three seasons and I think Bang is so enjoyable to watch.
That being said I think Pray and Gorilla are my favourite bot lane, glad to see they've got some really solid talent with them on Longzhu this season and I hope to see them challenge SKT.
What are your aims and long-term ambitions as a player?
My aims at the moment are to climb back up to Master tier and meet my expectations for the coming split in the UK scene. I was disappointed to have missed out on reaching LAN last split and I'm determined to get there this time and put up a good fight.
In terms of long-term ambitions I'm not really sure, I enjoy competing, and even playing in the qualifiers made me realise how much I'd missed it just in the break from last split. However I've just finished my exams and I'm hoping to be going to Bristol University in September to study economics, so that's my main long-term ambition for the time being.
I'll most likely keep playing while I'm there but any dreams of going pro or moving into a gaming house would have to be put on hold until I've graduated.
"I was disappointed to have missed out on reaching LAN last split and I'm determined to get there this time and put up a good fight."
What are your thoughts on the current LoL meta and the state of the game at the moment?
I actually really like the current state of the game, aside from a certain broken green champ I think that nothing is too OP and there's a wide range of stuff that can be played.
Particularly in bot lane, compared to the Ashe/Varus/Jhin meta there's a much broader pool of champs which can be picked. When Doran's Shield was buffed it brought back melee supports which I was really happy about because it gives you the chance to make some big plays rather than just spamming shields as Karma/Lulu all game.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
We're playing at 9pm on Monday June 26th against MnM Gaming, tune in to watch us play!
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