Alphama joined the French team of Supremacy shortly before Season 8 of Pro League, replacing Alive, but the roster failed to win a single Pro League match before Alphama was kicked off the team in favour of Alive.
Then, just before DreamHack Winter, the newly-formed LeStream Esports team announced that it had added Alphama and UUNO to the roster, and went on to qualify for the Six Invitational through the open qualifiers.
After their defeat in the group stages of the Invitational, we met up with Léo “Alphama” Robine at the event and asked him a few questions about what LeStream meant to him:
I wanted to start off with what it's been like joining LeStream coming from Supremacy, and the performance that you went through last season. How has joining LeStream been for you?
It's been really amazing, actually, to join a team, such big names especially in the French scene.
It's been people I've been watching since the beginning, so obviously when I received the offer I was like "wow that's amazing", especially as I had been working full-time studying plus another job, plus the esport thing, so I had a really huge schedule and it was really hard with my girlfriend, my family, and things.
So, first like, being approached by such big names that I was feeling it was awesome then having the opportunity of being full-time, and playing with amazing names, like really, it was amazing. Especially coming from Supremacy, where we had a really bad season and, you know I've been kicked off Supremacy, and that might affect your career at one point, because you know the image and reputation is very important.
So, yeah definitely, when I received the offer I wasn't expecting it at all; I was like, that might be the end of my career, that young, because I've been kicked off a Pro League team, and like I said image is important, so, I was really, it was really, it was amazing.
The first half of Season 9 is now behind us. How have you felt playing with LeStream and how have you felt this season has been going so far?
Well, I think apart from the Invitational, like, even the Invitational Qualifiers, in Season 9 we have improved a lot. When we came back from Jonköping (DreamHack Winter) and when, I think the main thing was the first loss against ENCE, we were like "we can't continue like that, we have huge, huge players who have huge objectives, we really need to find a way", we automatically, when watching the vods we were like "oh! we are not coordinated, like let's try to put the support work for the fraggers and it will be okay".
Then we started doing this and we had a really good season, like beating big names, I know Secret had a bad season but they're big names at the moment, beating Secret, Mock-It [now Na'Vi], PENTA on a 7-1 just after losing to ENCE.
It was really cool to have finally my first victory in Pro League and, yeah, being able to play at this level, even during the Six Invitational Qualifiers, we beat Vitality with a really good roster 2-0, same for Secret, and even against Empire we lost 0-2 but it was really close maps this time, 7-5 7-5, so really, you know, from an inch with clutches. And we were like, okay, we're really good contenders, and yeah it felt really good to play like this, and hopefully we're still improving on this.
I would definitely argue that as a team you've been showing us the most growth across the first half of the season. In terms of growth, what do you think you as a team has learnt from the Invitational experience?
I think what we've learned is, ok we came here as top 2 in EU Pro League and a lot of people are expecting, at least where we come from, the support and the fans they're expecting us to go far in this tournament, big names in the scene are expecting us to go far; and then we come here and we get first rounded and we were like okay that's not at all what we expected, we need to find what was the problem, and it was the same problem as in the DreamHack: we didn't play at all like in practice and in official online matches the same as on LAN, on offline. And I think we were like, I think the biggest problem with us was we want to do so good that we prepare so much for the matches that we even forget our own gamestyle.
We focus so much on stratting, on countering the opponents, so I think what we've learned is ok, yeah it's good to learn what your opponents are doing and to adapt on this, but it cannot be your full team's play, you have to have your own gamestyle and play what you know how you play, the thing you practiced in practice and scrims. And yeah I think that's definitely what we learned: let's focus more on our gamestyle, adapt when we want to but not all the time.
There's now another half of a season coming up, it's probably too soon to ask whether you have a focus going into the next half, you've probably started, like, you've got Kaid and Nomad coming in, you've probably experimented with them. How do you think they're gonna change the play?
We almost never practiced with it, we did it just at the beginning when it wasn't yet announced that they would only go in the meta at the mid season. Once they announced this we were only focusing on the meta to prepare the Six Invitational.
But I really think, for Kaid in defence, it will change a lot about basement defences, because of the hatches, of the fact that you can Kaid trick the Hibana charges and Kaid/Banditing a hatch is really something huge, because if for example you ban Hibana and then you manage to get one Thermite charge, they can open only one hatch or one wall, and on huge bombsites, in Basement, you can play if more "turtle", you know?
So I think it will be a gamechanger, especially for basement defences, to be able to Kaid from a distance, we'll see new strategies and new tactics, so I really think it's huge.
For Nomad I'm not sure, I honestly think the operator is nice to hold flank but it's so, you can't do anything against it, you know? Unless you find a way to see where is the Nomad, then it's alright, but otherwise you can't do anything to counter it, so I find a bit broken, and I'm not really sure how we'll manage it in games, but I almost never practised it so my opinion can change.
As we sit here, we've got the semifinals going on, who do you think is going to win here, and who do you think has put up a really strong performance even though they're not playing any more?
Since the beginning I've been "it's going to be something like Empire-G2, maybe EG" but when we played EG I was like "ok no, they're strong but I don't think they're going to go to the finals". So definitely Empire, G2 and then I have no idea of who will be the winner, I can't decide, for me it's 50-50, it all depends of so many things so I won't say it because I'm not sure.
I really think that the team that surprised me the most was Nora Rengo, they're insane, they have, I always knew they had insane aim and huge individual skills but to be able to play at this level, such growth... they're really good. they were in our group and when I saw them play I was like "oh so we need to beat PENTA and then we need to beat them to go to the mainstage, okay, well that's gonna be huge". Yeah, they're really good.
Do you have any message or other topics you might want to bring up?
We had a really bad Invitational, and it's been 2 times that we got to offline events, we qualify or we've been invited, and that's the esport thing, it's where the magic happens. And it's always good to win matches online, but it really hurts to win online and then to come and be first rounded, and I totally hope we'll find a way to counter this, to play at our level, to be able to play as we play online, offline.
And our next meeting will I hope so be the Pro League Finals. And us to keep the leaderboard and to be between the two best European teams representing EU at the Pro League Finals, so for that I'd say a huge shoutout to all the fans that have supported us during these defeats and it was a hard time for us. I'm confident that we will bounce back and work a lot to try to get to the Pro League Finals.
So thank you to every one of our fans, everyone who supported us for this.
LeStream’s - and Alphama’s - next game will be next Friday against Team Secret in the EU Pro League. Check out our interview with Risze below to learn more about the team and keep an eye out for more coverage of LeStream and player interviews on the SiegeGG Twitter and YouTube accounts.