Debut LEC split for both Heretics and Jackspektra, how well can they adjust to the demands of the league?

For many fans of the League of Legends scene in Europe, the name Jacob "Jackspektra" Kepple rings a bell. The AD Carry was one of the most talked about after he was close to joining the LFL's Karmine Corp back in 2021. However, the French giants decided to go with Martin "Rekkles" Larsson; and Jackspektra ended up in the SuperLiga Orange with Team Heretics.

The move turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the player, as Heretics bought Misfits Gaming's LEC spot and won the European Masters all in 2022.

Now in the LEC, Heretics and their rookie AD Carry have kicked off the 2023 winter split with a 4-4 record; qualifying for the group stage. Following their match against Excel, Jackspektra spoke to for an exclusive interview.

Adjusting to the LEC and the new format

With the numerous changes in the LEC, the players have had to adjust to the fast-paced nature of the split. For rookies coming into the league, this can be a very difficult process as there is little time to adjust. Moreover, the new format means that wins every week matter more than ever.

Jackspektra and Heretics after win in LEC studio. Photo by Michal Konkol/Riot Games
Jackspektra and Heretics after win in LEC studio. Photo by Michal Konkol/Riot Games

Jackspektra admitted to how the schedule impacted his debut and how it has been adjusting to the LEC overall.

"[It's] Crazy, like going from playing two match days a week to three match days a week, and they are all after each means that you don't really have any rest between games. If you play bad on day one, you can't really think about that game and improve from that game," he said. "You just have to go to game two and then game three. So, that made it a lot harder when I felt like I didn't have the best game one. And I couldn't really like think about what I did wrong, what I want to do next time. I just had to immediately play again. It made it so that I wasn't able to really feel like I could learn from it; was still making the same mistakes."

Despite feeling stuck in a cycle of feeling bad, then playing worse because of feeling down about performance, Kepple feels optimistic. "I feel like I've been growing and growing every week, and I think this week I'll show this weekend I'll show the best performance out of my LEC career so far."

Jackspektra: A potential franchise player

With eight games played in the league now, both Jackspektra and Heretics have been gradually adjusting to their new home. While it is still only early days, Jackspektra believes he can do great things with Heretics in the LEC.

"It feels like I know the organization really well. And it feels like we built up a really good relationship. It feels really good to be this key player that is being promoted from the ERLs to the LEC. And I feel like I can kind of become this franchise star player, someone like Rekkles to Fnatic, Perkz to G2 when he brought them their glory. I want to make Heretics the best org in Europe, and I want to win and achieve success with them."

On learning from Jankos and Evi

Heretics were one of the busy teams in the offseason, and they recruited two of the most experienced players, Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski and Shunsuke "Evi" Murase. Jankos is regarded as the best jungler in the West, having spent five years in G2, winning multiple titles, including a Mid-Season Invitational. Meanwhile, Evi is one of the most recognized Japanese players and spent 5 out of his 8-year career in the LJL at DetonatioN Focus Me. Evi has played in every single World Championship since 2017 and qualified for the main event in 2021.

Jankos and Evi at LEC studio| Photo by Michal Konkol/Riot Games
Jankos and Evi at LEC studio| Photo by Michal Konkol/Riot Games

For Jackspektra, getting the opportunity to make his LEC debut with Jankos and Evi leading the lines has been a great experience to learn from.

"I mean, it's an honor. They're both legends in their own right. Evi is the greatest Japanese player of all time. And Jankos is the greatest Western jungler of all time, made Worlds finals once, and has many LEC trophies. It really feels like an honor that I get to play with them that I get to learn from them. And I feel it helps me so much as an individual that I get to play with them and that I learn from them rather than starting out learning from someone that doesn't know so much. I get to start up and learn from the best; that will really help my career and help me become the best player possible."

The LEC bot lane meta and difference from the ERL

The bot lane has been the most important lane in the LEC for some time, and things have not really changed much in the 2023 winter split. For Team Heretics, they've found much joy in their top lane, with Evi showing everyone just how good his K'Sante is. However, their game against Excel, where Jackspektra got 14 kills on the Draven, shows that they could equally find success in bot lane.

"I think bot lane is really OP. So playing for bot lane right now is what most teams should be doing," said Jackspektra.

"There are some games where top lane can be really OP, but in most cases, the team that plays better around bot is winning the game. If I can keep playing carries bot lane and I can keep carrying, then I'm happy. But at the same time, if the meta changes or if something happens, Evi is a great carry player. He has so many pocket picks; it's not just the K'Sante one. I think we can do both, and it has been good playing both styles."

The player also spoke about the difference in the quality of the ERL and LEC when it comes to the bot lane.

"In ERL there are a lot of bot lanes that are questionable. But in LEC every single bot lane that we've played versus, I can't say that they're bad. There are still differences, and I'm improving so much. I was inting so much at first. Now I feel like me and Mersa are becoming one of the better bot lanes in the LEC; I can't wait to see how much more we grow and how much more we improve. I really want us to become one of the best bot lane and I can see it happening.

Jackspektra and his support will have plenty of time to prove themselves in the LEC Winter split with best-of-three series in the group stage.

Keep watch on for more LEC and League of Legends content.