Viper Graduates from TLA to FlyQuest
November 27 2018
There are few sports stories as enthralling as the plucky up-and-comer finally making it to the big leagues. Few people get to live the dream, and seeing 'one of us' reach the pinnacle of the sport is inspiring, and in a way, comforting — that the dream is still alive. Over the past year, Omran "V1per" Shoura has been the rock in TLA's top lane, and we're proud to announce that he's now graduating from our Academy to the LCS with FlyQuest.
Once upon a time, Viper was like all of us. "I was literally just playing the game. I didn’t aim to get good at the game for anything; I was just playing," he recalls, "I played it a lot and at some point, my addiction started kicking in and I started playing it a lot more." Unlike most of us, however, he was really fucking good. So good, in fact, that he decided to go all in.
"Once I saw I was getting really good at it, I started skipping school," he says with a hint of embarrassment, "It got to a point where I just completely stopped going to class." In another life, things could have spiraled out of control, but Viper came to a realization. "When I hit challenger, I just completely stopped going to class because I played so much league. I realized that if I'm not going to school, I’m wasting my time, and that I might want to do something with League because it made no sense not to."
Viper began streaming his games to a paltry few, but grew his audience over time. He gained a reputation as a Riven on-trick climbing the ladder, and made ends meet like many aspiring pros and streamers back then. Unfortunately, he could not avoid the pitfalls of a struggling streamer, and came very close to quitting. He remembers the day he almost walked away from League, "I tweeted 'I quit this game' because I was pissed, I was really upset." Instead, something unexpected occurred. "TL randomly reached out to me and they asked me to be a streamer and sub for the team. That's what kicked it all up. That's what motivated me to actually start caring."
Over the next two years, Viper streamed full time under Team Liquid with hopes of subbing when necessary. The latter never happened, yet the possibility put the thought into Viper's head: could he be more than just a one-trick streamer? "I wanted to see if I could transfer my Riven skills to something else," he says, "so I reached out to TL and asked if I could get a chance to talk to other teams [to play for an Academy team.]" Again, the unexpected happened: Steve offered him, without even a trial, a spot on TLA.
"My plan was to play 1 year in Academy," Viper explains about his ambition, "and then get to LCS from there. If I didn’t get any LCS offers and I knew I wasn’t good enough to make it there, then I just would have gone back to streaming and would have gone back to playing regular League. I just wanted to see where I stand."
In Academy, Viper stood tall as one of the best tops in the league. From Riven one-trick to hot prospect, Viper needed to adjust to a competitive league that was very different from solo queue. "My understanding of the game in general has changed a lot," Viper admits, "I learned a lot of things that you can't do in competitive that I could do in solo queue. I picked up on that pretty fast actually. I became confident in showing what I had learned."
That Spring Split, Viper was far and away the most deadly top laner in Academy. His 3.58 kills per game and 4.13 KDA were both #1 in his position, and his kill participation of 24.9% was a good 5 percentage points better than his closest rival. In Summer, he transformed from a killing machine to a creep sweeper with 313 CS/game — #1 in his position again. His performance as a carry top helped TLA earn 1st and 2nd seeds in the Spring and Summer Academy regular seasons, providing ample evidence that he could make the transition. When FlyQuest called to give him that opportunity, we couldn't say no.
"It feels really good [to graduate to the LCS]," Viper confesses, "It feels really good knowing that I'll be the only Academy top laner to translate from Academy to LCS this year. Hopefully I don't blow my shot and choke or something!" Even though he's reached the next stop on his career, he's still aware that there's quite a ways to go. "I feel like Academy's a lot less stressful," he opines, "but I wouldn't know because I haven't played LCS on stage yet." It's still quite a ways away until the new season, so that first moment on stage will have to wait, but for now, Viper leaves after over 3 years of making Liquid proud.
"I feel like I have so much to say because Team Liquid is like a family to me. It sucks a lot, but I have to leave." There is a hint of wistfulness on moving out day, out into the real world. "I really like everyone at TL. I like Steve a lot, I really like Michael, and it was always good vibes always being on TL."
After graduating from Academy, Viper will now be putting on a different uniform for the first time. More than that, he'll be wearing it on stage, eventually against Team Liquid. It's a big change, and a big move, but we know that he's ready. This is just the start of his LCS career. Who knows where it'll take him, but he'll always remember where he came from.
"I hope to one day come back again."
At the very least, you're welcome to visit and the AWTF is just a few blocks away.