Omran ‘V1per’ Shoura is back in the LCS, even if it’s only temporarily. The 23-year-old Canadian top laner has fluxed in and out of the top flight. With his new chance, V1per is trying to prove to LCS sides — including TSM — that he’s worthy of a starting spot.
V1per knew his time back in the LCS spotlight would come again.
A solid year in Amateur and Academy in 2021 boosted the 23-year-old up after falling out of favor with the top 10 North American sides. Moving onto TSM Academy in 2022, taking on a big leadership role on a relatively young team, now poses a new set of challenges.
The first was a more mammoth one than expected. With visa issues forcing TSM to field their Academy roster in Lock In, V1per’s rising stars had to play against defending champions 100 Thieves in their first stage game. It was brutal, to say the least, however they managed to end Day 1 of the preseason tournament on a high with a win against the full-strength FlyQuest.
It was far from flawless — the 50-minute game timer tells you enough — but it’s promising.
“We usually have good early games — although we don’t talk about the 100 Thieves game,” he told Dexerto after the day’s play.
“We do play early games really well, we just struggle closing out games. We get the leads, then what do we do? That’s fine, that’s what we’re getting better at. As long as we have good early games, we can get the mid and late game down. We have new players, they’re slowly learning macro, learning how to read the map, everything.”
V1per has been forced to stand up as more of a leader on TSM Academy than ever before in his career. Most of his players have never played “on stage” before against top flight teams, and while Lock In is being held virtually, nerves were rattling.
The Riven main’s own experiences came in handy, especially in the FlyQuest affair where TSM just needed one solid punch to send their opponent’s packing, but held back for minutes.
“A lot of it comes down to stage fright as well. We’re playing the game in front of 100,000 people, and for them it’s the first time doing that. These mistakes lead up to it,” he explained.
“We could have won a lot of teamfights if we played them slower. We made the pick, killed their frontline, and then we die. It happened a lot that game, but it came down to stage fright. We usually try and close out games with the first baron. We should have done it then, but it led up to another baron… we were just scared and that delayed the game a lot.”
A third chance in the LCS
This is not V1per’s first rodeo in the LCS. After stints on Liquid (as a sub), FlyQuest, and Dignitas, he’s failed to nail down an ironed-on starting spot across his five year career. Critics look at his champion pool — just ban Riven, and there’s no more V1per.
- Read More: The problem with the LCS Lock In tournament
However, the 23-year-old has matured since his first days in the top flight. With Immortals giving him another chance in Academy last year — which ended with a top four finish in Proving Grounds — he’s got that confidence he was lacking.
“I honestly think I still belong in LCS and this is a chance to show that I can still be there,” he claimed.
“I said if I get one more chance I’ll make the best out of it. The two times I was in LCS I ended them on a really bad note and I wasn’t happy with that at all. I’ve fixed up a lot of issues that I had. I know I belong in the LCS, but showing it is another thing. Being confident, being a strong laner, you have to prove a lot of things and I think I’m doing that.”
How Season 12 is changing professional League of Legends
With experience comes wisdom, and for a pro player coming into his sixth year of competing at the top, that means taking the good with the bad when it comes to preseason changes.
V1per was pretty blunt in saying there wasn’t much added in this season that he was particularly fond of, least of all the new Chemtech Dragon: “I’m not a fan of that one at all, remove that please,” he laughed.
“That’s just being a pro player though, you have to adapt whether you like it or not,” he added.
However, what he does want to see is players adapting to the new runes like Lethal Tempo and First Strike, and not just playing the boring tried and true. V1per played two AD carries top on Lock In Day 1 — Vayne and Corki — and while he couldn’t really show off the best of Vayne, he wants people to realize there’s more to top than Renekton and Ornn.
In LCS especially we’ll see a lot of different champs and I hope people play like me and bring out Vayne top, Corki top, because it’ll add a lot of excitement.
“These are champions that are good — we saw Corki top in LEC and I was surprised because I thought I was the only one playing it — but I hope other players pick it up because I don’t want to watch Renekton vs Ornn all year.”
The talented Shoura household
At this point in time, V1per isn’t even really seen — by some of the community at least — as the best League of Legends player in his household.
That goes to his Rank 1-achieving, mechanically gifted younger brother Rayan ‘Sniper’ Shoura, who is currently playing on 100 Thieves amateur team 100T Next. Then there’s also mid lane prodigy Bilal ‘Crimson’ Shoura, who just signed to Radiance and is also playing in amateur.
The 15-year-old twins are developing at breakneck speed, with Sniper seen as one of NA’s next prodigies. It’s a point of pride for the older Shoura brother, who has the chance to play against them at Proving Grounds in 2022’s revamped Academy format.
“Crimson is still trying to make his way up there, but everyone knows Sniper because he hit Rank 1, he’s a Riven main, he’s in the exact same boat that I was,” he said. “He mained Riven, got his name out there.
“Crimson is definitely slept on and he needs to get his name out there, which will take some time but he’ll get there.”
- Read More: LCS 2022 power rankings leading into Lock In
V1per has had somewhat of a big part of that. It’s easy when your big brother is playing the game professionally, feeding down all the small tips when you’re just learning the ropes. However, that doesn’t negate the fact they have that special something.
“Here’s the thing: I can teach them stuff, especially Sniper because he’s a top laner, quickly. The stuff I know he can just pick up in his first year, whereas it took me a long time to build that knowledge. In the next year, he can keep on improving,” he explained.
“They’ll develop well if they have the right people around them, which I think 100 Thieves does a fantastic job of [for Sniper]. We just have to see where Crimson ends up.”
As for a future where the Shoura brothers can line up side-by-side-by-side on the LCS stage? The twins will be eligible to play come 2024, so if V1per can hold out another two years — and maybe role swap to give Sniper his preferred top lane — it can work.
Else, there’s always coaching them.
“Who knows, maybe I will end up playing on a team with them,” he laughed. “I do play AD carry top, so maybe we go bot lane instead and we’re all on the same team. That’d be cool. That’s just always cool to me when brothers are on the same team — especially when there’s two of them, I’ve never heard of that before.”
For now though, V1per’s eyes are firmly fixed on his second family at TSM, and raising his own young talents to best prime them for LCS. Lock In has been a great opportunity to get some exposure and get over that “stage fright,” and now it’s time for names to be made.
“For Lock In, we all just want to get a name for ourselves. Not many people have heard of our players because they’re new. Some came from Amateur, some came from Academy,” he said.
“Our goal is to just show we are capable of beating some LCS teams. Even if we don’t, we can at least challenge them. We just want to put up a fight, whatever it is that makes us look like we belong in LCS because some of us can get there in time.”