KSWINNIIE speaks with esports.gg ahead of the ALGS Championship.

Elwin "KSWINNIIE" Echeveria is the definition of grassroots Apex Legends. He has risen from grinding French APEX.PRO events to competing at his fifth consecutive ALGS LAN event for a share of $2,000,000.

The Frenchman broke through into the top tier of EMEA Apex Legends with team 'Underrated' in the 2021 EMEA online Championship. Underrated broke the meta, running Revenant and playing a unique super aggressive playstyle that earned them a wide range of plaudits.

Now with Element 6, KSWINNIIE has established himself as one of the leading IGLs in Europe, with consistently impressive Pro League performances. Now, he wants to take his career up a notch and bring home his first major title.

You can watch the full interview here:

Lack of wins affecting KSWINNIIE

However, a big win has eluded KSWINNIIE. Consistently impressive results are just that, impressive. But for a player to truly feel among the elite they need to win events to establish themselves. A 9th place at the 2023 Split One playoffs and a 4th place in the 2021 Split One Pro League are amongst KSWINNIIE's best results with Element 6.

(Photo EA/Joe Brady)
(Photo EA/Joe Brady)

He admits that the lack of wins is starting to play on his mind.

"I'm at that point that unfortunately in my career I never win anything for the moment. I'm f***ing sad about it because yeah, never win any Pro League because every time we have to deal with contests fighting for our spot blah blah blah. As well roster change and stuff. I hope that gonna change this year.

"I have never won the LAN of course, which is my dream. And I need that for being at that point, if you know what I mean. I need to win something... because people put me in top three or top five in EU, maybe sometimes in top 10 in the world and stuff like that.

"But if I want to deserve that, right, then I need to win something. And until I don't win something, then you know, it's not gonna be the case, unfortunately. I work more than other people I think, off stream and stuff and I'm just giving my best and hopefully in the two next years I'm at that point."

COVID scuppered a strong performance in Raleigh

Perhaps KSWINNIIE's best chance to win a LAN event was in Raleigh. Element 6 were playing strongly before KSWINNIIE was disqualified after a positive COVID test.

The PNC Arena hosted the 2022 ALGS Championship (Photo EA/Joe Brady)
The PNC Arena hosted the 2022 ALGS Championship (Photo EA/Joe Brady)

"People don't know, but we were playing really good in Raleigh. We were top eight in the first day.

"We were playing so good with Valkyrie, Caustic, with Smeggy and Slayers. I got COVID unfortunately the second day. We were really about to do something this LAN but you know, who knows now because I got COVID.

"We have two bad results now on LAN unfortunately. One where I think I showed myself really good. And as an MNK player doing one of the top play of the LAN. I need something to you know, bring value to people so people can say yeah, okay, he win that right."

KSWINNIIE hopes Tyler is the end of roster changes

One issue that Element 6 have experienced this season is instability with their roster. Tyler is the 5th teammate that KSWINNIIE and Slayers have had this season and their 7th since they first competed together in November 2021.

KSWINNIIE (Photo EA/Joe Brady)
KSWINNIIE (Photo EA/Joe Brady)

There has been a wide variety of reasons for the roster changes. Ranging from retirements to performance issues. However, there has clearly been an impact felt by the constant changes.

The latest departure saw KIND4 leave after the Split 2 Playoffs, to be replaced by Tyler. That move caused some controversy, and coach Sineska was forced to issue a statement on Twitter clarifying the move, and past roster changes.

KSWINNIIE feels disappointed that there have been so many roster changes.

"I'm pretty disappointed of all these changed rosters, I guess. It is what it is, it's esports. So yeah, decisions have to be made and stuff like that. I don't like changing every time because we can't like... we have to redo everything every time.

"So I'm pretty disappointed of roster change every time. It is what it is. We just try to deal with it now and see how it goes."

KIND4 had the wrong playstyle for Element 6

But what led Element 6 to make another roster change after the Split 2 Playoffs? While they did not make the final with Kind4, the 17-year-old clearly has potential for the future. For KSWINNIIE, his playstyle was simply not the right fit at the highest level.

KIND4 at the Split 2 Playoffs (Photo EA/Joe Brady)
KIND4 at the Split 2 Playoffs (Photo EA/Joe Brady)

"We figured out on LAN, right? We tried to force him to play a playstyle before. But, it was not meant to be. We wanted Kind4 as a fragger, right? Because he was fragging in CC. He come to play from CC to the top world, if we can say. So it changed drastically for him.

"And in LAN, we figured out that we have literally the same playstyle as Slayers. So if we have like two anchors if we can say. It just doesn't fit. I didn't have anyone to entry frag. It was nerfing him as well because he don't have space to be himself. We nerfed Slayers as well because he don't have space to be himself.

"And that was nerfing me as well because I don't have anyone to entry frag, I don't have someone to commit on the fight or clutch up. It was not good for everyone. Kind4 is heavily talented, he's really good. But he just was not meant to be I guess, unfortunately."

KSWINNIIE helping Tyler find his "demon mode"

In TylerFPS, Element 6 have an experienced and talented fragger to fill that crucial role. At Vexed Gaming, Tyler was the EMEA Pro League kill leader in Split 1, and secured the 4th most kills in Split 2. While Vexed never really got going at LAN, Tyler will still benefit from the experience of playing on the global stage.

TylerFPS has joined Element 6 ahead of the Championship (Photo EA/Joe Brady)
TylerFPS has joined Element 6 ahead of the Championship (Photo EA/Joe Brady)

"When he have the momentum on his side, right? Because Tyler work on momentum most likely and that's why I need to try to work a lot on myself because you know, I'm malding a lot. Everyone knows that, right?

"I need to try to put him in that demon mode. When he's on that demon mode, he's just... he doesn't respect anyone. And that's what we need. We need someone who are not scared by anyone and he just shoot his gun. Like, he just shooting nukes every time. So if he's not scared about anyone, we don't gotta be scared about anyone".

Tyler is an impressive communicator

While Tyler is famed for his fragging ability, and a deep-rooted love for Dr Pepper, KSWINNIIE was also surprised at how well Tyler communicates. He feels that this is something that can really benefit Element 6 at the ALGS Championship.

"One of the most value [Tyler] brings to the team is his communication. And that's what I didn't know about Tyler before we play with him. He have a really clear communication and he's really loud when he shot calls and stuff. That's what we need because as people know, Slayers doesn't talk that much. And when everyone is talking a lot, Slayers bring that energy and he's talking as well.

Slayers (Photo EA/Joe Brady)
Slayers (Photo EA/Joe Brady)

"Tyler is one of the best fit for the team. I hope we're going to make that work because that's literally the best fit we can have right now. If that, if that works, we probably going to be soon in top three of the world. And I hope, maybe more."

Season 18 changes present a challenge to Element 6

Like every team, Element 6 are having to deal with the large changes brought by Season 18. Ring timings and damage have been changed, Beacon and Ring Console spawn rates were equalised, and loot spawns were nerfed. All these are a lot more impactful for the ALGS than casual games.

"Overall I'm gonna speak first, it's a good change, right? It's good to change, but not like right before the World Championship, right? Obviously because we don't have time to adapt and stuff, even if adapting is good, just not that big. But for the team, for our team especially, it's really good because we don't like Seer, we have most likely never been crutching Seer, so we love it, obviously.

Element 6 are excited by the Seer nerf
Element 6 are excited by the Seer nerf

"One part of the update is really good but the other part is the nerf of armor and stuff like that is pretty meh for edge teams. Considering we love play hard edge on LAN we gonna have to adapt, we gonna have to deal with it."

KSWINNIIE doesn't understand logic behind some of the changes

"It's a lot of change that I don't really understand because it's like the meta on LAN is heavily zoned already and now if you play edge you can't scan the [Survey Beacon] because it's most likely no [Recon] character will fit on the meta right now. Maybe crypto or Bloodhound. Depends on how you want to make them work.

"You can't have good shield. You have to craft them. But you don't have time to craft them, because you have to leave the zone really quick. A big nerf for edge, so again more zone advantage, I don't know we're gonna have to deal with it I guess."

One of the quirks about big changes is that it is impossible to truly know how they will impact LAN, until LAN itself. Scrim quality ahead of the ALGS Championship has been good, but you can never totally replicate the pressure of LAN.

Element 6 have different gameplans prepared

That means that teams have to consider options if their game plan just does not work when the event gets under way. This is something that KSWINNIIE is prepared to do.

"We are ready to make that change. We have multiple POI, multiple comps that we can play, edge and zone comps, so we are ready for it."

Element 6 fans in London (Photo EA/Joe Brady)
Element 6 fans in London (Photo EA/Joe Brady)

However, KSWINNIIE feels that edge will still be viable on LAN, in part down to how many teams will be playing zone.

"I feel like people realized that it's a zone meta, of course. And they're gonna try to rush zone, so it's gonna be a couple of teams on edge. I don't think it's gonna be that much squad than the last LAN had on edge. It was a lot of squad, it was a s**t show on edge. We got punished for it. But we're cooking something for people who wanna fight us on edge. Good luck to them."

KSWINNIIE wants to see an aim assist nerf

Something that is rumoured to be planned post-Championship is an adjustment or a nerf to Aim Assist. Developers have said that they are investigating potential changes to help level out the playing field between the two inputs.

"I think they need to nerf that shit. I was a heavy defender of controller at the start. But now all the young boys are coming up from PS4 and they're just holding everyone. It's just not fun. This is literally not fun anymore. It's too much good controller player!

"I think if it was an ALC meta, then it would be fine. I feel like it's less powerful than 4-3. Everyone can shoot [when using] 4-3. I can literally plug a controller and I have never play my life, only FIFA, and I can shoot my gun in close range."

Will Mouse and Keyboard be stronger in the future? (Photo EA/Joe Brady)
Will Mouse and Keyboard be stronger in the future? (Photo EA/Joe Brady)

Meta shift has helped controller players

Part of why the balance seems to have shifted towards controller players is the meta. The strong SMG meta and the increase in aggressive close range fights is a big factor behind their rise. The last true "MNK meta" was when Gibraltar and Shotguns were much more heavily used.

"They're going in the right way by nerfing SMG but we need more. That's why for me the best meta was Gibby Caustic because in Gibby Caustic, okay it was toxic and you can say it was camping in buildings and stuff, but MNK was on top. I mean MNK was powerful, we could do something against Controler in Gibby Caustic meta it was really fun. Now... Now we try our best."

KSWINNIIE and Element 6 will look to bring home their first major title when the ALGS Championship begins in Birmingham on September 6.

For more coverage of the ALGS Championship, stay with esports.gg.

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