Perhaps the biggest rookie story coming into 2021 is the signing of two collegiate league players from the famed Maryville University. The signings of Aiden “Niles” Tidwell and Ethan “Iconic” Wilkinson to Golden Guardians left many fans hyped for the future of the organization. Stropse spoke with both Niles and Iconic after their victory this weekend.
The Transition from Collegiate to LCS
For both Iconic and NIles, the transition between the collegiate scene was smooth. But each had their own thoughts about their futures.
“When I was playing at Maryville, I didn’t expect to be playing the LCS,” said Iconic.
“At Maryville, well, I thought I was just gonna get completely destroyed. I’m not gonna lie.”
Iconic proved many wrong during his time at Maryville. And while his season at MU was cut short due to the pandemic, he still worked with MU to win many online tournaments.
Niles was in a similar situation but explains he enjoys the transition.
“When you’re in collegiate you’re sort of bouncing your classwork with how much time you put into League,” he said. “But nowadays, I’ve just been hard grinding late every single day and I’ve been enjoying it.”
Making their Debuts With A Win
Golden Guardians this weekend took a convincing win against CLG. And following the game, both rookies showed their excitement.
“Before I started the game, I was really really nervous. I’m not gonna lie. And guess we started off kind of slow,” said Iconic. “But … you can tell like the shift in the comms when people were like, getting excited … Like, we’re working well as a team.”
Niles also felt fantastic while playing the signature champion Gangplank. “Yeah, I just feel good. Like I saw I can’t really spend a lot of energy. I can’t really sit still. I just feel really happy.
But for Niles, it was more about wanting to get back in the action, saying, “I just want to play more League honestly, like, I want to have this feeling constantly. So I just want to keep practicing.”
Building and Keeping Synergy with the Team
Both Niles and Iconic talked about the teamwork they’ve carried into pro play after their joint tenure at MU.
“It’s really nice. I know how he works. And he knows how I work. I would say that honestly, we don’t like play off each other that much. Like he usually does his own thing and I do my own thing,” said Niles. “But it’s really nice just to have someone that I know what he’s thinking without him saying anything and he knows what I’m thinking when I’m feeling without saying anything.”
Iconic expanded the idea further, talking not only about Niles, but about his entire team.
“I’d say we’re like getting along really well,” he said. “It’s nice to like start to build a connection and friendship with all my teammates, getting more comfortable playing with each other.”
The Golden Guardians roster is composed of Nicholas “Ablazeolive” Antonio Abbott, former CLG bot-laner Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes and Leandro “Newbie” Marcos – each bringing a wealth of experience from their respective teams.
What Comes Next?
The goal for Iconic, as he says simply, is “Just to improve as much as I can and see how far that takes the team.”
But both players are looking forward to playing their next games with Golden Guardians. And it’s safe to say: they won’t disappoint.