Today, I had the opportunity to sit down with Federico “Paradox” Princiotta Cariddi, Esport Empire’s support.
Esport Empire is one of the two new entries to PG Nationals 2022, the LoL First Italian Division. Rising up from the amateur league, EE impressed fans with a very strong start to their spring split, winning three of the first four matches.
I first met Paradox in the competitive environment one year ago, in one of the university tournaments organized by Amazon. His Thresh stuck on my mind and since then I thought he had the potential to make the big step. One year later, he made his way to PG Nationals.. marking the starting point of his LoL competitive career.
Below you can find the interview with Paradox. Our questions will be in bold font and his answers will be in regular font.
Federico “Paradox” Cariddi – Esport Empire Interview
Hi Paradox and welcome! Some people in the LoL competitive scene might already know you, but tell us something about yourself!
Ciao a tutti, I’m Paradox! I’ve started playing League of Legends competitively one year ago. While that may sound super cool, I think that I’m not that different from most people. Just like others of my age, I study engineering in the University of Palermo, in Southern Italy.
Nonetheless, I’ve had a big passion for video games since I was a child. I’ve played hours and hours first on the Playstation, then on the computers and obviously League of Legends was among those games. I ended up entering the Italian esports scene last year.
During this short experience of one year, I was able to transform my hobby into a career, which is something I’m extremely proud of.
You play in Esport Empire, one of the new entries to the PG Nationals. Can you tell us more on how you got to the Italian first Division?
I started my journey with Esports Empire last year, competing in the first-ever Circuito Tormenta (Italian Amateur League) in April 2021. Our results earned us the qualification for PG Proving Grounds, which is essentially Italy’s second Division. During that split, we finished 2nd in the standings. In playoffs, however, we were able to beat GGEsports Academy in the finals and win Proving Grounds.
We technically had to play the Relegation tournament in order to get into PG Nats, but that didn’t happen because two of the four organizations participating disbanded.
As a result, we qualified automatically for the Italian first Division.
How do you feel about playing in PG Nats and what are your goals with your team for this season?
On a personal level, I’m very satisfied about the results the team and I achieved, especially considering that we’ve played together only for one year.
In this split, we’re aiming top four at the end of the regular split, so we can fight in some Best-of-five series during playoffs. Of course, the dream would be to win the Championship and go to EU Masters, but the main goal is to at least reach playoffs.
Do you think it’s a doable goal?
Yes, for sure. We’re currently tied with GGEsports and Cyberground Gaming in 4th place, so I think we have good chances to make it out alive. The team will have some tough games ahead, but we’re confident we can get there.
How are you coping with the pressure of playing?
To be honest, I really don’t feel anything. I’m pretty chill, and I’m focused on delivering quality performances.
What do you think about PG Nats’ level of play?
I’m not really sure what was the exact level of competition past years, but I think that a few years ago there were stronger players. In fact, some of these have gone to participate in more competitive leagues and had very strong results elsewhere.
Do you remember the name of these players?
I recall Efias, a support player who is currently playing in G2 Arctic over in the LVP (Spanish League). Not only him, but also players like Dehaste and Zwyroo played in PG Nats. Now the first is playing in Prime League first division while Zwyroo is in Spain, at Team Heretics.
Also, let’s not forget about Jiizuke, who probably most people will remember back when he went to Team Vitality. So, yeah, I think the competition was a slightly higher in the past years.
Going back to PG Nats, I believe that this year the competition is overall pretty balanced. From 2nd to 7th place, I consider all these teams at a similar level. There are of course some who are stronger than others, but it might also happen that better teams “troll” some series here and there.
Who do you think are the strongest enemies to face and who are you looking forward to playing against in the tournament?
Generally speaking, I would like to play against the bot lanes of the best teams, such as Macko and Atleta Esports. Click-Rharesh and Endz-Cospect have been in PG Nats for quite a while and I think that they are the strongest bot lanes in the tournament. It’s always important to see the comparison and learn from our mistakes. In the end, it’s a positive outcome for us.
In Europe, the strongest ERL teams come from either the LFL (French League) or Prime League (German).
Do you think that the Italian League is slowly catching up to the other major ERLs or do you think there’s still a gap? If so, what do you think should be done in order to improve it?
Honestly, I don’t think that we’re closing the gap with the major ERLs as much as we would like. There’s still quite a substantial difference and it won’t be easy to bridge that.
I hope that the Circuito Tormenta can encourage new players to join the Italian esports scene and increase the overall competition. With that being said, this is a long-term plan and we will surely need some time to see the results.
Now that we finished talking about the Italian Esports Scene, let’s talk about the game!
What do you think of the current meta?
My personal opinion is that the meta shifts a lot from patch to patch, which is fine. My issue with the current meta is some of the items are too powerful and some are really underpowered.
For example, last season Goredrinker and Sterak Gage were must items on almost any jungler or bruiser champion. While they did change the items, all the junglers are going for the same build path, which is Goredrinker into Death Dance, with the occasional Maw of Malmortius. The same goes for the top lane, since most are building Hullbreaker these days.
In the end, there is little item diversity: the meta is defined by which champions can better utilize the strongest items in the patch. Personally, I would like to see more items that can be effective based on the given game state.
Since you are a support player, Renata has been released recently. Did you have the chance to play her? How is she?
Weirdly enough, I do not have the Blue Essence on my account in order to buy her, but I do think she’s pretty broken. The ultimate is illegal. By the time I get to try her, however, I think she will be already nerfed.
Is there any champion you would like to see buffed in your role? I know you’re a thresh main, so I expect you to mention him somewhere!
The thing that annoyed me the most about Thresh’s nerfs was the one to his movement speed (from 335 to 330 units). I think that nerf was very underrated and not many people have realized how crucial the change was.
Aside from that, Thresh was nerfed many other times last year, showing that his kit was quite overpowered.
Would you like to see Riot buff him again?
If I’m being honest, I don’t want to see him get buffs. Otherwise, he will become too broken once again and I won’t get to play him!
We’re coming to the end of our interview! Is there anything else you would like to say to the fans and the community?
First of all, I would like to say hello to our “pagliaccio” KingofEvils, our team’s coach, and my bot lane partner Sandolas! Second, I hope that our fans continue to support us, especially towards the end of the split since we are in playoffs contention. As a new entry in PG Nats, it would be a “super” result for us.
Lastly, I would like to make a shoutout for my twitch stream. I’ve started streaming some of my soloQ gameplay, usually in the evenings. If you want to see how the EU Ranked ladder is, feel free to come and say hello!