A player who has earnt the moniker of "GodGilius", Schalke 04's Jungler Erberk “Gilius” Demir has established himself as one of the best in the league. Find out more about his rise to the top in Jack Stewart’s feature.
Despite the fact he has never competed in an LEC playoffs final, Erberk "Gilius" Demir is a name that multiple generations of competitive League of Legends fans will know all too well.
His playing style is as loud and in-your-face as his personality is outside of the game. From his bold and creative plays, to openly speaking his mind on social media, “Gilius” is the epitome of Schalke’s “Null Fear” motto.
In Week 2 Schalke picked up a much-needed win over SK Gaming, and in the post-game interview “Gilius” didn’t hesitate to criticise his rookie opponent Kristian "TynX" Ostergaard for picking Dr Mundo, claiming the only thing the champion was good for was a Reddit montage.
“Gilius” has had plenty of experience with Reddit himself. His wild, aggressive playing style makes him prone to disastrous mistakes and, consequently, he has been barraged with relentless criticism throughout his career.
The well-known quote from the film The Dark Knight states: “You either die a hero or live long to see yourself become the villain”, but that couldn’t be further from the truth for “Gilius”. He has slowly transitioned into a beloved underdog who refuses to quit.
The moniker “GodGilius” was a sarcastic title handed to him by the community, mocking his abrasive self-confidence and the audacious plays he would regularly attempt. But through pure will, “Gilius” has turned the meme into a positive, thanks to the monumental impact he made on Schalke last year.
If you watched LoL esports at all last year, you likely know all about the “Schalke Miracle Run” phenomenon that shook the European scene to its core. After struggling for a while, Schalke’s season appeared to be coming to a premature end, but the substitution of “Gilius” magically transformed the team into playoff contenders.
With the ability to perform such miracles, you would imagine that “Gilius” had accomplished a lot during a career that will soon reach the seven-year milestone. Yet, his story so far has been one of ‘almosts’ – “Gilius” has come agonisingly close to competing at the highest level on many occasions.
The 24-year-old Jungler has had a rollercoaster career filled with constant set-backs, but that has never stopped him. Now in the prime of his career, this is the perfect opportunity for “Gilius” to prove his naysayers wrong and ascend to the LoL World Championship.
While “Gilius” has never officially qualified for a World Championship tournament, he has had a taste of what it’s like to play in one.
“Gilius” began his competitive career in 2014, when he competed in the European Challenger Series for SK Gaming Prime and Unicorns of Love (UoL). After impressing in the latter and making connections within the former, his first year as a pro player culminated with a once in the lifetime opportunity.
The SK Gaming main team had qualified for the World Championship, but their international trophy bid was thrown into disarray after the squad’s Jungler Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen was banned for the first three games of the tournament. Every team was required to bring a substitute and it just so happened that “Gilius” was already with the team in Taiwan.
Having never played outside of the Challenger Series, it was too much to ask of the budding rookie, as SK failed to win any of their games in which “Gilius” played. Nevertheless, it was an undoubtedly valuable experience that would help kickstart the highly-rated prospect’s career.
There has been one giant obstacle. A rival that has repeatedly plagued “Gilius’” career: Mateusz "Kikis" Szkudlarek. The Polish Jungler has remarkably taken his place on four separate occasions.
While this is more of an astonishing coincidence and running joke within the community, each time “Gilius” was ‘replaced’ by Kikis marks a notable moment in the German’s career. For both UoL in 2014 and Gamers2 (G2) in 2015, “Gilius” helped the teams earn promotion (or at least a chance at promotion) only to be replaced by Kikis before he could reap his rewards.
But the most bittersweet moment in his career came in 2018 with Team Vitality. Alongside three other rookies “Gilius” had a monumental year, terrorising the rest of the league in the early game and helping the team hold first place by the end of Week 4 in the Spring Split, with a stunning 7-1 record.
His aggression had allowed young talents such as Daniele "Jiizuke" di Mauro to thrive and challenge the best teams in the region, before Vitality recorded a respectable fourth-place finish in both the regular season and the playoffs.
However, things fell apart during the summer and by Week 6 “Gilius” was replaced by Kikis one last time. The move eventually paid off, as Vitality went on to qualify for the World Championship as Europe’s second seeds, while “Gilius” had no choice but to watch from home.
“Gilius” had been painfully close to World Championship qualification then, but he somehow came even closer last year with Schalke.
The Miracle Man
Schalke’s 2020 season was one that will be remembered by LEC fans for some time to come. After losing their first six games of the year, the team benched both Konstantinos-Napoleon "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou and “Gilius”, with the latter moving down into the academy team.
In typical “Gilius” fashion, he took the setback in his stride and later revealed in Schalke’s Against All Odds documentary that he saw it as an opportunity: “I mean; I was really sad at that time but I also saw it as a chance to work myself back up from the lower league. I just tried to take it as a positive you know, take a little break from the LEC and then come back stronger. That’s how I felt about it.”
And later that year in the Summer Split, he was gifted a second chance. Schalke had gone 0-6 once again and Lukas "Lurox" Thoma fell ill before the team’s second game of Week 3. “Gilius” was brought back in and managed to make the spot his own.
“All of a sudden this guy was just playing so good,” exclaimed his former teammate Andrei "Odoamne" Pascu during the season’s documentary.
“The reason he got subbed out in spring was he would do things by himself and people would notice so he’d get caught out and would die. But now, he kind of fixed those problems. He would still want to do these solo plays that aren’t so great but he would say ‘I want to do this’ and then people would yell at him ‘no no no this is bad’ and he would listen.”
“That aspect of his game got cleaned up a lot and it just felt really good. It felt like he was a pressure point instead of just someone you drag around to do things for you.”
With “Gilius” learning to properly weaponise his aggression, Schalke began to grind out results but qualification for the playoffs was still a distant dream. After Week 5 the team had a dire record of 1-10 but then went on a four-game win streak, including a shock win against G2 Esports, to reach a 5-10 record ahead of the final three games.
At that point, the team could only qualify for the playoffs in four percent of possible scenarios but his motivation didn’t waiver. During a post-match interview, coach Dylan Falco hailed the “positive energy” the Jungler had brought to the team and that was clear to see, as "Gilius" would leap out of his chair after every win.
Schalke remarkably secured major upsets over Fnatic and MAD Lions to complete a seven-game win streak and book their place in the top six. And there was no doubt that “Gilius” had been a major contributor in that turnaround. Despite missing six games, he recorded the highest kill share (27%) and second-most kills (48) of all Junglers in the LEC that split.
After breezing past SK, Schalke found themselves just one best-of-five series away from Worlds qualification. However, the team fell apart. “Gilius” and his teammates made uncharacteristic mistakes and it cost them everything. Schalke’s players felt as if they had control during the entire series but still were defeated 3-1 by MAD, spelling a tragic end to their season.
It was a heartbreaking loss for a team that had fought so hard, yet “Gilius” was somehow still undeterred. He mentioned in the documentary that it had been his first time playing best-of-five matches at the top level since spring 2018, and all he could do was learn from the loss and push on.
That brings us to the present day, where “Gilius” has signed a new contract at Schalke and is now joined by two talented signings in Top-laner Sergen "Broken Blade" Celik and Support Dino “LIMIT” Tot.
Excluding Astralis, who are in their first year competing, Schalke are one of only two LEC organisations that have never attended the World Championship - the other being Excel Esports, who are still waiting to make their playoffs debut.
The league is stacked with talent and the long, tiresome journey to the World Championship is undoubtedly daunting. But having already shocked G2 once again this season, “Gilius” and Schalke are looking well-set-up to mount another bid.
The Jungler’s performances have been worthy of his “God” moniker, now it’s time for “Gilius” to take the final step on the stairway to World Championship heaven.