(Olleh) What do you have to say to your doubters after winning back-to-back championships?
I think there were so many haters and so many bad comments about me on Reddit and other social media. I posted with my tweet that I was taking things more seriously and I changed myself a lot. I tried to be myself, listened to music, good songs like rap, singing, dancing, whatever. I got to know myself. Whenever I played with Doublelift, in Spring, I was only a follower. I didn't make any aggressive call. Now, whenever I see a chance I tell Doublelift, “just come”, then we just make the play.
(Doublelift) You've won a title before and you're going to a World Championship again but this week you got your first MVP. Did you expect to win that and what does it mean to you to get that award?
I think out of all years it's weird to get it this time. I don't really feel like I was that special during the regular season this time. People were always talking about how it was going to be either me, Ssumday or Licorice. I think the fact that there was two top laners in the running for it really hurt their chances. I know that overall you're never going to remember MVP. I don't think anyone off the top of their head say who was the Season 7 Spring Split MVP... it was probably Bjergsen (press and players laugh) but you don't really know. I think overall, for me personally, I'm really proud of because I can always say, for the rest of my life, that I was MVP at this time. It's not the biggest award you can get, people aren't going to remember it too much.
(Doublelift) You've been to Worlds many years now and NA seems to disappoint every year. What is Team Liquid going to do this year to make sure it's different?
Ya know, I don't have a great answer to that (laughs). I feel like every year, we have a different plan of attack as NA, but our plan always gets lost after Week 1. NA teams usually do well Week 1 and people's hopes get really high up cause every team goes 2-1 or even 3-0. Then in Week 2 we just run it down. I think this time our coaching staff is the best coaching staff I've ever had in my life. I think they're going to keep us together and keep us focused. NA’s problem at Worlds isn't that our skill isn't high enough but that we don't change our strats from Week 1 to Week 2. We're too scared
And there's also no more Week 2, so we won't choke.
(Xmithie) What were the comms like in today's matches during the draft, particularly that game 1 draft with the Hecrim pick?
I don't think anyone was surprised at all when they picked Hecrim because before Quarterfinals, we scrimmed against them because they were the only scrim partner we played against. We were against 100 Thieves back then so we've played against it and we knew how to counter it, so we weren't really scared at all.
(Pobelter) You guys had to worry about going up against (press room laughs) a lot of different possible combinations from C9. How did you guys prep for that? Obviously you guys solved the problem with a 3-0.
I guess we never actually talked about it to each other (laughs) the differences between the two (lineups). I guess we knew innately because we practiced so much against them, the differences between the two and how we should play against them. Svenskeren and Goldenglue literally camp mid as hard as they can, so trying to cover mid is what we learned over time. We were just able to handle it really well. Being able to watch them during the TSM set was also really helpful.
(Olleh) In regards to the first and second game, it looked like your vision was super on point, some of the best vision I've ever seen. So what kind of change between your past performances and your performance now in regards to vision happened? Was it part of the plan to keep vision bot side?
I think in Spring, actually, even last year I played like solo queue. I played tons of solo queue so I just played by following my instinct. I just warded wherever I went around the map. Cain gave me lots of feedback about vision, like we need some plan about vision, we need direction about vision. When we played around bot side, I tried to get deep vision around bot side, then we changed plans and played to top side objective. I just started putting top side vision. I think because of Cain, I started to have more direction and tried to help our team. Sometimes I'll say, “Pobelter, do you need vision”? Then I just try to get vision for Pobelter. Then we can just play around the vision. I think Cain helped me a lot to understand vision.
(Steve) It's been a very long, long, long road but you finally made it to the World Championship. Can you put into words what this iteration of Team Liquid means to you?
Putting this team together during the off-season was a pretty radical change from the previous season. We had the worst performance last year in terms of Team Liquid’s history and also Curse’s history in LoL. I wanted to make a substantial investment after franchising happened and we had some confidence to know that these investments would bear return for years to come. I decided to put together the best possible team, no matter what, and of story. We had to make sure we had enough money (laughs) to do that and I just remember calling all the players saying that I want to go to Worlds and win a World Championship. To go to these guys and say, “hey, we've been in 10th place, are you willing to play for an organization that's never achieved anything beyond 3rd”, I think that's a tough sell. I think they all believed in what we could achieve together and that it was a really damn good roster. It feels pretty incredible to achieve something...I know these guys have been to Worlds before but for me it's been something that's slipped through my fingers for over six years and we finally did it.
(Pobelter) How did it feel in Game 2 to solo kill Goldenglue after losing to him in Week 8 during the regular season?
I was pretty cool guy about it. I just landed my E and was like, alright, he's dead (press and players laugh). He’s dead boys. Then I timed his summoners. It felt pretty great because once you get rolling as Irelia, the game is pretty much over. When you start getting rolling at level 2, then it’s really over.
(Doublelift) Yesterday during the MVP speech, you talked about how you never really felt like you’ve been on a team before this roster. I was a little bit curious about that, Bjergsen looked over when you said that, but I know that you and Olleh talked about having some problems and I know this split, with the change in the meta, there was some struggle with the team and synergy. Do you think through this adversity you were able to find yourselves and truly trust each other?
I think the thing that goes invisible and people don’t notice is how much we fought with each other and how much we’ve had awful days. Everyone is frustrated and it feels like the team is going nowhere and everyone has something on their mind but no one wants to say because it’s too offensive. Every team has those days but I think we had a lot of those days where (laughs), it’s really hard to practice that hard and have that many strong opinions from veterans. We all have different habits. Playing with each other, it feels really good because everyone on the team can trust Cain and actually, there were so many times where I told Cain I wanted to play something and then he locks in a different champion and we won (press and players laugh). I learned over time to trust Cain. There’s so many aspects to the team that are really good. When we fight bottom, before I can call for TP, both Pobelter and Impact will just TP. So I never have to call for TP because they do it instantly. Everyone is looking out for each other; we call roams instantly most of the time and if we don’t, it’s a really big deal. We all look out for each other on this team. On other teams, yeah you look out for each other, but not as much. I think everyone is more looking out for themselves on other teams that I’ve been on.
(Doublelift) There was a Reddit thread a couple of days ago with a statement from Soaz, about how he wants to play for as long as you’re playing. Have you ever thought about the actual finite time that you’re going to be a pro player and how long that’s going to last?
Yeah, it’s really insane because we have a lot of veterans on the team that have been here since the beginning. I’m 25 and in CS:GO and fighting games, that’s an average age of a pro in their peak. I feel like I have a long way to go honestly. If my mechanics start sucking, which I don’t think is ever going to happen, but if my mechanics suck I could just switch roles I guess (press and players laugh). I dunno, I don’t really think too much about, “oh no, I don’t have too much time left”. I always feel like I have so much to improve and I’ve never stopped improving, so until that happens, where I feel like there’s just a wall in front of me, I don’t think I’m going to stop either. So I think me and Soaz will be playing until we’re 90 years old (press and players laugh).
(Olleh) You’ve talked before about how even when you have a hard time, you get support from your fans from Brazil and LMS. How does it feel to have those original fans, even after you’ve come so far?
Actually, even in Spring, I was kind of sad because people didn’t trust me, they just trusted someone who was flaming me, but now I don’t care. I don’t care. I’m right and actually my former teammates are retired. So whose right? I’m here, I fucking won, so they’re wrong (press and players laugh).
(Xmithie, Pobelter, Doublelift) With your victory today, 100 Thieves moves forward, including your former teammate Aphromoo, despite the loss yesterday. What are your thoughts on 100 Thieves moving onward to Worlds?
Seeing that they lost to TSM, I tthink they half deserve that they’re going to Worlds. They did really well in Spring split and they were almost 2nd place this split, so they were still playing pretty decently, but when playoffs happened, they dropped the ball. I think they can still improve and they can be world-class representing NA, but they still need time to work out.
Pobelter, Doublelift, Olleh, Steve:
I’m excited for TSM and C9 to play the gauntlet.
(Impact) Your friend Faker will be playing in the regionals with SKT in a few days. Do you have any advice for Faker and SKT before they run the LCK gauntlet?
I’m not close with Faker now, but I just hope SKT can win, but it looks really hard. Both Kingzone and Gen.G look good, but I hope SKT can win because my friends there, Bengi, PoohMandu and Kkoma too. I hope they can win, but it looks really hard. Good luck!
This year is for KT, not SKT (laughs).
(Doublelift) Now that we know the four teams in the NA regional qualifiers, who do you think is the favorite for the 3rd seed?
Let’s go Clutch (press and players laugh)! No, I think C9 is probably the best and that’s just because they beat TSM already to get to the finals. Thinking about it, 100 Thieves got beat by TSM, who then got beat by C9. I don’t even know when Clutch got beaten but it was a while ago. I think C9 is pretty strong but the other thing about it is momentum is really important and TSM just came off of a close win, while C9 is coming off of a crushing loss. Maybe mentally, TSM is going to be in better shape. I don’t really care who wins, I just want to see them struggle (press and players laugh).
(Impact) Your playstyle in-game and the way you’re presented outside in terms of branding and media attention is very low key. In game you absorb a lot of pressure and you’re not really demanding resources to carry yourself. As ESPN joked about how it took a while for someone to ask a question to you, as we’re tending to talk about your teammates a little more, do you ever wish in-game you could come into the spotlight or is that a role you really enjoy playing?
I don’t mind that I’m out of the spotlight, I just want to win with my teammates. It’s not a sacrifice, I just chose the smart thing. If I 1v2 and we get an advantage, we can do something around the map. I don’t need the jungler (press and players laugh)...but when Xmithie does come, it’s OP because we get a free kill, but when I do call for help, Xmithie always gets me a kill. I like to sacrifice, I like to try by myself. If I dodge a gank, we get an advantage somewhere else. I just focus on my teammates.
(Doublelift) You guys smashed it in NA, but going into Worlds it’s going to be a different ball game. Is there anything you’re looking to improve specifically or is it a matter of keep doing what you’re doing?
If anyone watched our scrims they would think that we’re terrible (laughs). We really played awful in practice a lot of the time. There is a lot to practice and improve on, but we’ve all been to Worlds, so we know what it’s like to be the best team in NA and go into Worlds and get really humbled. A good example would be at MSI where we scrimmed Gambit. It’s not a bad region but it’s a lesser region, it’s the CIS region representitives. Gambit was really good actually, I think we were like 50/50 or maybe even losing scrims against them. So, when we go to Worlds, it’s really important that every team we play against, we learn something and we can’t stay the same that we are now. Right now, we’re pretty good, but the best teams in the World are probably twice as good as us, so we have a lot to learn.
(Cain) I’m wondering from your perspective, what specific issues or mistakes that your team makes consistently, that you might be able to get away with in NA that you won't be able to get away with, say, against KT, FNC or RNG? What issues do you think you need to resolve to make a deep run at Worlds?
During the finals, I don’t think we played perfectly. I think there were a lot of individual mistakes and things to improve on. The biggest thing we need to improve on is making sure that all five guys are on the same page and playing for one objective and checking conditions. If we focus on that I think we will be in good shape going into Worlds. Also, when we were playing at MSI, I think all five players were good, but I think they were feeling a lot of pressure. Going into Worlds, if we have more confidence and feel more comfortable we’ll have a better result.
(Doublelift) In the past you’ve talked about you were nervous or had jitters laning against the best bot laners in the world, like Uzi and Pray. After your MSI performance, obviously after beating RNG, have you shook that nervousness off?
I get nervous when I play against god-tier players. Players like Uzi or Kingzone or SKT when they’re super hot. I’m not nervous on stage, it just sucks to have to play against them so early. There is some stuff that I can’t get away with. I know I play a greedy style and some stuff I can’t be greedy or stupid against Uzi because he’ll punish me. I guess the pressure is that if I make a mistake, he’ll capitalize on it. But how do I know if I’m making a mistake? It’s really hard because no one else is going to punish me for that same thing. I think I got over it after a while. I used to get really nervous playing against the top ADCs. Now, I feel like I just need to play my game. I’m on the lookout for their mistakes instead of trying to be defensive and trying to limit what I’m doing.
(Olleh, Doublelift) At the end of Spring Split, after the finals, you guys were hands-down the best team in NA. We’re back at the exact same point, but MSI didn’t go as anyone expected. How are you going to make sure that you guys don’t lose momentum and history doesn’t repeat itself?
I think MSI, I didn’t have confidence if I’m honest. This time, I’m just being myself and I’m going to do my best and make better synergy with Doublelift. Even though I was struggling, we beat RNG bot lane duo. This time I want to make sure I can play more champions than the enemy and then I can play better and play around the objective and follow our coach. I’ll make sure Doublelift can get ahead in lane. This is all about me, Doublelift did well but I was struggling.
Ok, that’s not true. I ran it down in the 2nd RNG game, when I was playing Jhin against Kog’Maw and Braum. Honestly, bot lane is so tricky because one person can make a mistake and it will just snowball the lane. People say Ming is the best support in the world, but then when they played against us, Olleh hit like five Morgana bindings and we just kept killing them. We got really ahead bot side. It’s about punishing people’s mistakes and sometimes, because there’s four people, there’s a higher chance that one of those four people will make a mistake. I think that’s why the bottom meta has been around for years because when you play around bot side, you pressure them and there’s just a higher chance that someone is going to mess up. I feel confident in our team and we’re going to come out a lot better than MSI. When I go back and look at our MSI games, we were so bad. We were actually really bad, we were losing to EVOS.
(Doublelift) I wanted to go back to two plays you were involved with today. First, dodging Balber’s Hecrim ult in Game 1 and then getting Inseced in Game 2 by Svenskeren. What was going through your mind during those games? How did you maintain your composure by making the best out of a bad play?
The Hecrim one was pretty easy, I just saved ult for when he ulted. The Lee Sin one, actually, I think I was trolling. I had QSS, so I was like, “if he goes for me then I’m just going to QSS, flash and like use my R”. I didn’t have either of those up so I just died, that was a big mistake. I think after either of those plays, I wasn’t really nervous, I was like, “ok they used this”, type it in chat. Pretty proud of the way that we played. Pretty robotic.
(Pobelter) We saw Goldenglue have a good season, minus his play today, but, we’re seeing that there’s better performances from NA mids. Do you think the gap is closing between imports and NA mids?
Like I said before, I think that Damonte is doing really well for his rookie season and he’s probably only going to get better. In NA Academy there’s also a decent amount of good mid laners. I think it comes down to teams utilizing the Academy system more and giving them a chance.
Izento has been a writer for the LoL scene since Season 7, and has been playing the game since Season 1. Follow him on Twitter at @ggIzento for more League content.
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