Heading into MSI what was your preparation like heading into the event? What were your expectations beforehand and did you feel confident that you could perform on an international stage?
We prepared like we did for playoffs in the NA LCS, but keeping in mind the meta in the other regions and what they’re likely to play. I don’t think we ended up having the best grasp on the Meta though, and we didn’t have enough time to adapt after playing all the international teams in scrims. I had pretty low expectations since I try to avoid having high hopes and disappointing myself, but I did have confidence that we could potentially do well.
After playing in scrims I felt pretty confident in my own individual play compared to the other mids in the tournament, I don’t think it was lacking. Our mid pool was very safe and independent of help, so it might not have looked like I had a lot of pressure/control in the matches.
Looking back, would you have done anything differently at MSI? What are your thoughts on your own performance?
For me personally I would have put a lot more practice into Leblanc and Azir as those were power picks that patch but we didn’t pick up on them in time. Azir is a champion that requires a ton of practice, and we thought we would be able to efficiently counter LeBlanc, but it’s very difficult considering her power level on that match. I think my individual performance was fine, I played pretty consistent in all laning phases but I also didn’t play champions with high kill pressure. Unfortunately I didn’t get to show much later in the game since we fell apart early in every match.
What are your thoughts on the MSI Finals? Did you expect EDG to win?
I thought the final could go either way but SKT would take it in the end, was pleasantly surprised seeing EDG counter Fakers Leblanc and win the final game, definitely deserved!
What did you learn most from the event?
Mostly to respect other regions and their meta/picks. Other teams had heavy focus on top lane and there were a couple of meta picks we didn’t pick up on before the tournament. It’s important to stay on top of the meta and play what is strongest if you want to compete internationally.
It always gets asked, but I have to: What was it like laning against Faker?
Laning against Faker on stage was a cool experience. I was nervous in the early game but he made a couple mistakes that let me get pressure and blow his summoners. I feel like they may have underestimated us and therefore he was going for aggressive trades that he normally wouldn’t have, which ended up getting punished.
How has your play changed since joining TSM? What do you believe you have improved on most?
When I joined TSM I played mostly assassins and some Orianna, but my Orianna was not near the level of the rest of my assassin champion pool. Since joining TSM I can play more playstyles and a bigger variety of champions. I also learned how to translate my own lead in lane to snowballing other lanes and winning the game, instead of trying to get more kills or a bigger cs lead.
How much impact does the mid laner have on the game and what should their primary focus or role be?
Mid lane has a lot of impact on the game, since if you lose control of mid, their mid can move first to every skirmish or fight around the map. Also when you lose mid tower you lose a lot of control, and they can freely move into your jungle without being spotted by the first mid turret. The primary role or focus changes depending on what champions you play. You can go play assassin/split pushers, poke champions, team fight or supportive champions, the mid lane is very versatile in terms of its role.
How are you enjoying the current Meta? What changes, if any, would you make to the game right now?
I don’t mind the current meta, though it saddens me a little to see assassins falling out. Mid lane is mostly about fulfilling a poke or team fighting role depending on your team’s needs.
Who do you see occupying the top 3 spots before playoffs? Do you believe NA is a contender for the World Championship title, more specifically TSM?
I think the top 3 in NA by the end of the split will be us, Gravity and Team Liquid in any order. Gravity has really shown up this split and shown they can be strong, and Liquid is extremely solid. NA is looking slightly weak as a region but hopefully the top teams can pick it up with a bootcamp before worlds. With the right mindset I believe any of us can catch up with a month or two of boot camping.
Are there any champions outside of the Meta you would like to see in competitive play? Who is your favorite champion in Solo queue right now?
Even though he can be situationally viable I love playing yasuo and wish he would be a more competitive pick. He has such a high skillcap and outplay ability and is a champion you never stop improving on. Also the likes of Riven mid, miss those times.
Shoutout to all the fans for supporting us, especially after the fiasco at MSI, we’ll do better in the future! Also thanks for all our sponsors and TSM for giving me the opportunity to be here. I’m living the dream.
Tim Kimbirk is a Journalist and content creator for TSM. You can find him in the depths of solo queue, or on twitter talking about eSports.