We last spoke in September, just after you requalified for the LCS with Gambit. A lot has changed since then, with you joining a brand new team as well as organization. What are your thoughts on the Gambit situation looking back, and what is it like being a part of the debut squad under a new banner?
A lot of things have changed indeed. I find it very refreshing to be playing with 4 new guys that have not played with each other aside from the bottom lane. On top of that, to play under a French organization with a really competent staff is great as well, though I do cherish some of the moments I spent with Gambit.
Is Vitality the strongest team you’ve been on? What sets them apart from your previous squads?
Yes definitely. Even if I’ve played in the past with talented and experienced people such as Diamond, Edward, Forg1ven, etc. I feel like this time we all have the same drive to become the best, and the tools to achieve that.
You play a carry oriented style and currently boast one of the highest KDA’s in the LCS. Is this your preferred way to play or is it just what fits into the team? What is the ideal way to play Top in your opinion?
At the moment you can basically play everything on top lane so if I had to say what ideal way there was to play top it would be to adapt properly and to be able to play some Kennen, right after some Poppy, followed by Fiora and you can even put a little Graves in the mix. All of those champions have different purposes and way of being played. Even though we have mostly played with carry style champions in LCS we know we’re able to play with non-resource dependent champions in the top lane so that’s not really an issue.
You’ve always been an avid Kennen player, and this season you’ve already played him twice. Is he on par with other top liners, or is he still strictly a niche pick? What is the best situation to pick him in and do you expect him to be relevant for the foreseeable future?
Kennen is a decent pick since almost no one can bully him out of the lane. He also has really strong team fighting and is one of the best teleport flankers in the game. There are ways to play around it though; when you play against a Janna, a Poppy, a Lee Sin or an Alistar it becomes very hard to flank, since they can all push you away or put you out of the fight, and your champion in team fights rely entirely on you landing your ultimate on as many people as you can. He has a pretty good split-push for the early and midgame but when people start to get items it’s time to group. I find him interesting since he’s one of the few AP top laners still played alongside Ryze/ Lulu/ Lissandra despite them falling out of meta currently, however I wouldn’t consider him an S tier top laner but more like the most optimal pick in some situations.
On the meta, how are you enjoying Season 6 so far? What do you like or dislike most? If anything, what would you change? What has been your favorite competitive meta thus far?
I do enjoy the current meta since you need a lot of adaptability to play all those different picks. I think it came down to all the reworked champions being overpowered such as Quinn/Graves/Poppy/Fiora/Darius. Not sure I’d change anything, even if we still see TP played every game, it adds more strategy to the game. I very much liked the Jax/Irelia meta, when I felt even if the champions were pretty strong compared to the other lanes a lot of those matchups were purely based on skill, and quite snowbally. But right now I’m able to play some Graves or Lucian top so I won’t complain.
Would you define Vitality as a Top, Mid, or Bottom focused team? What are the team’s goals in game?
I don’t think if you strive to become the best you can, in the current meta, focus on a specific lane. I think it’s more dependent on champions picked after the draft and the situation in game, whether it be lane swapping, objective control, etc.
For example if I’m playing a Fiora top, it’s a pick that will require resources and therefore needs to be played around, with jungle pressure and lane assignment so you need to compensate and have a bottom lane that can play a bit more passively. Lucian and Janna for example.
On the other hand if we just want to have a composition with a Lulu mid and hyper carry bot like a Jinx, you’ll need for Jinx not to fall behind, so playing a pick like Poppy that can handle themselves and have a useful kit even if she doesn’t have the most resources will be the best in this situation. It’s obviously more complicated than that and a lot of it is down to applying pressure at the correct time.
Q: There has been some commentary on teams being able to defend or turtle a game out long enough to just win a team fight and close the game from there, overriding poor play in earlier stages of the game. What are your thoughts on this and do you think better teams will prevail regardless?
I guess you can take our game vs UOL as an example of it, even if we didn’t manage to actually win the game there were some comebacks, but it mostly came down to us not respecting them early on and falling behind when we would out scale them regardless. They fought when they needed to, and we didn’t. In the current meta the game is very snowbally so it’s actually pretty hard to comeback if the enemy control objectives and apply pressure properly Lane assignment becomes really important with how the game is evolving.
What was the thought behind the Top lane Lucian pick and what situations does he work in? Have you practiced with him as a team? Do you expect to see more of it?
Lucian is a very strong lane bully and is pretty strong in lane swap scenarios as well due to his fast push and decent wave clear. I find the champion very mechanically rewarding, and he doesn’t necessarily require as much gold as when he is played as an ADC since you don’t build him around critical strike. We indeed practiced him as a team, on top of playing it quite a lot in solo queue.
How is the communication handled in game and what is the team environment like?
The bottom lane and especially KaSing will do most of the shot-calling and map rotations, with every player giving input about how’s their lane is going, how chunked the enemy is, dive possibility, teleport advantage, etc. The objective is to get to the point where once laning phase is over, every player knows exactly where he belongs in a certain situation to correctly apply pressure and control objectives.
Where do you expect to place at the end of the season? Predictions for Top 3?
At the end of the split we expect to be the best, I don’t really know who will be top 3 alongside us
In week 5, you handed G2 their second loss and completely dismantled Origen. Is this the team ramping up and do you expect to keep getting better?
I think our improvement curve is going really well, I still remember us a few weeks ago being completely lost in some situations. Right now things looks better but we still have a lot of things to fix so we will definitely get better throughout the split and going into playoffs!
In your game against Origen, you ran a team comp with Zilean and Bard. What went into the draft for this game and what was your mindset heading in? Did things play out as expected?
We practiced this mid/support duo in scrims and they’ve got quite good synergy. Being able to put the double bomb damage + free stun on top of the golden bard ultimate is deadly. On top of that it’s not like the trade-off is bad while picking them, because in those matchups they were good during the laning phase as well. At the end of the draft we had a scenario we expected, plus the supportive mid pick allowed me to pick a more damage oriented top laner that could do some AD damage too because we basically had 3 AP champions.
Thanks for everyone supporting me and my team, much love and Cabane 123!
photo credit: lolesports
Caymus is a journalist and content creator for SoloMid. You can find him getting caught out in the depths of solo queue, or on twitter talking about Esports.