Interview with Team 8 frommaplestreet: “I think the top amateur teams and the bottom LCS teams are at similar skill levels.”
You recently placed third in the NA Challenger Series Summer. How do you feel about your performance overall and what would you have changed if anything?
frommaplestreet:Â As a team we’re pretty disappointed in our play against Coast, in the days leading upto the game we went into a slump and in particular I was doing very poorly with Lucian being disabled. Patch by patch almost every champion we’ve spammed has been nerfed hard but with enough games we can always get it together. I should have worked through my problems by grinding more, I went from 990 lp to about 400lp but now I think I can play this patch well.
How do you feel you stack up in the challenger scene?
frommaplestreet:Â I don’t like making bets or predictions on my own team as it’s rather embarrassing to lose and then look like an idiot. In the spring split we had a really good champion pool which we could carry games super hard on. Recently it feels like all the other teams have gotten much better so on any given day I think most teams can take games off each other in the top 6, which is scary since we must win the first best of 3 or we’re out completely.
What do you think about the current format of the Challenger Series?
frommaplestreet:Â The current format is not really optimal, the ranked 5s phase of the challenger series seems overly random as the league points don’t always accurately reflect the skill level of the team. For example LMQ was seed 2 so the absolute worst seeds to be on the ladder would be 19, 9 and 12. So if you didn’t plan ahead and dodge those seeds and got say 9th that would be much worse than getting some other random seed like 15. So really with all the seeds moving around on the final day there’s a lot of luck involved.
Do you feel there is enough incentive for Challenger teams to compete over long periods of time in attempts to make the LCS?
frommaplestreet:Â I think those who work hard will eventually make it. If you ever want to be the best at anything it requires a lot of self motivation. NA amateur scene is a bit too wonky with players who are good with not enough commitment or good analyst/coaches to make a team of diamond 1s to work. If you play on NA server and want to go pro you should be able to hit challenger bare minimum and the higher you go the more likely you have enough mechanical skill to jump into any team. Soloqueue in my opinion is the most important thing to do if lanes occasionally lose 1v1 or 2v2.
How confident do you feel headed into the playoffs against Wazabi Gaming? What is the teams preparation usually like before big matches?
frommaplestreet:Â Wazabi is the team that gives us the most trouble in terms of seeds 3-6. Now that we’re out of our slump we’re fairly confident but it could go either way since they have a lot of strong players who play very devastating teamfight oriented champions. Preparation usually just includes finding their most recent tournament matches and going through their match history seeing what champions they play and don’t play allows us to draft our favorite champions without fear of very specific counters.
Should you end up facing LoLpro again, do you believe you can beat them?
frommaplestreet:Â We have a really strong record against LoLpro though the last time we fought them they had a completely new bot lane but with my confidence back I’m not really afraid of any bot lane now.
Who do you expect to see in the LCS next split if an additional two teams are added? Predictions for relegation?
frommaplestreet:Â EG and CoL might lose their spots andÂ one of them couldÂ get it right back if thereâ€™s a second tournament for the two additional teams. I think Coast and Curse Academy are too good to be denied a spot and maybe we’ll sneak into the LCS as well.
How large of a gap is there between Challenger and LCS teams? Do you believe that with the level of play in the LCS growing stronger every year it makes it harder for Challenger teams to keep up?
frommaplestreet:Â The gap isn’t too big, like some people severely underestimated LMQ going into relegationâ€™s against XDG with some random reasoning such as â€œthey’ve dropped games against amateur teams.â€ I think people will step up to the challenge and always try and break into LCS. I think the top amateur teams and the bottom LCS teams are at similar skill levels.
How do you feel about Riot potentially adding two additional slots to the LCS? Do you think even more would be beneficial?
frommaplestreet:Â It would greatly benefit the players like me but I think the worst part of LCS is the gap between relegations, amateur scene doesn’t get very many tournaments and LAN events. Back in 2013 it was super fun to go to MLG as an amateur player so I wish we could have more fun events like that. I don’t see having more teams as a negative if they change around the amounts of game per season.
What keeps you motivated to keep playing? How do you deal with falling short or potentially having to wait an entire split between chances?
frommaplestreet:Â To go pro at any game you need a lot of self motivation. I set my goals pretty high, I actually thought I would make worlds when we made it into LCS on Velocity but that was a bit overly hopeful. Some people like me lead boring lives, I didn’t really have any aspirations or dream jobs when I was growing up so in a way playing video games as a living is the easy way out for me. Winning worlds would be the ultimate goal even if the odds are one in a million I think I’ll continue to pursue it. Falling short is always difficult. I tend to blame myself and put myself under a lot of pressure so it motivates me in a way to redeem myself.
Your Draven is known as a threat, but we donâ€™t see him very often at all anymore. What do you think he needs to become a more common pick again?
frommaplestreet:Â Draven is a pretty risky pick, he relies heavily on his 550 auto attack range and at the moment the itemization for him isn’t optimal. All Draven wants is a lot of AD for cheap due to his insanely high AD ratio on his Q. Draven should still rush BT I think due to the fact hes doing all autoattacks for 90%+ of his damage. Even if he’s massively ahead the 550 range limitation can allow enemies to quickly flash initiate on him so heavy peel is necessary to make him viable at high level.
What do you feel about the current state of AD in 4.13?
frommaplestreet:Â I think they have a massive impact in the game. Tristana and Kogmaw just do way too much damage at all stages of the game. Besides those two the ADC’s are relatively balanced. Though recently there’s been a few overpowered tops coming out like Maokai, Alistar, and Nidalee. If those champions don’t get nerfed soon I might shed many tears.
frommaplestreet:Â Special shout out to all the people that still believe Velocity cheesed their way into LCS despite us stomping all our lanes :^)