WCG 2013 Preview: Japan’s Team Rampage
With the 2013 World Cyber Games just about a month away and the upcoming launch of Riot’s Japanese server, it’s time to bring some attention the LoL scene in Japan. I had a chance to talk with Takuya ‘Aotaka’ Fujita’, the top laner of Japan’s WCG representative, Team Rampage.
Take a second to introduce yourself for those who may not be familiar with the Japan LoL scene.
Aotaka: Hi my name is Aotaka and I’m playing for the Japanese team: Rampage.
What was preparation like going into the WCG qualifiers?
Aotaka: We are scrimming against SEA teams and trying to improve our communication and the team moves. It sounds basic but we need to learn from this since we don’t have experience like other region does atm.
How would you describe your play style?
Aotaka: My play style is aggressive and trying to win the lane. I love the feeling when you can beat someone in lane and dominating.
Who is your favorite current champion? Who do you feel is the strongest Top lane champion currently?
Aotaka: Irelia and Jax are my favorite champions. I like more aggressive champions that can dominathe e in lane like season 2 more than Shen/Renekton. Sadly the champions I like aren’t good picks with tcurrent Meta.
You defeated Peachserver Allstars as well as Detonation FM, the winners of JCG Premier League Season 2. Do you think you have improved since JCG season 2 and are stronger than those teams?
Aotaka: We didn’t play the games against PA in JCG S2, we forfeited. In a tournament setting, we have never lost against PA or Detonation FM in tournament since Rampage was formed.
You are not playing in JCG season 3 despite winning the WCG qualifiers. Will we see you in Season 4?
Aotaka: There’s a deep background to this. The biggest reason is because JCG tournament side got threatened by Rampages opponents team manager so the opponent team and JCG organization were trying to change tournament dates many times. We said no multiple times but they wanted us to change our rosters. So because of how JCG acted, Rampage decided to not play in S2 and S3.
Aotaka: Currently it’s fine. JCG posted on their homepage that they made a mistake so we are going to play if they are not going to do same mistake again which they promise to us. (Tournament Organization that can’t follow their rules are not acceptable, they need to respect players more). Yes, we are going to play in S4.
Thoughts on AF1A/B and The Beastmitai?
Aotaka: I have no idea around Japanese team, so I don’t have any kind of image to tell about those teams. Our manager is normally just giving us how our opponent plays when we are going to play any Japanese team so I have never cared about the Japanese teams.
Who do you think is currently the strongest Top laner in Japan? Strongest Team in Japan?
Aotaka: I think I’m the strongest Top laner in Japan, and my team is the strongest Team. If there’s any stronger team, they would have won the WCG Japanese qualifier.
Do you have obligations outside of LoL? What is it like trying to balance these things with competitive gaming? Do you have plans to make a living from professional gaming?
Aotaka: I’m spending my free times on Solo queue, I’m always inside LoL. I enjoy the game and without LoL, I can’t keep the balance. I would like to play as professional gamer but it’s hard without a Japanese LoL scene.
What server are you currently playing on? Do you feel that Japanese teams are at a disadvantage currently without their own server?
Aotaka: Japanese teams are are playing on NA server; I think we have a disadvantage. Making scrim against NA teams are hard because of time zone and it’s hard to grow the Japanese scene without an official Japanese community.
Aotaka: I heard you are scrimming teams from SEA/GPL. How are those going, and what are your thoughts on the teams from those regions?
Aotaka: Yeah, we scrim a lot and I would like to thank to all the manager and teams. The games are going good, there are of course many teams that are better than us and everyone is friendly there. We are getting great help to improve us self.
How much of an impact do other regions have on your gameplay? What region do you follow the closest?
I love KR scene, I’m always watching the OGN. I’m a big fan of KR scene.
You are working on finding a second player for each position. What type of role will the secondary players have in the team? Will there be constant swapping, or is it more of a sub position?
Aotaka: The reason why we are looking second player in each position is to improve together and schedule problem for tournaments and scrims. There’s many people working at the same time so we just need more players to keep as an organization, we don’t have an income by playing LoL.
Do you have any favorite players or role models in the game? Who?
Aotaka: Cj Entus Blaze’s top laner Flame. I’m already excited to meet him at WCG. My dream was to meet him.
Did you follow the World Championship? If so, who did you think would win season 3? Who do you feel the strongest team in the world is currently?
Aotaka: Yeah I followed the WCS, I have been watching SKT from the OGN scene so I really wanted them to win. I’m happy that they won and I still think SKT is the strongest team.
Heading into season 4, what types of changes would you like to see to top lane, or the game in general, if any? Do you feel any champions need tweaking currently?
Aotaka: More aggressive lane with more 1 v 1 laning phase, I hope Irelia gets more buffed.
Are you planning on forming a B team? Do you feel having a secondary team offers an advantage against teams without one?
Aotaka: PA is old Rampage B team, we would like to form a B team but in Japan we lack on players to do that so we have to take it slowly atm. We don’t think secondary team will offer us an advantage; the reason why we had B team was lack of scrim partners in Japanese scene 1 year ago. Currently with nice support from other regions and people, we can scrim with good teams to improve now without a B team.
Are you planning to scrim Korean teams?
Aotaka: We would like to play against any Korean teams, but we don’t have the way to do that right now.
What do you hope to improve on the most individually? As a team?
Aotaka: Team fighting. We need to communicate more and learn the strategy to make our game easier. Communication is a key point but it’s really hard.
Do you think Japan should have been in the Wildcard for Season 3 World Championship? Do you believe they will be able to compete in the S4 World Championship?
Aotaka: No, I don’t really think so because we don’t have a server. Rule is a rule, the requirments for Wildcard was server so I can’t really say yes. But I wish we could have played there. We have played teams qualified on Wildcard and we played the games fine with them, I’m taking this positive but we need to improve more to compete in the S4 World Championship for sure.
What steps do you feel need to be made in Japan to promote LoL, and LoL esports? When an official Japanese server is released, do you expect a large increase in the competitive scene?
Aotaka: I can’t really image how it’ll become since computer games aren’t that popular in Japan, people prefer to play arcade games more like Street fighter. Japanese people understanding about E-sports is really low, we need something to change about this and I think Japanese server would be a good step for that.
Does having a manager living in Sweden make it difficult?
Aotaka: It’s difficult since I have to wake up really early in the morning when I need to watch the scrims on live because I’m coaching the team too, but I enjoy it. I’m helping the team with English part, making scrims and training the team with my experience and so far it has been working great.
Will the team ever look to move into a Gaming house? What type of effect would a gaming house have on the team?
Aotaka: Every Rampage member would like to have a Gaming house, but we can’t see the possibility in current scene in Japan so it would be difficult. I think it would affect the team positive, mostly the communication part and understanding in team mate will improve.
What are your goals for Season 4? What is your preparation like heading into the new season?
Aotaka: Rampage was made since MizuRussian wanted to have more preparation into Season 4 when Japan is getting a server. In Japanese scene, teams are disbanding too often, so he wanted to make an organization that would stop it somehow or make a team that could play in the long term.
What is the meta like in Japan compared to other regions?
Aotaka: Japan Meta is like season 2. One of the reasons why our Meta doesn’t improve is because that team is disbanding way too often as we mention before. We are trying to watch the VODs from world-class team but it hasn’t been successful enough to form our own meta yet.
What is the team’s preparation like heading into WCG?
Aotaka: Trying to improve our individual skills is needed but we are trying to focus more on communication and how to work as team, especially when playing against strong teams.
Aotaka: Thank you to everyone for the interview. We would like thank to all the fans, it helped us a lot to keep our motivation.
We will try our best at WCG, I hope everyone will enjoy the tournament and thanks again for reading. I’m streaming solo queue sometimes and when I do I tweet on Twitter. If you have time please take a look. Arigatou!
If there’s any organization or company willing to help us, we would appreciate it.