From LCS underdogs to contenders on the World Stage, Lemondogs surprised everyone when they took 1st place in the EU summer split and bested Gambit Gaming to finish second in the playoffs. I had a chance to talk with former mid-laner and FizzÂ extraordinaire, Erik “Tabzz” Van Helvert, AD Carry for Lemondogs.
First off, what is something unknown or that very little people know about you?
Tabzz:Â I play piano as a hobby.
What was it like coming back from the 4-6 start you guys had during the LCS? What do you think the biggest changes were that contributed to your success and helped you to place 2nd in the playoffs?
Tabzz:Â The biggest change was definitely the patch in which AP top laners were meta, we took heavy advantage of this and managed to get high in the league because of it. Switching supports helped a lot too.
What was it like playing on the world stage and making it to worlds after being considered underdogs earlier in the year? What was your favorite experience at worlds?(best game, delicious food, etc)
Tabzz:Â It was certainly a great feeling, as nobody expected us to be there. Best experience was laughing at how ridiculously stupid American TV commercials are.
Thoughts on the teams at worlds and did everyone make it as far as you expected? Did any of the outcomes surprise you? Who was the strongest opponent you played against?
Tabzz:Â The tournament went just as expected in my eyes. The strongest opponent we played against was SKT and they ended up winning the whole thing.
Thoughts on SKT’s bot lane? What is the hardest thing about playing against SKT?
Tabzz:Â SKT botlane is very hard to trade with, they will always punish you. The best thing to do is to just equal farm them if you have an equal matchup. Beating them in trades is almost impossible.Â The hardest thing about playing SKT is their jungle and map control. Once they grab a tiny advantage in jungle or midlane, they can easily snowball it into a win for them.
We saw the rise of Corki recently, being picked or banned nearly every game. What makes him as strong as he is? What do you feel the current state of AD carries are and what kinds of changes do you want to see in season 4?
Tabzz:Â Trinity force change just boosted his power by a lot. I hope AD carries will be auto attack carries instead of casters in season 4, because I like that play style more. Buffs to phantom dancer and infinity edge would help in making that a reality.
What should an AD carry do to make the most impact on the game for his team?
Tabzz:Â Get as much farm without losing towers, and then play teamfights correctly later in the game. Using summoner spells correctly is also very important.
Going into worlds what was your preparation like and your expectations of yourselves and other teams?
Tabzz:Â We had a very hard group and were not sure if we could make it through, we tried our best but fell short against the Asians. All in all, I think the tournament went pretty much as expected.
What champions are you current favorite to play as? Who is your least favorite to play against right now?
Tabzz:Â Vayne and Ezreal are the most fun to play as. Least favourite to play as and against would be Corki, because heâ€™s incredibly OP with very low skill requirements.
We have seen incoming changes on Zed/Ahri/Fizz. What do you think of Fizz current status and what do you think needs to or will be changed, if anything? What do you think the best way to balance Fizz would be?
Tabzz:Â I think the main unbalance with fizz right now is that there is no way to counter his late game. Increasing his early game damage while nerfing his lategame cooldowns would tone him down a lot. But as it is right now, I donâ€™t think fizz needs any nerfs. Other champions just need buffs. Or there has to be an AD item that gives invulnerability to magic on active in season 4.
How have you and the team been spending the offseason? Is there a lot of time spent outside of the game together?
Tabzz:Â Weâ€™ve basically not talked to or seen eachother since worlds.
Looking into Season 4, do you think the current top teams will stay on top, or new ones emerge as we have seen in the past? Do you think SKT can stay as dominant as they have been?
Tabzz:Â League of legends changes all the time and as a result so do the teams. I donâ€™t think a single team will stay on top for a very long time.
How do you feel about the current format of the LCS and World Championship? Do you think there should be changes for Season 4?
Tabzz:Â Iâ€™d like games to be bo3 instead of just 1 game in the season. Bo1â€™s are pretty boring and their outcome often feels like it doesnâ€™t carry any weight. That means the games are less interesting for the viewers aswell.
Do you ever miss the mid lane? What is your favorite thing about each role? (AD/Mid) Which do you personally feel you are better at?
Tabzz:Â I think I can be at the top 3 players of both roles in EU. What I like most about Mid would be that I can lane, engage and make a lot of things happen on my own, whereas the AD role is more reliant on teammates. The AD role is more fun in teamfights, and it feels very rewarding to position properly and dodge important spells while killing your enemies.
Tabzz:Â Shoutout to all my fans and everyone who supports me!
You can follow Tabzz on twitter, or catch him streaming on twitch.