Hey there everyone, welcome to our Worlds 2017 Interview Series. As you may know, we have partnered with Travis Gafford and supported his trip to China to cover the games and get insights from the players. We will be sharing the interviews here along with their transcriptions. Enjoy!
Travis: It’s the second day of Worlds Groups with coverage presented by Mobalytics. I’m joined right now by Peter Peng himself after what was a very confident, methodical, easy, step-by-step victory over Flash Wolves. Would you describe it that way?
Doublelift: Yeah, that was…that was just so easy. That was the freest win of our lives, brought to you by Mobalytics.
Travis: There you go. Let’s talk about that game because I think everyone, even Kelsey Moser who loves to discount NA…she was saying, “You know, NA could get a 3-0 today. It’ll be easy”, and then we get in that game and just…weird shit starts happening. Why did all that go down?
Doublelift: Well, Flash Wolves just executed really well. I think their comp, early…they can one-shot easily – and if you get hit by Sej ulti then you’re gonna get Varus ulted and then Taric-stunned and then Sej will hit her E. So I feel like we just got caught a lot by that and it was really stupid of us but we fell really far behind early and then in the middle of the game, I think all of us realized how far behind we were and we’re just like, “Yeah, we can definitely never fight them for the next like ten minutes, so let’s just go for trades”, and go for basically, stalling them out and making sure they can’t get what they want.
I think we did a really good job doing that. That’s something that 2016 TSM would never be able to do – play a game from behind. When the game got to 50 minutes and all the inhibs were open, and there was Elder and Baron coming up and stuff, that just comes down to split-second decision-making and team fighting. There were multiple moments in that game where either team could have won and it came down to those small decisions from the players.
Travis: I was going to ask, would you guys have lost that game last year at Worlds? And you kind of mentioned that, “2016 TSM wouldn’t have been able to do this”…but same game, last year at Worlds, does TSM lose that?
Doublelift: Yeah, we would have just gotten stomped if it was last year’s TSM. Last year, I think we relied on getting early leads to win and now, I think we’re so much more flexible of a team – we can stomp when we’re ahead and come back when we’re behind. That’s one of the things that makes us scary and people praise us really highly for that. Hopefully, we don’t derail that hype train.
Travis: The hype train is back – again, I don’t understand how it happens every year…
Doublelift: Every year for some reason I don’t understand. It’s like the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting results.
Travis: Yesterday, I’m interviewing Gorilla, and he said that part of the reason he believes in you guys [was], “You know I like to believe in TSM”, but he also said “Ardent Censer is broken”, and that you’re “really good”, so that’s why he thinks you guys can actually go really far in this tournament. Do you think that’s a fair statement?
Doublelift: I think I’m okay, and Ardent Censer’s pretty broken that’s why you see it almost every game. I think I’m definitely better than I was last year, but that game…I don’t know if that was a good game to show it. I just need to keep playing consistently you know…even after that game I was so nervous, my hands were just shaking super hard. You’d think that after playing for seven years I wouldn’t get shakes after a game, but playing on the World’s stage is really hard, our opponents are really good, so we’ll see.
Travis: I think seven years of fans watching NA at Worlds and they’re still getting shakes as well. You’re shaking and everyone else is shaking, so like dear god. Now, what do you think of coming to China have you had any interesting interactions with fans or what do you think of the Chinese fans? Because I have noticed that there are a lot of people, there was a shot as you were in Champ Select, they showed someone in the audience and she’s just holding a trash can and there’s a lot of people.
I was walking around and there’s a fan that saw me and I don’t think he knew who I was but he was saying hi, and I said, “Whats your favorite team?” and he said, “Team WE”, and I said, “That’s cool anybody else?”, and he said, “TSM”, and I was like, “TSM versus WE, who wins?”, and he didn’t understand it but he just looked at me and was like, “Doublelift!” [laughs] Do you enjoy being in China from a fan perspective?
Doublelift: The fans are super nice here. They’re so passionate, I don’t think I’ve ever had that kind of experience outside of NA, actually. There’s just so many fans first off and you’ll just go anywhere around our hotel, or even inside our hotel, and there are fans in the halls and stuff, and they’re going crazy because they see you and they want your photo and signature. I think that’s normal, but the fangirls, there’s a lot of them, are super nice. They bring you gifts, they’re super sweet. I don’t even speak Chinese so they do they do their best to speak English even though they probably aren’t very comfortable doing that.
Travis: Are they as nice as Bonnie?
Doublelift: Uh, no they aren’t as nice as Bonnie – obviously. But there’s a lot, I was just surprised because in NA it’s like eighty-twenty or something like that towards the fan situation. But I remember last year after Worlds after we lost, I had a particular experience with a Chinese fan, if you’re out there somewhere, I love you – but after we lost I was feeling really sad. I was depressed in the hotel lobby, and I was just getting a drink.
I’m in the lobby and he comes up to me, he had a really thick accent but he was super excited, he was like, “Don’t worry dude, next year you will do it. You will get it.”, and he’s like, “Never give up. Don’t give up. Next year you’ll get it, and he was obviously referring to the World Championships so I was like, wow, he was so nice, so inspiring…so I took a little break but I always thought about his words, how he believed in me even though I shit the bed in Groups last year.
Travis: There are a lot of people here, I will say, you know I like to somewhat satirically also, somewhat, honestly, cheer a lot for North America on social media and a lot of people just say, “Nope, Doublelift’s gonna shit the bed like normal at international tournaments or Doublelift always chokes or whatever.”, do you feel any of that pressure or do you feel like you have solved whatever issues you had before? What’s going on on that front?
Doublelift: I think as a fan, it’s really easy to say that someone choked when really, they’re just bad – because you’re making an excuse for that person being like, “He choked”, but really, he’s like, “amazing”, and he would have done really well. I think last Worlds, and international tournaments, there’s some games where I played badly but I think, for the most part, most of the games I’m playing at my level, but last Worlds I was just bad. NA teams are generally just bad, look at our results and you can’t be choking every single time or else it’s not really choking.
So this year I think I’m a lot more competent and even if I’m having a bad game I think, hopefully, I can pull it together and not have a bad performance, but it’s all about just being competent and not really worrying about the pressure, not really worrying about, “Oh, I’m playing good, I’m playing bad”, compared to my normal level, just making sure your normal level is really high so I’ve just been working on that”.
Travis: Are Flash Wolves your greatest opponent in your group, or are you more worried about either of the other two?
Doublelift: Man, I think Flash Wolves seem really solid, really solid fundamentals. I think they’re going to make it out of the group for sure. I don’t know about us, but Flash Wolves seem really strong. WE – people tell me they’re either that they’re the best or the worst LPL team, so I don’t really know what that means but hopefully we catch them when they’re being bad and I’m really just cautious about WE because people say that at their best, they’re the best LPL team.
Travis: Do you have anything, there are so many NA fans that have so much of a hope and belief in you, and apparently a lot of Korean fans that play for professional Korean teams at Worlds that also have a lot of faith and hope in you guys, is there anything you want to say?
Doublelift: Thank you guys for believing in us. Thanks for believing in me. I’m always surprised there are Doublelift fans out there who hype me up and think I’m gonna do well because that gives me a lot of confidence and I feel really good that my fans believe in me. Hopefully this Worlds I can make you guys proud and we won’t walk away with another sad ending.