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: Well it’s a tough day for TSM and NA fans as TSM has failed to move out of Groups. I’m joined right now by Reginald. Reginald, first I’d like to thank you for doing the interview after a loss. I know that that’s pretty tough and not everyone would do it. It’s been so many years, and every year it feels like this is going to be the year that TSM gets out. This year the roster looked good, this year the Group looked good, and yet it just feels like the team doesn’t play the way they do in North America. What do you think is causing this to happen?
Reginald: I think that in North America, from a play perspective, a lot of our players are better enough individually so we get away with a lot of things that shouldn’t work on an international level. From a team play perspective, we fell really short. It wasn’t a case of, “We were almost there”. We played really poorly and specifically the second week. So we win in North America because we have lot more better individual players. On the international stage, our teamwork and our team play just wasn’t good enough.
Travis: What do you think it means for North America? Because I feel like at this point in time a lot of fans are probably losing hope of ever having a chance on the world stage. Do you think that there’s still a chance? Or do you think that we’re kind of just cursed to have all these memes about “second week curse”, and all this big hope and all that kind of thing?
Reginald: I do, I do think so. I think that from a strategic standpoint, we definitely need to focus on that a lot more moving forward. Every single year you point to something right? So there’s not really a lot of things that we need to work on. It doesn’t necessarily make sense to say North America has no chance every single year because theoretically five players can play really well that year and the meta can really work well for them. For the most part, this year, the game was about pressure and rotations. It was less about killing, it was really bot lane focused. We weren’t really good at playing around the map, we weren’t good at playing as five. Every single time we made a play, someone else was focused on something else so… I mean sorry – I’m going off topic, but what I’m trying to say is, of course, North American teams will have a chance but we do need a lot of work for that right now.
Travis: Do you feel like it was a situation with the team? An issue where you guys couldn’t play with these opponents? Because it does feel like some of the decision making was less than what we’d expect from North America, like even Doublelift died with Flash consistently up. A lot of people were very, very critical of some of the drafting. Do you feel like there’s a pressure situation that happened here? Or do you think that the team is still playing as good as they are in North America, it’s just that when you come to the international tournament that level of play is not enough?
Reginald: It’s really hard to say because we’re playing against different opponents. I do you think that there were a few issues with their draft, I think that we should have went down to a few compositions and focused down on that more instead of just practicing to be better overall. I think that really hurt us.
Travis: I know it’s early days now but a lot of people are looking at this roster and this lineup and feeling like, okay we saw this roster last year at Worlds, we thought that this is what we were supposed to do to win with. Then this year we heard during Summer Split, okay we’ve got the same roster and now we’re going to try a bunch of different strategies and diversify ourselves so that we can show different options at Worlds. It just didn’t seem to come out. How dedicated are you now to this roster and this lineup, or should we expect to see big changes from TSM?
Reginald: I think that from a play perspective we should have narrowed down a lot more on our champions. So even though we were playing where our temple is to play every single meta, I think that it was a case of us being a jack-of-all-trades more so than being really good at a few styles, and I think that kind of hurt us. Primarily because when you’re out on the international stage, you can’t just throw every single strategy at a team, you have to throw your very best strategies. I felt like we weren’t super good at any specific strategy.
Travis: In terms of roster and how dedicated you are to this team, this lineup, and the staff, should we expect to see changes? Or is it too early to say?
Reginald: For our roster and our staff, it’s definitely too early to say any changes. We don’t even know if we’re a part of the franchise next year yet, although I think that there’s a good chance. I have no idea. So it’s going to be something that we figure out in the future.
Travis: Do you think that this is worrisome for the region? Especially as we’ve got more investment coming into the space and all this conversation and franchising, and that kind of thing, should North America be worried if we can’t perform on the international stage? Or do you think that having a solid, entertaining region and a good league is enough to sort of sustain North America for League Legends?
Reginald: That’s a really difficult answer. I really can’t tell for the future. I do think it’s really important to be competitive on the international scale. We need to just go back and see what we need to work on and fix those issues. It’s hard to tell right now because we just finished a match like 20 minutes ago and we have to spend time to think about that.
Travis: What’s next for you? For you personally, do you spend the next week kind of going over this kind? How do you decompress and sort of reflect on what happened?
Reginald: I need to just spend some time thinking, I have no idea at the moment. I’ll probably go back to work. There’s a lot to do at the moment so, maybe I’ll spend a day or two to think to myself, and then figure out what I need to do.
Reginald: I know you were just in the room talking to the team. How’s everyone holding up? I’m sure there are a lot of fans that are a little worried about some of the team members and how they’re feeling right now.
Reginald: With any loss, it feels incredibly frustrating. It’s still hard to tell because we haven’t really had that much time to speak with them. That’s something I’m going to do right after this.
Travis: All right. I mean I feel like we’ve kind of gone over everything we can at this point in time. It sounds like there’s a lot more to sort of think about and talk about down the line in terms of how North-America and TSM can create really compelling lineups for the international stage. I’m sure a lot of fans are going to have a lot of questions and a lot of thoughts about this stuff. Is there anything you would like to say to them now?
Reginald: First off, it seems repetitive, but sorry again for disappointing you guys. I mean every single year at Worlds, we are expected to do better, and we fall really short of our expectations, so I know you guys are disappointed. I’m disappointed in myself too. We’re sorry. Our players worked really hard at the boot camp. No excuses. These teams definitely played better than us today. They’re a better team and we lost. Sometimes when you work really hard at something, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the result would show but doing really well at Worlds and winning it is still going to be our goal.