It has been quite some time since our League of Legends team played for the last time. By finishing at the top of the standings in the regular season, we got a ticket straight to the semi-finals, where we will face sixth seed Unicorns of Love, who impressed the community with their 3-1 win over third seed Giants in the quarter-finals.
With preparations for Sunday’s match in full swing, we caught up with the team’s coach, Joey “YoungBuck” Steltenpool, and picked his brain on matters concerning the current patch, the exciting contest against UOL ahead, and qualifying for Worlds.
What are your thoughts on the new patch, and how is the team adapting to it?
Playing the entire playoffs on the same patch was a good decision, it allows teams to show who is best at adapting, and they do not get thrown off halfway through the playoffs. When it comes to adapting, we have had a fair bit of struggles in the early stages, but we are starting to get a very good read on the meta and on how to counter the more prominent picks on this patch.
What are your thoughts on the changes to lane swapping?
I think they are good for the viewers but not for professional play. Riot’s philosophy has always been that lane swapping should be viable but a trade-off for something (usually dragon). However, by outright removing lane swaps instead of solving the problem, which was that in the regular split patches the team that swapped to top lane got the dragon instead of the duolane that stays bot, a lot of pro teams feel that their opinion was not heard.
You are now going to face UOL, whom you have a 4-0 record against. Are you confident heading into the match, considering your previous results against them?
We are confident heading into this match. We have a sizeable advantage by not having shown what we have to offer on this patch while Unicorns have had to play four games. We got to see what their priorities in draft and in-game are, so we can prepare for this match better than they can.
What kind of precautions are you going to take, considering that UOL beat Giants, a much higher seed, in the quarter-finals?
With the new change where teams can select their sides right after the game, we are going to have to prepare additional drafts, which means we are preparing up to three drafts for each side before the game so we have the option to go for different kinds of team compositions or force our opponent to play a different style.
How does it feel to have qualified for Worlds, the biggest event of the year? What are your expectations?
It feels fantastic, just a year ago I was trying to stay out of relegation as a player and could never dream of actually going to Worlds, but now that dream has become a reality. Our expectations… hard to tell, but we will try our hardest to write history for Europe.