RheingoldRiver brings match reports and from the floor interviews at the Spring Playoffs
With excellent overviews of each match and interviews with the expert summoners involved, RheingoldRiver brings fantastic insight into the NA Spring Playoffs that enthralled millions as part of the League of Legends Championship Series event this past weekend.
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Kicking off the first day of the NA Spring Playoffs was an exciting series between Dignitas and GGU.
Match Report One
Game 1 saw Daydreamin finally playing Blitzcrank for GGU, a pick that he had wanted to play for a while but hadn't gotten a chance to yet. His hooks gave GGU first blood onto Crumbzz's Lee Sin, and throughout the game he had amazing grabs, both in the middle of teamfights and outside of them, burning Scarra's flash before fights ever started so that GGU was always able to take out Dignitas's AP carry relatively easily when fights did occur. Thanks to that, and fantastic team fighting by all of GGU, they were able to take out Dignitas, closing out the game at 34 minutes.
Feeling confident after their first game was a victory, GGU decided to revisit a team composition that they had played against CLG in week 10, with Yorick-Tristana botlane, Jintae on Ryze, and NintendudeX on Elise. Two early kills picked up by Scarra on Karthus gave Dignitas an early lead, and they also picked up the first dragon along with several turrets. The game was solidified completely in Dignitas's favor as Scarra split-pushed botlane all the way to the inhibitor while the rest of Dignitas danced with all of GGU around Baron, even picking up Elise despite their numbers disadvantage. Dignitas confidently pushed into the base of GGU and took the victory, tying up the series at 1-1.
Everything was on the line in game 3, with the winner being guaranteed a spot in the summer split. ZionSpartan picked up first blood in bot where mancloud was laning 1v2, ganking from midlane, and he was even able to dive turret to pick up a second kill, taking out both Janna and Ezreal. Scarra hit level 6 on Karthus and immediately pressed R. The requiem would have taken out Jayce, but he got back to the well at the last possible second, the tick of regen from fountain giving him just enough health to survive. Despite an early teamfight win by Dignitas, Jintae had an incredible Shockwave on Orianna in a Baron fight at 30 minutes, practically one-shotting Patoy's Janna and securing the fight---and subsequent baron---for GGU. The game remained close for the next seven minutes, with Dignitas poised to take the second Baron of the game after picking up DontMashMe for free, but NintendudeX had an incredible smite-steal, and GGU were able to slowly and carefully close out the game, securing their spot in the summer split of the LCS and moving on to face Curse in the semi-finals.
Match Interview One
After the game, I sat down with NintendudeX and asked some questions.
Rhein: First of all, congratulations! Really exciting games to watch.
Let's talk about picks and bans first. What were your goals with picks and bans, and how did they change?
Our bans didn't change at all. We banned Diana, Gragas, and Shen every game, just because we're not comfortable with Jintae playing against something like Diana or Gragas. So we knew this forced Scarra into a more passive champion. And Shen is just… we're not good against Shen. KiWiKiD plays a really good Shen. So we just banned that all three games, and it worked in our favor because they didn't really have any priority things that we were scared of other than those three champions. As far as our picks went, every game they pretty much went how we expected. Game 1, we got our Elise, we got our Ezreal. We wanted Ezreal-Blitz midlane, and that was no problem, that went great. I think we were lucky we got Ezreal early, because they did pick Ezreal game 2 and 3, I don't think we expected that. Then game 2, we just had an issue with our lanes. We probably should have taken Karthus, and we knew game 3 they'd take Karthus because in game 2 he was kind of a pain, we couldn't engage on it and we couldn't take it out. So game 3, they first-picked Karthus, and we tried our best to pick something kind of pokey but really just an awesome teamfight, that could just one-shot the teamfight. So we just kept on farming, and eventually Orianna and Twitch, combined with Jayce, who was already fed, just completely carried the game.
For game 2, what was your reasoning behind doing the Kha'zix top instead of Jayce?
We were blue side, so they had the last pick to counterpick the Jayce. We know, as funny as it sounds, that KiWiKid wants to play Fizz against that, and Fizz I guess just destroys Jayce, so Zion didn't want to deal with that. So we didn't want to risk it, we figured Kha'zix was safer. But we didn't expect the Renekton. We probably should have picked Renekton right there, it would have been the safest pick, but Renekton was able to beat Kha'zix in lane, that was a problem. So the reason we got Jayce in game 3 was, we were purple side so we had the last pick so we could safely pick Jayce, and that's what happened.
In game 3, why did you decide not to jungle Elise?
We figured we really needed to get Crumbzz off Nasus because they were taking Ezreal. Ezreal is ok to deal with wither because he still has his mystic shots, he's pretty spell-based. We didn't want to run Urgot, so we'd have to run a pretty standard AD Carry, which wither kind of destroys. So we wanted to get Crumbzz off of Nasus, so we decided to go with that. And with Elise, I wasn't able to do much against Karthus with her; Karthus is just kind of a pain with Elise. Nasus was a lot safer, you don't have to go as much all-in, and wither is a really strong spell, so we just went with that.
There were some pretty crazy lane swaps in those games. As a jungler, how do you decide how you're going to respond to that?
At least for us, a lot of it depends on just 5 on 5, we look on paper where in their advantage they'll want to go, and we just look there. For example, in game 2, we knew they were gonna go Ezreal-Zyra mid because they picked the Karthus. But we did game 1 with Karthus, we sent him bot and he was able to 1v2 very easily. So that's exactly what we did. To counteract it, we sent our botlane mid against their botlane so it's a 2v2 mid, but Ryze wasn't very good against Karthus, so that didn't go too well in our favor. But all of our lane swaps revolve around how can we get that first tower.
So you have to face Curse tomorrow. How are you going to prepare for that?
As difficult as it's gonna be to beat Curse, I think we would much rather play against Curse than TSM, because TSM is on an absolute tear right now. They obviously don't have Elementz anymore, they have Rhux, and we just came off of a win against them in week 10. So we are gonna be even more confident against them---we were actually scared of Dignitas, but we're gonna be all-out balls-deep confident against Curse. We're gonna be completely fine, and we really do expect to get a win. And we're gonna do it with style.
Speaking of roster changes, your team has had a lot of them. How has that affected you?
It's been a bumpy road. You know, even I was faced with times where I was like, "This is really annoying. Do I even want to keep doing this?" Oftentimes, when you reach an all-time low in professional gaming, you ask yourself that. Cause you know, your fans are against you, you got people criticizing you, even other players are criticizing you, but you really just gotta bounce back, you gotta believe in yourself. And I've been through enough team crap, I've been competitively in the scene for only about a year, but I've known Scarra and people for a good three years. We just need to bounce back, just pick ourselves up. Because we're the team that's had to face the most adversity this season, and I think that's just gonna help us so much going forward knowing our character can carry us in big games like this. We have all the skill; we have all the determination, the confidence. And that's really what you need; you need to have the confidence. It sucks to change rosters, but if you can find the right people who can rally around that, it isn't really that huge of a deal.
But you are guaranteed to be in the summer split now!
That's such a weight off our shoulders, to be guaranteed in the next summer split. Anything can happen in the relegations, and it's so nice to not have to come out and play in that in two weeks. You can just take a break, go at it for a few weeks, worry about other stuff, and then just come in hard for the beginning of the season, and not have to worry about what amateur team am I going to have to be playing for my spot. And I think that's really gonna help us, since we don't have a house or anything yet. We really need to get our living stable, we need to get really our life stable and move out to LA and really compete in the summer split.
You have a plan to move into a team house?
Yes, we do plan to move into a team house.
There were problems with Shiphtur being able to play because of a work visa. Do you plan to keep Jintae playing as your midlane?
No, we do plan on taking Shiphtur back because Jintae has a trip planned for the summer; he wants to go to Korea to visit family. We'd be fine either way, Shiphtur is so skilled, he'd still be our priority if Jintae were available. But Jintae, just the way he's played, he's played so, so well.
Yeah, those Shockwaves...
Yes. It was amazing. It's gonna suck not playing with him, but he's a great guy, he's a great friend of ours and that's going to help him a lot in looking for a team in the future, so I hope he takes the confidence and just runs with it. He's a great player.