Alex Chu tells Red Bull eSports how League of Legends' TSM is focused on this weekend's Worlds.
Having spent the 2012 League of Legends World Championship Finals in the audience instead of on stage, TSM Snapdragon aims to be playing at the Staples Center this year. So says Alex "Xpecial" Chu, the steady support player for TeamSoloMid. Red Bull eSports sat down with Xpecial before their match Sunday against Chinese team OMG to talk about the popular team’s early season difficulties and what it might be like to play LoL in the House that Kobe Bryant built.
Red Bull eSports: TSM struggled early this season and dealt with some internal issues, what have you guys been able to do differently recently?
Xpecial: One thing about TSM is that we have the largest fan base, and it's the most local fanbase and the most vocal fanbase. Everytime something good happens, people cheer TSM. Everytime something bad happens, they get really upset. So, not surprisingly, when they was drama people were very upset. For us, it wasn't as big of deal as it was for the community.
But we received a lot of backlash, and we had to work around that. The day that happened, I talked to both Reggie and Dyrus individually and I said, 'Hey, we have to deal with this and then move on as fast as possible. We don't have time to worry about silly mistakes like this.' Everyone just moved on just like that and we practiced really hard. When we come together, everyone's on their A-game and that's exactly what we wanted.
How do you practice for certain teams you'll be facing?
Different teams do different things. For us, we don't ban anything in our practice, that way we get used to playing every champion and playing against every champion. Some teams like to ban champions they don't like to play against and that allows them to focus, but for us we only want to ban certain champions when it matters the most.
If you happened to make the Grand Finals and played at the Staples Center, what would that experience be like for you?
We were at Worlds last year, watching the teams on the big stage and the big screen and just cried. It was that emotional. We wanted to be at the finals. We worked so hard and we watched another team be in a spot we wanted to be in. And that's why we worked so hard this season, because we want to be there. Even though we've had a good season so far, nothing compares to Worlds. It's what we've practiced for this. It's hard to describe in one phrase -- it's just meant everything to us.
And I can imagine what it would be like with an arena chanting "TSM!"
I don't doubt that more than 70 percent of those guys will be supporting TSM. Even if they're not TSM fans, even if they are CLG fans, they're always fans of NA and even if they're not, they're a fan of eSports. And in the end, whoever wins, everyone will be cheering.
How do you feel about the LCS has gone this season?
Obviously, we didn't perform that well. This is a game about preparation and nerves and just performing in a single game. In a single game, you can't adapt and it makes it harder for veteran teams to really get by. Teams are so focused on us and we have to spread our focus on multiple teams in a week. It's one of those things that's troubling for us. But for the playoffs, you get multiple games, that's a format we do better in. That's good because it's the Worlds that matter the most.
Is there less experimentation this late in the season in your gameplay?
It's really tough to say. Part of it for us is just that we had a poor beginning. We had a small break. Dyrus and I tried out for All-Stars, we lost pretty a whole month of practice and that's huge. The biggest thing, we weren't able prepare for teams as well as we could have. In the end, we just didn't care as much as we should have but the playoffs is where it matters most and that's where we put 80 percent of our effort and 20 percent beginning of the split.
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