Interview with Brokenshard from Dragonborns
Mon 11th Mar 2013 - 8:33pm
I recently had a chat with with Ram 'Brokenshard' Djemal about his recent transition from jungling to coaching Dragonborns. After overthrowing Evil Geniuses with their unorthadox Nidalee/Sorka bot lane, Dragonborns are now sitting at 5th place in the LCS.
Hi Brokenshard, thank you for agreeing to do this interview. Firstly - just to clear off the community's confusion - could you briefly sum up the reason behind your decision to step down permanently as Dragonborns' jungler?
Brokenshard: I was very sick with a lung disease so I had to undergo about 3 to 4 weeks of treatment for it. From there on, there would be a month and half of recovery where the doctors would just watch over me and make sure everything was going smoothly. I wouldn't be able to move into a gaming house because of that, which meant that I wouldn't t able to commit much time and practice with the team and I wouldn't be able to fly in every weekend.
In the beginning, it didn't seem that I had to step down permanently, but then as we started doing more tests through the doctors, it turned out that I would be out of action for a long time. That is the main reason that I had to step down.
You recently posted about the progress of your treatment on Reddit. If you don't mind me asking, how are you feeling right now? Will you be required to go back to military service after your recovery?
Brokenshard: I finished my treatment early as I got better a lot faster than I expected. As for military service, no, not necessarily. I was discharged on a medical leave and I don't think they require me to come back anymore.
Where are you currently based now? Are you able to keep in contact with the team easily considering that you're now their coach?
Brokenshard: I'm living at home now in Israel. Yea, it's easy since I get to talk to them on Skype often and tell them what they need to do. I'll just type in caps lock if I have to yell at them (laughs). They know what I mean.
How did Dragonborns come to the decision to recruit Malunoo as the team's new jungler? What made him stand out compared to the other 200 or so applicants?
Brokenshard: Malunoo is quite well known on the EU scene as the ex-Curse jungler. It was very easy to recruit Malunoo because we were looking at someone with previous tournament experience and someone who could lead the team with a specific champion pool. He basically had the perfect application.
His playstyle wasn't necessarily the same as my playstyle - he's a more tactical, conservative-oriented jungler whereas I'm a very aggressive jungler. When I was playing with Dragonborns, we invented a very aggressive all-in playstyle. So even though Malunoo's playstyle wasn't necessarily fit for the team, we knew that he would be able to change over time.
Are you pleased with his performance as well as the overall performance of the team so far? Is he fitting in nicely with the team?
Brokenshard: I felt a little bit shaky about Malunoo in the beginning, especially when he played Shen in our very first game in LCS. We don't play well with Shen because - to put it simply - our team doesn't know how to split-push. When Dragonborns took down SK Gaming in Week 2 though, I could see that Malunoo was starting to learn what he needed to do for the team. He's realising that he needs to learn how to adapt, and as the games go on - even in the games that they've lost - I see improvements in Malunoo. He's adapting and learning a lot better and faster than I expected.
Now that you are DB's coach, are you involved in planning the team's strategies? If you are, could you tell us who came up with that unorthodox yet successful team comp versus EG in Week 4 of the LCS?
Brokenshard: Generally, yes. The Nidalee/Soraka bot lane strategy was something that HosaN, Shushei and I came up with together. It started when Shushei was playing Nidalee during a game and HosaN said: "Shushei you suck at Nidalee, I should play Nidalee. I can play her bot lane!"
HosaN is really good at coming up with strategies. We ended up having this whole discussion about Nidalee so we decided to try it at a few games. It did work well, but we had to change up out mid-lane champion a little bit. After some experimenting, we decided that we weren't ready to use that strategy at the LCS offline. I told HosaN that if he could figure out the main problem with the strategy, he could use it. He was really determined and spent a lot of time theory crafting and thinking about it.
The AP Nidalee and Support Soraka worked successfully against EG, but not so much against SK. Why do you think that was the case?
Brokenshard: I think SK's bot lane is a little more aggressive than EG's. However, I'm not really sure what was going through the minds of my team when they wanted to lane swap. The point of the Nidalee/Soraka lane is not to lane swap - it's not about beating the enemy bot lane or pushing hard - it's about sustaining yourself and keeping yourself even.
It's good against passive bot lanes and come mid-game you're going to be stronger than the enemy AD if you just don't fight. You just poke at the enemy and get them low and when you have champions like Kha'Zix, Katarina or Wukong in the team, you can easily clean up fights after. It was something we were trying out with a lot in the beginning. So, you don't want to lane swap with this strategy. That's what lost them the game versus SK. Plus, they just weren't playing well.
Is there a possibility that you'll return to competing professionally in the future?
Brokenshard: As of right now, I don't know. We'll just have to see how things turn out.
You've played niche junglers like Kayle, so how will the recent Kayle nerf affect her jungling capabilities?
Brokenshard: In all honesty, I only picked up Kayle because I saw another EU jungler - ImSoFresh from Millennium - playing her. He was playing a lot of Kayle and it looked pretty strong, so I thought that I'd might as well try it out. I think Kayle is substantially weaker now, not because of the recent nerfs to her, but in general. The meta of the game has evolved really quickly and I feel that the meta has already moved away from Kayle being a power pick.
Which champions do you think are the strongest junglers for season 3 so far? And why?
Brokenshard: Right now, the trinity of junglers are Jarvan IV, Volibear and Xin Zhao. They're definitely the three best picks for jungling. They all fit in multiple team compositions and fulfil the same jobs of initiating fights, distracting, and keeping people busy. These three champions do that really well. Also, you get much stronger when you stack HP with these champions.
How is DB going to prepare for the upcoming LCS matches in Week 5 to ensure a steady climb towards the top?
Brokenshard: I would say that we are not necessarily a team you would call standard in any way, but even we have our own standard picks. We have our little bag of standard picks that people generally bat against us, like Draven, Vi, Wukong, Xin Zhao. Other teams know that these are champions that we play often, but we can put them into multiple different team comps. Contributing to strategies is not just something that one person comes up with; everyone in the team contributes to the ideas of special strategies.
Also, we don't just play the same champions we'll play in LCS in scrims. We play around with different champions and we generally try to use scrims as our playground.
Thank you so much for your time, Brokenshard. Any closing statements or shoutouts?
Brokenshard: I'd like to give a shoutout to my team Dragonborns and our sponsors Steel Sereis and xNote, as well as to the fans that we care about and love.