Interview with Denial eSports' Mid Laner Nubbypoohbear



Fri 19th Jul 2013 - 4:18pm

In the last month, the North American Challenger scene has begun to explode. The Mobafire Challenger Series, Major League Gaming's Summer Championship, the WellPlayed Cup, and the ESL Pro Series are giving us regular exposure to some of the best non-LCS North American teams. Alongside compLexity and Curse Academy, teams are making names for themselves, such as the former FXOpen roster of To Be Determined.

One of the teams thats showing it deserves to be at the top of the North American League of Legends scene is Denial eSports. The squad participated in previous tournaments under the names of DoubleBuff and One Trick Ponies, and have shown well in quite recent tournaments, taking second at the We Will Do It Ourselves Cup and first at the WellPlayed Cup. The team has participated in both promotion tournaments for the LCS, but fell short each time, not making it out of the group stage in the spring and falling to Azure Cats in the Summer Promotion/Relegation tournament. 

I sat down with the midlaner of Denial, Nick "Nubbypoohbear" Harlan, a player who has been at the top level of the North American LoL scene since Season 2, being part of the rising Orbit Gaming squad that now has four out of its six players in the LCS.

First, thanks for taking the time to for doing this interview. Can I call you Nick? Nubby?

Nubby: Either or!

As a team, Denial has been strong this split, with a convincing win over Team Summon in the WellPlayed Cup, and the team has shown consistancy for much of Season 3, with strong showings in the "We'll Do It Ourselves Cup" and the RisingStars Invitational. However, you guys fell short in the Summer Qualifiers, falling to Azure Cats in two straight games. What happened?

Nubby: Well, really what happened was we choked under the pressure. We didn't show the usual play as we do when we are at home playing. This all needs to change obviously and we are taking actions in order to achieve this. Also, I can't forget to say Azure played well against us. I can't take that hype from them.

Part of what you guys are doing to improve is getting a gaming house, correct? How excited are you for that, and how much do you think that will improve your team's communication and teamwork?

Nubby: I'd definitely say I'm realllly excited for the gaming house. We get to be as a team in a first person basis, which will begin to help our communication and also we will fix the problem of our practice times, making us play more. That is a majority of the problem at the moment, but we are definitely picking it up.

You guys recently changed Supports, picking up Nicholas "Gleebglarbu" Haddad to replace Tom "1onz" Rahman, who is too young for the LCS. How well has Gleebglarbu melded into the lineup?

Nubby: At first, it was a little rough. He came in being a little over vocal, not knowing that me and Scuba were generally the shot callers. The more scrims we got, he really started to mesh well with our playstyles though. He only needed a few scrims to see how things worked with the team.

Now, during the WellPlayed Cup, we saw you play a variety of champions, and you picking unconventional APs is something that has existed since you were back on Orbit. Why'd you go AP Zyra, and why Annie, and should we expect to see more picks in the same vein.

Nubby: There's a lot of matchups for Zyra to do well and her overall teamfight is insanely good. Additionally, its very easy for her to bully her lane, due to the seed mechanics she has in her kit. Even after her E [Grasping Roots] nerfs, she's still able to land roots mid lane. Regarding Annie, she has a pretty solid lane phase against a lot of AD based champs due to her Molten Shield. That and along with her hard-in engage, she works really well with a lot of team comps that are part of the meta lately. She's a good and safe overall pick.

Let's look back in the past, as you used to be on Orbit. Four out of six players from that squad are now in the LCS, with WildTurtle being the person they replaced you with on the squad. (While Nien moved to mid) That team had a lot of talent. Do you miss the days back on Orbit at all?

Nubby: I'd definitely say I do miss the days, since we went to a lot of LAN events. Going to LANs is a whole new experience from playing tourneys online. You really get to feed off of one another and learn. I do keep in contact with a couple of players from the team. 

Now you guys got picked up by the Denial organization during the WellPlayed Cup. Were you guys communicating with them before the Cup, or did your performance in the event sell your squad. 

Nubby: We had communicated with them prior to the Cup. We went into the Cup with no practice that week, but we really wanted to perform for them since we knew we were being picked up.

Looking to the future, do you guys think you have a shot at qualifying for the LCS? And do you think if you were in the LCS this split, you'd be competitive?

Nubby: I believe after some time and practice, we have a pretty good shot at qualifying for the LCS. Now that people are out of school, we have quite a better chance. If we were in the LCS, it'd take us a little bit to get into the momentum of the environment, but I do think we'd get to the point of being competitive.

Do you guys look at any foreign leagues in particular?

Nubby: Foreign teams we generally tend to look at are the Korean teams. We see a lot of things happening with them so it's best to take notes of how they play.

To finish this thing up, do you have any shoutouts? And will we ever get to see you play Gragas again?

Nubby: I'd like to give a shout out to our sponsors Hypernia, GameVox (definitely comes in handy with communication), Ryder's Eyewear, and Whoops Tee. And I'd like to give the main shout out to Denial eSports and really look forward to working with them. As far as Gragas goes, you can definitely see me playing him in the future.

Thanks for the interview, Nick.

Nubby: Anytime

Again, I'd like to thank Nick for taking the time for doing his inteview and wish him and the rest of Denial the best of luck in the Challenger Circuit. Make sure to check them out next week in the MCS, when they play Gold Gaming LA on the 23rd and the play Wazabi Gaming on the 24th. Feel free to follow him on Twitch and Twitter, and don't be surprised if Denial shows up in next spring's LCS.