Not in NA Anymore: Interview with S3 World Finalists Team Mineski



Mon 9th Sep 2013 - 6:13pm

With the Season 3 Championships coming up in less than a week, viewers in NA and EU are starting to look outside their own regions and are getting ready to look at the international scene. Since the last true international event thats involved the West was the All-Star break, fans might not know the faces of some of the teams coming out of the East, especially with well known squads like the Taipei Assassins, Singapore Sentinels and World Elite being knocked out before they even reached Los Angeles. From Taiwan, we see the Gamania Bears, who came in fourth at in the Taiwan eSports Pro League, but stormed through their regionals, only losing matches to Wayi Spider and the Taipei Snipers.

From Southeast Asia, we see a different challenger come to LA. From the Phillipines, Team Mineski comes to LA after winning the Southeast Asia Regionals. The team has been the premier team from the Phillipines for quite a bit of time now, challenged only by Exile and the Garena-sponsored Manila Eagles, and has shown well in regional tournaments as well. However, this will be their first real experience with international competition, and I decided to interview the team about their victories during the SEA Regionals and their expectations coming into LA.

Team Mineski

Top Laner: Elijah "Snoy" Guerrero
Jungler: Jon "Kaigu" Hernandez
Mid Laner: Danyll "Yume" Balisi
AD Carry: Eric "Exo" Gubatan
Support: Gerald "Tgee" Gelacio
Manager: Arjay "Jay3" Orcasitas

Alrighty, first and foremost, let me congratulate you all on winning the Season 3 Southeast Asian Championships and qualifying for Worlds. Now, you guys hadn't actually qualified for regionals, coming in second in your region behind Exile. However, Exile was unable to fly to Vietnam and compete, and you got the spot. How did you all feel when you heard the news?

Snoy: Thank you! Well, we did know that they didn't have their passports before our qualifiers started, so when we got to the finals, we knew that we were the ones to be sent, win or lose.

Ah, so it wasn't a suprise at all.

Snoy: Yeah. (smiles)

Jay3: To be honest, team Exile only won once in eight meetings. It's just that they won in the most important match. 

At regionals, you got seeded into the bottom four, where you had to play Vietnam's second team, Xgame, in the first match. you held control for the entire game, and there's not much to talk about except Xgame running straight into Tgee's Crescendo at Baron. But then you ran into the Singapore Sentinels in the second round [who were favored to win the entire event]. You guys made the decision to put your duo lane in the top against SGS Tofu's Rumble, while Snoy went bot with Malphite. Why did you decide to initiate a 2v1 against Rumble, who is a great 2v1 champ?

Jay3: During our first game, having Malphite as a solo top might be a little disadvantage since he's facing Rumble. We put Malphite bottom since he has a strong sustain and could stay longer. But changing lanes is not yet our forte and during that moment it backfired on us, but we learned a lot in that first game so we utilized it to become better come second game. 

That double kill ToFu got off of Harle's Zac gank definitely didn't help things either. That being said, the first game against SGS was close throughout, and you guys took some key mid game fights. But Chawy kept himself alive... again and again, and dragged his team back into the game. How frustrated were you after that game, and why did Chawy keep surviving those teamfights?

Jay3: What we learned from that match, even though we changed lanes, we could match them equally, so come next time, we could go standard laning. We failed to itemize properly, especially on Malphite, not having any AP items and we also failed to protect our AD Carry. We learned from that mistake and we made sure our AD Carry was our top priority. We protected him so he could live and do the most damage. 

In the first round of the loser's bracket you took on the Bangkok Titans, and they beat on you in the early game. [BKT's Mid Laner] Navy looked unstoppable on Zed, and you guys were getting caught in pretty awful positions. Snoy's Jarvan was the bright spot in that game, and Yume saved the game by stopping BKT at Baron alone. Why was the play so poor in the early game, and what do you think turned the game around.

Snoy: Yeah, that Zed snowballed so hard, because of that double kill top lane. We hesitated to back. I think that Zed was five and zero by mid game? I think what made us win was when BKT attempted Baron when Yume was alive. He managed to kill two out of four members doing Baron, and one of them died to Baron. 

The game against the  Kuala Lumpur Hunters was notable to me for one big reason. What the hell possessed you to play Karma in the Jungle, Kaigu?

Kaigu: I played Karma that game, because the night before the tournament, we scrimmed against KLH and we did well that game with me playing Jungle Karma. I also promised some friends back home that I'd bring something unusual to the table.


So they had seen the Jungle Karma the night before? Did they just assume it was a joke during the scrimmage, or no?

Kaigu: Yeah they have, and I don't think so. They just didn't know how to counter it, with an early blue invade.

Which is why you didn't run it against SGS or SAJ, since they would.

Kaigu: Yeah, I thought so. SAJ banned it instantly though, if I'm not mistaken.

Which will be the only time we will ever see a Karma ban in competitive League of Legends. (laughs)

Kaigu: Hope so.

Outside that, it was a complete stomp, and got you into the loser's finals against the Saigon Jokers, last years SEA representitive. And you played in a LONG match. The game was back and forth for most of it, and you finally pulled the game out after a beautiful fight in the middle lane. Did you guys see yourself getting into the Finals at the beginning of the weekend?

Snoy: Yeah Exo was amazing that game!

Jay3: We took each game one step at a time, without thinking about the next game. We fought wholeheartedly as if our lives depend on it. This is our dream and we're almost there.

Snoy: No, we did not see ourselves getting to the finals. We thought that we'd lose against SAJ before the game. Actually, we said to ourselves before the event, that as long as we did not place last, it would be fine.

Coming into the final series with the Sentinels, the Sentinels started with a one game advantage, only needing one win to take the match. How was the team feeling?

Jay3: We felt really nervous during that moment. We just needed two wins and we would go to LA, but one mistake might end our streak. But on the other hand, we had the momentum and we think it's our greatest advantage to SGS, so we just fought with them carefully.

The first game of the Finals felt like the games you guys played in the second round, very close with both teams putting their best on the line. However, you were certain to not let Chawy survive this time, and took the game. What changed from the second round to the Finals.

Jay3: We wanted to burst Chawy because he makes most of their damage. Like what happened in the first game, Chawy carried his team. We didn't want it to happen again the second time around, and we don't want to make the same mistake again. We changed our playstyle and we let Snoy add damage to his items.

Snoy: We learned to ban his Varus! (laughs) And yeah, we learned that we were weak when we played 2v1 lanes.

You guys came into the second game and looked even stronger, and Exo gave Chawy a taste of his own medicine in the late game. And there you were, Season 3 SEA Champions. How did the team feel after that? 

Exo: We felt very happy because at first, we didn't expect to win this tournament. The first game with SGS was so difficult, depsite it gave us a sign that if we just dedicated ourselves to the game, we could manage to win it.

Jay3: We felt great and shocked at the same time, beause we can't belive that we're already the SEA representitives, and on top of that, we will go to LA. I think we won because we became so aggressive, and knowing the fact that we're just one win away, it gives us more courage to fight. We really want to give glory to our country and we want to put the Phillipines on the map when it comes to League of Legends. We want to change the view of other nationalities to us Filipinos. We want to show the world what makes a Filipino.

Now, realistically, how far do you guys see yourselves going at Worlds?  You're a strong squad, your play has shown that, but you don't have much in the way of international experience.

Snoy: Hmm...

Jay3: Everyone thinks that we're still the underdogs and we will end early in Worlds. Even though we don't have enough international experience, we won't go there without giving a fight. We still think we could do a TPA in the Worlds and could still win even though we're the underdogs. We will practice harder and take each game one step at a time.

Snoy: Yeah, I believe we could do a TPA, (smiles) but it won't be that easy of course. We will do our best.

Back to what you said about the Phillipines, Arjay, they don't get a lot of respect in the SEA community. Part of that has to be due to the underperformance of the Manila Eagles, but do you think you guys can change that perception?

Jay3: In my most honest opinion, MLE was underperforming because they tend to experiment a lot in the GPL [Garena Premier League]. They started strong, but cannot last til the end. We believe we already have changed the view of the SEA community to us and we gained their respect based on what we see on our fan page and based on what the other teams told us. We will bring pride as Filipinos in the Worlds, and that will make the difference.

Finally, do you guys have any shoutouts?

Snoy: Hi Een!!! (laughs)

Jay3: Special shoutouts to our sponsors: Razer Phillipines, Monster, and Mineski Corp. Lastly, to our fans, please support us all the way.

Exo: Hi Elle.

Once again, good luck to Mineski as they go to LA and play in the World Championships, and thanks for taking the time out of your practice schedule to be interviewed! Feel free to follow them on Twitter @MineskiLoL or on Facebook at their fan page. Kaigu and Exo also stream occassionally on Twitch, and Snoy hopes to in the future, if he can get part of the million dollar prize to fix his internet.

Riot Blitzcrank WWPKQDNAKXT6RQ!