coL Westrice on his motivation for the split, the champions he plays, and his future matchups
Fri 23rd May 2014 - 4:48pm
The journey has been long and hard for Jonathan 'Westrice' Nguyen, but after years of clawing his way up, he made it to the peak. Known for his affinity for assassins like Akali and Zed, Westrice has taken up a tankier attitude, and helped his team beat out Team Coast for their spot in the LCS Summer Split.
After he and compLexity qualified, I had a chance to speak with Westrice about his motivation for the split, the champions he plays, and his upcoming top lane matchups. Unfortunately the video part of the recording corrupted, but we have the audio!
How're you doing?
Westrice: I’m doing good, I’m a little sick right now, but I’ve been sick for a week, my throat hurts, my nose is runny, but I’m good other than that.
So, you’ve finally got into the LCS, your big dream of getting into the LCS and playing in the top of the league, what was the first thing you did after you guys won?
Westrice: I think everyone was mentally exhausted. I think we took like an hour to just talk about the games and obviously we were all really happy, so we were in a joking mood and just very cheerful and after that we went to go get dinner. And the plan was to go out and have fun, but I think everyone was mentally exhausted, so I drove home, I like driving so I went straight home after that and then went to see my girlfriend. We didn’t really do anything afterwards actually. We were just like ‘ok guys, good job, let’s just go now, see you.’
Especially playing the three games after the first one, the first one was definitely the most mentally exhausting I’d say.
Westrice: Oh yeah that game was out of control honestly. We should’ve won that game a lot sooner and then we should’ve lost that game around mid-game, it was just back in forth. It was a really messy game by both of us.
So what made this split the one to get in? What do you think pushed you guys and yourself over the edge?
Westrice: I think the biggest one is having a really good shotcaller and having a better mid laner. I don’t want to say anything bad about our last mid laner, but Pr0lly has been doing very well and he shotcalls a lot of stuff that are needed that we didn’t have before. And he’s just a mechanically good player, he matched up against Shiphtur and he shut him down. In the past our old mid laner couldn’t do that, so it was a huge upgrade. Often or lately I’ve been picking up tanks as well, so I’ve only been playing tanks. I haven’t been playing anything else. Last split I was playing Kha’Zix middle, and non-tanks.
Transitioning from assassin to tankier?
Westrice: Yeah, people will still try to camp me the same way, but tanks don’t fall off but assassins do, so that’s why when people camp me as certain champions like Akali or something like that, she becomes useless. But when they camp me as someone like Shyvana or Mundo, it’s not going to help, because that second game versus Coast they tried to camp me as Mundo and it never worked. Nintendude wasted like three or two ganks trying to kill me and wasting his time while Broken was getting free farm. We just adapted pretty much.
I think it was game 1 when you were Renekton and they kept bullying you in the top lane.
Westrice: That was my first game. That first game was actually pretty bad for me. I could’ve avoided all of those ganks, but I played it very wrong.
You definitely do get a lot of flak on the internet about how you can get on tilt and get bullied and that could be used against you. But it seemed like, at least I think I recall hearing in the post game interview from Broken and Pr0lly, because there was so much focus on you and Zion, then the rest of the team like Pr0lly, Robert and Bubbadub were just able to do what they could in their lanes.
Do you think that was an actual strategy that you used against them?
Westrice: We knew it was going to happen, because we knew they always want to snowball Zionspartan. I told my team that I don't really need help, which was probably a bad idea to say, because obviously you want to counter gank those ganks, but I didn't call for it. My biggest problem was not calling for those counter ganks. I'm just like ‘no, no, no bot is winning, mid is winning, just make sure they're still ahead, so don’t come top. I’m a tank so I’ll be ok.’
But then I let it go worse than it should have been, because Broken should have been top to counter gank those, and that was my mistake for not calling him up there, I called him to go away. Our biggest difference between me and Zion, Zion gets a lot of help. But I should be doing the same thing honestly, that’s something that we figured out right after the games, so we’re definitely going to adapt to it.
Photo credit to miasus (DeviantART)
What do you feel about playing against Zionspartan? I believe you guys play against Dignitas in the first match of the Summer Split.
Westrice: In the team scene, he’s really good, but I play him in solo queue and we just play the same way. Because he doesn’t have a jungler to camp him, we just brawl it out and it’s just 1v1 and I’d say it’s dead even. He beats me sometimes, I beat him sometimes, but in a team environment, they just all gang up on me. That’s something we need to be ready for in the LCS, so I’m not too worried when people think I should be.
For your huge dream to get into the LCS, what was it like to try to keep that motivation throughout each and every split that you weren’t able to get in?
Westrice: I was actually losing motivation. That last split was actually my last attempt to get into the LCS before I quit. I think I told a few people that like Travis, pretty much told everybody. I didn’t think Travis would tell anybody, but he literally just told everybody right before our match. I knew I had a much better team, and I didn’t want to go back to school, so that was a good enough motivation for me.
What would you have studied?
Westrice: I was in school for computer programming for a year and a half, and then I realized in class, halfway through class, I’m like ‘screw this dude, I don’t want to do this.’ And then I got picked up by a pro team, and I’m like ‘ok cool, I’ll do this instead.’
I saw that, going off of how you mentioned if you lost it would have been your last attempt, you said exactly that, I think it was a quote on Reddit. How can you go from having that mindset of essentially accepting that you can be done, to getting back that killer instinct, because you said that you started to slack off once in a while because you’re getting sick of playing League all of the time.
How are you able to go from accepting that you might not do it anymore to going all the way back full throttle?
Westrice: Before the tournament I was kind of giving up, but I knew that my teammates really wanted to win, so I put all of my effort to try to win this split. I just realized that this is what I’ve wanted for the past year, why aren’t I going for it right now? This is my perfect window to go for the dream. I just wanted to be a team player and be that tank that we need and make an impact even if I get camped.
You’re able to remotivate yourself, but going into the next ten weeks, how do you think you’ll be able to get back your killer instinct?
Westrice: Ah you mean for the LCS. Basically my mind is wiped clean of all of the thoughts of leaving the pro scene. It makes me want to try even harder, because we’re against all of these teams that are really really good, all of the teams we could’ve beaten easily like Dignitas, Dignitas got a lot stronger.
I’m actually scared of all of those teams in the LCS, so I feel honored to play with all of these very good teams in the LCS and I’m honored to be one of them. That’s enough motivation for me to try really hard this split.
When I talked to Brokenshard, he said a goal of his was to have the deal do well and learn and stay as secure as possible, and to continue playing, now that you’ve achieved your dream of getting into the LCS, what’s your goal now?
Westrice: Freaking go to worlds. I’m pretty sure everyone says that, obviously that’s the number one thing to look at. Realistically we just don’t want to get relegated, that’s all.
Photo credit to Leaguesplash.com
That’s definitely a dream a lot of people share in the LCS. Have there been any changes in terms of your lifestyle now that you’ve made it in? Are you practicing more with the team or doing a little bit more relaxing, while you’re on vacation?
Westrice: You mean what I’ve been doing on vacation?
Yeah since you’ve officially made it into the LCS, how has your League lifestyle changed at all?
Westrice: It actually regressed. I used to work out a lot, and now I’m just playing games all the time.
Solo queue games?
Westrice: I’ve actually been playing a lot more solo queue, I guess that’s the change. I was usually never close to Challenger, but I’ve been playing a lot and then two days ago I got Challenger and I’m like three hundred points in so I’ve just been spamming the crap out of solo queue just so I can keep my mechanics up and get ready for the LCS. It’s just an individual skill thing. My lifestyle didn’t change at all.
You guys did go to Lone Star Clash 3 yeah? I think you beat the first round, beat Team 8, but then eventually lost to them correct? What was going on there?
Westrice: We beat Team 8 and then we lost to Team 8. That was our first game together in a long time but that wasn’t the reason. The reason why we lost, we weren’t expecting a global comp they’ve been practicing for so long, they’ve been practicing a global comp like TF, Pantheon, Nocturne, all those global champions.
We didn’t really expect that and we didn’t really know how to play against it, so basically that just screwed us over the entire series. They did that to us the first round too and we banned it all and then I don’t know why we didn’t do it the second time. We just got screwed over honestly, we just weren’t prepared that’s all.
Not to look down on Lone Star Clash at all but it certainly wasn’t the LCS and now that you’ve finally made it, it meant a little bit less right?
Westrice: Yeah, I mean we didn’t really care that much. Obviously we wanted to win, so we obviously tried, but we’re not going to beat ourselves over it.
It sounds like you guys have a lot of team chemistry, especially between Pr0lly and Broken?
Westrice: Oh yeah, everyone on the team likes each other, especially Pr0lly and Broken. Actually everyone loves Broken, that guy’s funny.
On the same Reddit post that I found your other quote, I found someone asked you “What is the one thing you would have done differently at the start of your pursuit of the LCS looking back on it?” And you said that you’d have done more meta as opposed to less risky picks like your favorite, Akali.
Do you think that you’ll stick to more meta for a long time now, for good, or do you think that in your heart you’ll ever go back to your favorite champion like Akali?
Westrice: I’m pretty much used to playing mana champions now. I pretty much only play Renekton, Shyvana, Jax and Lee Sin, all of those champions are in right now. I don’t really play assassins any more. I’m not really looking back into it.
Photo credit to Leaguesplash.com
With the change of CLG and Nien into possibly Seraph, I believe Seraph right now is still just in a try out stage correct?
Westrice: Yeah, I’m pretty sure he’ll get the spot, he’s really good.
What can you say about him?
Westrice: It really shows in solo queue. I was playing against him, I didn’t know it was him for a while, because his name in game is something else. I didn’t know it was him, and then Broken was like ‘West, that’s Seraph,’ and I’m like ‘Oh really? No wonder this guy’s really good.’ He was playing Nidalee or something.
Do you think that you’ll be able to match up against him pretty well or what’s your experience been against him in the past?
Westrice: Mechanically I think we’re the same, but I think he’s a little bit smarter. He’ll go in at right times, he’ll roam at the right times, he’ll stick on certain champs at the right times. I feel like he’ll do everything right. In a 1v1 I think we’re the same people.
I think it was a caster, might’ve been Jatt that said that you go aggressive and either go for some really spectacular plays and you succeed or you just happen to flop on the other side of the spectrum.
Westrice: Yeah that’s something that can happen.
Have you had a change to watch any of the international players play at the All Stars?
Westrice: Yeah I was watching SKT literally destroy everybody. I wasn’t surprised that Fnatic and Taipei Assassins fell really short, I haven’t seen them perform in a while, but I was really surprised by Cloud 9 for doing so well. With the sub with Link, Link’s not their shotcaller, Hai was, so I was surprised how well they did.
Lemon was saying that Hai was much more of a dominant shotcaller but Link was still doing his job as a good shot caller but a lot less dominant than Hai, but apparently still did the job well.
Westrice: I think Link is mechanically a lot better, but Hai is what Cloud 9 needs, the really strong voice.
Anything you’d take away from watching the All Stars? Perhaps any intelligence on any Cloud 9/CLG from watching that?
Westrice: It’s ok to lose to Koreans. So if I lose to Seraph, it’s ok that guy’s Korean. Nah I’m just kidding. Their strategies overall, everything that they did is just so smooth and calculated. People aren’t running around doing nothing, people are actively looking for stuff to do. There’s the reason why they’re in All Stars.
Do you have any shoutouts for anybody? Maybe your sponsors, friends, family?
Westrice: Yeah shoutout to our sponsors obviously; compLexity for giving us this opportunity. And all the sponsors too, including Soundblaster. Shoutouts to my mom, she’s in Vietnam right now, and it’s Mother’s Day, so I didn’t really get to see her, but I don't really get to see her anyway. Shoutout to my mom for supporting me for everything I do and especially to all my fans always being there for me when I’m doing well or doing bad.