An Interview with Team Dignitas's New Top Laner: KiWiKiD
Fri 28th Dec 2012 - 6:39pm: League of Legends
With the recent departure of jungler Christian 'IWillDominate' Rivera, Team Dignitas decided to send former top laner Alberto 'Crumbzz' Rengifo back to the jungle where he originally specialized. Filling his spot will now be Alan 'KiWiKiD' Nguyen.
When I spoke with him about these changes, he mentioned his expectations for himself and Team Dignitas during Season 3, his professional gaming history, and other comments about the recent changes to the game. All of us here are very excited to see some more play from him with the new dignitas lineup.
To start off, as many people are wondering, how did you get your name?
KiWiKiD: In Heroes of Newerth (HoN) beta, my friends were just starting and I wanted to play with them. Due to the fact that my MMR (LoL equivalent: ELO) was too high, I decided to make a new account: KiWiKiD - previously, I played under the handle Snazero8. Now I chose KiWiKiD because all of my friends made names that consisted of "[fruit]KiD." For example: OraNgEKiD and LeMoNKiD. I liked the alliteration that KiWi brings to KiD so I chose that! Yes, I think kiwis (the fruit) are delicious and kiwis (the bird) are cute. No, I am not from New Zealand.
How do you feel transitioning from the Heroes of Newerth scene has affected your play positively and negatively?
KiWiKiD: At first, I hated the game (LoL). It took me over 20 games (played just because all my friends were playing) to finally enjoy the game. I was very irritated that I couldn't deny creeps and wasn't dominating like i'm used to. Eventually, I warmed up to the game by massing annie and ashe, doing decently. Negatively, I stupidly expected HoN jungle timings in LoL. That was awful because as we know, one death in the lane can literally lose you the game. Positively, I'd have to say lasthitting and general mechanics such as spacing. I don't need to learn how to lasthit all over again.
How long did you play HoN for, and how long ago did you start into LoL?
KiWiKiD: I played HoN for a good 2 years, and I started LoL in the summer of 2011.
What would you say the major differences are between the competitive scenes for the two games?
KiWiKiD: Nothing too much, really. Except the size of the audiences -- LoL being larger, of course. A lot of the other things are the same: a lot of teams being able to take games off each other, the atrocious and immature stream chats.
Why did you feel as though Team Dignitas was the right place for you?
KiWiKiD: Dignitas has a huge name to it--in eSports and LoL alike--so it is already very attractive. I wanted to get involved with the professional eSports scene again (previously I played for coL first HoN team), and what better to do it than with an established company like Dignitas? Also, I think having fun makes me play loads better and for some reason, playing with Scarra is too much fun. I had run into him in a decent amount of ranked games last season.
What do you think the biggest difficulties in adjusting to the new lineup have been for dignitas?
KiWiKiD: I think the biggest difficulties include team synergy and exclusively for me: learning a new role. Team synergy is important to avoid frustration and to keep a clear head. Emotions do not mix well with gameplay. Due to the fast pickup, I undoubtedly don't have as strong a bond with the team as the other four. I'll be working on that for sure, though! Well, the only new rolechange with my addition to the team was Crumbz going to jungle. That's not a big deal for Crumbz because before he switched to top role, he was a stellar jungler. I have just started playing top about two weeks ago, so I'm quite unfamiliar with many matchups.
Many people believe that an aggressive player in the top lane, such as when Voyboy played for dignitas, is needed to take pressure off of middle and bottom lane. Do you agree with this statement, and would you categorize your play style as more offensive, defensive, or neither?
KiWiKiD: I know well-rounded answers are generic and boring, but in this case, it's true: you just need to play to win the lane. If you need to push the lane to win a trade, go for it. Now, due to season 3 changes, many tops will start with a ward and that makes jungle pressure almost obsolete. Of course, you still need to keep in mind they do have a jungler, but if your map awareness is good, then you can react loads faster. So, I do agree with the statement to a certain extent -- just of course, you can't be overly aggressive. I would categorize my playstyle is neither: I'm offensive or defensive when needed.
Which teams do you think will be the strongest moving into the Season 3 qualifiers? Do you count Team Dignitas among them, and why?
KiWiKiD: I think the strongest NA teams will be the usual 4: TSM, CRS, CLG.NA, and of course: DIG. I do count Team Dignitas, because we have just as much experience and our results so far, albeit not much with me, support it. Ex-Quantic-Orb-Leaf-NomNom will be strong, too.
Which top lane champions do you feel are the most difficult to deal with after the most recent patch, and which do you personally enjoy playing the most?
KiWiKiD: I think Elise is very annoying, and personally I enjoy playing Kha'Zix.
How do you feel about the recent nerf of Black Cleaver? Do you think it was enough of a nerf to balance it, and will it still be widely used?
KiWiKiD: I'm a little sad because I was hands-down abusing it with Kha'Zix, but it was completely justified. I think the item is still great and will still be widely used. It just won't be rushed as often.
How do you think the new items have affected build diversity? Are there more lane match ups and special situations that can now be dealt with more easily, or will players still stick to a fairly constant build?
KiWiKiD: I personally love the new items. They, without-a-doubt, encourage diversity. Due to the boots change, League of Boots3pot is over and League of Sustain is in. Yes, there are more lane matchups that previously were heavily one-sided. Now, many matchups are skill-based.
If lane match ups are easier to counter with item builds, do you think this will make it less likely to 'lose a game from champion select,' or at least be at a large disadvantage before the game begins?
KiWiKiD: Yes, I think it is less likely to 'lose a game from champion select', but only slightly. Overall Champion Drafts still have an extremely significant part of winning the game.
Do you have any shout outs?
KiWiKiD: Shoutout to Donald, Xinxinwong, MOOcakes, Cannedrice, TeSPA, UT Austin/LoL group, IvyLoL and my family and friends! A big thanks to Bo Zhang for making me who I am right now.
Thank you so much for the interview, and best of luck to you and Team Dignitas for the upcoming Season 3.