Scarra explains Diana Nashor's Tooth build, recaps LCS so far, talks about the teams in LCS and much more!
Tue 5th Mar 2013 - 7:07pm: League of Legends
It's been an extremely busy week for all the League of Legends teams competing in LCS Season 3, as the Super Week has just finished for both NA and EU. We're very proud of our squad, who took down every single opponent and secured the first place in the ranking with 10 wins and only 2 losses.
A lot happened this week: Curse took their first loss, some favorites took more losses than people expected and surprising results took place. We caught up with Team Dignitas captain William 'Scarra' Li to talk about LCS so far, both in and out of the game. We hope you enjoy reading the interview below.
Hey Scarra, thanks for making some time to talk about LCS. First of all: four weeks have passed, how did those weeks go for you? Are you happy with the results?
Scarra: First week was really bad for us. We went 1-2 and took some really disappointing losses. After that week, everyone on my team was really mad at losing and we decided to ramp up our practice schedule and try to make the most of the time we were given inbetween weeks. Not only did we practice more, but we talked more too. This caused our communication and team synergy to improve on a week by week basis.
By the end of week 4, we are on the top of the scene at a great 10-2 record. I'm very happy and relieved, but this doesn't mean that we work any less hard because less than half the season has passed, and every game is extremely important. We have MLG coming up where my team for the first time will play an international opponent (gambit). I'm extremely excited for that week because I feel like regardless how that game goes, we can only improve from multiple experiences with top teams. This may seem like an early white flag from the team, but I want to take it as both a learning experience as well as making an statement. I really want to show fans that we are not only a domestic threat, but also an international presence as well.
Our team started quite slow, taking some losses, but then went on to defeat every opponent we faced. What caused this slow start and what did you do to come back so strong in week 2?
Scarra: We started slow because we weren't prepared and played poorly. In a bo1 settings, we had a lot of communication issues which led to us losing multiple games against other teams. We got outplayed and whipped out of the first week of LCS and had to work to improve on our teamwork before we were able to come back and play at a higher level.
LCS Super Week is over and you managed to take the lead in the rankings. Does this put any extra pressure on the team? Does it affect you at all?
Scarra: Being at the top always has extra pressure from multiple sources. Everyone typically roots against the top dog and always wants to see an upset. Every match from here on out will a minefield of scrutiny from outside eyes. Will it affect us? Sure. But I expect my teammates and I to be able to handle such pressure willingly not because we want to but because we have to if we want to play at the top level of this or any game.
With Curse being undefeated before we played them, did you have to prepare any special tactics to beat them? How did you prepare for that game?
Scarra: We prep for every single team. Our Curse strategy actually was something that we didn't specifically practice the entire team comp for, but one that we were able to assemble after a lot of time playing the champions in different team comps.
We planned out our bans/picks and level one against curse, but to be honest we just ended up completely outplaying the lanes against curse and stalling out their jungle aggression. Curse is a team that thrives on saint making plays, and if that gets shut down the solo lanes aren't winning, it's almost always going to be a loss for curse.
This week we saw you build Nashor's Tooth on Diana, which surprised many people. Can you tell us why you went for this item?
Scarra: Nashor's tooth was an item I did not plan on building except in certain situations. It just so happened that against a lux + nidalee solo + a jarvan jungle, I didn't see a need to rush zhonyas or abyssal or deathcap and decided I wanted the split push + consistent pressure that nashors provided. I actually should be thanking our player D Kenace for recommending this item to me because he ended up doing a lot of early testing with the item and then explained his thought process to me after a set of scrims.
Also, a lot of our fans noticed how our team is always laughing and talking on camera before games. What exactly puts you guys in such a good mood just before a game starts? Maybe you can give us some insight of what it's like just before you start a game, is there a routine of some sort?
Scarra: There's always a really lighthearted mood when we go into playing games. Qtpie is probably the reason why we laugh so much because his humor is honestly incredibly nuanced but so refined that it's absolutely hilarious. I wish I could explain it better but half of what comes out of qtpie's mouth is worth it's weight in solid gold on a comedy scale.
A lot of people are labeling teams with "Top 4" and "Bottom 4". So the veteran teams, Dignitas, TSM, Curse, and CLG as the top 4, and GGU, Vulcan, Complexity, and MRN as the bottom 4. Do you think this is justified, and do you think we'll start to see this gap close as the season goes on?
Scarra: I think at the start of the season, top 4 and bottom 4 comments are justified. If you look at the standings now and the standings of the EU LCS in comparison to the NA LCS, the skill difference between the bottom teams and top top teams seem a lot lower. I expect as the season progresses, this top/bottom 4 terminology will eventually fade because at least 1-2 of the lower rated teams in NA are going to get strong enough to take games off of top teams. A lot of top teams in NA don't prep as seriously against the bottom 4, and It's going to bite them right back if they keep thinking of this very bad distinction as black and white.
Image courtesy of na.lolesports.com
Which team has really surprised you during these four weeks? Did anyone underperform or perform way better than you expected?
Scarra: No team really surprised me in terms of performance in the NA LCS. I think the team that's the most surprising has been TSM because I honestly expected them to play at a higher level than their games have shown, and even they admit that they haven't had some of the best games (TSM vs vulcun comes to mind). It's way too soon even at half-season to be able for me to point out any clear under/overpeformances. Ask me again in 3 weeks I would say.
Have you been watching LCS EU? Which team(s) do you predict to come out on top in the EU ranking?
Scarra: I try to watch most of the games from the EU LCS, but I have to be extremely picky in what i watch because there simply aren't enough hours in the day for me to watch all the games from NA and EU and still practice, eat, and sleep. I've always been a fan of Gambit so I predict that they'll exit off the top of EU. Alongside them, fnatic has had some extremely brilliant games (EG vs fnatic) so I expect fnatic to end top 4 as well. The rest of the teams are very hard to predict especially with EG's recent surprising results and the very similar skill level of lower standing teams in EU to higher standing teams.
About the champion pool: you are one of the few players to still pick Gragas. What makes him so viable/strong in your opinion?
Scarra: Honestly I don't even know if he's as strong as people think he is. He's one of those champions that's very much reliant on you to outperform your mid lane opponent because his laning phase is very volatile, and there's room for both mid laners to outplay.
I like playing him because he's just an extremely fun champion to use, and it's very satisfying to hear adcs complain about getting hit with Q IAS debuff (I love you, Doublelift). His ult also creates incredible team fight pressure as both a long range aoe nuke and a position displacer.
In the European LCS we've been seeing a lot of champions that have gotten no play in North America but are top picks in Europe. Jungle Volibear is being heavily contested, AD Kennen is very popular, and Varus is getting more and more play, just to name a few. What do you think of these picks, and do you think North American players are too close-minded when it comes to their champion pool?
Scarra: Some regions and teams prefer certain champions over others. There's no exact reasoning behind it except for what certain teams find comfortable. All the champions played in one region are just as viable in the other, but certain teams are just more comfortable forming strats around their stable picks. I don't think it makes any team less close-minded than another, it all just comes down to personal and team preference. If anything, the NA scene has taken the one of the farthest steps of most regions in terms of improvement from their horribly stale picks back in season 2.
Right, thanks a lot for your time Scarra! Any shoutouts?
Scarra: In my last couple of interviews, I commonly save this spot for fans/sponsors/organization comments, and while I am thankful for all of them, today I really want to focus on my own team for very specific reasons.
Team dignitas is composed of Scarra(me), Kiwikid, Patoy, Crumbz, and Imaqtpie. All of these players have more than pulled their weight in LCS, and I commonly end up getting credit for a lot of their incredible plays. Patoy is probably one of the most improved and best supports in NA. Kiwikid has played top lane at an extremely high level, and he's been playing top lane for less than 2.5 months.
Qtpie has been consistently underrated as an ADC since forever and more than likely ends up carrying our team with patoy and crumbz in the late game. Crumbz has consistently taken mvp in multiple matches but somehow doesn't get any credit for his amazing map pressure and objective control. Especially in the games I ended up doing a 1v2 in the sidelane, my team is the one that carries me typically, not the other way around.
The spotlight should really be on my teammates as much or more as it is for me, and while I understand that because I might be more popular than them I typically take a lot of the credit, I still sometime think it's unfair to devalue their achievements by taking claim to them.