Team Dignitas UK LoL team and ODEE talk LCS and the UK LoL scene
Fri 16th Aug 2013 - 6:41pm: League of Legends
Team Dignitas UK are a fairly recent addition to the Dignitas roster. Having previously existed as British Tea Time and being successful at both online and offline events, the team joined the Dignitas umbrella earlier this year. To say the UK LoL scene is somewhat lacking would be an understatement, and as a fellow Brit myself, the idea of a UK team succeeding on an international level is incredibly exciting.
I recently had the chance to speak to Dignitas UK's mid laner Nick 'CookMySock' Li and General Manager Michael 'ODEE' O'Dell about Dignitas UK, the team's history, aspirations and the UK scene in general.
What made you decide to join Dignitas, was it a case of you contacting them and asking to join or did they scout you out?
CookMySock: After a very successful run of tournaments, we were offered the opportunity to join Dignitas as Team Dignitas UK. As British Tea Time, we wanted to make an impact on European Esports as a full UK team and Dignitas had a similar plan. We were already well acquainted with James 'Stress' O'Leary, having befriended him at iSeries 48, and so it felt natural that we would join the organisation.
ODEE: We have high hopes for this team which is why we picked them up, with some dedication and practice LCS is the target.
What got you guys into League in the first place?
CookMySock: We all moved into League of Legends from different backgrounds. Ray 'Yerrow' Tsang and I were DotA buddies for a long time so the transition to LoL was easy. We were always the best within our friendship group at DotA and it turned out that this ability translated to LoL as well. Matt 'Impaler' Taylor was a successful WoW arena player and his vocal leader style of play suited perfectly for the jungle. Impaler often says he was ‘born and raised in the jungle’, which reflects just how much the jungle role suits him.
Often, Impaler can be found dreaming about soloing the neutral minions whilst sleeping. Reece 'NitriX' Phoenix was previously a Counter Strike player, which is strange considering his selfless gentle nature. This personality is reflected by his playstyle in top lane, where he often sacrifices himself for others and for objectives. We’ve all been playing League of Legends since season 1, but only more recently have we looked at it from a competitive stand point.
How long have you been a team for?
CookMySock: As a team, we’ve been playing with each other for quite a few months now. Yerrow and I have been playing together for the longest time, being the originators of the famous Brand Annie bot lane, as well as personal favourites EliseSin and LeeBlanc. Imapler and NitriX were newer additions to our roster and have become great friends since.
Do you guys see EU LCS as a reachable goal?
CookMySock: LCS is the goal we are striving for the most at the moment. Having already become the top UK team, we feel that this goal is not only realistic but achievable with hard work and determination. As a team, we have already defeated ex-LCS teams Giants and Against All Authority at LAN, as well as LCS teams Meet Your Makers, Gambit Gaming and Lemondogs online. We feel this shows our ability to compete at this level, and although we know we aren’t there yet, we believe we are getting closer every day.
ODEE: I am taking an active role in making sure this team does what is needed to succeed, we will use all assets we have to assist our team.
What do you think about the UK LoL scene and what do you think it would do for the UK scene to have a UK team in the LCS?
ODEE: Team wise, the UK scene is a bit quiet so hopefully that changes, I will be proud when our new team achieves their goal of the LCS.
CookMySock: The UK LoL scene is currently not particularly active. The amount of top UK players is quite small compared to the other European nations and for top UK teams there are even less. However, I feel that the fans are truly passionate about Esports and want the UK scene to prosper more. There is already an Esports bar in London called Meltdown and having more can only be a good thing. Starcraft 2 tournament WCS UK showed just how passionate our fans can be, and I’m sure they will be even more excited by LoL action, especially if they have a home team to cheer for. That’s why I also think that having a UK team in the LCS is the absolute best thing that can happen to UK Esports.
Who knows, maybe Riot will have an LCS London similar to Moscow and Tenerife. I think the biggest effect of us reaching LCS is the inspiration it will give to others. At the end of the day, we are just five ordinary people who like playing video games and are trying to make it big. Not only will this achievement be in the minds of any UK player, but also in the minds of the general public. Perhaps mainstream media will finally show professional gaming in a positive light, in a similar fashion to Sweden and Germany.
The UK especially has general stigma towards video games, with the majority of people thinking it as a waste of time and nothing like a regular sport. This needs to be changed; there is a dormant talent pool waiting to be hoisted into Summoner’s Rift.
How have your recent performances been and what do you have coming up?
CookMySock: Practice has been going well recently. Our champion pools are constantly increasing and we have developed greater understanding of team comps and level 1’s. We feel that we very rarely get out picked and our lane rotations are solid. We have a primary shot caller who is a specialist at knowing exactly what objective to go for and how many people to send for it and we feel that our communication is really solid. What we may lack in solo queue LP is made up for by the things that actually matter in 5’s gameplay.
The tournament we are preparing for right now is iSeries 49, which we expect to win. We are taking practice very seriously and making sure that we obtain the gold. Last year, when we first formed as a team, we had a good time, utilising the synergy of the ice comp and the lightning comp. Be sure to look out for similar things, with the resurgence of the Robot comp, featuring iBlitzcrank and Full Metal Jayce, as well as the newly formed Yordle comp.
Thanks for the chat guys, best of luck at i49!
Team Dignitas UK are clearly fired up and ready to show the world that the UK can step up their game and represent themselves on a global scale. Their recent second place finish at Challenger Series #11 consisting of victories over Smart People (containing members of former LCS team Giants) and Ex-Anexis is a great example of this, and with i49 on the horizon, there's no better time to get behind them!