I recently had the pleasure of asking Team Liquid top laner, Samson “Lourlo” Jackson, a few questions about TL’s new roster, the most recent game patch, as well as the upcoming spring split.
You recently played at IEM Gyeonggi. What was it like playing in your first international tournament, going against the likes of world finalists Samsung Galaxy on stage?
Lourlo: Going into the Samsung match, I think we all had pretty high hopes because [Samsung] didn’t look as strong as when they were at Worlds, so we thought we could match up against them well. In terms of how we felt playing in our first international tournament as a team, as well as my first international tournament personally, we all had the mindset of getting as much as we can out of the tournament since we were a new five man roster, but at the same time, we still wanted to believe we could win the tournament if we played well enough.
You have now played with both Dardoch and Reignover, two of the best NA LCS junglers. How would you compare their styles of jungling?
Lourlo: Dardoch and Reignover are actually polar opposites in terms of how they play the game. Dardoch is the type of jungler that’s going to look to take a lot of resources, and get in the opponent’s faces to snowball the game as much as possible. Reignover, on the other hand, has a more laid back control oriented playstyle that I think really fits into the higher tier play. I think [Reignover] will change the identity of Team Liquid this split. Reignover is going to be a big voice on the roster, helping better our team’s macro play and vision control.
Moving into the game itself, what is your opinion on the top lane meta right now, as well as Courage of the Colossus as a mastery?
Lourlo: The top lane meta has changed a bit from the start of summer until now. I think the biggest change made was the addition of Courage of the Colossus. The mastery benefits tanks a lot. Champions like Poppy, Maokai, and Nautilus are going to be stronger than ever, even with the nerfs to the mastery. This trifecta of tanks is going to be ridiculously strong in competitive. There are also champions like Trundle, Rumble, and Fiora that will always be able to be counterpicked every now and then for different team comps, but I ultimately think the tank trio will be the strongest in the top lane, with the carry champs on the side.
In Patch 7.1, Poppy was nerfed. Do you think these nerfs will hurt Poppy’s viability in competitive play?
Lourlo: I think that because of how strong her kit is, these nerfs won’t do much. The only thing the nerfs are going to affect is her laning prowess. You never really relied on the damage of Poppy’s ult, and the lowered shield duration will make Poppy take a little bit extra damage in mostly the laning phase. I think that if not the best, Poppy will at least be the second best tank moving into spring.
Many top tier Korean top laners, like Ssumday, Flame, and Looper, have joined the NA LCS. What are your thoughts on these players joining the league? Are you excited to play against them on stage?
Lourlo: Yeah, for sure. I’ve respected Ssumday mainly out of the three mentioned. Looper’s obviously a world champion but I think I respect Ssumday the most. [Ssumday] was on KT Rolster, one of the best Korean teams for the longest time, and was almost always the rock for that team in terms of his mechanics and play in general. It’s really cool to see Ssumday come to NA and I’m really looking forward to playing against him. For the other two, I think I’m more worried about Looper than Flame. I think Flame is going to have a harder time adapting to his team [than Looper], though I think immediately all three of these players will have a hard time figuring out how to adjust or adapt to the NA culture, as well as their new team. It’s going to be interesting to see how fast they can adjust to their new environment.
Riot announced that the new 10 ban system will be implemented into the upcoming spring split. How do you think the new 10 ban system will affect players? Will players now need to have deeper champion pools, or secret pocket picks?
Lourlo: On the subject of champion picks, the 10 ban system is pretty much just going to add a lot of variety to picks. There’s obviously always going to be players who hold pocket picks to bring out during a series.The 10 ban system though is going to have a bigger effect on the game because there’s going to be way more preparation involved in draft and there will be way more player input to ensure the draft goes well. Having a good coaching staff will be essential because I think the new 10 ban system can cause a team to lose a game if they drastically mess up the draft.
The newest champion to be released by Riot was Camille. Do you think we’ll see Camille this split?
Lourlo: Camille is an interesting champion because she has a kit that is really dominant from the start of a game, and her base damages are also really strong. Camille is a powerhouse; she’s good in lane, and good at moving around the map. [Camille] basically has everything going for her so I think we’ll definitely see her this split.
Finally, with the NA LCS days away, other than Team Liquid, which teams in your opinion look the strongest coming into the split?
Lourlo: Looking at roster strength and team cohesion, I’d probably point to TSM, C9, and CLG as the top three next to us. I think these teams, having their core from last split, will give them a head start in this split coming up.
I just want to thank both you and Team Liquid for allowing me to do this interview. Do you have any final words to say to your fans?
Lourlo: Thank you for supporting us. We’re going to have a great, if not best year yet on Team Liquid, and prove to you, the fans, why this six man roster was the best choice for TL. I really hope everyone keeps following us.
Again, I would like to thank Team Liquid and especially Lourlo for taking the time out his busy schedule to do this interview with me. You can find Lourlo on Twitter @LiquidLourlo, and you catch Lourlo stream his solo queue games on Twitch at https://www.twitch.tv/lourlo
Photo courtesy of LoL Esports
Interview by Malcolm Abbas. Follow him on Twitter @SmashhLoL.