Clement’s Interview with EDG’s Coach Aaron:
Clement: The first question I’d like to ask Aaron is: At Worlds so far, people have been surprised by the positive performance of the Western teams, which has largely been due to their usage of the Tristana + Mid control mage team comp. Whether it’s the three NA teams, OG, or SKT, everyones been using this composition. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this as well as why your team can defeat it.
Aaron: Well actually… We did end up losing to SKT. But this kind of play style has actually been pretty commonplace in Europe before. Perhaps it’s because the Western teams thought that they could not get an advantage in a direct matchup with the Asian teams so they put a lot more effort in planning and strategy. Especially their wave management and timing of when to push down turrets, which explains why they prioritise champions with good wave-clear and the teleport midlaner. So the problem that Asian teams are facing now is how to deal with the Western double TP with the Sivir/Tristana ADC that laneswaps, fast-pushes the turret, switches back, pushes another turret, then controls jungle vision to ensure that the Top lane counter-pick can snowball, match up the bot lane again, and have the Midlaner farm and provide support. So this kind of playstyle uses the inherent earlygame advantages that their champions have to manipulate minion waves. Without anyone there to interfere, this allows them to destroy your toplaner.
Clement: Okay, so since you already mentioned that the Western teams have come up with this tactic. I’d still like to ask: Since people have been rather shocked by the performance of the Chinese teams, with the three teams only getting three wins, what do you think are the reasons for this and what can we expect from China next week?
Aaron: Firstly, since everyones been paying attention to the LPL, they know that LPL is a league that excels at fighting with numerous team fights in our games. Since there’s been a few changes to the meta in 5.18, the top lane bruisers from the earlier patches were fixed and nerfed in terms of their early-game fighting and carrying ability. This made the top lane position more balanced. Therefore, Western teams are utlising the laneswap to ensure that their top laners get a solid start, along with prioritising the toplane counterpick, allowing them to snowball. Even if the Sivir, for example, falls behind, it wouldn’t matter because she can just sit there and waveclear. Basically, this allows them to keep an advantage in the top lane and not let the deficits in other positions affect them.
Another problem is that a lot of the Chinese teams coming here have had health issues from what I understand. For starters we’ve really struggled with the food here and a lot of the players are finding it hard to perform at their usual level. So there’s that as well as being shocked by the laneswap strategy that I spoke about earlier. Honestly, the first few games were incredibly important, and perhaps the players are still adapting. But I think that if we can adapt to the meta, find an answer to it, or maybe even ban out some of these champions and play to our strengths, LPL teams may make a comeback in the second round.
Clement: Thanks Aaron for you clear and detailed analysis. My final question is: As for EDG, being tournament favorites coming into Worlds, what is the biggest challenge for you guys as you look to progress through the tournament?
Aaron: I think the biggest challenge awaiting us is probably more to do with ourselves as a team. We need to work on things like the lane swaps that the Western teams have been showing as well as ways to counter it. Another is that Worlds is a tournament that tests a team’s ability to grow and learn. It’s almost equivalent to an entire league season where you to develop and improve as you progress. It’s possible that we’ll have to achieve the same amount of growth in a few days as we did in a week or a month during the regular season. So I really wan’t my players to use their heads more as well as communicate more often. I feel that having a single voice in a team is difficult and the players must plan and talk to one another in order to win matches. Obviously, I think that our biggest opponent this tournament is SKT, but a lot of the Western teams are also good. At the end of the day, the most important thing is still focusing on our own communication and coming up with new strategies. Since the teams at Worlds this year are all incredibly fast at figuring out the patch, the meta will definitely continue to change. I think maybe even the champion Tahm Kench or something similar may appear.
Clement: Thanks again to Aaron for the interview and we’ll see you guys all on Thursday! Bye!