CLG.EU has been hard at work over the past few weeks qualifying for the Season 2 Championships, finishing second at the Korean OGN, and making their way to America to train in a gaming mansion with CLG.Prime. I managed to catch up with their support player, Mitch 'Krepo' Voorspoels to ask him about his thoughts on the state of supports, how he picks his heroes, competitive balance in League of Legends and much more in a truly must-read interview. Let me know in the comment section who you guys would like to see next and what you thought of what the very well-spoken and articulate Krepo said!
How was the experience of going to Korea and training with your team? What do you think specifically you guys improved on since in Korea?
Krepo: Korea as a whole was more than worth it. Regardless of our placement in the tournament the experience would always have been worth it. It offered a nice travel experience, a gaming house environment and an aggressive professional scrimming environment. Maybe we didn't get "better" than the top teams in EU (i.e. M5) but we at least had the chance to learn a lot about the game, mechanics and different meta's.
Individually my game improved and got a lot more consistent, I made more of a name for myself as a support and been playing pretty high level, I'm content with my recent performances. As a team we discovered some issues that need be adressed but we survived 2 months of scrimming including travels to Poland, Germany and Taiwan causing severe jet lag. We survived it without any major drama, issues. Sure we get annoyed at each other sometimes, some people more than others, but we still all get a long and i haven't even come anywhere near thinking about "replacing X or Y". It taught us all the bad sides we have and honestly they're nowhere near any level of significance. "Worth it"
Our bot lane synergy improved, bot lane to mid synergy improved and made the topics we need to work on more visible. We discovered some new junglers/jungle styles and some new combo's to replace old ones.
Now we need to work on consistency, level 1 plays and generally more mind-gaming. I think once we get better at reading games we'll be a very high level team. Our Season 2 has been a success so far with some disappointments ( losing to SK and Frost being the major ones) but I'm content and I think so is my team
You and Yellowpete generally haven't gotten the same kind of recognition in the bottom lane as Froggen or Wickd have for their laning. Where do you think you guys rank among the top bot lane combos in the world right now?
Krepo: I've gotten quite some recognition in Korea and so has Yellowpete so it has improved. Wickd and Froggen are just generally more famous and attract more attention easily. There's a multitude of reasons. We don't really care though, we're just a rather safe bot lane, we play low risk low reward style most of the time because it lines up well with our late game team fight oriented style. I think in our team the credit gets distributed properly, with a little too much for Froggen and a little too little for Snoopeh.
Although I must admit that when Froggen hits the TOP of his game, he's on another level. We'll get credit when the community thinks we deserve it, i don't mind waiting for it. I'm not afraid of any bot lane on any team though. Yes it sucks sometimes not being included in the "Chaox/Xpecial Chau/Lift Genja/Gosu" references but that's about it. I think we're playing on a pretty decent level and rarely get completely dominated. Our strength still lies in teamfighting however. And in our synergy with Snoopeh.
What are you thinking about when you are picking your support? Who goes best with the AD Yellowpete is playing, who is best for the team comp or what exactly? How do you decide between an aggressive support like Leona or a safer pick like Soraka?
Krepo: I don't want to go into too much details of our picking process. It all depends on the bans, what's left open and what you think the enemies are going to play. Generally you pick support early or a prevalent AD carry that goes well in every line up. If we need an engage I'll more often go into say a Leona. If we feel like walking back in team fights with a strong front line I might opt for Soraka. I could explain the full thought process here but I don't want to give away too much information.
I'd rank the priorities as follows:
1) Overall combo
4) Personal preference.
Note that this is in general, if I'm feeling super confident and have the impression my team is "lacking balls" I might opt for a Leona pick over a more suited champion to have the engage in my control. If I'm feeling that we should just kite all day and out-smart the opponents in team fights, I might just opt for long drawn out fights with Soraka or maybe even Lulu. It's all situational and depends on too many factors too explain, and even if I could explain it all I'd rather keep it in the team.
You guys have gotten a rare opportunity in the League scene to truly play teams from everywhere. You've competed against the top NA teams, the top EU teams obviously, and saw virtually all of the Asian competition at OGN or from training with TPA. What is the community in store for at worlds and do you think a particular region has a decided advantage or disadvantage?
Krepo: It's definitely a nice opportunity, however our EU/NA knowledge is out-dated at this point. There's pros and cons to every situation. I would say at the top of every region there are 1-2 teams that can definitely win. I wouldn't rate any region over the other at all, nor would I rate them as a rock paper scissors equation. For my personal feel Moscow 5 and TSM have a good shot at winning [the Season 2 Championship] but I don't ever feel that either team is miles ahead of any other top team. They both have an insane track record though so I'll give it to them.
As to our S2WC performance, I have no idea what to expect. We kinda messed up our practice schedule a little bit by agreeing to help Tencent celebrate 1 year of LoL in China around the 22nd of September, under the premise of world finals beginning October 13 instead of October 4-6. However we should still have sufficient practice to give all the teams fair game. My personal goal is a top 4 finish if not at LEAST making it past group stage. As always we'll do our very best to please the fans as well as maintaining sportsmanship and honor.
What will you guys be doing to train for worlds? You are training with CLG.Prime in California right?
Krepo: We're residing in Burbank in the CLG gaming house. A huge mansion with plenty of room. We will scrim daily here with CLG.Prime and other teams of the NA top scene. We aren't sure yet if we'll be scrimming Season 2 World Championship contestants or playing in online tournaments. We'll pick a few trustworthy teams and scrim. We'll work on a few new champs and some synergies as well as keeping our old line ups fresh. Perhaps we will borrow some cheese from Prime since they're pretty much a cheese factory ;).
I have a few support picks I'm working on including one interesting one that I'm eager to test in a more competitive environment. Pretty much we'll just be continuing the gaming house experience in preparation for the finals.
What do you think of the competitive balance of the game right now? Does it need more bans or do certain champions need tweaks? Also what was your opinion of the blind pick in the final game of a series rule in the OGN tournament?
Krepo: I think the game becomes ever more balanced and I want to commend Riot Games for that. However I have no idea how they could release Diana in her pre-nerf state, it's completely beyond me. There's some stuff that was slightly too strong (Gragas E buff springs to mind) but other than that the game is fine. Bot lane needs some tweaks to get over the Ezreal early pick meta but even then it's balanced.
As a bot lane player it just sucks hard being purple due to pick order and map imbalance. If anything they should disconnect first pick from automatically having blue side and maybe even switch it up. However with 2V1 becoming ever more popular it might prove a solution to the inferiority purple bot has towards blue bot.
As to the bans, more bans would be cool maybe but then it becomes easier to ban out players and entire roles. It's a shame that some players never get their best champions because they're so easily banned out. this is where the blind pick becomes interesting, in an uneven match number, one team will always have an extra fp/blue side and blind pick solves that. It adds another layer to theorycrafting and gives teams the option to play to their full potential. It's also interesting as to predicting enemy line-ups and offers spectacle to the fans. I'm not sure whether I like it more or less than draft though, probably less. A solution could be copying the ban format from DOTA/DOTA2, but I feel that would be too much of a drastic change/copycat and I'm not really in favor of it
So what is the benefit from being blue side for people wondering? Is it just golems or is there more to it?
Krepo: Bot lane has double golems and can help jungle start red buff with 2 people allowing him to transition him well into a quick jungle with early red (minimal difference with blue, insignificant ) but the EXP on lane decides everything. If purple has to help jungle on blue they will lose exp and be forced to either shove lane to equal it or be forced to level slower and be poked off or suffer hard from exp imbalance. In some bot lane combo's, falling behind in exp by being not early on lane/not pushing can lose you the lane entirely. If purple freezes you can always go to your golems to "fake base" and force them to push. In essence: blue bot lane has way more control.
If purple pushes they're WAY easier river ganked than blue. If blue pushes then purple jungle has to commit to entering "enemy jungle" which holds a severely higher risk.
Mid-late baron is easier accessible but that's open for interpretation. Map imbalance resides mostly in bot lane laning phase and exp imbalance. It's also slightly easier to steal wraiths over wall if you're blue side AP MID.
What would you like to see Riot do with supports? Would you like to see more variety of champions, a way to fix the "0 cs" meta, or are you happy with the way things are right now for your role?
Krepo: I think more champions can be played as supports than are currently valid and it's also our job to think out of the box created by "meta". However i do understand why Riot has had a lot of difficulties with balancing support and I gladly aid in that quest.
A lot of persons don't understand why only 1-2 supports get released.
1) If Riot releases a champion that works well in the 0cs support meta they are basically condoning the meta and agreeing to it, and that would mean Riot would no longer be unbiased and following the meta rather than balancing the game and leaving room for personal interpretation. It's a thin grey line they have to walk.
2) Good support champions often become broken AP carries. A lot of the conventional supports were exquisite AP's in the past (Alistar, Lulu, even Janna) so it's very hard to release a balanced support that isn't OP as AP whilst not "condoning" the meta.
However I'm happy with the way it's going, I don't feel too limited in my options since for every support you can match another AD for a different synergy. That's the beauty of bot lane. It has combinations. Instead of a 1v1 matrix you're in a 2v2 situation. You can both interact with 1 ally and 2 opponents and it opens up so many more variables with way less resources (champions) compared to say top or mid. Add a jungler in the mix and you're even better off.
There's a handful of champions that I have not mastered yet and still see working as a support. Until I master all of them, I'm not too worried about the stale state the support role is in at the moment.
What do you to unwind after training all day in League? Any particular hobbies or something that helps you relax?
Krepo: Music is an important factor in my life and it helps me relax. Playing solo queue with Yellowpete can be fun as well depending on my mood. Other than that talking to people on skype/facebook chat including some people who are very important to me. The occasional e-mail to my mom whilst reading her supporting replies that often lack proper punctuation. But it's cool my mom's awesome so I forgive her that.
Grabbing a few beers before going to bed or simply going out for some food/beer can help wind down as well. Good movies used to be my go-to entertainment but I'm afraid I've watched them all.
I'd like to shoutout to my family who supports me, my friends back home who make enough fun of me so my feet will always stay on the ground and I won't get too cocky. My team who makes this possible and CLG and our sponsors: Razer, own3D.tv, XMG and ELOBUFF
Follow me on twitter for more E-Sports news and updates, as well as other random ramblings!