There are plenty of incredible factors contributing to Cloud9's current 8-0 dominance over the rest of the 2020 League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split competition, but amidst the KDA watch of AD Carry Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen and the outstanding play of Support Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme, the flexibility of Mid Laner Yasin "Nisqy" Dincer has flown under the radar.
In the 2019 LCS Summer Split, Nisqy acted as a catalyst for Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen's enormous jungle pressure to spread to the rest of the map for C9 by playing almost exclusively melee champions. In 2020, Nisqy has retained that role on picks like Pantheon and Qiyana, but has also impressed on Glacial Augment mid laners like Veigar and Morgana. Nisqy's Cassiopeia from his rookie split on Team Envy, and his signature Splyce pick of Zoe, look better than ever before.
Nisqy sat down with Inven Global's Nick Geracie to discuss his increased flexibility within Cloud9's 2020 LCS roster, shed light on lessons learned from FunPlus PhoeniX Mid Laner Kim "Doinb" Tae-sang, and also shared his perspective on players moving from Europe to North America.
Nisqy, you've played more champions in the 2020 LCS Spring Split than any other player. Can you explain your new level of flexibility?
Last split, we agreed as a team that I shouldn't play mages. I don't know if it was my issue, or if it was the team's issue, but having a mage in the mid lane made the game harder for us. We started to just play aggressive mid lane champions and play through mid lane no matter what, and that's how we won a lot of our games last summer.
However, between this team and how I've grown leading up to this split, I feel like I've learned a bit more on how to play mages and what I want to do when I play mages in terms of team play. I feel like right now I can play mages; I can play melee champions; I can play tanks; etc. I think it's really good for our team. If we keep playing like this, I'm going to have a champion ocean.
You mentioned you learned some things about playing mages since last season, but also, that the team itself functions better with mages in the mid lane compared to last season's roster. Can you talk a bit more about these factors?
When we scrimmed at the 2019 World Championship, it was mostly against FunPlus PhoeniX. When I saw what Doinb was doing to me...no matter what he was playing, he would always have push and priority with his Jungler. He would not die to ganks and have a really good laning phase, but would also move to the side lanes with his Jungler when I was unable to answer. That's when I realized, 'Oh my god, this guy is actually insane.'
After Worlds, I started to watch Doinb's games and studied how he plays champions. I think I learned a lot from him and his playstyle, especially on picks like Rumble and Qiyana. I'm trying to implement it into my playstyle, so I can help my side lanes, but I can also carry when I play Irelia or Pantheon.
Worlds really taught me that this is not a 1v1 game, it is entirely 5v5. In the Worlds Finals, Doinb wasn't even laning when FPX swept G2 Esports. He was just roaming around the whole map, making plans on his own, and I think that's something I've kind of put into my play, as well. Since then, things have been going really well for me.
What about this team allows you to be more flexible than previous seasons?
Personally, I think I make many more decisions compared to before in my career. Before, I would just wait on my teammates to make decisions for me. I would wait for my team to come mid, and then we would take vision together and that kind of stuff. Now, sometimes I will call things out or make plans for myself. For example, if I know the enemy Top Laner has no Teleport, then we have TP advantage and I can use that to my benefit.
I think having a bigger voice is changing my playstyle a bit, and the team as a whole is doing really well on an individual level. Usually, no one on Cloud9 loses lane, so it's kind of easy to make plans. In the past, I would wait for my Support and Jungler to come mid to break a freeze for me, but against TSM, I had the presence of mind to ask Zven to cover mid for me. Little stuff like that is changing the dynamic of the team for sure.
I wanted to touch on a broader topic with you since Mads "Broxah" Brock-Pederson has arrived in the US after visa issues barred him from playing for Team Liquid for the first three weeks of the split. The general consensus in Europe seems to be that when a player leaves EU and goes to play in NA, that player will become worse. However, you seem to only be getting better with a longer tenure on Cloud9, so what are your thoughts on this idea?
If European players come to NA on a 5th place, 6th place, or 8th place team, for example, they are probably going to get worse because the team they are a part of is not good enough to allow them to improve. That's my opinion, at least.
For example, when I joined Team Envy, I wouldn't say I got better during that time. I was just playing my EU style during my time on NV, and I wouldn't say I improved during that time. However, for Broxah, Zven, and myself, we all joined the top teams in North America in Team Liquid, TSM, and C9, respectively, so that's a different situation.
I came here just to win. I was kind of bored being top 3-4 in EU, so I wanted to get into a really good team where I could actually win something. I think it's the same with Broxah, though again, his situation is different as he came from Fnatic.
In general, I don't think EU players really get worse in NA. It's only if they are on lower level teams that they will look worse. If a player's current team is better than their previous team, I think they're just going to look bad. However, I do think it is easier to improve in EU solo queue. The ping differential when compared to NA is a very important factor when it comes to mechanics, but that's the only thing it affects.
You joined NV for the 2017 NA LCS Summer Split, but you had a much smoother, full season transition last year in joining Cloud9 after spending 2018 with Splyce in Europe. Based on your own experience, how much do you think Broxah's visa issues causing him to show up late will affect his performance in the longer term?
I think it'll depend on how comfortable he feels. I'm pretty sure we will go out and eat dinner at some point. We were kind of old teammates when I was on Fnatic Academy, so it'd be nice to see him. For me, it wasn't hard to change from EU to NA. You're still playing League of Legends, right? It's not a different game, so for me, at least, it doesn't matter what is outside of the game as long as you're comfortable within your team.
For Broxah and TL, I think he should be comfortable given that they are one of the top teams in North America, and I don't see why he wouldn't like being here. In my opinion, Broxah's visa issues are not going to change his way of playing. I think he's still going to be really good, and I hope for him to do well, because he is a really great player.
In besting TSM, you took a game off of your old Splyce teammate, Kasper "Kobbe" Kobberup. How do you think he's done in the LCS so far?
Kobbe is always the consistent guy when it comes to AD Carry players. He doesn't make flashy plays, but he's been doing pretty well on TSM. Against TL, the team sacrificed his lane for some reason instead of just winning the game through him.
Kobbe's a great player and a great teammate in my opinion. We went out and had dinner once since he got here, and it was chill. I want him to do well...except not when I played against TSM. *laughs* I'm friends with their Top Laner, Sergen "Broken Blade" Çelik, as well, and I told him I was going to beat his ass before we played! *laughs*
Everyone loves to ask whether you consider yourself better than TSM Mid Laner Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg or TL Mid Laner Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen, especially when Cloud9 is the best team in the LCS, but I'm going to ask you something else: Is this the best League of Legends you have ever played?
For sure. It's been a long time that I haven't been at the top. Last summer, I thought I was top 2 with Jensen, but this year, I felt like I really had to step up after Worlds. I changed my game plan, and for now, it's been working really well. I like to win the game because of me, and I like making plays and winning the game as a team because of me, and I hate when the enemy Mid Laner moves around the map and does things I cannot counter.
For now, I've been doing really well in all of those aspects: I didn't **** up any of my side lane plays, and I'm not making any big mistakes like before when I would get solo killed or ganked for random deaths. I'm getting more consistent, but I can also pop off, so I think I'm the best that I've ever been, for sure.
I'd have to agree. Thank you again for the interview, Nisqy. Is there anything you'd like to say to the C9 fans?
I know a lot of them doubted us in the beginning, but I said before that this team would do great, and we are showing it. For those that have supported us, thank you for supporting us.