CLG Smoothie: "My job is my whole life, so if I'm not winning, it feels like I'm empty."

▲ Photo by Paul de Leon for Riot Games

 

Counter Logic Gaming's week 7 of the 2020 League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split resulted in another 1-1 weekend, but showcased the team's best form. Mid Laner Eugene "Pobelter" Park has helped the team improve as a whole, and individually, shut his former squad down with a scoreline of 11/1/0 on Syndra against Team Liquid. 

 

CLG Support Andy "Smoothie" Ta joined Inven Global's Nick Geracie after the team's win over TL to shed light on the team's struggles, how Pobelter has changed the team for the better, and issues an apology to the CLG fanbase. 

 


 

Smoothie, that was quite the intense debut game for Wind. How was he doing with the pressure?

 

Well, I think he was extremely nervous. He definitely doesn't make as many mistakes in scrims as he did in this game. He had a few fumbles in lane; we dove bottom and he died for no reason with Flash and Heal available, and he died again in lane after that, but it's to be expected, you know? We're just trying him out, and he was playing pretty well in scrims, so I still have hope.

 

He's a pretty good player, but really new, so right now, we just want our team to get more stage experience and develop more synergy.

 

 

Pobelter had an incredible game in your win against Team Liquid. Slotting POB into the mid lane has made the team more cohesive, but what's it been like for the rest of the team to integrate a new player in halfway through the split?

 

What he brings to the team that we lacked before is the leadership qualities that we needed from the mid lane. It's especially good to have those qualities in a Mid Laner because it's such an important role in the meta.

 

Pobelter brought draft advantages because he's really good at knowing which matchups are good for him, which is something we lacked a lot before, too. He is kind of the voice of reason in some of our drafts, too. Before...I'm not going to lie, some of our drafts on stage were pretty bad.

 

Pobelter brings a lot to the team, and it feels like we are finally making strides towards becoming the consistent team I've seen us be in scrims. This the form I've been longing to see on our team, and he's been great so far. Obviously, his performance today against Team Liquid speaks for itself.

 

 

There's a noticeable improvement in CLG's form, and Stixxay attributed part of that to Pobelter's ability to drive the conversation forward and give unfiltered feedback. You've always spoken pretty directly as a professional player as well, so is it easier to facilitate those conversations now that you have another strong voice on the roster?

 

Yeah, absolutely. Something I think I'm pretty good at is making a team center around what our composition wants to do or how we want to play the game, but individually, I think Pobelter really keeps us accountable about bad play. *laughs* It's kind of weird to say; everyone should be accountable for their own bad play, but I think with our previous roster, everyone kind of expected each other to fix things themselves.

 

As the mistakes kept happening in terms of drafting and individual mechanics, no one really spoke up and said, "You are playing bad, play better." It's putting it bluntly, but it helps a lot. Pobelter was a coach on Team Liquid for a bit this season as well, so maybe there's a bit of a Coach Pobelter vibe to him right now. He's helping us out a lot, for sure.

 

▲ Photo by Colin Young-Wolff for Riot Games

 

 

Experience as a coach can help one lead a conversation, so that's good to hear. Putting aside win and loss records, do you feel like CLG's current form is that of a top 6 LCS team?

 

I think the general consensus is Cloud9 — as long as they're not troll picking like they did against TSM — is currently the best team. Before, we were definitely the worst team in the league. We had no direction, and we were all playing poorly individually, myself included. I couldn't be the one who stood up or spoke. Now, I think every team aside from Cloud9 and maybe FlyQuest is pretty close in level.

 

In the last two or three weeks with Pobelter, I finally feel like I'm learning. I feel like we're playing as a team more than before. Everyone has their own opinion and everyone wants to play differently, and having those opinions from the Mid Laner is especially important because of how integral it is in the game of League of Legends. It's arguably the most important role.

 

Having everyone on the same page has helped us so much, and now we're getting better and better. It was a rough first half of the split, but I'm pretty hopeful for the rest of it. Even if we don't qualify for Spring Playoffs, I think things will be pretty good going into the next split. Personally, I'm focusing on the fundamentals of our team, and we are getting better slowly.

 

 

You're no stranger to having your Worlds hopse be resting on championship circuit points. Does the removal of the circuit point system make CLG's Spring Split performance less stressful in context of seasons past?

 

I guess in general, there is less incentive, but I don't have much of an opinion about it regardless of the change. For me, I'm always super competitive with the standings, because I'm really competitive by nature in everything I do, so regardless of whether it matters towards Worlds or not, I still really care about winning and losing. It's the most important thing to me.

 

My job is my whole life, so if I'm not winning, it feels like I'm empty. I'm working so hard to win and grinding more solo queue than ever, and it's been a tough road, but now, I'm finally feeling the improvements. It's been really fun scrimming as of late.

 

 

You spent last season as the starting Support for TSM. What has it been like adjusting to the CLG environment this season?

 

Going from TSM to CLG, things looked more relaxed on the exterior. It seemed like it was more chill and that there wasn't as much stress on you as a player, but being here now, it's evident to me that everyone is passionate about the game. Everyone, staff included, is trying their hardest so we can play the best we can. Surprisingly, everyone is a grindlord on our team. It's pretty crazy, I did not expect it.

 

I'm really happy with the level of motivation on our team, and if we can fix a couple of things, I'm sure we'll be a really good team. If we're not in playoffs by the end of the split, we for sure will be in summer. I really do think that our team is pretty good.

 

 

It's good to hear things are on the up and up for CLG. Is there anything you want to say to your fanbase?

 

To the CLG fans: I apologize. Coming into CLG, I did not expect things to start like this, but we're slowly fixing our problems. Just give us till Summer Split and I promise we can be a good team. I'm going to say this split was unlucky, and we will make a comeback.

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    level 1 claire_mos

    It's truly admirable when a person loves their job so much! I'm just in the process of finding my dream work. Now, I'm thinking about getting into data science and I am considering one of the mentioned courses https://self-starters.com/online-data-science-courses/ to get some basic skills for this. Hope I would succeed in this as you in your job.

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