Week 3 of the 2020 League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split was TSM's first 2-0 week after 1-1 splits in weeks 1 and 2. TSM started out week 3 with a dominant win over Evil Geniuses, but the team's second match against 100 Thieves would prove to be far more difficult. After nearly 50 minutes of back-and-forth play, TSM Mid Laner Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg saw his opportunity and did not hesitate to backdoor the 100 Thieves nexus for the win.
Bjergsen's heroism might not have been possible, however, without Vincent "Biofrost" Wang. TSM's Support hit clutch hook after clutch hook throughout the game and rendered the Varus of Sun "Cody Sun" Li-Yu far less effective than the Kalista of Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng. TSM may have let the lead get away from them, but Biofrost was rock solid in the bot lane alongside Doublelift for the duration of the match.
Biofrost spoke to Inven Global's Nick Geracie after the win to discuss playing against 100 Thieves, the potential pros and cons of online competition, and TSM's upcoming match against his former squad Counter Logic Gaming.
Thanks for joining me, Biofrost. How were you able to keep your head in such a back and forth, messy game and continue to make clutch individual plays?
Honestly, this game was a banger, for sure. I thought it would have been pretty smooth sailing after what happened early on, but we made a couple of mistakes that made it really hard to end the game. I knew that we were a bit outscaled, so I only had one job in the fights which was to look for their carries...I mean, that's the role of Blitzcrank, right? *Laughs* We didn't really have many other options.
That is what Blitzcrank does, and you did it well in this game. Speaking of bot lane champions, it was interesting to see TSM comfortable in giving 100 Thieves Varus, a powerful pick in the AD Carry role, but then managing to succeed against it nonetheless. Was that a calculated risk, or were you trying to bait Sun "Cody Sun" Li-Yu into the Varus pick?
I think that when Varus is banned so frequently, teams have trouble playing him in competitive games because they don't have a lot of practice on him, so they're much worse at the pick. Therefore, they might play it worse in a game, and if we have a good answer to it, it'll be really good for us. 100 Thieves kind of just took the bait, yeah.
Has it been easy to rebuild your synergy with Doublelift this summer after not playing together for two and a half seasons?
I think he's mostly the same as a player and there's not really any kinks to work out either. I think we've done pretty well, but you can always grow, so we can continue to do better over the course of the split.
You started your career on TSM as a rookie surrounded by veterans. Now that you've re-joined TSM, is there any wisdom you can impart to your Jungler Mingyi "Spica" Lu from your own experiences?
Regretfully, LCS is currently in a best-of-1 format. When I first started competing, the format was best-of-3 so we could have a lot more games to practice. That aspect kind of sucks because the 'stage' games during the split mean so much in terms of experience.
You learn so much more from one stage game than you can in an entire day of scrims because of the added pressure, the adrenaline, and hopefully you're playing at your best. Hopefully you're taking each game in stride the best that you can.
Do you think playing online can be a benefit to a younger player feeling pressure? Is the online format due to the COVID-19 lockdown a blessing in disguise for those with less competitive experience?
There is less pressure when you're playing online, for sure. It's far more similar to scrimming in that you're playing either at home or at an office. That can be either a positive or a negative, which for the most part depends on the player. I like playing in front of actual people. I usually play better when I'm hyped, so it just depends on the player.
TSM is playing from its competitive facility this split, correct? Does at least having the whole team in the same place help even if the competition itself is online?
Yeah, there are so many benefits when you're playing together in real life. We played the Spring Playoffs this season completely from home and it just felt a lot worse. Overall, we were a lot more disconnected and there is a lot less stage emulation. That's a really pivotal factor in trying to get the mood going. You want to get your adrenaline up to make it seem like it's not just a normal day of practice. The environment is really essential for that.
Have you changed anything about your pre-match routine to help facilitate that environment individually?
I still do the same things: self-talk, a bit of mindfulness, and trying to exercise before I play since those things usually help me. Other than that I haven't done anything too differently. I mean, I can't just start playing audience noises to make it seem like there is an audience watching. *Laughs* I know there's not an audience, so there's no point.
A soundboard will only take you so far, Biofrost.
I understand that there's a limit to what you can do, but it sounds like you are doing your best to adjust. Next week you will play against your former team Counter Logic Gaming. Any thoughts on that matchup?
I think CLG has gotten a lot better since last split. They're already well on their way to get a lot more wins than they got last split. I think CLG and 100 Thieves swapped spots this split. CLG overall looks a lot more cohesive than before, so I'm always looking forward to playing against a good team.
Is this change a byproduct of CLG's improvement alone, or has 100 Thieves lost a step since spring?
I think Eugene "Pobelter" Park is just a much better fit for CLG than Lee "Crown" Min-ho overall. Crown did not look very good on CLG, and the team looked like they had a lot of communication problems. It seems like Pobelter has helped them through that, and they look a lot more cohesive as a team overall. I don't think that roster has any weak points, so just looking at the team on paper, I feel like they should do well.
Thanks for your insight, Biofrost. Is there anything you want to say to the TSM fans?
Stay safe, guys.
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