After an 0-6 start to the 2020 League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split, Dignitas decided to swap two of the members from its starting roster and Dignitas Academy. Mid Laner Kim "Fenix" Jae-hoon started in week 3 in place of Henrik "Froggen" Hansen, and Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett took over starting Jungler duties from Matthew "Akaadian" Higginbotham. Despite the changes, DIG lost its next two matches 0-8.
In week 5, Dignitas reunited Dardoch and Fenix with their former Team Liquid teammate Samson "Lourlo" Jackson, who started in place of Omran "V1per" Shoura in the top lane. That proved to be the right adjustment to the starting roster, and DIG went 2-0 against Immortals and FlyQuest for its first wins of summer. Dardoch spoke to Inven Global's Nick Geracie at the conclusion of week 5 to discuss starting in the LCS and playing with his old teammates.
Dardoch, you just helped Dignitas secure its first wins in the LCS Summer Split this weekend. How are you feeling about your performance?
Obviously, it feels really good for us an organization. These are our first wins this summer in the LCS, so everyone is super happy. We had a bunch of staff members come out and say hello to us yesterday, and today, they came out and watched our game. It feels really good that they still believe in us even though it has been a really rough start to the split.
DIG lost its first two games with this current roster, so what did you guys change coming into this week to find success?
Nothing really. We have shown at-least-decent to potentially-very-good results in scrims since we came together as these specific five starters. We only had one week of practice, so our inconsistencies really showed, but I genuinely believe in all of my teammates and that we will continue to show better performances every week. We are working really well together.
Despite losses in your games last weekend, the players I interviewed after their wins against you said this was the best roster DIG has started this summer. What do you think it is about this squad stylistically that fits well in this meta?
I can't really speak on what we bring in comparison to our counterparts. Fenix and I have been playing and practicing as a duo, so I haven't had much experience playing with Froggen this split. For the most part, our Mid/Jungle has been gated towards us being duos, so I only really know what Fenix has been doing this split.
I keep in touch with Akaadian, especially in terms of what picks we think are good. We've both played Wukong this week in the LCS and the LCS Academy League, and I believe we are the first two players to showcase that pick in the jungle. I definitely have good relationships with those players, but I'm not necessarily sure what we bring differently to the team.
Was there anything you were able to identify in DIG's struggles in the LCS before joining the roster that was helpful to you?
At a base level, I wasn't sure why the LCS roster was struggling as much as they were when I was first brought up. I do believe that all of my teammates across both rosters are talented, and I wasn't sure why they weren't having any success. When I came in, my coaching staff just told me to focus on making sure that everyone is on the same page. I try to do that to the best of my ability.
Something fun about the top half of this DIG Roster is that you, Fenix, and Lourlo all used to be play together on Team Liquid in 2016. How have your solo laners changed since that time?
Personally, I view how I play my role in a competitive sense individually, so as far as my solo laners as teammates, I'd say they've kept the same style for the most part since 2016. Fenix and I still play extremely aggressively through our roles regardless of champion and we're always willing to fight.
Lourlo is that anchor in the top lane that is really hard to roll over and he's always going to be extremely helpful for his teammates. Honestly, I think we've all improved year by year and our form and synergy now is continuing to get better. We're gelling really well together.
You also have previously played with Zaqueri "aphromoo" Black before on Counter Logic Gaming in 2017. Have you been able to retain any of your synergy with him from the past?
Oh, yeah! Zaq and I have been close since our time together on CLG. We've stayed in touch since I was removed from the roster, and I've always wanted to play with him again. I was really grateful for the opportunity to do so, and it really feels like we just picked up from where we left off. We have really similar views of the game and good understanding of macro play together, so it's always really fun playing with aphromoo.
Getting these wins is huge for DIG, but in the long term context, what can you take away from these victories to continue to improve?
I used to watch scrims of the previous LCS roster, and I think in general we have all shown that we can play to the level of other LCS teams, even the higher caliber teams. For us, this weekend is proving that we can actually win an official match. We had been performing well in scrims for a long time. This weekend, it was important to prove that regardless of who we play, we can actually win.
Hopefully, you guys can continue to translate scrim results to the LCS. Thanks for the interview, Dardoch. Do you have any words for the Dignitas fans?
Thanks for sticking with us. I know it's been an awful start to the split, but know that we haven't given up. We appreciate that you haven't given up on us. We're working very hard every week to continue delivering good results.
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