The seventh week of the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split could not have kicked off in more dramatic fashion. Team Liquid stared down 100Thieves in an epic 2018 NA LCS Spring Finals rematch, with the winner taking sole possession of first place.
Team Liquid repeated their triumph, dispatching of the Cleveland Cavaliers affiliate despite playing from behind for the majority of the game. Star AD Carry Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng sat down with Inven Global following TL’s victory to discuss the state of NA LCS and get his opinions on the recent happenings in the North American League of Legends scene.
I’m here with Doublelift following Team Liquid’s victory over 100Thieves. This was the match to decide first place in the 2018 NA LCS summer split, as well as a rematch of the NA LCS Spring Finals. Do we have a new NA rivalry on our hands?
I actually don’t really think about it our matches against 100Thieves this way. I know it’s a big match in the standings and anytime we play against them, there’s always something on the line. It’s a big match, but it’s hard for me to not see it as just another game when we always beat them. It’s not really a rivalry if you always win.
Fair enough, though I figured there’d be more personal pride on the table for you since you’re playing against Aphromoo. Has the separation from TSM and CLG changed your relationship at all?
I like playing against Aphro. His biggest asset is that he makes his team better. He’s a creative shot-caller when it comes to teamfights and vision control, but as a Bot Lane, I think there are better 2v2 laners than who 100Thieves is bringing to the rift. The early game is where we fall behind a lot as a team, so it’s not that threatening when I know we have an advantage in lane against 100Thieves.
It’s always really fun to watch you and Olleh lane against your longtime partners in Cody Sun and Aphromoo. What was your game plan against them today?
Cody Sun gets a lot of praise from the community, which I don’t understand. I don’t think he’s very good. The Varus vs. Ashe matchup we played today is heavily favored for him on Varus, but Cody always does something really stupid in lane and loses. I don’t really understand him much as a player, honestly. I think there are better duos out there who aren’t getting as much praise as 100Thieves does, like Apollo/Hakuho on Clutch Gaming. I think they’re a much better duo.
Do you think the praise for Cody Sun comes from the way he fits into the style of 100Thieves? He’s always putting out great damage, but I also think his teammates do a great job of playing around him and setting him up to succeed.
100Thieves has really good shotcalling. They take fights when Ssumday gets an individual advantage, whether that be an item spike or a Teleport advantage. They fall behind in the early game, but they’re able to win through their macro play because they know how to take the smartest fight. If the fight is set up well, then Cody Sun has to be ready to capitalize and pump out as much damage as possible when his tanks go in. 100Thieves is really good at this type of play.
Right, they’re very decisive in their shotcalling and teamfighting as a unit. We’ve seen the similar type of play for you guys, especially with Pobelter on Malzahar. We also saw the bot lane play towards utility while Xmithie took Kindred into the Jungle. Was that to give you guys more threat around the top side skirmish?
Our team composition was really good because Malzahar and Ashe force their opponents to take Quicksilver Sash. Quicksilver Sash is useless against Cho’Gath because you need to buy HP against him because he deals true damage. So drafting those three picks in the same composition has a ton of benefits for snowballing.
One thing that Pobelter is very good at is stopping the enemy Mid Laner from roaming. I think it’s a really underrated skill. Most Mid Laners play for farm, or side lane roaming, but Pobelter never lets his opponent do anything. We fall behind early a lot on Team Liquid, so if Pobelter can just stay close to even on CS and stop the enemy Mid Laner from doing anything but farm under tower, that eliminates a lot of options that the other team could have to snowball the game. Ryu was never able to get anything roams off on Zoe because of Pobelter’s constant pressure, and that’s why we were able to mitigate our losses and come back.
If Team Liquid is now in sole possession of first place, and 100Thieves hasn’t been much of a threat, are there any teams that you’re currently wary of making a run at your crown?
I think Echo Fox being a top team with the worst Bot Lane in North America was very impressive. Now that they’ve upgraded those positions, I think Echo Fox going to be one of the best teams when it comes to playoffs.
We know what Smoothie is capable of, but what are your first thoughts on Lost?
I think he’s good. He was strong on Echo Fox Academy, and he’s an all-around upgrade in every aspect.
Last question for you, Doublelift. This is our first NA LCS weekend of having two coaches on stage. Riot announced that teams a strategic coach would be allowed to accompany the head coach of a team on stage for the draft. Are there any teams that benefit from this?
(Laughs) I think TSM just bribed Riot Games to make this change. (Laughs) This is the biggest buff to TSM I’ve seen, and no one else in the NA LCS is going to care at all. I think every other team is doing it because we have to, but it’s a boon to them without a doubt.
Most teams just play on stage with their Head Coach the entire team with no problems, but I guess TSM wasn’t able to figure that out.
Nick Geracie is a freelance esports journalist currently located in Los Angeles. You can follow him on Twitter here.