The winners of NA LCS Finals were decided as Team Liquid. It was Team Liquid's second consecutive championship, but for Doublelift, it was his third straight championship. What was different for him was that this time, he won the regular season MVP award. He wasn't too excited about his MVP award during the press conference. In the conference, Doublelift spoke of when he'll be playing till, how he's excited to see other teams struggle, and his expectations for Worlds.
You’ve won a title before, you’re going to the World Championship again, but this week you got your first MVP. Did you expect to win that and what did it mean to you to get that award?
Doublelift: I think out of all years, it is weird to get it this time. I don’t really feel like I was that special during the regular split this time, but people were always talking about it that it was going to be me or Ssudamy or Licorice. I think the fact that two top laners were running for it really hurt their chances.
I know that overall, you’re never going to remember the MVP; I don’t think anyone can remember let’s say from the top of the head, say who’s the season seven spring MVP. It’s probably Bjergsen, but you don’t really know. (Laughter) I think overall, it’s just something for me personally that I’m really proud of because I can always say for the rest of my life that I was MVP at this time. But it’s not the biggest award you can get, and people aren’t going to remember it too much.
You’ve gone to Worlds many years now, and North America seems to disappoint every year. What is Team Liquid going to do differently to make sure this year is different?
Doublelift: You know? I don’t have a good answer to that. (Laughs) I feel like every year we have a different plan of attack as the American team, but our plan always gets lost after week 1. NA teams, we usually do well week 1 and people’s hopes get really high up because every team goes 2-1 or even 3-0. And then in week 2 we just run it down. So I think this time, our coaching staff is the best coaching staff I’ve ever had in my life. I think they’re going to keep us together and keep us focused. I think NA’s problems at Worlds is not that our skills aren’t high enough, but we don’t change our strats from week 1 to week 2. We’re too scared.
Dodo: Yeah, and there’s no more week 2 anymore.
During the MVP speech, you talked about how you never felt you were on a team before this year, with this roster, Bjergsen looked over when you said that, which was kind of funny. You and Olleh kind of talked about you guys having some problems, and this split, with the change of meta, there was some struggle within the team and the synergy. Do you feel through some of this adversity was where you guys were able to find yourselves and truly trust each other?
Doublelift: Yeah, I think the thing that goes invisible and people don’t notice is how much we fought with each other and how much we have had just awful days where everyone’s frustrated and it feels like the team is going nowhere, feels like everyone has something on their minds that they don’t want to say because it’s too offensive. Every team has those days, and I think we had a lot of those days where (Laughs) it’s just really hard, really hard to practice that hard and that much and have that much strong opinions on the team. We’re veterans, and there are different habits that we all have.
Playing with each other -- I don’t know. On this team, it feels really good because everyone on this team can always trust Cain, he’s super smart. Actually, there were so many times when I told Cain I wanted to play something, and he just locked me a different champion and we won. (Laughter) So I learned over time to just trust Cain. There are so many aspects of this team that are really good. I’ve never like -- when we fight bottom, before I can even call for TP, both Eugene and Impact will just TP, so I never had to call for TP; they just always do it instantly.
I don’t know. Everyone’s just looking out for each other. We call roams instantly most of the time, and if we don’t, it’s a really big deal. I think we all just look out for each other on this team. On other teams, yeah, you look after each other, but not as much. I think everyone’s more looking out for themselves on other teams that I’ve been.
There was a Reddit thread a couple days ago talking about a statement sOAZ made, about how he wants to play as long as you’re going to be playing. Have you ever thought about the actual finite time that you’re going to be a pro player, and how long that’s going to last?
Doublelift: Actually, it’s really insane, we have a lot of veterans on the team that have been here since the beginning, but I’m like 25, and in CS:GO and fighting games, that’s an average age for a pro in their peak. So I feel like I have a long way to go, honestly. If my mechanics start sucking, which I don’t think is ever going to happen, (Laughs) I can just switch roles I guess. (Laughter)
I don’t know -- I don’t really think too much about “Oh no, I don’t have that much time left” I always feel like that I have so much to improve and I’ve never stopped improving, so until that happens where I feel like there’s just a wall in front of me -- yeah, I don’t think I’m going to stop either. So I think that means that I’ll probably be playing till… I’m ninety years old. (Laughter)
There are four teams in the NA qualifiers. Who do you think is the favorite for the third seed?
Doublelift: Let’s go Clutch! (Laughs)
I think C9 is probably the best, and that’s just because they beat TSM already to get to the finals, and just thinking about it, 100 Thieves got beat by TSM who got beat by C9 and I don’t even know when Clutch got beaten, but it was a while ago.
I think C9 is actually pretty strong but the other thing about it is momentum is really important and TSM came off a pretty close win so they’re feeling hot, and C9 just coming off of a pretty crushing loss. So maybe mentally, TSM is going to be in better shape. Yeah, who knows. I don’t really care who wins, I just want to see them struggle. (Laughter)
You guys smashed the last few weeks in NA, but going into Worlds, it’s going to be a different ball game. Is there anything you’re looking to improve on specifically or is it just a matter of keep doing what you’re doing?
Doublelift: Well, if anyone watched our scrims, they would think we’re terrible. We would really play awful in practice a lot of the time, so there is a lot to practice and improve on. But we’ve all been to Worlds so we know what it’s like to be like the best team in NA or one of the best teams in NA and then go to Worlds and get really humbled.
I guess a good example would be MSI. We scrimmed Gambit, and it’s not a bad region, but it’s a lesser region, it’s the CIS region representatives, and Gambit was really good. I think we were like 50-50 or maybe even losing scrims against them.
So when we go to Worlds, it’s really important that every team we play against, we learn something. And we can’t just stay the same we are right now. Right now, I think we’re pretty good, but the best teams in the World are like twice as good as us, so we have a lot to learn.
In the past, you have talked about how you’re a little nervous or you kind of had jitters laning against the best bottom laners in the world like Uzi, PraY. After your MSI performance, you guys beat RNG. Have you shook that nervousness off?
Doublelift: You know, I get nervous when I play against god-tier players like Uzi, or if you’re facing like Kingzone when they’re super hot, or SKT when they’re super hot. I mean, I’m not nervous on stage, it just sucks to have to play against them so early. And yeah, there is some stuff that I can’t get away with. I know I play a really greedy style, and some stuff, I can’t be greedy or stupid against Uzi, basically. Because he’ll punish me. I guess the pressure is just knowing that if I make a mistake, he’ll capitalize on it, but like how do I know if I’m making a mistake. It’s really hard because no one else is going to punish me for that same thing.
I think I got over it after a while. Yeah, I used to be very nervous playing against top AD carries, but now I feel like I just need to play my game and I’m more on the lookout for their mistakes instead of trying to be defensive and trying to limit what I’m doing.
What was going through your mind when you dodged Hecarim’s ult in Game 1, and getting Insec’ed by Svenskeren in Game 2 and how did you maintain the composure to make the best out of a bad situation?
Doublelift: The Hecarim one was pretty easy; I just needed to save my ulti for when he ults, and then the Lee Sin one actually, I think I was trolling. I had QSS so I was like if he comes for me, I’ll just QSS and Flash or use my R. I didn’t have either of those up, so I just died. That was a pretty big mistake.
After either of those plays though, I wasn’t really nervous at all. Overall, I’m pretty proud of the way that we played. Very robotic.
※ First photo from LoLesports