Counter Logic Gaming is finally giving their fans hope in this Summer Split. Prior to this split, CLG hasn't looked like the dominant organization since two years ago with players like Darshan "Darshan" Upadhyaya and Zaqueri "aphromoo" Black, failing to qualify for playoffs in three straight splits. In this Summer Split, however, CLG has improved greatly and currently is tied for second place with Cloud9, OpTic Gaming, and TSM.
After CLG's victory in Week 4 against FlyQuest, CLG's jungler Raymond "Wiggily" Griffin spoke with Inven Global about what he learned after playing a full split in Spring, what contributed to the team's success this Summer, and his opinion on tank versus carry junglers.
CLG is off to a great start in this split. How do you feel about your play so far?
I think we're doing pretty well obviously since we're tied for 1st. We're definitely a better spot than last split, where we were still trying to figure out our identity as a team. It never really felt like we could focus solely on League — there's always something wrong, something we had to fix, something we had to change up.
This split is a lot more smooth sailing. Week by week, we know what we have to improve on and go into scrims with that mindset. Overall, it is a lot smoother.
How has your new Top Laner, Kim "Ruin" Hyeong-min, changed the way CLG plays?
I think he's insanely good. In all of our games, he's been a massive pressure sponge. I don't know why, but in every game, our opponents just want to kill him. He's definitely made things better overall. He does his job well for the team.
What was the biggest thing you guys learned from the Spring Split that you brought into Summer?
There's so many things I think we learned last split. One big thing in a general sense that we learned was it's important to have good team cohesion and not everyone is playing for each other. People have to sacrifice sometimes and we have to trust one another.
Going into this split, that was the main change we wanted to make as a team — more trust in each other and more willingness to sacrifice.
It definitely helps when you're winning and we've been playing better. I don't know if it's the cause of that or a symptom. It's been working out so far, so I'm happy.
How do you build trust within the team? Do you guys do extracurricular activities outside the game?
When we had the offseason in Korea and when we first met Ruin, we were definitely doing a lot of activities. We were trying to get to know him, going outside together, eating, all that good stuff. That was a good start to our season.
After that, our personalities just meshed very well. There's not a lot of arguing like what happens in scrims like any arguing that happens in scrims, stays in scrims. We're all really chill out of the game together. There's no drama, nothing going on. It's easy to be friends with people.
Who would you say keeps the team together?
Everyone does it at times. Honestly, maybe me? It's kind of weird to talk about myself like that but I guess I'm like socially active amongst all the other players. I try to keep everyone incorporated. I don't have to try, it happens naturally with this team. I can be the guy to keep things together in a sense.
Is there a specific example that you can give me?
There's a lot of small things. Making jokes, keeping people lighthearted with each other. I think that's the general thing I do.
A specific scenario: sometimes our Support Vincent "Biofrost" Wang will go out to eat with TSM members and I would constantly give him crap about it since he used to play for TSM. In a way, that brings us closer together.
Being able to poke fun at one another is important for good team chemistry out of the game. I think we've been doing a lot more of that. No one takes offense to anything. We know it's in good fun and we all respect each other as players.
Would you say losing a bunch during Spring Split made you guys a stronger team coming into the Summer?
Definitely, for me at least, losing a lot was a good wake up call to the differences in LCS and the NA Academy League. I had a lot of bad habits and understanding of the game. As a Jungler, it's important to understand certain team movements, macro, and decisions in early and mid game. All this stuff that I learned in Academy didn't matter as much.
For me personally, the first split helped me a lot to realize that I need to fix all these things I'm not doing. LCS is not all about being better than other players. Players in other teams are really good individually. You can't get advantages that way all the time.
Speaking of Academy, you were known as a hard carry jungler. Has playing mostly tanks been an adjustment for you?
It's just different. For me in this team, you have to be able to adapt to what we're trying to do as a unit. Every team in LCS is going to be different — some teams prioritize certain picks, especially in this meta there's a lot of variety you can do in every lane. I've been filling in for what's best for my team.
If there's a good situation for tanks every single game and it gives us the best chance in winning, there's no point in lowering our chance in winning so I can play whatever I'm comfortable on. I'll play Trundle or Sejuani every single game until we win the split. It's definitely been an adjustment but I'm comfortable playing carry or tanks.
People don't see the scrims behind the scenes but there's so many different drafts that come up. It just so happens that every time, Trundle looks good here or Sejuani is OP.
Have you played any carry junglers during scrims?
Of course! I think every jungler plays a variety of champions. You have to be able to pull out carry or tank or whatever it is. If you can't, you're limiting your team's capabilities and draft options.
Are you going to bust out any carry junglers in the near future?
Like I said before, if they give me a good Shaco game, I'm going to play Shaco. We'll see.
Realistically, where would you say CLG is at compared to the rest of the LCS teams?
We haven't got to scrim every team obviously and scrims don't mean anything. However, we're definitely top 3 in LCS. It's hard to say since we haven't scrimmed every team yet. Just from the teams we've scrimmed, I can safely say that. But we're probably first.
Do you have anything to say to the rest of the LCS teams?
Ban Trundle guys. Let me have some fun, please.
Just kidding, I like Trundle.
Thanks for the interview! Hope to see CLG continue to win this split. Is there anything you want to say to the fans out there?
I'm grateful for all the support we've got this split. Thanks for sticking with me even though the last few splits have been very hard. I definitely felt the angst with our fans. That's helped motivate me seeing a lot of that stuff. I never try to focus on that stuff very much, but it's been a good way to motivate. This split, I'm thankful for all the support whether it's in LCS or anywhere else.
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