Leading up to the Play-In Stage, nobody expected MAD Lions and LGD to get fourth with a 1-3 record, and few would've said Legacy Esports would be sitting at second behind Team Liquid, but 2020 is the year of surprises. Legacy tied Team Liquid with a 3-1 record at the end of the round-robin, but lost to them in a tiebreaker, sending Liquid to the Group Stage and Legacy to a best-of-5 against the winner of Group B's third vs fourth place series.
After their tiebreaker loss to Team Liquid, Legacy's mid laner, James "Tally" Shute, spoke with Inven Global about his signature style, his thoughts on team strength, who he hopes to meet for the rest of the event, and the undying support he's received since arriving in Shanghai.
Watch the interview here, or read the transcript below:
You guys just got second. You're not quite to the main stage but you are on your way. When you came in, when you saw the group draw, did you expect to get second?
[laughs] Being realistic, I definitely didn't expect to get second. I thought it'd be a pretty hard group to play in and I was more looking towards the 3rd/4th place bracket that we'd have to play. The fact that we were able to achieve second and play so well in the games today is just incredible.
Yeah, coming into today, we were like, "OK, NA will pick it up, Supermassive is looking good." And you guys just came out of nowhere. You had the game against SUP to get you to the TL game. What were you thinking going into that one?
Watching SUP, they looked really good. Out of everyone in the group, I think they had the best teamwork. Our plan was to get them off comfort. We double-banned Onur "Bolulu" Demirol and they played Lulu instead of these traditional champions. I think because we were on so comfortable playstyle, and they were off-comfort, it kind of took them by surprise.
In an earlier interview, after your first TL game, you talked about how you played around what other people thought was good but you wanted to switch to your comfort. I guess that's Galio/Sett, teamfight-oriented, tankier mids. What is it that you like about that style?
It's two things: One, these are champions that I played when I was a top laner, so I'm very comfortable on them. Another thing is, when Leo 'Babip' Romer plays carries, he succeeds a lot, so when I was playing this utility and tank mids, he has lots of success. This playstyle we were playing in domestic games was doing really well.
Explain to me the Predator, because that's something the casters were talking, but also me and my friends, whenever we see the Predator, we're like "Oh, what are you doing?"
So, Spellbook was the best rune on Galio for some time, but then the rune received a nerf. Then, I was watching this Galio one-trick for a long time and he was running Predator. It's not so much the main keystone that makes him OP, it's the fact that you run Ingenious Hunter, which means your active items have a low cooldown, so it's very good for Proto Belt, Zhonya's... And the fact that my Predator is on a 30-second cooldown — and if I get priority I can just run around and do whatever I want — it's extremely good for flanking teamfights.
When do you make the choice of Predator over Spellbook?
In the last game versus TL, I went Spellbook, because I didn't think I'd have a lot of control on the map, I'd probably be on my turret a lot and I wouldn't be getting a lot of opportunities, so I'd be getting a lot more value from my summoner spell rotation. But in the first game against MAD, I had a much better mid/jungle match-up so we were gonna get a lot more access to just running around the map together. That's why I chose Predator then.
I don't want to be BM ([Tally laughs] Go ahead, go ahead) but in a lot of your games, I was looking at the KDA, you'd be 10/0/5 or you'd be like 0/5/0. What's up with that? Are you just playing all-in every time and it either works or it doesn't?
Pretty much. As a team, we go all-in, we all die for each other. We never call something off. I think that's one of our biggest league decisions, that we don't back down from stuff. In the last game vs. Liquid, when we just burger-flipped the crab fight and we all died, it was probably a big snowball effect for them.
But in other games, I did get ahead, and when you're playing these tanky frontliners, when you get ahead you stay ahead. It's very hard to kill them, which is why my KDA is so good.
You will be going up against either Rainbow7 or LGD, which you probably weren't expecting either — having to play vs. that pairing. Which one do you predict and how do you think about your own match-up against them?
I'd probably give it to LGD comfortably, just because it's best-of-5. I think such major region team should have much better time at a best-of-5 than a wildcard team. Experience and champion pools are always a thing in best-of-5s. It's a completely different game than best-of-1, so I think LGD will take it.
Then, about the match-up against them: I think we play pretty similar playstyles [in terms of] comps and early game synergies, so I think it will be very very fun, and it will come down to who can maneuver their teamfights better, who gets a better draft, stuff like that. So I'm looking forward to facing them a lot.
You also get to do some homework, because you get to see their best-of-5. If you go into groups — and I haven't done the math about who can go where — where would you hope to go.
I would really hope to go into DRX's group. I've been a big Chovy fanboy for a long time, so if I get to lane vs. him and just get stomped, I'd be extremely happy. [laughs]
The only other question I had is that we've seen a really large influx of Oceania players in the last few years, and they've been doing really well, gaining a lot of traction. What are your thoughts about that and about the OPL right now as a region in its strength?
At the beginning of the year, we pretty much lost the majority of our best players to overseas teams, so the OPL at the time was probably at its weakest and it was very hard to make multiple strong rosters. There was probably one, one-and-a-half strong ones, compared to when there were like three to five really strong teams in the past. Getting the talent snatched isn't good for the region but it's very good that these players get to show themselves overseas.
I personally know everyone who's gone overseas. I'm friends with all of them and am happy for them.
Anything you want to say to the fans, or even to those hoping you'd lose? There are many fans watching, hoping that LGD makes it to groups.
Genuine thanks to everyone cheering for us. I've seen all the kind messages on Twitter.
I'm not gonna lie, I thought that if I came to Worlds and performed badly, I'd be getting a lot of flame, but it's actually kind of the opposite: when I perform badly, I get a lot of encouragement, and when I do well, I do get a lot of praise.
Images by Riot Games
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