On July 1st, Clutch Gaming created an upset and defeated Team Liquid.
Clutch Gaming has been doing great but not the best in recent games. There are matches when Clutch performs as if they are one of the best teams in North America. Other games, as Apollo explained, performing with an issue regarding team fight engagement.
Despite all this, Clutch was able to defeat the first place team, Team Liquid. After the game, Inven Global sat down with Apollo to discuss TL’s bot lane, issues with Clutch, and Rift Rivals. Let’s see what Apollo has to say.
¤ What were your thoughts on Doublelift’s Ezreal pick against your team comp?
Well, I was pretty much saying in the entire champion select that he was going to play Kai’Sa (laughs). We went into the draft knowing that it was going to happen. We even had a chance to ban Kai’Sa in the 4 and 5. Our team decided that other bans were better compared to the Kai’Sa ban. We were prepared to go into the Kai’Sa. I already knew Doublelift didn’t like playing Varus or Kog’Maw, so it was essentially just there for him. He picked Ezreal and yeah… I don’t know (laughs).
I was just as surprised as you guys were. I was like “Why are they doing Ezreal-Morgana?”. I think Doublelift plays Ezreal well, but he didn’t really have the best game today. I don’t know how much would have changed if he had played Kai’Sa, but it fit the team comp more right? Team Liquid had full physical damage on their team so why not play a magic damage bot. I don’t know… it was really weird.
¤ On the player cams after the game, Doublelift seemed devastated by the outcome of the game. It seemed that it was not the result he was expecting. What are your opinions on that?
I mean, I was on the same page as him. I didn’t expect the outcome as well (laughs). Obviously, I go into every match wanting to win and being confident. We played our game with the mindset of “We want to try something.”. We wanted to play I wouldn’t say aggressive but more proactive. I wouldn’t say we played perfectly today, but we did have a more proactive mindset. I think it helped a lot. We didn’t go into the game thinking we were going to win. We were trying to prove ourselves as a team. Not the best way to put it, but we wanted to use them as if it was a scrim.
But yeah, I was just as surprised as Doublelift was. We played our game and played it really well. I am super happy and proud of our team for not only taking down the first place team but also outperforming them in a huge fashion. It was not even a close game. Kind of a stomp, almost. I’m just really happy that we did that.
¤ A lot of people see you more passive compared to other ADCs. What is your take on this?
It is a fair judgment. I have definitely been more calculated compared to the other ADCs in the LCS. I don’t like labeling myself as passive or aggressive. I rather label myself as if I made the correct play or the incorrect play. If I was not to suppose to go aggressive in a situation and I did, that is my fault. When I play safe when I should, I did my job. Whether the fans think so or not.
I am always trying to improve and testing my limits to make an aggressive play. I would prefer to think of it as good or bad and not necessarily if my play was aggressive or passive.
¤ Although you did say being passive or aggressive depends on the situation, where do you think you learn more towards? Being passive or being aggressive?
I definitely take fewer risks.
¤ Where would you draw the line between taking risks and being calculative?
If you are going to take a risk, it really needs to pay off. You also have to be confident in yourself in order to do so. Maybe this is where I lack? Sometimes, I am not confident enough to make that risky or impressive play. Therefore, I revert to the more passive and calculating style so I don’t lose us the game.
¤ Arrow has claimed that CG’s bot lane is incredibly solid. What are your opinions on this?
Uh... I think we’re good (laughs). I haven’t really played with that many great supports in my career until Envy. I am not saying it is my fault or anyone else’s fault. That is just how it was. When I started playing with Nick (Hakuho), his mentality was the opposite of mine. If you wanted an aggressive player, that is Nick. If you wanted a passive player, that is me. It is completely different. I think this is what helped me grow and improve. It also helped Nick. Strangely enough, since he was the polar opposite, we matched very well.
Nick knows when we win the fight, and I know when we should fight. It has been a really good mix. We have been playing together for a year and a half now. I think we both have improved a lot and have really good mindsets.
¤ Since you did beat Doublelift and Olleh today, where would you rank your bot lane in the NA LCS?
It is hard to label bot lanes, but I would say we are in the top 3. It is really weird right now because sometimes you don’t even play against the ‘real’ bot lane (laughs). I believe Doublelift and Olleh are really strong in the bot lane. Even though we outperformed them today, I don’t necessarily think we are better than them. In a lot of ways, they do better at it than we do. Their Ezreal-Morgana was very strange. I believe those picks were an issue of itself. We had a strong lane going into them so of course, it looks like we outperformed them right?
¤ Clutch is doing great this split but not the best. What do you think are some of the issues?
Just because it is so fresh, I don’t think we are that good with our engages. We are a little bit more indecisive in that aspect. Like I said before, we need to be proactive. Sometimes, we just wait for the enemy to make mistakes. That is kind of the same concept of us not being able to engage well. Those are our weaknesses that I can think of now, but I am sure we have plenty of others.
¤ Talking about Rift Rivals, how do you feel about being unable to participate in the event?
It kind of sucks. Going back, our performance at Miami was not even close. We obviously don’t deserve to be there. Regardless, it would have been pretty cool to play against international teams. I don’t think I have gone against an international team ever since I was in Dignitas at IEM. It would have been fun to test my abilities against other ADCs around the world.
That being said, I am rooting for NA of course. I believe I am going to see my former teammates, so that is going to be fun. But yeah, it sucks that we couldn’t be there. I guess it is kind of deserved (laughs).
¤ Which teams do you think will have the upper hand at Rift Rivals?
The teams are Fnatic, G2, and Splyce. They are all doing pretty well. Oh, never mind. Splyce isn’t doing too well (laughs). Hm...I don’t really know. It is going to be interesting to see Fnatic vs Echo Fox. Fnatic purposely put Bwipo bot just so he could play bruisers and mages so. Echo Fox does something similar where they role swap a lot. That is going to be exciting to watch. I still believe the upper hand will go to G2 and TL. Those teams are really strong right now.
Even though we just lost to 100 Thieves, I think they are still shaky and mid-tier. It kind of goes the same with Echo Fox. Some games, Echo Fox looks like the best team in the world and then they just like… yeah. It is just hard to rate them. In regards to TL, they play the standard meta really well. However, Team Liquid doesn’t seem like they want to adapt to the gold funnel or mage/bruisers bottom. Maybe that is going to bite them. EU teams could punish TL because of this.
¤ Let’s just say EU won against NA. Could you confidently say “Oh, NA lost cause I wasn't there.”?
Of course (laughs). I would be the hero for NA (laughs).
¤ Within all the ADCs in the world, do you have a role model? If so, why?
I have always watched Deft. Ever since I started playing, he was one of the best ADCs. I still think he is really strong. I watched him for a super long time. I believe Uzi is still better than him. He has performed really well, but I have watched Deft so much that he would be my number 1. In terms of people who I look up to, it would be Deft and the next would be Uzi. Uzi is just really good (laughs).
¤ Lastly, is there anything you want to say?
Thank you for supporting me. I have been recently getting a lot of love, so thank you. And yeah, thanks for the interview (laughs).