[Rift Rivals] TL Pobelter: "There are no good mid laners in NA, unfortunately."

Representing NA as the number 1 seed at Rift Rivals, Team Liquid has shown to EU that standard meta is still very much a viable option.

After the day 1 games of Rift Rivals, we sat down with Pobelter from Team Liquid. While the meta is raging with mages in the bot lane, Pobelter explained that both standard and mage bottoms have their strengths and weaknesses. Although EU teams disagree with standard bot lanes, Team Liquid is proving them wrong by ending day 2 with a 2-1 score.

We got Pobelter’s point of view on Team Liquid’s strict meta adaptation. Let’s see what Pobelter has to say about NA vs EU, mage bot lane, and the Sion mini-game.

¤ What is your initial take on Rift Rivals this year? Do you think NA has the upper hand or EU?

I think EU has the upper hand in this event. This is because, overall, EU has had a better adaptation to the meta than NA did. We kind of scrimmed against G2 and Fnatic leading up to the event. We just came in with the mindset of ‘We will need to learn how they are playing and how it differs from the way NA teams are playing’. We were able to learn a lot in regards to gold funneling strategies and how they use mage bot lane.

¤ Coach Cain has said that non-Marksmen bot lanes are stronger than standard bot lanes. What are your thoughts on this?

I feel like they both have their own win condition. Mage bot lanes are really strong in the early game, and you can usually get lane priority. On the other hand, ADCs scale way better into the late game. Let’s say you have Swain bottom against Ezreal or Kai’Sa. On one item, Swain will be much stronger. If there is a team fight around Rift Herald or Dragon that goes in the way of the mage bot side, the ADC will be useless the whole game. This is why teams have started to play mage bot a lot.

ADCs also have their own win condition which is: If you can get to the mid-late game without falling too far behind, you can scale a lot better.

¤ You have gone up against Perkz. What did you think of Perkz?

I think Perkz is a very confident player, just in the way he plays. He will just go for outplays. I think that is just EU’s style. They will just go for flashy plays. If it backfires, they will be like ‘Oh, I guess my mechanics have to be better for next time.’ (laughs). The feedback that I have always gotten was ‘You shouldn’t even try to make those plays’. I believe it all comes down to different styles of thought. One side is more towards macro and taking less risk while teams like Fnatic will look for riskier outplays. High-risk high reward.

¤ As a mid laner, isn’t it more convenient to have a mage bot lane? Just because you can play as aggressive as you want to?

Yeah, for sure it is a lot easier (laughs). It is easy to play the early-mid game with mage bottom. When you have an ADC, you are hanging on a lot of the time. This is because you are not going to win lane hard or anything like that. Basically, the side with the mage bottom will have an easier time. They can pressure mid harder.

¤ Regarding the 200 IQ meme, do you think you are more of the flashy plays type of player or more towards the calculative/safe side?

I think you need a mix of both if you truly want to be an outstanding player. It is best to avoid risks when you can. But if you don’t take risks, you will just have 0 kills at the end of the game. There is just room for both within the game. It is just up to the player when it is the right time to take that risk.

¤ Do you predict NA to outperform their previous performance at Worlds this year? Or do you think NA will repeat it again?

This split especially, we are working on our mental blocks. We are also solving problems that we were having that caused us to perform not as good at MSI. At the start of MSI, we were performing really badly. A lot of that was due to all the stress and pressure we were holding in. With that in mind and with that preparation, I think we can perform better than we had in previous years. We just have to wait and see.

¤ Did you have a chance to meet anyone you know from EU?

Uh, not really. I don't’ really talk to EU players that much. You don’t really get a chance to get friendly with EU players. They...are...on...a different continent.

¤ Do you have a player that you want to learn from and really admire?

You know actually, I think there are a lot of very talented mid laners around the world to look up to. I believe BDD is really good. Of course, Faker is really good. In China, there are a lot of strong mid laners as well. I thought Xiaohu was extremely good. There are no good mid laners in NA, unfortunately. I think Maple from Taiwan is very good.

¤ Are you excited to participate in Rift Rivals? You are not only representing your region but also your team, right?

It is actually really fun. The first day was amazing. Probably because we won the show match and our actual match (laughs). It was so fun for me because I haven’t played a show match on stage for so many years. It was nice to play on stage without the stress of trying super hard to win. We played for the trolls and fun. My last show match was IPL 4, so Season 2 I think?

Although it is not necessarily a break from LCS, it is nice to have something different from LCS. This is something that is very helpful for us as a team. We can learn new strategies and champion picks.

¤ Have you played the Sion mini-game that pros do when they go to the player lounge interview?

Oh yea, I have never played that. I will probably be awful at it. I am so bad at using Sion ult. When Sion was meta, I just could not use my ult that well (laughs).


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