Pr0lly was confident after 100 Thieves swept FlyQuest in the Quarterfinals of the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split. He spoke calmly as we discussed what the team went through during all the meta shifts and roster changes.
Pr0lly also spoke highly of his players, praising AnDa for withstanding the pressure, and Ryu for his adaptability. Let’s see what Neil “pr0lly” Hammad had to say on how they prepared for today’s match, his brief season review, and about his thoughts on Doublelift’s comments.
Congratulations on your victory! While preparing for the game today, what did you focus on the most?
We actually really tried to focus on what our weaknesses were, in terms of flexibility of playstyle. That was a lot of our focus this week, finding a right way to be playing against FlyQuest, TL or C9; whoever we play.
What were the main weaknesses that you focused on?
In draft, we kept making similar mistakes, like picking the wrong champion at the wrong time. Just kind of in the order, not necessarily the champions. We also had a lot of issues playing without Ssumday on a carry. Those were a couple things we focused a lot on for the FlyQuest game.
How did you predict the game would go today? Did it go as expected?
Yeah, I figured it would be a pretty fast day; it would have been really surprising to me if FlyQuest was able to make it to five games, considering how many new players they have. I did not expect to get blue side all three games. I expected a maybe four-game series unless we pick up a purple side win. So having blue side every game was a surprise, obviously, having the same draft two games in a row was also a pretty big surprise.
I think our preparation entering this week, we predicted almost everything that they would do. The Taliyah pick was another surprise for us because we kind of valued her low. In terms of champions picks and playstyle, it was pretty much what we thought it would be.
The 8.16 patch hit pro play only a week ago. Did that short preparation time affect the team in any way?
Yeah. So we had tiebreakers on Monday, so we lost a day of scrims. One of our scrim partners had to cancel out of illness so we actually lost two days of scrims this week. We had like the least amount of time to prepare for the 8.16 so far.
It was nice that we were able to watch the Saturday’s matches; we got to see they played in the EU playoffs and how TSM and Echo Fox played. But we were not sure of where we want to go within this meta.
Now that we were able to beat FlyQuest with this lack of knowledge about this patch, I’m very optimistic about our next week’s match against TL. We would have more time to adjust, and I think all the information that TL has on us from this weekend isn’t going to be that valuable next week.
So do you think it’ll be completely different in the next week’s match against TL?
I assume with an enough five more days of practice, more than double of the practice we had this week, we are going to have a lot bigger champion pool and different priority.
Ryu has done really great today. He’s like a completely different person in the playoffs. Do you think he has more drive for the playoffs?
I think Ryu is a pretty stubborn guy, but for some reason in playoffs, that kind of goes away. He becomes extremely receptive and fast moving with how he learns things, how he wants to change things. He’s very willing to move quickly to learn anything to improve very quickly. In high stressed moments, he works out really well on them.
Especially for mid lane, which I value really highly; I was a mid laner before I became a coach. Having a mid laner who is not only fast at learning and is very flexible in style, it’s really important. I’m really happy when we get to playoffs with Ryu.
Do you think that’s because Ryu doesn’t have any major championships under his belt?
I think now it’s starting to get like that. In the Spring Split, it was the first time we made finals. I’ve been with him for two years previously; we weren’t able to make finals even though we were able to make Worlds. Even if we weren’t able to finish first, getting to the finals was a big relief for him to finally do it.
Now, in competitors' eyes, us getting to the finals is nice, but that’s not satisfying anymore. So getting to finals isn’t enough for him anymore, and he really wants to complete a championship for once. I think that ‘fire’ is burning brighter; I think it does motivate him.
As for yourself, you don’t have any championships as a coach. Do you think this time will be it?
I think this is our best chance against Team Liquid. We’ve been showing a lot of weaknesses, but we haven’t played them in so long. This is one of the moments where the ‘underdog kind of factor’ that gives us a bit of an edge. Like I said, this was our performance with like three days with the patch, so I’m excited to see what change we could make in the next week.
I think TL’s very complacent with their playstyle and their way to play their game. That gives us a lot of time to figure out how to beat it. I suppose last time we weren’t 100% sure of what they would pull off in playoffs, but now I’m very confident that I can predict everything they want to do.
It’s like a new rivalry between 100 Thieves and Team Liquid. Last time, we asked Doublelift about this, and he said that it’s not much of a rivalry if one team wins all the time.
(Laughs) Yeah. They’ve been winning all their games, so it makes sense that he’s able to trash talk us or think that we’re just a weaker team, but I’m excited that he feels the need to say that. When you know you’re better, you usually don’t talk, because it’s just rude. I think he has a bit of scariness deep down and doesn’t want to show it, so he shows it this way. (And last week he said in an interview with Travis that 100 Thieves are a bit overrated.) (Laughs) I think he's just 'poking the bear' or something like that.
Looking back at the season, what was good and bad overall for 100 Thieves?
I think we got really punished by how the meta changed so quickly. At the beginning of summer, there were mage bot lanes, and that was definitely a weakness we had. It wasn’t just a few champions and every role was changing. Even like the macro, how you play the game was changing.
We had funnels, and items like Banner of Command was widely popular; strategies were based around these now-removed parts of the game. Moving that slowly early in the split was really painful, and was something that I’m really regretful of.
I think roster changes are really hard and even though we ended up having to change our roster out of necessity, I’m really happy that the team was still able to come together, and that it wasn’t a crumbling which was what a lot of people expected.
It’s really hard to remove a jungler at that point of a season; I think it was like week four when that happened. Since the jungler’s role is so important on a team, that’s swap was really terrifying looking back on it, but I’m really happy that we didn’t have that many speed bumps going forward.
Mentioning AnDa, he was on FlyQuest. Was he helpful when you tried to predict how FlyQuest would be today?
Actually, I didn’t grill him very much on how they played based on the time he spent there, because I think I have a good read on how Saitvicious as a coach likes to draft or like to prepare things. I’ve watched Santorin a lot because he was one of our options for academy.
They just have a lot of players that I had been looking at before, when I made the switch from EU to NA, when I was scouting the players. So I kind of knew their players decently well and their coach. I didn’t try to “trick” Andy into showing anything special. I was happy he didn’t feel overpressured playing against his old team.
It seemed that 100 Thieves weren’t doing as well recently. What do you think the main reason was for that?
I think we really didn’t find our footing in terms of what champions to play. We started to have inner turmoil on the team about how to play the game. Since the game was changing, and we couldn’t find a style that fits with the champions or the team, it was just too many problems at once. That was a big cause for that.
A part of it is, I think I spoke about it before, that I really didn’t like how North America was scrimming with all these changes. There was almost no control in game; all five players were playing brand new champions every single game. It was really hard to get a real view of what’s strong and what’s weak because everything was so chaotic all the time.
Also, the fact that all these games were so crazy. North America was very late picking up the funnel. When we wanted to start practicing the strategy, we had no one to play against; no one would play against it well because they didn’t know well either. When we started to bring out the funnel, it was a strategy that was winning, but it was hardly perfected. No one was punishing us and we couldn’t watch any other team perform well with it against us.
Any last comments to the fans regarding the semifinals?
I’m happy that our fans are still there, especially after our rough start into the split. Hopefully, our 3-0 today will bring some confidence back to our fans on why they are supporting us. This is our time to take it up against TL, so I hope they come watch.