Apollo “Apollo” Price had the interesting opportunity in between spring and summer splits of the North American League Championship Series: A chance to join the team that relegated him.
After spending last summer with Team Impulse, Apollo joined Dignitas for this year’s spring split. The longtime club was then sent to the Challenger Series (a spot it later sold) by Apex after finishing in last place.
Apex, which also bought Dignitas’ Challenger spot, signed Apollo, who has been the LCS team’s starting AD Carry through three weeks. Apex made a strong opening statement by winning both of its Week 1 matches but now sits in the middle of the pack at 3-3. Slingshot caught up with Apollo during Week 3 of the LCS to talk about joining Apex, the start to the split and adjusting to a new schedule.
Slingshot: You started 2-2 but had a rough Week 2. How do you kind of grasp where you guys are in the standings at this point?
Apollo “Apollo” Price: The 2-0 we got the first week was obviously really good just because it’s a confidence booster and making sure we’re not complete shit. I think that’s the best way to put it. We’re not too set back from these losses. I think we’re still good, I just think there are some things we need to figure out. Not just team play, but also picks and bans right now. Because I think the majority of the games, when you look at the drafts, a lot of teams win mainly off the draft. There’s just draft and small team play stuff we have to work on, and I think we’ll be good.
Do you think the draft has such an impact because there have been so many changes since last split?
AP: It’s just hard to figure out what’s OP and what’s not. It’s really tough to grasp what’s good.
What’s it been like joining Apex. Obviously they were the team that relegated your last club, but what’s it been like getting another shot in the LCS?
AP: I think every split, regardless of me getting relegated or not, you always have to look for an opportunity that makes you feel like I’m improving, or I’m gonna go somewhere with this team. Apex definitely had a strong roster, and I still think we’re a good team. The rookie player, Ray, has shown to be pretty fucking good. He had kind of some off games this weekend, but he’s still good. Apex is a good team, and I still think we have a good shot of going to playoffs and going to worlds.
Does it affect your psyche, even for a little bit, getting relegated?
AP: A little bit. What sucks is sometimes you just kinda have to get lucky. But I think the luck, I don’t even think it was related to luck this time. On DIG, I feel like I improved a lot and was getting a lot better. I knew some team was gonna reach out to me, whether it be Challenger or LCS, some team was gonna reach out to me. So I didn’t feel too emotional or down on myself. I knew I had to keep working hard. I wasn’t too worried. Even if I didn’t get into LCS this split, I knew I had to keep working hard regardless, so I wasn’t too worried this time around.
I know you said last split it took some time to get comfortable on stage. How do you feel about that now, and how do best-of-threes help that?
AP: It feels a lot better. It feels nicer to play this many games. It wears you down a little bit at the end of the day, but it’s still really good. You get a little bit of nerves on stage, but that’s kind of normal. But I don’t feel like my play is affected by that anymore. I think really what it’s about when you’re on stage is just how much confidence you have. You can see that in a lot of younger players. If you see that they’re not confident, it kind of has this negative mental (effect) on them. But for me, I feel like I’ve got a lot better in just believing in myself.
The scheduling differences from spring to summer split, how does that kind of affect you guys, especially if you’re playing on Friday nights?
AP: It was kind of weird. I purposely stayed up later on Thursday to sleep in more, just to get more hours in. I think we got back at midnight (last Friday). It’s not too bad because 12 isn’t that late. The only problem is we didn’t have a lot of time to review the games that in depth. The other thing is I kinda want to get one solo queue game in usually. But I didn’t have any time to do that. And I couldn’t do that (Saturday) morning either because I’m usually waking up around 9. I feel like we don’t have too much time to put in a solo queue game. It’s not a big deal. I’d much rather have a best-of-three series anyway.
What’s it like playing with Xpecial? He’s been around a while and seems like he’s pretty well regarded by teammates.
AP: He’s experienced. He’s a veteran. I’m starting to feel like I’m sort of a veteran now. I still feel like I have a lot to learn from him, and it’s good that we’re kind of working together. Working together, but also keep on trying to improve. We don’t feel like we’re the best bot lane right now, but I know we can stand up against every other bot lane. It’s just a matter of how we can press an advantage or if we can do more than just go even. Working with him is good.
Who is one player who influenced you, or someone you wanted to emulate in the early stages of your career?
AP: I actually tend to, when I was first getting in the pro scene, I definitely looked a lot at Deft. He’s the Korean AD Carry for Samsung and now is on EDG. He was the best one I tried to emulate a lot. I still look at his game. I still try to learn from him, but I’m at the point where I can’t really copy somebody. You have to understand the game and do it yourself.
What do you think about AD Carries right now? Seems like you guys are on a lot of utility.
AP: Right now the AD Carry, especially after the Lucian nerfs, Lucian is still good, but going the utility route with Ashe, Caitlyn, Sivir (is better). Caitlyn’s not really utility but she’s more like back line. She has no play-making ability but she’s a back line threat. Jhin, even, is kind of in play. I’d say he’s more utility than not. But yeah, Ashe and Sivir are kind of the two key.
Do you like the utility style?
AP: I don’t really mind. I just kind of do what the team needs. And you have to play what’s strong. Utility, I’m definitely more comfortable in. I’ve played more Ashe and more Sivir. It’s nicer than I don’t have to play Lucian because you kind of have a little bit more pressure to make the play. So I guess, yeah, I’m more comfortable on utility.
Photos courtesy of Riot Games.