It has been a fairly rough summer for Team Vitality. A team that started strong in the spring split of the European League Championship Series with a lot of creativity in its play style fell short after some lineup changes. The Week 9 matches played out with Vitality and Schalke in a tie for seventh place, causing a one-game tiebreaker Vitality won to narrowly avoid the relegation tournament
Slingshot’s Alexandre “DrPuppet” Weber had the chance to talk to Vitality’s Raymond “KaSing” Tsang after Vitality’s Week 9 match against G2 and again after the tiebreaker about preparation, mindset and offseason plans.
Alexandre “DrPuppet” Weber: What happened in the first game against G2 Esports?
Raymond “KaSing” Tsang: So, basically we played a lane swap, and we could get slightly ahead. Our win condition was to play around Fiora since she beats Shen with three items. We wanted to contest dragon and there was a miscommunication from us, where we did not contest drake as we planned and lost control of it as we ended up going mid. I did the mistake to walk in front of Nukeduck as we face-checked and Malzahar could ult me, however I shouldn’t have been there in the first place. From that point, we lost the pace of the game and after that we couldn’t really engage, except we flanked them. However, it was super hard to get this type of engages on a Sivir that can ult to disengage and they still had Shen ult to save someone or Taric’s ultimate.
AW: What are your thoughts on Taric in the current meta?
RT: I think Taric is really strong if the enemy team doesn’t want to kite. He is really good in a standard lane scenario, but he does fine in lane swap scenarios as well. However, when Taric uses his ultimate, you just kite back and disengage until the ult goes on cooldown, like we did. Otherwise he is just a normal melee support with a heal and a stun. He wasn’t that big of a problem. I think that we did not respect the malzahar pick enough, at least I didn’t so and I got ulted a lot. We could have played that a lot better.
AW: What did you guys change in between the games going to play that pickoff/skirmish composition in Game 2?
RT: It was more the Trundle pick itself. I think he is pretty strong right now. So we practiced him a lot and he fits our style extremely well. So I felt I could have a bit more impact due to be able to engage or disengage with the pillar and be more active than with Tahm Kench, which you can only stay behind and peel. It was pretty easy for me to set up or peel for the right situations, and I think it helped us a lot.
AW: What is your mindset going into the game versus Schalke, since you are playing for the seventh spot?
RT: My mindset is to win every game, and to be honest I didn’t think about anything else. Of course I could think about any possible scenario but according to today’s performance I think we can win tomorrow.
After Tiebreaker against Schalke 04
AW: How is the team feeling after securing seventh place at LCS?
RT: I feel really relieved that we won because it was quite a long game. However, we still had a lot of problems and the stakes were super high since we were playing to avoid relegation. So I think we played according to our win conditions and everyone gave a 110 percent, so I’m really proud of my team.
AW: Yesterday we talked about you preferring being on engaging and tanky melee support champions in the current meta. In today’s games, you played Trundle and Alistar. Was it a part of the team’s preparation for today’s match?
RT: So I think the meta is slowly shifting away from ranged supports to tanky supports. Basically, having more tanky champions in the team allows your team to do whatever they want. So by having Trundle they can focus me and I can keep using the pillar, which is really annoying for the enemy team. Like you keep enabling engages for your team with it. You can also use the W and Q combo on Alistar to set up the engages for your team. As an example, in the first game today against Schalke 04 in a drake fight I used flash to set up a combo with Alistar, and I could decide alone. People tend to underestimate and think Alistar is useless, but if you do the combo at the right time you turn situations around.
AW: So we could see in today’s games some slight adaptations from yesterday’s games. How did you guys prepare for the tiebreaker match?
RT: In order to prepare for such a match, you look at the games they played yesterday and today and we looked mostly at who they played against and how they drafted. To see what champions they have prioritized in order to understand better what is good for them and for us. So we talked about it and discussed in the team and everybody gave their input. For an example I called we should prioritize Trundle more because I feel that he is pretty strong in the current meta, because he is good at basically every scenario and adding to that he scales also pretty well and he is really tanky.
AW: With today’s results, do you know if that was enough to qualify for the Gauntlet?
RT: So from the information I got, it is decided rather by wins than head to head comparison, so by that we would have to be in the top six to get points, and we have 10 points from spring but fifth and sixth place give already 20 points in summer, so since there are already new teams that didn’t make it into top six in summer, we are sadly not eligible due to not having enough points. So basically it’s full vacation for us now.
AW: So what your plans for your time off?
RT: I want to go home for some time and spend time with family and friends, since I haven’t seen them in a while and I’ll probably be streaming during the off season.
AW: Looking now toward the coming split, do you have any idea what we can expect from KaSing next split. Will he spend his time off to get better again at the game? Will we see him in the LCS, or any ideas what Team Vitality is going to do?
RT: I think right now the only expectations are that after worlds a lot of roster swaps happen as usual and there will be some changes that people might not expect at all. I think there will be a different Team Vitality, and for now, I don’t know where I will be.
AW: But you will be playing right?
RT: Yeah (laughs), unless I break my hand or something.
AW: Let’s hope that this doesn’t happen.
RT: Yeah, of course not (laughs).
AW: Any shout outs you want to make?
RT: I know I haven’t been playing so well this well this split so far and still think I’m still not playing as well as I could have, so sorry to all my fans that had more expectations of me. Hopefully, next split will go better. So thanks to all the fans that supported me and the team during this bad split, and I feel that I owe to the fans to keep playing and practicing hard to get better to make myself perform better and appreciate my time with my team this split.
Photos courtesy of Riot Games.