Of any of the teams to come to the League of Legends World Championship, Splyce has perhaps entered with the most realistic expectations.
As a team heavy with teenagers and still only one split removed from the European League Championship Series’ relegation tournament, Splyce qualified for worlds with a strong rise among the European hierarchy. Instead of proclaiming the world for the taking, however, Splyce has stuck to a toned-down approach at worlds, realizing it might just not be ready to compete for a championship.
Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Jonas “Trashy” Anderson during the group stage to talk about monitoring expectations, goals for the tournament and what it’s like to qualify for worlds.
Andrew Kim: Off of that rough game against TSM, you had the ability to control the jungle and put your team ahead with your aggressive plays. When you play a game do you usually find yourself in the same situation of being aggressive?
Jonas “Trashy” Andersen: I always look at the game where I try to understand the state of the game, and if the state of the game is that I’m gonna do an aggressive play, that’s what I do. Everything is based off of though process and how you’re supposed to play the game. In this case I was playing Rek’Sai against Skarner, and I want to put my team ahead in the early game. I think I did a decent job, I think I could have done it better, but we got an early lead and that’s what matters. I’m happy we got the early game today compared to the other days where we have been struggling a lot. We could use some improvement today, but I also think Rek’Sai is really a comfort pick for me and I played her so much in the past. I was very comfortable on stage today.
AK: Sencux said in a previous interview that he approaches worlds as a learning experience. Do you share the same mindset with him or are you more geared towards winning, creating results, and going beyond groups?
JA: I’m more leaning towards the same as him. We’re not here to win the tournament. We have to be realistic about what we can do. But we are here to prove to ourselves that we belong here. I think today we did that by playing kinda even with TSM the whole game, so I’m happy with that. But we all hate losing, and we want to win as well. After a loss we’re sad and we hate our lives that we didn’t pull the trigger on maybe one or two plays better. On one hand, yeah we are here to learn, but we’re also here to prove ourselves that we actually can compete at this level. That’s why I think the two first games we played in groups were kinda sad for us that we couldn’t show better play. Today was more satisfying.
AK: Splyce had a really good track record during the regular season in the EU LCS, closing out games with a gold lead, and (against TSM) you did have a gold lead but you let it slip away. Why do you think was the main issue of not being able to push that lead into a victory?
JA: I think the biggest problem honestly was that we had really good control even after the baron, we got two towers and we were pressuring the map, but they went five towards mid, and we didn’t respect it, and we got caught, and after we got caught in mid, they got control over the nashor area. I think that was like one minute to nashor, and Sencux walked into our jungle without vision and he got caught. They were slowly grinding us in terms of vision and setting up baron, and they had better position on nashor, and we struggled to to find a way to kind of get the control back. I think after that it was rough because then they won a fight — a really clutch fight I think two for three — and got nashor. After they got nashor, they kind of took over the game and finished it out.
AK: The general theme I’m getting from Splyce is that you are a team that doesn’t let defeat affect you too much. Although you want to win, and losing is always frustrating, it seems like in interviews, everyone’s still saying “hey it was a close game,” or “we’re happy to be here.” Where does that positive mentality with the lack of tilting we see some other pros do come from?
JA: I think we are just very close together, and a loss is not gonna keep us from being friends. I know other teams where their losses can kinda ruin their relationships, and that’s not the case for us. So I think that’s probably the biggest reason why. We just look at a loss as a way of learning, and I think it all comes from how we lost a lot of games and kinda looked at it as a loss we could learn from, and that’s where the mindset came from. Even after winning a lot of games, we still had that mindset and I’m happy that we are close together and the losses aren’t affecting us as a group.
AK: Putting the games aside, is about your world experience. Coming to a new place, competing with the best in the world, and being able to say “we are here because we proved ourselves to be Europe’s very best teams.” Is your world experience meeting your expectations?
JA: On one hand, I’m happy to be able to play against the best players, but honestly it has also been a really rough experience, because the bootcamp in Korea was very, very intense, and very draining in terms of your self, how you lived, and you’re really tired because you used your whole day to play and stuff. The general worlds experience has been great. I love playing in front of a big crowd and they’re cheering a lot but I don’t think I had a clear expectation of what I want to do at worlds or how’s it gonna be. For now I think it’s kinda weird to talk about because we are just here kinda to play, and we haven’t been really out to talk with a lot of fans and stuff like this. So it kind of feels weird to be here. I’m not 100 percent sure. I’ll have to answer that when the whole worlds situation is over.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games