Counter Logic Gaming fell short of making it out of Group A in the League of Legends World Championship, but Slingshot’s Vince Nairn had the chance to talk to Jake “Xmithie” Puchero afterward about the season as a whole and the disappointment of falling short.
Vince Nairn: What kind of thoughts are going through your head after the season comes to an end in a really, really close run?
Jake “Xmithie” Puchero: I mean, I think that every time I went to worlds, I think this is my third time? I think it all ended the same way. The first one was with Vulcan, we were like one game apart too, from getting to quarters. I think same thing as CLG last year, so it feels like deja vu every time. I feel like I might be the curse. I go to worlds, my team and I go, but we’re just stuck in groups.
VN: ANX was definitely the surprise of the group. What did they kind of do, both times really, that threw you off when you played them?
JP: They played early game really weird. I feel like when I scrim, maybe offseason before too, there were challenger teams in NA that were kind of like them, because their jungler plays like really weird. Their routing was really inefficient, but it works. It’s like mind gaming, so yeah I think he’s really good, too.
VN: Did momentum become part of it? It seemed like there became a lot of energy around Albus and they started to kind of run with it.
JP: I think momentum plays a part for them especially. Mostly I think they’re just really good players. They’re really decisive since their first two games against us and G2, they came back with literally the same thing. They snuck Baron both of those games so, whoever their shot-caller is is pretty good.
VN: Going into your last match against ROX, what was your game plan? Obviously it was a win and you’re in. What was the mindset going in there?
JP: I guess it’s a given that everyone wants to win, so, maybe that mentality is really different from any person in our team. For example my mindset is to win so, I want to get early game as good for us a possible but sometimes my other teammates might get nervous because this is technically their biggest game for them because it gets us (out of) groups. I don’t know, it’s different for everyone on the team.
VN: You said this is your third time at worlds. What has been different each time you’ve been back?
JP: More hope I guess? Every worlds I go to is like, “Oh, we can actually get out of this,” or “We can actually win worlds,” or something like that. Every time we lose, our hope goes down, but we win, so it’s the opposite for some reason. So maybe I should get my hopes lower.
VN: Illness is something that’s been going around. Aphro in particular has been sick for you guys. What are the things you guys try to do to combat that?
JP: Well we try to sleep as much as we can. Me and Aphro actually sleep in the same room, I was the first one who got sick in Korea. It was worse than Aphro’s, actually. I literally couldn’t get out of my room until scrims. After scrims I would literally go back straight to my room either in the toilet for hours or just in my bed for hours. It got better after, but it came back maybe four days ago? I started coughing again, so we just got Robitussin, Nyquil next to our beds and drained it every four hours when possible and then hopefully make it to scrims, hopefully for the better later on.
VN: What about this time in leading up to worlds kind of lent itself to people getting sick? Is it you guys doing a lot of traveling, or different time zones? If you have any idea what kind of leads to that this time of year?
JP: I think especially this time it’s flu season, also changing in weather for me is a lot because usually every time I try to travel, I think even last worlds after we back from MSG we came back to our house for maybe like a week, I couldn’t get up from my room. For like maybe three days I just stayed there. I think the weather affects me a lot, and we work more hours usually on the weekend, because that’s what the weekend is for, so maybe like 10 hours and then solo queue for five more hours, since we want to play solo queue in another region, especially in Korea because we usually bootcamp there. Everyone tries really hard, but it gets our immune systems weaker and weaker because we’re overworking ourselves.
VN: How do you sum up this year as a whole? I’m sure it hurts not being able to make it to quarterfinals, but overall you had a spring championship, a runners up performance at MSI. How would you sum it up as a whole?
JP: I guess for me, every year is getting better. I’m getting old too, so my years are numbered, so maybe next year hopefully I can still play, maybe the year after that. If not, I’ll probably still be in the scene I guess. I want to be still playing because the main reason that I was here and mainly playing games in general was because of the competitiveness in it. And if it’s not really competitive for me, I lose interest really fast, so that’s the only thing keeping me playing.
VN: Have you given much thought to what you want to do after you’re done playing?
JP: Before I went to the LCS, I was studying computer animation, modeling, so I just want to be mostly a computer programmer. I’ll probably be in the area if I don’t get back into the esports scene. I still have computers I guess.
Photos courtesy of Riot Games