Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with FlyQuest’s Jason “WildTurtle” Tran during the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS). They talked about his lengthy playing career, summer split goals and reuniting with many of his former teammates on FlyQuest.
Andrew Kim: You’ve been part of the LCS for a long time, and interestingly enough you’ve switched over to a team that made of majority veterans except which is Moon (Galen Holgate). Was it any different being a part of a team that’s made up of majority veterans?
Jason “WildTurtle” Tran: I think joining a team with veterans and very little new players, you don’t necessarily have to go in there and teach everyone how to play the game. You just have to learn off your veterans, see what they experience. Even new players, they can have pretty smart things to say, too, so I think having a mixed team and joining a team with already so many veterans means I don’t have to go in there and try my best to teach all my teammates how to play the game.
AK: Do you feel like you have a heightened sense of faith in your teammates if you know that they are veterans?
JT: Yeah for sure. I have a lot of trust in my support player LemonNation (Daerek Hart), Hai (Hai Du Lam), Balls (An Van Le) — I actually played with him for a while back when I was with C9. Even then, it kinda feels like we’re playing the same back then except we’re playing LCS now.
AK: With your interesting track record as an AD Carry, you’ve moved from team to team, you’ve played with a lot of different supports and teams. What is the No. 1 lesson that you’ve taken away from your experience?
JT: I think playing with all different players definitely makes me learn a lot. I think I’ve learned a lot considering that I’ve played with 15, 20 players in my whole career, and I think the biggest learning point of my whole AD Carry career was when I was playing with Immortals. Playing with Huni (Heo Seung-hoon) and Reignover (Kim Yeu-jin) taught me a lot about macro and how to play the game. Of course my macro play on FlyQuest isn’t the best right now, but I think eventually I’ll have to re-learn what was taught and try to translate that to my new team. I think we’re having trouble with that right now, and our mid game isn’t very strong as you can see in our games. But I think our laning phase and our early game has been one of the key factors of our team right now, and I think if we’re able to practice a lot, and go to the mid game, it’ll be a lot better.
AK: With the kind of interesting nature of League of Legends with the new bottom lane pick of Xayah and Rakan, being rather contested by a lot of different teams, what is your evaluation of the two?
JT: I think together they’re pretty good. Xayah makes Rakan’s engage very long range considering he can jump really far to Xayah, and then engage from there. I think both of them together is pretty strong because it’s pretty good in the laning phase from Level 1 and onward. The only hard thing is that don’t have any hard crowd control in the early game, but they’re a lot stronger as a duo once the game goes on. Xayah does a lot of damage. Rakan has a lot of CC.
AK: With your long career, it seems like it’s defined by adaptation. It’s kind of hard to pinpoint a champion that you really enjoyed playing or really liked playing during the course of your competitive career. If you had that sort of champion, which one would it be?
JT: I would say I play a lot of Ezreal. He’s always been one of my favorites, and I think what people kind of know me for is playing a lot of Jinx. That used to be kind of my champion back in Season 5, I think, where I played a shit load of Jinx. I think that’s what people remember me as: a Jinx player. I guess she kind of fits me too. she’s very wild and I’m WildTurtle, so…
AK: With the new skins that are coming out with SKT, let’s say you win worlds. What champion would you like your championship to look like and what theme would you choose for it?
JT: If I could choose any champion, which I think you can, I would choose my championship skin to be Udyr, even though he’s not very viable. I think it’ll be really funny to see his turtle form and maybe my face on it. Maybe not my face — of course I’m joking — but probably something interesting with his turtle form. Maybe I’d think of something, but I think Udyr would be really cool just because he has an innate turtle. Or I’ll choose Rammus, something like that.
AK: Given your career length you’ve heard a lot of praise and a lot of criticism. What instance of praise has stuck with you, and what is one instance of criticism that stuck with you?
JT: I think generally when I’m having a really bad split or I’m not playing as well as I can and then I see, obviously I can’t pinpoint, but when I see really nice comments and people having my back, I always feel grateful that there are people who still support me. Over the course of my career, I get bashed a lot and it sucks. It makes me pretty sad as an individual. It kind of hurts my confidence as a player every time I see those comments or see those words, but I think that generally whenever I have that one fan who always believes in me, just always supports me, it’s pretty heartwarming for me, and I think that’s the reason why I still play League of Legends. If everyone just hated me, it would suck, but I always have these moments where some still support me regardless of my performance or how I’m doing. So I’m really thankful for all those fans out there that give me a push of encouragement. For the most part I do get a lot of hate, and I think for the most part some of it is kind of unwarranted. I don’t know why they’re being so toxic to me. It’s hard to say, but I think it’s because I’ve had a pretty good track record back when I first started playing the game. I think a lot of people have high expectations of me, and I do have some good games here and there, but it’s easier to see when I’ve been performing badly.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/Slingshot illustration