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Darshan on roster changes: “People in general just overrate how bringing in really strong players will make a team strong, because a lot more goes into it than just having strong players on your team.”

Slingshot’s Andrew Kim talked to Counter Logic Gaming’s Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya after CLG’s opening game of the North American League Championship Series on Saturday.

Andrew Kim: The second game (Saturday) was interesting in the context of CLG having the upper hand in the early to mid game, but Team Liquid was able to come back for the victory. What was the team communication like when you had the lead and when you lost it?

Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya: I think everything was fluid and solid until we had to siege bottom and it was really hard because they had a tank and we didn’t really have a tank, so it’s pretty hard when the game gets later and later and they have a scaling comp. So it was kind of like things being a little more hesitant than they were in the early, mid game when we had more control. That’s just the nature of late game because one mistake or one misstep, and you lose the game or you can lose the game for your team, things were just a little more hesitant as the game went on, as we were losing our lead, it was much harder to win the game because their comp was much better than ours much later in the game.

AK: You chose Jayce in the top lane for game two. What was the drafting like in the top lane? What were you guys going for in terms of strategy?

DU: We were just going to early game pressure and we did have that. We just needed to close out better.

AK: Huhi (Choi Jae-hyun) really showed up with his Aurelion Sol pick, even though we haven’t really seen Aurelion Sol anywhere else. Has he been practicing Aurelion Sol in the new season or was it just a comfort pick he likes having?

DU: Huhi just has a lot of picks like that, that he can pull out with very little practice, and Aurelion Sol is one of those picks.

AK: Seeing as how CLG has been one of the more static teams in the context of roster changes, when you were looking outside, did you think some of the changes the other teams made were interesting? Did you have a particular thought when you saw big roster changes?

DU: I felt like the roster changes, while they did bring better players, people in general just overrate how bringing in really strong players will make a team strong, because a lot more goes into it than just having strong players on your team. And you see that in a lot of rosters in NA and EU where there’s really strong players but they can’t win the game because they’re just not a team.

AK: What are your personal overrated teams, and what are some of your underrated teams?

DU: I think I’ll have to watch more of the NA LCS before I decide, but right now I think people are underrating TSM. I don’t think they’re as bad just because they lost 2-0 to Cloud 9. Everyone’s kind of counting them out and thinks they’re not that good, but I definitely think they’re still a contender for first and a strong team. Besides that, all the other teams I’m still not sure on, because we’ve scrimmed every team, and every team has strengths and weaknesses, and it depends on how well they can improve in the next nine months because I feel like every team can be really good. But they can also just fall apart if they can’t just work on their synergy, I’d say.

AK: You are a very interesting person in the League of Legends scene. You’re not just a pro gamer, but you do a large variety of things. I remember you saying in a previous interview that you meditate, you sing, and in the opening video of the NA LCS, you’re rock climbing. How do you manage to find the time to do all these things and still manage to be at the level of a pro gamer?

DU: When I didn’t actually have to play League, I had a lot more time for those things, and as the season starts I kind of cut it down, where I’m mostly spending time doing League, and the other things are once or twice a week. But I think what I’m finding honestly is being able to do other things like singing, climbing, and yoga. It actually helps me focus better and play League better, so the time I do spend playing League is used more effectively. Honestly, even though right now I’m mostly playing League, I feel like it’s better to go back to what I was doing toward more the offseason, which was doing more yoga, doing more rock climbing, going to the gym more often. It allows me to be in a much better mindset for scrims and for solo queue practice. I think more people should be doing that because I think it’s very easy to be in the rut of just like, “OK. Scrim, solo queue, sleep,” and that’s all you do. But if you have breaks in your day, if you mix up your schedule, then you can just be a lot more focused the time you are playing League.

AK: Do you think the mantra of “A healthy mind comes with a healthy body” rings close to what you’re doing?

DU: Definitely. I think it’s very important to exercise. I think it’s very important to meditate. I could say that exercise could make you a better player, but just because I say that doesn’t mean people are gonna do that. There’s so many things you can do to make yourself a better player, and I think a lot of it is commonly known. It’s just being consistent and having the discipline to strive to be the best every day is where you kind of get lost in translation because it’s very easy to say “Oh, I’m not going to the gym today,” or “Oh, I’m not going to meditate today.”

AK: One of the things that veteran pro gamers have a problem with is injuries cropping up. Did you ever find yourself in a position where you had some physical pain you had to work from?

DU: I definitely had wrist pain issues at times, but it hasn’t been anything near Hai (Du Lam)’s level, but it’s definitely a concern, something I need to stretch and watch out for. It’s just natural. Everyone’s who’s sitting at the computer is going to have issues with, like, their back, their wrist, their arm, you just have to constantly stretch because your body is basically like a combination of your body postures over time. So if you’re constantly hunched over at the computer, and do things like that, your back is naturally gonna curve. So it’s very important to be cognizant how you carry your body, and then from extended computer usage or whatever else you’re doing, exercising. You need to stretch out what you use.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games