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Sneaky on international tournaments and looking ahead to the NA LCS playoffs

Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Cloud9’s Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi during Week 6 of the North American League Championship Series. They talked about the break between LCS weeks, the state of international contests and looking ahead to the playoffs.

Andrew Kim: First off congrats on the 2-0 victory. You guys looked pretty good in Week 6 now. What did you guys do in the off time before the LCS?

Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi: We just practiced the whole two weeks that we had during the Katowice break. I liked our decision to not go to Katowice because every time we go there’s a ton of jet lag that you have to deal with. You go there, it’s hard to play, and you lose a lot of practice because you’re traveling to and back. I think we would have lost a lot of time, and that wouldn’t have been really good for our season in NA. I liked not going and being able to practice and rest up.

AK: Now that you brought it up, the international tournament situation for League is really interesting because we see teams consistently declining while there are still some voices in the community that there isn’t enough international competition. What are your thoughts on the current status of international tournaments?

ZS: I think having more would be beneficial. Just being able to scrim against the teams before the tournament gets played, that helps a lot for the teams but the problem is how much time you actually have. This was a week in the middle of NA LCS, so you go out there, you get to play to scrims before you have to play and then you have to play on stage. You get some experience there, but it’s not set up well like worlds is. For worlds, you get the whole four weeks before you actually have to play where you can sit there and practice. Usually everyone goes to Korea to get the best practice they can. I do think more international tournaments are good, it’s just really hard to fit them in. With this Katowice specifically, I think a lot of teams (were) declining because there’s not enough time to set up for it, and the rewards for even winning it are relatively low. I think every team would lose out unless they’re winning.

AK: With Cloud9 doing pretty well competing for first, how do you guys feel about the current competition of the NA LCS? We see a lot of mid-tier teams are doing well with some unexpected success being mixed in right now.

ZS: I’d say overall the teams, if you compare to summer, we’ve gotten worse for sure, because it’s such a long break. After worlds, a lot of teams weren’t practicing the whole time. There was a new patch, everyone has to adjust to that, and a lot of teams got new players so they have to synergize. That takes a while to do. Come summer, it’ll be a lot better. It’s not like everyone is playing terribly or anything. I know that we’ve been on a pretty decent decline. I think it was Week 3, 4, 5 we were declining pretty hard? I don’t know if we’re back now but we learned a lot over the break. I know that we’re improving ourselves. I don’t know about the other teams. I think Immortals looks really good sometimes. Teams are all over the place really, and it’s interesting so far. I think it’s definitely lower than summer.

AK: Do you watch VODs from other regions?

ZS: I’d say LCK is the one I look at the most. I don’t necessarily go back and watch entire games or anything. I think for every game I check on the pick/ban and see what they’re doing there, trying to understand the reasoning why they’re picking in certain ways, high prioritization on things like, if we weren’t already doing that, why aren’t we doing this, that kind of stuff. I like LCK a lot. EU LCS is in the morning sometimes I’ll catch a game of that. I don’t think I watched the LPL but, mainly just looking at LCK.

AK: Is there a player that you keep an eye out in particular?

ZS: It’s mainly just general. If I’m looking for team stuff: What is there bot lane doing at this point in the game? What do they do after they push every wave? Are they looking to roam? Are they looking to pressure the turret? That kind of stuff. I probably looked at (Bae “Bang” Jun-sik) the most. SKT has looked like the strongest team. They had a really close game against KT, and I think it’s coming up again. We’ll get some matches in there, it’ll be interesting to watch, two best teams going at it.

AK: Who is the most underrated player in the NA LCS right now?

ZS: Dark Meteos. I mean, I don’t really know. For a full legit answer, Meteos has been doing pretty well. He hasn’t been really playing much of the game recently so I’m glad to see him coming back strong. Hopefully he can win more games.

AK: With the current situation of team adjustment and recovery since worlds, what is going to be the top five teams in the NA LCS for playoffs?

ZS: I’d say, us, TSM, FlyQuest, probably Immortals, and CLG.

AK: Do you think that last spot will be really contested by a lot of teams?

ZS: Yeah it’s pretty close. Echo Fox looked pretty good in the season but we faced them twice and beat them 2-0 twice, so I don’t know how entirely good they are. CLG looks all over the place, but they usually play well coming back. I think they have a lot of issues playing the full meta. They seem like they can’t play the best champions at the best times. If they can really understand it, they can come back. I’m not saying, like, deciding who the top five is, but just the top five teams. All those teams should probably make it in.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games