Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Dignitas’ Benjamin “LOD” deMunck during Week 7 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series.
Andrew Kim: You guys seem to have trouble being consistent, especially when you get an early game lead. Why do you think you guys have a hard time keeping the ball rolling?
Benjamin “LOD” deMunck: We’re not really on the same page. Being a team fully is really difficult. We’re a team obviously and I like my team, but we’re not all thinking the same way all the time doing everything together. We have quite a ways to go before everyone’s just always thinking the same thing so if we get a lead, all of us have different ideas what we want to do with it, and all of them could work. We could literally do anything. But the problem is we split our decisions so much and our decision making is so fragmented. We’re trying to spread our lead through five different ways. We don’t really have an actual, full shot-caller. Sometimes I’ll be the most vocal. Sometimes it’ll be Alex (“Xpecial” Chu) or Chaser (Lee Sang-hyeon) it just depends, right? It’s kind of rough, but we’re getting there.
AK: How do you maintain a positive attitude even in the face of disappointment as expressed by fans? I’m sure the disappointment has to be shared as the player.
BdM: It’s pretty difficult. Over the past six years I’ve been playing, I got a lot of hate from the community overall. So I’m really used to it, and I wouldn’t say it affects me, but to me I want to win so bad. I give my all, I give my 110 percent every time I play in the LCS. So defeats are super crushing, but I’m not going to lie, it sort of tilts me if I lose throughout the week. Last week we went 0-2. I didn’t have the greatest week. It’s hard to feel super upbeat and positive after that, but I just know that there’s always going to be a new opportunity for me to prove myself. There’s always going to be a further opportunity. I always think about that: What’s going to happen next, you know? Once something is done, whether a win or a loss, you shouldn’t hype yourself up super hard after a win, and you shouldn’t bring yourself super down after a loss. You gotta just stay level headed and focus on the future always, so that’s what I try to do.
AK: International tournaments are in an interesting spot with teams declining spots but the community saying that international competition is important. As a pro player, what are your opinions on the matter?
BdM: I think international competition is really good. It’s very difficult because it feels like there’s almost never a good time for it. With playing so many games during the spring split and the summer split, most of your year is taken up, and if you want to be a good team, you have to grind insanely hard during both splits. You have to be playing solo queue all day when you’re not scrimming. You always got to be focused on the game, always thinking about the game, watching teams that are successful. It just takes up your entire day, and you get one or two break days a month. You’re always grinding. With Katowice, teams were declining because you get this two week break to use it to wind down a little bit, get a little bit of relief or use it to go to a completely different timezone on the other side of world and then screw your sleep schedule up, stuff like that. It’s an easy choice. No NA team would be down for that. In the middle of the season, it’s really hard. Maybe in between the splits is better, maybe after MSI and then towards the end of the offseason is really good too. I think international tournaments are really important but it has to be timed well. In the offseason at the end, everyone’s mostly got their rosters together, so teams are able to participate early. So all in all, I think it’s really good, but timing has to be good.
AK: Do you think reducing the time in the spring split might be a good idea to give room for international tournaments?
BdM: I think so. I think something should be changed for the spring split. This is my first spring split I’ve actually played, so it’s kinda weird for me but it feels strange, you know? Some people are even talking about like making it one giant split, which sounds like it could be a good idea. It seems like a whole lot of work for almost nothing you know? It matters, I care, but compared to summer? (It’s less important).
AK: Casters talk about it, fans talk about it, the phrase “Trust the Process.” Because there is a large focus with Dignitas’ partnership with the 76ers, I want to ask you how much of the 76ers’ mentality or infrastructure does Dignitas reflect?
BdM: Yeah I guess the 76ers are involved, but we don’t really see a lot of it on a day-to-day basis. It’s more just like, the amount of funding we have on our team is increased heavily by having the 76ers backing, and the support is there. If we didn’t have the 76ers backing, we wouldn’t have players like Ssumday (Kim Chan-ho) and (Chaser) and stuff like that, right? So that is noticeable in terms to our day to day life. We’re still a pretty fresh team. Throughout the year, there will probably be more and more involvement.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot