Team Dignitas unexpectedly knocked off Cloud9 in the quarterfinals of the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) summer playoffs. Cloud9 had been to the last two NA LCS finals, but Dignitas pulled out a 3-1 win. Slingshot’s Emily Rand caught up with Adrian “Adrian” Ma to discuss the somewhat surprising victory and the Dignitas’ upcoming semifinal series.
Emily Rand: Congratulations on the win. What did you and your team expect from Cloud9 going into this series?
Adrian “Adrian” Ma: I don’t really know because practice was going really well, but our only bad matchup during the regular season was Cloud9, so I feel 50/50 about it. Anything could have happened. Those games were really close, but it feels good that we came out on top.
ER: Did you prepare the Nocturne pick specifically for C9? Or was it something that Shrimp called for since it’s an old Elise counter of his?
AM: We prepped it a little bit, but the thing about Nocturne is that you have to be really safe until about Level 6. If you die once in your jungle against the Elise, it can still go really bad and that did happen, so it was an unfortunate game.
ER: How did you shake that loss off as a team in the middle of the series?
AM: We were already 2-0 up before that so we’re already like, ‘Let’s just treat this as a best-of-one. Let’s just try our hardest.’
ER: One thing that various members of C9 have been really vocal about developing is a more proactive mindset or playing like a more proactive team. But today, Dignitas definitely looked like the more aggressive and proactive team, so how did you go about managing them in the early game?
AM: In Game 4, they blinded Alistar, so they disrespected the fact that I could play Janna. They thought they could win that matchup even though I’m really well-practiced in it, so we double-killed them bot lane and were really well-controlled in lane. We had like a six-item Janna/Sivir/Nunu combo, so we already knew we could tough it out anyway and wait until late game. We just played it really well.
ER: On broadcast you joked that you didn’t even know what was going on in team fights, you’re kind of just throwing stuff out there. I noticed that Ssumday kicks off a lot of your team’s fights, especially on the Maokai, so who primarily makes those initial calls to go in?
AM: It’s all a team effort. Everyone is always talking about what they can do. So Ssumday is going to tell us what he can do and then we do what we can as a team, so I really think it’s a team effort in deciding what we want to do. But, Ssumday does have those clutch moments where he can find those sick engages.
ER: Sometimes he seems to be a bit ahead of the team, or just the setup initiator. Does he ever go in without telling you guys? Or have you just built up that much trust as a team that you’ll just follow him in?
AM: He always communicates it but…(laughs). He’s a pretty quiet guy so sometimes, at the review and stuff, we’ll be like, “Oh shit. Ssumday you didn’t tell us you were going in.” And he’s like, “I did. I was just really quiet.” So I tell him to speak up more. He’s just sometimes quiet when he pulls off those crazy plays.
ER: Your teammates have credited you with being a primary reason why the team atmosphere is so good, saying that you really bring the team together with your outgoing personality. What do you do for the team?
AM: I think it’s in game and out of game. I feel like I really enable people to play better. I’m always asking questions about what we can do and then out of game I’m just really good friends with everyone, inviting people to go out to eat, doing team bonding stuff. I feel like the Korean players, when they come to America, can feel really uncomfortable because they don’t have anyone to talk to. They just have each other. So I feel like I can bring them together with the rest of the team, show them all the good food, stuff like that.
ER: So you’ve already picked out the spot for your victory dinner tonight?
AM: Oh yeah! I’ve already picked the restaurant and everyone’s excited for Japanese barbecue.
ER: You had said previously that you wanted to face Team SoloMid to knock them out, is that your preference over facing your old team in Immortals?
AM: It doesn’t really matter who we face but I think it would be so cool to knock out both TSM and Cloud9 since they’ve always been to the finals. It would be really cool not to see a TSM/C9 final always. What I want to see is a Dignitas/Immortals finals. Immortals are my former team and I still love them and want them to do really well, so Dignitas/Immortals finals, hopefully.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games