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Postgame Interview with SK nRated - 2014 EU LCS Week 8 Day 1

During W8D1 of the EU LCS, our writer, Adel Chouadria, managed to interview SK Gaminglogo std.pngSK Gaming's nRated after their win against Milllogo std.pngMillenium.

The interview covered a multitude of topics - SK's growth as a team, how their coach has influenced them, an in-depth look at their approach to picks and bans, some of the more interesting moments in their latest matches, and above all, on their future as a team.

Adel: Hello everyone this is Hype Algerian for Leaguepedia and with me today is nRated, SK Gaminglogo std.pngSK Gaming’s Support. Now the first thing I wanted to ask is: The team went 2-2 during the first week? How did the team evolve after that performance?

nRated: The team evolved in a way that… we started to practice a lot more solidly and consistently. We just kind of grew together and understood the way everyone was thinking about the game. We got input from everyone and we kind of formed the way we play. Not in the first week, but slowly but surely. You cannot start adapting when there is nothing to adapt to. So in scrims not everyone is giving 100% and when everyone is playing at their best – not only them, also us. You can just say how much you can do; you know your limits. Form the limits you can reach and actually design how you want to play the game. We managed to find a form where we can use our strengths and abuse the enemies’ weaknesses and I think that’s how we’re supposed to play a game in the competitive scene.

SK Gaming's acquisition of Jesiz has proven itself a good investment.
Adel: One thing I wanted to ask as well is as far as the emergence of Jesiz in the midlane, how complicated was the process for the team as a whole?

nRated: I think the first week or weeks in general we played as if we were afraid – every one of us. Everyone was a bit afraid of committing and doing mistakes, maybe overextending. We didn't take those high-risk high-reward chances. We rather said - Okay, we take the low-risk approach and play passive and we stall and we wait. There was no match except for the one versus Fnaticlogo std.pngFnatic where we got stomped or where the matches weren't close. We lost all of our early game phases but we always dragged it out and we were almost even in strength with our opponents. So we could have won those matches with simple engages or things we’re doing now like taking initiative and we worked on rotations and the way we call. So many little things that add up to the sum which made us better in the end.

Adel: You guys were afraid… How did the transition go from playing not too loose to playing to win, basically taking the risks needed to win?

nRated: We had to get it out of our heads that the LCS is the biggest thing in the world. Right now for us, every LCS game is a scrim. We play to our limits. We know how much we can do. We don’t overextend but we take every advantage we can and we snowball from it. I think we’re really good in capitalizing on advantages, snowballing, and closing out games. Late game we make few mistakes. Overall it’s like the whole gameplay we do is very dependent on our strength of being able to close out games.

Adel: Another thing I wanted to touch on is the prevalence of the coaches’ reasoning throughout the team. What does the coach bring to the team in particular?

nRated: In case of preparation the coach does a lot and he also has an outside point of view so if something goes wrong he can give an outside point of view and say “Okay, the mistake was done by this guy, he did this wrong, and you can do this to do it better.” So constructive criticism is very important. You kind of need to have someone outside that just does that. He can do a lot of scouting. What champs would they play that would be good against us? What do we prepare against? What might they ban? He has more time to do those kind of mind games and I think that’s very important because not everyone can focus on everything at the same time. You kind of need to focus on yourself and having someone that does that for you is a really big advantage.

Adel: Another thing is that I noticed the team started picking some exotic champs.
making a comeback from summer split from the Eglogo std.pngEvil Geniuses tactic, a part of which you actually were at the time. Whose call was it for that and what is coming forward for the team in that regard?

nRated: We are not afraid of picking champions because who says champions are viable or not? In the end it’s us. We determine if a champion is viable or not. The call itself was made by Fredy because he had to play it. If I give advice to someone it’s only to push someone in a certain direction. You have the triangle of
Dr. Mundo
. That’s basically the case. So we tried to find an answer against one or several of them so we went through all the picks we could have done and in the end we stuck with Aatrox. He offers a lot to the team that other champions don't. He has the revive mechanic which makes him invulnerable late game with a guardian which means you have to kill him three times and killing a tank three times in late game is a pain in the ass. He has a gapcloser, a jump, a knockup, a slow, so the whole kit that he has is very strong. His laning is strong. I think he’s not an overpowered pick right now but he’s a very solid pick so we decided it works for us and we’re not afraid of picking it. Same for
for example. If you see certain picks that make sense for you but others didn't pick it up you can still pick it up because there might be a reason someone else doesn't play it but there might be a reason you can play it.

nRated's pick of Annie has paid out many times in their games so far.
Adel: We’re going to focus mostly on Super Week preparation. Your first game this week was Milllogo std.pngMillenium. Now can you talk to me about the Super Mega Death Tibbers Drop?

nRated: I guess you mean the one that ended the game in bot lane where I hit Tibbers on three people:
. I’m always looking for opportunities and if someone clusters up, I’m not afraid of going in at any point. So when I saw that they were doing it, I was calling the possibility that I could Tibbers anyway. I said “I have Flash-Tibbers. Be ready, be ready, be ready.” And at a certain point when they clustered up without protection in front of me I just Tibber’d them because I knew that there is always follow-up and I have to rely on that. There’s not much to say about how you can Tibbers because it’s so situational. I cannot even give advice when you have to do it. It’s just a feeling I have in the moment that I know “Okay, now I have to do something and now I see an opportunity” and they stack up and I go.

Adel: Now combined with
– Super Mega Death Rocket and the Mandrop. Now that’s a lot of burst, but you have to make sure that it’s all synced. How does the team make sure that everything is synchronized?

nRated: I coordinate a lot when it comes to that – especially ganks. The possibilities between bot lane saying where is the lane, how is it pushing, how does it work, how are they playing, are they passive/aggressive, where do they stand? And then Sven has to say if he’s in range, if he has ult, if he wants to ult. It’s also a thing to see if the enemy jungler is there or not, and on top of that it’s always like Sven calls the ulti mid and I just follow up. I have it in my mind that I played this matchup – this composition – many many times now and I just stun on-point. Every time Mandrop comes, I stun just before it is visible so when the Mandrop comes, Pantheon's stun is actually instantly used on top of mine so we have a CC chain which is not flashable and you cannot lantern it or anything. I think that’s really important because if you give them a reaction time they will react obviously.

Adel: Now another thing is that SK had a rough early game, but came back through objectives such as dragon, but that also says something about MIL’s control. Can you tell me a little bit about the process of coming back and where MIL actually stand in all of that?

nRated: Well, they made our AD Carry weaker than theirs which was a big point. I think we lost a lot of pressure on bot lane because we gave two kills away. The first blood itself we were aware of the possibility of them hooking but there was a smaller chance of standing in the brush… so I just had to stand there and take one for the team in case they come. I was aware of it. I called it before and there was not much we could do. From that point on, they got more points, they had the overall XP advantage. We pushed them early but Candy got hooked twice and died for it. I think coming back from this was only a matter of time because the more you farm, the more of an advantage you accumulate. Let’s say you are 5k gold behind as a team early which is the biggest deal in the game. You basically have a hard time coming back. But if you manage to farm and maybe get a kill or something and don’t go for straight fights and drag the game out, this 5k gold advantage after 10 minutes means very little. So you always have to see the relation between the gold advantage a team has and the overall gold that’s in the game. I think for us right now that early was bad, but we didn't get dragged down by it. I think it was more like MIL got hyped up by it and got more confident. For example the early drake was a risky call and they got punished for it by us. In the end, they only went for it because they thought they were so far ahead because of that bot lane thing that happened. I think overall it’s just a thing of finding a way to handle the risks that you have and advantages. If you’re at a disadvantage, you have to see which risks the enemy is taking and be aware of how to abuse that disadvantage to bait someone into making a mistake and capitalizing on those mistakes.

Adel: Going toward the future games, you guys are now second place, tied with GambitLogo std.pngGambit Gaming. How does the team approach all of this? SK was 1-3 and now you’re second place, just one game behind Team ROCCATlogo std.pngTeam ROCCAT.

nRated: We just prepare for each game as much as we can. We do our mind games like we always do, prepare our bans and picks. As long as we play our game we will keep performing. And if we don’t perform we will find the reason and try to sort it out and make things work for us. That’s the way it always worked and it will keep working like that.

Adel: Now we’re going to close the interview out. Anything you want to say in particular?

nRated: I would like to thank everyone that is supporting me right now as well as in the past and all the fans that are watching and cheering for us. It actually means a lot to us. On top of that, I think my team is pretty awesome and I’m happy to play with them, so big shoutout to them and I just hope we keep performing and doing well because I think every one of us is working hard for it and we all deserve what we are getting.

We at Leaguepedia would like to thank nRated for the interview. The European League Championship Series resumes on Tuesday, March 6th, and SK Gaming will play Team ROCCATlogo std.pngTeam ROCCAT as the second match of the day, at 18:00 CET / 12:00 PM EST / 9:00 AM PST. You can catch a glimpse of the action at during the entirety of Super Week.

Interview held by Adel "Hype Algerian" Chouadria - @hypealgerian
Transcribed by Benjamin Friedman
Edited by Alex "Matteo" Kirilov - @ROCCATMatteo

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