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And where should we set the expectation for NA as a region? Is NA making it out of Groups? Is NA reaching the semifinals? The expectation for NA -- Hello~ Nice to meet you. I am Reapeared, the head coach of 100 Thieves. Nice to meet you~ It's great to have you hear, Reapered; it's been such a while! We heard so much good news about you. 100 Thieves recently won the LCS! You're about to play at 2021 Worlds soon! But before I continue, how have you been doing? Yeah, I HAVE been doing well. I took a split off and recurpated. Then, when I joined a team again, I won the LCS in the same split. This year, everything went smoother than I had expected. I was just going to say, we also heard a piece of really good news for you recently. We kept hearing that the jungler of 100 Thieves, Closer, was having Visa issues --
Then I saw on Twitter, that he can finally fly to Iceland! And the Asian teams are also arriving at Iceland soon, so that's some scrims to look forward to. Any expectations towards this? Yes, there's expectation. But honestly, I'm more worried. Out of all the Worlds qualified teams, 100T is the only team that hasn't begun scrims. The LPL/LCK teams have been holding scrims between them, and the EU/NA teams have been holding scrims at this side of the world. But for 100T -- Both our junglers had Visa issues, even our sub jungelr. So he also has to depart to Iceland later than others, which is a concerning situation. Hey, but at least we can PLAY at worlds, at least ... I find gratitude in moments like these. A weigh must have dropped from your heart! Yeah. I did keep telling myself, it'll get resolved, it will all get resolved. But hearing that the Visa has been resolve does remove some weight from my heart. Sure. Still, we do not doubt you will catch up to other teams quickly.
And the final Worlds patch just got applied on the live server. Many people would consider this patch cataclysmic, even So many champions got buffed or nerfed, right? But also, I've been getting this constant message from players that ... That the champions that are viable have been changed, but the meta itself hasn't changed TOO much. And Reapered, you are known as the head coach that grasps a new meta quicker than anyone else out there. So what do you think about the shift -- Is there a lot for you to catch up on? Well, first of all. If there is a shift in a pool of playable champions, that also shifts things including the playstyle ... How to build a comp, how to build a win condition. So I believe the meta will see SOME change. However ... Ok, we haven't been able to scrim. So we do not have a solid grasp on the meta just yet. I've mostly been spending my time watching solo queue highlights or watching the solo queue games of my players. It's mostly been in my head, theorycrafting ... I'm unsure how the meta will actually unfold. A striking vision of jungle Talon in your head, sir?
That's right. And Reapered, you have a track record of qualifying your team to worlds. So what are your secrets to -- What are the hurdles that you help a team overcome -- When it comes to adjusting to the new country fast, catching up to the worlds meta sooner than other teams? Hmmm. Not sure. If there is a secret to this ... I guess I am good at setting a clear direction. I analyze the current meta, and the strength and weaknesses of my players, and set a certain direction. It's easier to make a breakthrough when you have a set direction for your team, compared to not having any. I believe this is my strength that shines when it comes to matches and gives me the results. And see, I don't really know about this worlds. Because usually there is an "ease-in" process for every worlds. In previous years, I'd have a month of bootcamp. Then, the worlds itself would last for more than a month -- If you also include the Play-In stage.
We did that for previous years. But this year, worlds schedule is collapsed. It'll take two weeks between the beginning of worlds to the end of the group stage. The worlds tournament is shorter than a month. They collapsed the schedule hard ... And, like, the NA teams are always starting the race from behind. They're playing catch-up in [international tournaments]. Why is that? This is because the inherent level of the region is not very high. It's not that the players within the region are not talented. However -- This talent only gets to shine when you are constantly going against other refined players. NA lacks in this regard. So it is correct for NA players to level up by going against better players on an international stage However, the period which we can achieve has become shorter this worlds. Perhaps this will become a hurdle in us adjusting to worlds stage. This wasn't originally in my script, but hearing what you have to share, I really want to ask a follow-up question --
It's not the first time someone has mentioned that the NA teams often have a lot to catch up on in every worlds tournament. Reapered, what's the bigger issue here? Is it the NA solo queue environment? Is it the limited scrim partners in NA? Well, a bit of that, a bit of this, it's a combination of many different factors. In my personal opinion, the biggest issue here is the pool of upcoming talents. Yes, NA solo queue, yes, bad. However, the inherent issue is that we have a lack of upcoming talent due to the small solo queue population. I've watched NA players queue for 20, 30 minutes for a game. That's right. In NA, the young fellas go off to play shooting games. The young talent are drawn to Valorant, Call of Duty, Fortnite, the various FPS games ... There is a relative lack of new talent that are flowing into League of Legends. That means the talent pool become stagnated. I believe this is the biggest problem NA faces as the region continues to struggle in staying competitive.
When rookie talents break through, it causes competition and stimulates the existing players. Let's look at the LEC. Every year, Europe produced new talent. MAD Lions, for example, is made out of players that sprung from EU Master soils. In the LEC, often, it's the rookie players that make a breakthrough. This stimulates the scene and pushes the level of competition up. And the LCS is lacking in this aspect. My personal opinion here. Sure. Because this subject always fascinated me. I do want to ask some worlds-related questions, but while we are on the subject of the LCS, let me talk about the LCS a little more. We're at the period of the year when the fans around the world slowly start turning their eyes towards other regions, "Oh, team X is representing region Y at worlds." And 100 Thieves won the LCS finals on 3-0 and has qualified to worlds as 1st seed. Maybe this will be news to Korean fans out there. Perhaps the international fans are still more familiar with traditional names, such as TSM, C9, TL.
And you said things "worked out" for you in 2021. So, Reapered -- What is your reflection on your split with 100T? Luck played a part, things clicked into one another. We managed to "pick the trophy up from the ground" because we at least had the ability to do that. But let's be honest -- During the summer season, various top-tier LCS teams experienced one internal issue or another. C9, for example. Zven was benched, then returned to the roster; and I expect there were some internal issues throughout this process. Team Liquid went through the period when their top laner, Alphari was benched and their head coach resigned. TSM was -- Well, they were doing well then they tripped before the finish line. The way that I see it, our team and TSM were able to play the catch-up while other two powerhouse teams were going through internal issues.
And when it came to the playoffs and the final spurt, we were able to do a slightly better preparations. I say that's why we were able to manage to win the LCS. It feels less of "We completely dominated other teams" or "We won because we are a better team" More of, everything clicking together this season. But 100T also made significant changes coming into summer, right? The addition of you, Reapered, or the addition of Abbedagge at the mid lane ... So what led to this smooth transition of 100T, the new additions integrating into the existing team without significant friction? That -- Ok, I also got lucky here. I got lucky, because ... When I joined 100T, the team had two existing Korean players, Ssumday and Huhi. The two players were ... Man, I forgot the Korean word. You can use English! Going through a slump? The two Korean players were going through a difficult period.
Fortunately, I was able to watch out for them. And 100T has three ex-Golden Guardians players, Closer-FBI-Huhi who all joined 100T at the same time. They already had a history of playing a season together. Meanwhile, Abbedagge had previously played with coach Freeze and jungler Closer back at the Turkish League. Then, Ssumday -- He's just a nice individual, who tends to accommodate the people around him. Except for Ssumday, the four players, jungle, mid, bot lane -- All four players had a previous history of having played with one another. So the transition was easier. The team building that might take a split, or a year, in another team -- We achieved it in a single split. And people were also interested in the story of Ssumday. Ssumday had played in the LCS for many years, came close to the trophy so often but never held it up. Then, when 100T won the LCS, you could see the emotional take over him -- The Korean fans were talking about it.
Oh, really? Yeah. I wanted to hear more about Ssumday. Ssumday went through a lot, for a very long time. This is the first season that I actually got to play with him in the same team, however ... There are moments that I am reminded that he is indeed a veteran player now. For example, the recent LCS playoffs. The people who already watch the LCS will know this, but for the benefit of people who do not follow the LCS ... The top laner of Team Liquid, Alphari, is known for his dominating lane phase. He has consistently led TL with this playstyle throughout the season. Ssumday put a lot of thought into how he should play against a top laner like Alphari. How he should adjust his own champion pool and playstyle to serve 100T. Ssumday also put a lot of thought into how he should draft when he's going against a top laner other than Alphari, that he should be aggressively laning back at ... And it's not an easy feat, to adjust your playstyle based on which opponent you are about to face.
Yet, Ssumday strongly vocalized his desire to explore this option to me. Based on this, I was able to create a different strategy for each team we are facing in the LCS playoffs. The efforts, that did show in-game ... And Sssumday sacrificed a lot for his team when it came to drafts. We could play Ornn, or ... We'd often [blind pick] for Sssumday. Ssumday sacrificed a lot for his team, in various aspect of the game, within the best of his capacity. He did so well this season. If there is an international fan out there, who has never watched a 100T match. And you could tell them exactly one player or focal point to watch out for in 100T. What would that be? If the said fan was watching 100T from a blank sheet. And I had to draw their attention to a single player. It has to be Closer. Closer plays his jungle very aggressively, he often attempts plays that aim to dominate the opponent jungle.
He's got the brain, yet he lands his blows hard. From the perspective of an audience -- Closer is often leading the plays, he has a lot to show off. You'll enjoy watching 100T if you decide to focus on Closer. That naturally flows into the discussion of worlds, I guess -- Group Draw show happened only just recently. Did you watch it live? Fate, it's fate, it's fated that you will always meet EDG and T1 in groups. I did catch the show live. Why are EDG and T1 always on my tail? But let's be honest, aren't you kinda happy with the result of the Draw Show? I was satisfied with it. Let's be honest, every team in Pool 2 would have wanted to get drawn into Group C. And this is not me underrating PSG Talon in any way. But, they do look slightly "playable" compared to the 1st seed teams of major regions. I can see other Pool 2 teams praying for Group C. I did so, too.
But if not for Group C ... The group with EDG, or MAD Lions? Not the worst possible scenario. There was only ONE group draw scenario that I wanted us to avoid. Which is? Us getting drawn in the same group as Damwon and RNG. Wow that is so true. Damwon-RNG group was possible. Yes, theoretically possible. And I had thought any scenario other than DK-RNG was do-able. So I wasn't overjoyed, or disappointed. It's a do-able group draw for us. And what's your outlook for this group? Let's be honest -- Every time I got drawn the same group as T1 and SKT before, I made quarterfinals. So my expectation is that I'll once again make it to the tournament round, easy? Haha, and I'm saying it's going to be easy -- We haven't even started scrims yet! We have to play catch-up from here. But I will make the best effort in order to make something out of the situation. How did your players react to the Group Draw? Perhaps FBI's thoughts on playing against Viper.
Faker vs Fakerdagge, that's a big discussion point. I did wonder how your players reacted to the result. The players were ... All ... United in wanting Group C. And when we didn't get Group C -- Look, do you know what's unlucky? We have a bot lane that likes to pressurize the lane phase very hard. Then we JUST had to get drawn against two other teams that has extremely formidable bot lanes. The players are at least equipped with the mindset "Yes, we can pull through this." But what I want from this year is for the players to get to face the powerhouse players on a big stage And for us to build a platform towards us reaching further heights. That's my opinion as an individual. 100T is a team that has only come together in 2021 summer. And as one leads a team as a head coach, I do notice the weaknesses this team currently has.
And these weaknesses aren't overcome by forcing it. They're overcome by the players playing against powerhouse teams and opponent players, and taking things out of these experiences. That's how a team becomes strong. These are my priorities at the moment. And this should not be interpreted as we won't make it out of Groups. But you can see why fans might place their hopes on 100T, right? Because Team Liquid got dropped into Group D -- Gen.G, MAD Lions -- And LNG can also possibly go to Group D. Oh, it's LNG that goes to Group D? Yes, if we make an assumption the Pool A Play-In teams make it to the Group Stage, LNG will fall into Group D. So TL must beat two out of MAD Lions, Gen.G, LNG. That's TL, huh? They have a chance. They got a chance. And C9? That's a little -- I apologize.
DWG KIA, FPX, Rouge ... Y E S . Rogue, huh. Group A ... A bright future for them. And you just told me TL has a chance. You probably have more insight about TL given that you've been playing against them. What's your outlook on Group D, then? If I have to classify the teams, both S-tier teams have been drawn into Group A. And EDG is a team that has qualified as 1st seed by overcoming a team like FPX, so they should also be considered S-tier. And if I classify these three teams as S-tier, and force myself to classify the rest of the teams as Tier 1, Tier 2, and so on ... I expect all non-S-tier teams to have a chance against one another. I don't believe TL isn't at a disadvantageous position as people would claim. And perhaps this is a question that has been over-asked. A question towards NA's competitive level at international events.
Because I've been observing negative sentiments, already, questioning: Does a team doing well in NA necessarily equate to their success on an international stage? If I must be honest -- If I reflect on NA's competitive level in international tournaments; for example, the performance of C9 during 2021 MSI. Yes, C9 did look shaky at the start, but there were many matches where C9 went "toe-to-toe" They at least showed the performance capable of doing so. And that's the crucial question. Whether NA will stop at going toe-to-toe, or go further and start winning. Then when I turn my eyes to other regions. The LCK, LPL, or even the LEC. Each region always brought that ONE team was significantly strong, that we could consider a "tournament favorite."
And NA never produced such teams. For NA, we drag the expectations down, and say statements like "C9 is the last hope of NA." But a statement like "C9 will win worlds" feels more alien. I guess your question is asking if NA can show a performance that will allow us to make such statements. To answer, at the moment ... I must say it does look a little difficult at the moment. Realistically. Like, it's just so difficult to set an expectation for any region before worlds actually commence. It's even more difficult to gauge this year due to the lack of bootcamps this year. So where should we set the expectation for NA as a region? Is NA making it out of Groups? Is NA reaching the semifinals? Expectation for NA -- It's difficult for me to pinpoint up to which stage we'll make it. And to be honest ...
Sorry, did I push the envelope too far? No, that's not it, just looking for the right word here, the right word ... Having fun ... Set your viewing expectations towards "fun." The reason is -- Look, this is a great idea. First reason. If you watch the matches the LCS teams do win -- They are VERY fun. I guarantee it. Second reason. If you watch the LCS while having lowered your expectation, it often becomes very fun. Consider it a story of growth, moving upwards, defying odds. It will be correct for you to assume that our starting line is slightly behind compared to other regions. And if these teams do make a deeper run into the tournament, they write an anime growth arc. And stuff like that are fun, right? In my opinion. And a good example of that is the 2019 C9, right? The unlikely C9 took down the LCK at both Group Stage and quarterfinals, made it to semis.
Even though that run did hurt my LCK heart. But for the NA fans, the worlds was enjoyable; it must indeed have been "fun" for them. Somewhere along this sentiment? Yeah, that's right. You need that anime growth arc as you climb upwards. A shounen anime. Yeah, shounen anime. That's the level I recommend you set your expectation at. That's the Reddit title for this interview, I guess? "100 Thieves is a shounen anime." Yeah, that's the sentiment. Hmmm. Is there any team YOU want to meet at Worlds, purely as a wish? MAD Lions is the one team I would like to face at a bo5. They're the European first seed, and we are the NA's first seed. We at least need to decide on EU vs NA before we go out. And look, there's a lot of "fun" to be found in this rivalry, too. Europe has been consistently ahead of [NA] for a few years in a row. But NA also needs to throw a counter-punch back to Europe once in a while, to hype the fans up and all.
Look, even in shounen animes ... The shounen never gets to beat the end boss, but there's often a middle-tier boss that you need to overcome in order to progress. If MAD Lions stands in our way like a middle-tier boss ... Now that'd also be "fun." Ok, I'm so curious, I have to ask this ... What's your take on MAD Lions in general? MAD Lions perhaps went through a slump during the regular season, then suddenly looked very destructed coming into the playoffs. So the fans might feel uncertain on exactly what kind of expectation they should set on MAD Lions -- Man, I keep using the word expectation. An aggressive team. A team with a high ceiling. A team that always looks scary when it comes to a bo5. I can tell you that I also analyzed and learned from MAD Lions, and that led to us having a good performance in the LCS playoffs. They have a very clean macro. More than people suspects of them. There actually aren't that many Western teams that have a clean macro. Also, they have a very robust "playbook." For example. If variable A is true, execute B. If variable C is activated, execute D.
They have a very standardized playbook they play around with. They're clean. Also, they utilize fringe champions heavily, which makes them a team that isn't the easiest to play against. They're a hairy opponent. But also, they have Carzzy. So a MAD Lion game is never over until it's over ... So yes, I'd describe them as a very "capable" team. If there are a few S-Tier teams playing at worlds, MAD Lions is right below them, at Tier 1. That's how good they are -- In my opinion, anyway. Once again, I really appreciate your time, Reapered. Finally -- Do you have anything to say to the international fans, the Korean fans, the fans of head coach Reapered? We'll be working very hard in order to show you a good form in worlds. Please watch us and our "anime growth story." If you could support us during worlds, it will be appreciated.
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