An Interview With League of Legends Season 2 Champions - TPA
Last month, we had the opportunity to ask competitive League of Legends team Taipei Assassins (TPA) a few questions following their Season 2 World Championships victory. Read on to find out what MiSTakE, Stanley, Lilballz, Toyz and Bebeisadog had to say about LOL tactics, being the underdog, and the future of eSports.
GeForce.com: Taipei Assassins (TPA) has undergone all kinds of battles since it was officially formed in March this year. NGF, GPL, Go4LOL and IPL5 Taiwan preliminaries through to Season Two must have created many memories for each player and helped them gain valuable experience. Is there anything special that you would like to share with gamers?
TPA: I think the most memorable game for TPA was undoubtedly the first offline competition that TPA had ever taken part in - NGF. Even though we lost 1:2 to the Chinese team WE, the competition allowed us to experience the enthusiasm of live fans and introduced us to offline tournament play for the first time. I will always remember how our fans turned up to each TPA game to cheer us on. Offline tournaments are challenging to players because you must adjust to the venue, climate and time zone. All of these are issues that each athlete must contend with before the start of the match.
GF: Before the start of Season Two, TPA was ranked rather low internationally. Apart from practicing again and again, how did TPA beat the odds to take the championship?
Taipai Assassins: Believe in yourself, prepare for every eventuality, do your best during the competition and never give up.
GF: Many gamers still remember how everyone cheered for TPA during the grand final against Azubu Frost. With all the pressure from the finals, how did you feel? Did it inspire you in any way?
TPA: This was the first time that the audience cheered for TPA at the LA venue. We really enjoyed the feeling and it energized us for the next competition.
GF: I am sure everyone saw how Toyz dominated with Orianna during Season Two. Interestingly enough, Toyz's scoring records showed that Orianna made only rare appearances while characters like Graves and Vayne had the most exposure. Was this a part of your "tactics" or is Toyz planning to change tracks?
TPA: We tried our best to find characters that suited our team's playing style over the sixty or so days we spent in team training. We also adjusted and practiced certain tactics. As team training consisted mostly of private games with other teams instead of ranked matches, the frequency of character usage did not accurately reflect the heroes that we favored for the competition.
GF: During Season 2, gamers saw all kinds of outstanding performances from top teams across the world. TPA trains frequently with players from Europe, America, Korea and other regions as well. Can TPA provide a brief analysis on the habits, strengths and weaknesses of players from different parts of the world? What are the strengths of Taiwanese players?
TPA: American teams usually emphasize individual laning technique and try to use it to secure an advantage early in the game. During the world championship however, all of the players had similar skills levels, making it difficult for this approach to make a decisive impact. European teams tend to emphasize team make-up and team battles so their team really shines when all five players are gathered together. Asian teams put the emphasis on speed, so they try to gain an early advantage in the fog of war and map resources then snowball from there.
GF: The period between 2011 Dreamhack and Season One can be considered as a golden age for the EU style. This year, TPA's new tactics during Season Two such as reverse EU and Duo Mid have generated widespread discussion among gamers. Are there any special tricks to how TPA develops its tactics?
TPA: These tactics are usually the product of constant practice against other teams. If you are defeated by a tactic, you try to master it and turn it as your own weapon. Next, you identify the details to watch out for and practice it until it becomes a strategy that is hard for other teams to copy and learn.
GF: Congratulations on the two new additions to TPA - Zonda, the top-lane specialist, and GoDJJ, in charge of AD. Are there any plans to introduce a new jungler to share the load with Lilballz? For new members, what are the cooperative and training methods used by TPA to help them become a part of the team and familiarize themselves with the tactics as quickly as possible?
TPA: We usually allow a new member joining in as support during practice and online matches in order to identify areas that need adjustment or improvement. New players are usually quite skilled already and only need to get familiar with the team's playing style to perform well in future matches.
GF: Riot has frequently mentioned its interest in making new support champions but the results have been less than satisfactory to date. Just out of interest, is there any trait essential to a support according to support players like MiSTakE and Colalin? Are there any "in-house" support champions that you would personally recommend from your routine practice sessions?
TPA: A good support champion needs an ult that doesn't consume equipment stats to boost damage. Ideally, it should come with crowd control effects, excellent poke ability or a large selection of control skills. Zyra and Yorick are good support champions. Zyra is particularly recommended for practice games.
GF: As many gamers know, the character Tristana has apparently been permanently banned by Retty, your coach, from Bebe's champion list. Can you share with us what happened? There are also rumors that Tristana may be remade in the future. Before the remake happens, does Bebe have anything to say for himself and the cute gunner?
TPA: During an offline competition in China, we picked Tristana and lost the game. The coach joked that we should never pick Tristana again because we lose every time with her. That's how the joke about fining people for picking Tristana came to be. Bebe: Tristana's skill set is currently no match for other popular AD characters. There is also the problem with pushing. Hopefully changes will be made along these lines in the future.
GF: A lot of people don't really understand eSports. Most people probably think that eSports is just another type of sport. But "what exactly is eSports?" I am sure that TPA must have arrived at a definition of its own after all this time!
TPA: eSports is in fact very much like other competitive sports. As athletes, we invest a great deal of time and effort in practice. We are also constantly challenging our limits and competing for the highest honors. During the competition, the athlete must stay calm, pay attention to detail and coordinate with team mates in order to win honor for the team.
GF: TPA must have provided some inspiration for young people interested in joining eSports in the future. I think TPA should take this opportunity to say what is in their hearts to the parents of these ambitious young people!
TPA: We hope that winning the championship will change society's view of eSports. People will learn about the work of professional athletes and see that the staff takes the job seriously. In this way, parents can learn to respect their child’s other developments and allow them to pursue their dreams in a safe manner that does not impact their studies or career plans.
Taipei Assassins recently placed 3rd in the IGN ProLeague Season 5 Tournament earlier this month.