Heading into Summer Split, TGH sat down with Cloud9’s top laner, Licorice. We asked about how to be a defending champion, the mid-season break, and top laners outside of North America. Here are his brief thoughts on those topics (plus his favorite Pokemon).
Rob (TGH): You guys are coming off an incredible split. You, in particular, coming off some injuries last season and you had an outstanding split this season. How does it feel to be entering the Summer Split as a defending champion and coming off, arguably, one of your best splits of all time?
Licorice: It feels really good. I’m really excited to start playing again. I think that’s something that I always miss during the off-season, no matter what, whether I’m coming in as the champion, or whether we just had a bad split. I’m really excited to get back to playing. And I would say from about Week 5 of Spring Split when we were 10-0 – we were already the team to beat, and then coming into the summer we’re still a team to beat. So, I’m just excited to play more games, I think that it’s like more of the same for us.
Rob (TGH): What have you all been doing to try to make sure that you guys can keep that high level performance during a break, as long as this one?
Licorice: For me, I actually put a lot of focus on making sure that I got good rest time, and that I wasn’t actually just grinding League the whole time, because I think that, for me, it’s really healthy to actually take a break from the game. In the past sometimes, what I’ve done is, like, ‘oh, I don’t have to play the game anymore. I’m just gonna go play 12 hours of solo queue every day,’ but I just don’t feel good after doing that. I don’t feel refreshed when we get to summer, and I feel really good right now.
Rob (TGH): That’s awesome. What have you been doing over the break? A lot of Animal Crossing? Valorant? What’s been your poison?
Licorice: I’ve actually been doing a fair amount of reading, like fiction, nonfiction. I would say my favorite book that I’ve read, I guess, was The Hobbit, which I really enjoyed. And, as far as games go, I actually picked up Pokemon Go.
Rob (TGH): I mean, especially considering you guys can really only walk around out there in LA right now, you can’t really interact with anybody else, it feels like that’s the perfect game to be playing right now.
Licorice: Yeah, exactly.
Rob (TGH): Awesome. Well okay, I can’t go through this interview then without asking: who’s your favorite Pokemon?
Licorice: Okay. I don’t know why I wasn’t prepared for this. That’s a such a tough question. I think I’ve always really liked Vaporeon.
Rob (TGH): Alright, alright, for now, on record, Licorice is a Vaporeon fan.
Licorice: I reserve the right to change that answer at any moment.
Rob (TGH): Absolutely! That’s great. Ampharos fan here, big Ampharos fan.
Licorice: Oh yeah, I always pick up Mareep, whenever I played through Gold and Silver.
Rob (TGH): Oh, how can you not, how can you not?
Licorice: It’s right there, you know?
Rob (TGH): Oh, I know right? Anyway, getting back on track, did you follow the Mid Season Cup at all, or have you been watching any of the other leagues as they’ve been getting back into action?
Licorice: I still want to go back and look at that a little bit closer, because it kind of happened during the break, and I wasn’t really paying too much attention to it, but I kept an eye on it.
Rob (TGH): So are there any players that have caught your eye, just from your casual watching?
Licorice: Not really. I think, for me, the player that I’m always the most interested in watching is TheShy because he just plays so aggressively and always manages to get these massive CS leads no matter what. And recently, sometimes he also dies a lot, which isn’t great. I just think he is the best at laning 1v1 in the world so that’s always super interesting for me to watch.
Rob (TGH): Yeah, I think a lot of people would put you up there, too. How does it feel to be somebody who a lot of people put expectations, or have such a high regard for you, that when you’re going into these games people are now probably watching you as well to see what you’re doing? How does it feel to kind of be on the opposite side of the table?
Licorice: It’s not something that I think about a lot. My focus is always just on practicing hard, and my goal is that I want to be able to beat anybody. So, eventually, I want to be the player that everyone looks at and watches, but I don’t know if I’m there yet, and that’s not the part of it that’s interesting to me. The part that’s interesting is beating everyone up basically.