During Week 9, Day 1 of the NA LCS, I had the chance to sit down with Aidan “Zirene” Moon. Zirene is a color caster, an analyst, and also streams on his Twitch channel – which you can check out here.
On Playoffs Contenders
When talking about the NA LCS and who would make playoffs, Zirene said “Team Liquid, I’m cheating because they already made it. 100 Thieves, Echo Fox, and this is where it gets tricky…”
“FlyQuest, because I think that with their schedule, they are able to clutch it out pretty easily. [If] they win today, they’ll be locked…”
“Then I think it’s going to be Cloud9. And then it comes down to OpTic and TSM, huh?”
The interview happened after Team Liquid won their game against Echo Fox. To learn more about the rest of Day 1, check out our recap here. TSM played OpTic later that day, so this prediction and explanation were made before the game occurred.
On TSM and the “Weldon Effect”
“I actually believe in TSM here because I’m a big fan of Weldon.”
Weldon Green is an esports psychology trainer who has worked with many LCS teams in the past. He is currently working with TSM to help them make playoffs.
“When [Weldon Green] comes in and helps a team out that has people on it who haven’t gelled with the team completely – I think he [Green] does a really good job at giving [players] a boost. They get almost like a second honeymoon phase. So he comes in as a sports psychologist, or a sports psychologist trainer, [since] he trains people to be sports psychologists.
Jonathan “Grig” Armao was TSM’s Academy League jungler in Spring 2018, and moved to the starting position, replacing Mike “Mikeyeung” Yeung. Grig’s three most played junglers this split are Trundle five times, Sejuani three times, and a tie of Nocturne, Gragas, and Olaf at two games each. This more tank-centric playstyle was more what TSM was looking for, as Mikeyeung was mostly a carry-oriented jungler.
Zirene continues, “We even saw it last week, when Grig was telling Bjergsen like ‘You need to back out now and protect the base’. [He’s] very authoritative, [given that] he’s the newest member of the team and empowering people to make the calls that they trust in. Everybody has good instincts on how to play the game. But when instincts go against each other, you need a defining voice to cut through. And on TSM, I think it needs to be a jungler, because everybody knows how to use a jungler, but the player in jungle obviously can’t be everywhere at once. So I think TSM will be the ones to do it if they beat OpTic.”
On Worlds Contenders
When asked what he thinks would be his picks for the North American teams going to Worlds, Zirene said, “From the teams that will make it in NA, Team Liquid, because championship points. Also, I think they just locked a first round bye, so they’re pretty much a guarantee for first or second. And then I think 100 Thieves will also go.”
Team Liquid, with their win against Echo Fox, secured a first round bye to the semifinals. Even if Team Liquid fails to make the finals, the 90 championship points they accrued from the Spring Split should lock them into the second seed, which is determined by total championship points.
Zirene continued, “I actually think it might be Cloud9 over Echo Fox. Echo Fox have not been looking good lately, especially Huni, and a little bit like Dardoch is trying to save these games. I wouldn’t say he didn’t look like he did before, but I feel like people are learning to exploit him more, and it’s looking really bad for them on the top half of the map, which was their strong side for long.”
“So I actually think it’ll be Cloud9, ’cause they’ve actually been looking so good since the swap to Blaber and Jensen. Then, the flexibility they have where they brought in Goldenglue and Svenskeren to take that game off Team Liquid – that was super cool.
“I think that Reapered has a really good head on his shoulders for drafting as well as knowing what to do with the team now. And it’s kind of retrospective, because when we look at the team in the beginning, and people were saying ‘Man, what are you doing? These players are unmotivated and stuff.’ But we only know what’s going on on the outside and they were trusting their system and it’s worked out now.'”
“So I feel like we have to go back and almost apologize a little bit to Repeared and be like ‘You do know what you were doing. You know you’re the coach for a reason’. Ultimately, I think he was risking his job because if that didn’t work out, he’d probably get fired. That, or the trust in him from community, staff, and players would drastically waiver. He wasn’t making these decisions lightly, he takes them very seriously.”
“I think that Cloud9 will be the third team, ’cause they kind of know what to do with their team and it’s worked out for the second half of the split for sure.”
Cloud9 has changed their roster over the course of the Summer Split to best suit their team. Now, it seems that the consistently starting members will be Zeyzal, Sneaky, and Licorice, meanwhile C9 will sub in the duo of Jensen and Blaber or Goldenglue and Svenskeren.
This is Part 1 of the interview with Zirene. In Part 2, he talks about his streams, the Casting Class he has, and his ZiReal Talks.
Featured photo from lol.gamepedia.com
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