Closer: “Some games we just win through finger diff”
The first half of the revamped LCS split has officially come to a close, and teams now turn their attention towards the Mid-Season Showdown. One of the playoff-qualified teams is 100 Thieves, who have stabilized after the downward trend that resulted in swapping midlaner Tanner “Damonte” Damonte for Tommy “ry0ma” Lee. While still not quite reaching their previous peak, the roster has managed to secure a fourth-place finish after a tie with Dignitas following the final weekend.
We caught up with Jungler Can “Closer” Çelik after their loss to Team Liquid to talk about the game, 100 Thieves’ recent stumbling blocks, and expectations for playoffs.
Hotspawn: Thanks for joining me, Closer. You just came off a disappointing loss to Team Liquid, but a 2-1 record to close out the weekend is not bad at all. How are you feeling about this weekend on the whole, looking back?
Closer: Yeah, going into the weekend I think the practice was good. And last week we looked good in our last match, so I feel like we really gained the momentum [and] won the first two games, but we couldn’t beat TL today, which is pretty sad. But I don’t think we played poorly today, and there’s a lot to learn from this game. Nothing to do, we just learn from it and come back strong for playoffs.
Hotspawn: What’re some of the things you learned from that game? I know that’s a difficult question having only just finished a few minutes ago, but if there’s anything that jumps out at you.
Closer: Basically, they punished our top, and we didn’t get much doing the same thing to their botside. That was pretty bad for us. Yeah, I think minute six or something the game was pretty much over. Because with [our] draft, if we fall behind, it’s pretty hard to come back.
Hotspawn: Shifting away from this weekend, how confident are you feeling going into playoffs?
Closer: I’m still confident even though we lost today. We have five days of practice to get ready for our opponent and show our best, so I’m still confident. Nothing is over.
Hotspawn: What’re some of the biggest things you’ll be working on to prepare, either individually or as a team?
Closer: We should definitely get better at the planning aspect. We either get [taken] off-guard, or we just don’t plan ahead, and [we] play the situation really noisy—communication-wise. [It’s] really stressful. We should get better at the planning aspect. In the games that we plan ahead and play comfortably, it’s like everything is textbook, you know? Everything is planned. I would say the planning aspect is important for us, and I do still think we have to figure out our key champions or the style we want to play. I don’t think there’s much to work on, we’re still a good team and I hope we can show it in playoffs.
Hotspawn: Are there any teams in particular that you’re looking out for in playoffs that you might be worried about more so than others?
Closer: Nah, I’m not worried [about] anyone. We’re probably gonna play C9, or TL if C9 loses today. I’m not sure about that. They’re both good teams, strong teams, and if we’re gonna win the whole thing we have to show that we’re as good as them.
Hotspawn: Makes sense. Shifting away from playoffs, it seems like 100 Thieves has stabilized after a bit of a tailspin a week or two ago and tied for fourth. Does your place in the standings match up with your expectations coming into the split?
Closer: Not really. We started pretty strong in the Lock In tournament. I felt like we knew pretty much everything going on [in] the meta, and with all these meta changes and the stuff happening [with] us dropping games to the weaker teams, I think that affected our confidence. And with the bad meta reads I would say we were pretty down, confidence-wise. We’re pretty close to getting back to our old form, even though we lost pretty badly today. It’s still fine. We just have to get ready in this remaining time for our opponents.
Hotspawn: You mentioned that meta changes in particular hurt your roster. What were some of the specifics of that, if you could expand on it a bit more?
Closer: Basically, the champions we used to play weren’t really strong anymore. We took a lot of time to recognize that. That ended up costing us some games, and losing games affected our mental and confidence. Yeah, it was pretty rough [laughs]. But I will say it’s really okay right now. We’re almost back to our—it’s hard to talk confidently after today’s game, but still you know, nothing is over.
Hotspawn: Definitely, in the end playoffs is all that matters. Last week I spoke with Christopher “Papasmithy” Smith about the perception that 100 Thieves is a one note team, and the importance of team styles. Do you feel like you’ve made progress towards developing a team style, or is it still too early?
Closer: Yeah, for sure. I think we developed, but it doesn’t really matter if it [takes] longer to be honest. Today, coming into the TL game, we knew everything that was gonna happen in the game. And it literally happened that way, but if a team is good at doing their one way and there is no counterplay to it, it doesn’t matter if they know our cards or something.
Hotspawn: Do you feel like your team style has shifted at all with the introduction of ry0ma?
Closer: I think it’s shifted a bit. Back then we used to not play control mages a lot, but with ry0ma coming into the team we try to do both styles. Whichever game is better, whichever draft is better for us. I think it’s shifted a bit.
Hotspawn: Focusing more specifically on your strengths, what are some of the things that set 100 Thieves apart from the other top teams?
Closer: We just have five good players.
Hotspawn: I should’ve known it was that easy.
Closer: [Laughs] I mean some games we just win through finger diff, basically. And if we get back to our old form, I would say we’ll be top team for sure.
Hotspawn: I think that’s about all I have time for! Thanks for joining me, Closer. Do you have any parting words for the 100 Thieves fans out there? Maybe what to expect in playoffs?
Closer: Yeah. Guys, sorry for today. I know it wasn’t easy to support us this whole journey. We had a lot of ups and downs, but thanks for supporting us the whole time. We’re working really hard to fix it, trust me. Myself and the team are working so hard. I hope we can get a good showing in playoffs.
Closer and 100 Thieves are now locked in for the LCS Mid-Season Showdown playoff bracket. Their first match takes place on Sunday, March 27th, at 8pm Live on the official LCS Twitch and YouTube streams.