Diamond Talks Role Models, Transition from Academy to LCS
We sat down with Diamond after their loss to Dignitas to discuss the game, his support role models, and the difficulties of transitioning to the LCS.
Hotspawn: I wanted to start off with the question everyone asks— how’re you feeling after your game against Dignitas?
Diamond: Feels pretty bad honestly. It’s probably the worst game I’ve played in LCS so far. I played really bad that game. Today something was off for sure in my play, it feels pretty bad but you just gotta do what you gotta do sometimes, and I had to int for today so I could play better tomorrow. Get the int out for the week. It’s not too bad— I’m a little harsh on myself honestly, I’m gonna look at this game one hundred times and ask myself what I’m doing wrong. Definitely won’t do that tomorrow.
Hotspawn: What would you say went wrong, in terms of looking towards future improvement?
Diamond: Usually when you look at how to improve yourself, the way you look at it is you’re trying to be like “what would this player [do],” comparing myself to the better supports and seeing would they do this, [versus] what I’m doing. It’s a double-edged sword, like sometimes what you do is good and people might not do the same thing, right? But most of the time what you do that a really great player doesn’t do might be really bad. For example, in that game, I was hiding in the bush while I was recalling and second-guessing myself like “maybe I should not base here… maybe I should base here. Oh, they don’t see me, I’m gonna base!” and they facecheck my bush [laughs], and I instantly die, and I just threw the game.
We were gonna come out of base and set up for dragon, we were talking about it for two minutes in the game and I just ruined the play. After that, the game was really difficult. To me, the way I lost this game is not like a— I always feel better about the way I lost if it was something not so meaningless. Because me dying there doesn’t make any sense, there are no thoughts behind it. If we fought the dragon and just got aced because we miss-executed, [or] if I flashed in and missed my spells I can be like “I’m just bad” and I can work on hitting my spells next time, but the way I died there just didn’t make any sense. It was a feels-bad way of losing because there was no meaning [in] what happened to me.
Hotspawn: You mentioned before that you look at other players for your own self-improvement. Who are some of your role models?
Diamond: The best supports in LCS are even world-renowned, like CoreJJ and Vulcan. I think they’re great examples in their own ways. CoreJJ does galaxy brain stuff. You don’t know how hard it is to play against him— you don’t know how good Core is until you play against him. When I played against him, the things he does in-game you can’t know unless you’re in the game.[For example] the way he hides out of vision on key timings. There was a game we played on stage in the Lock In tournament, where we were against Alistar and Taliyah. In scrims, we were playing against Alistar Taliyah and we were like “oh it’s strong, but it’s not that bad,” but then we play against Core playing Alistar and Taliyah, and this guy hits level two and I don’t see him for five minutes straight on the map. I don’t know where he is. So the whole time [I’m saying] “they have Alistar and Taliyah, they can move anywhere,” and my midlaner can’t hit the wave, and my toplaner is like “okay, I’m not getting ganked.” When you play against CoreJJ he does stuff like this, and you really don’t understand how good he is until you get put in the checkmate scenario.
Then the next game we were playing against Alistar Taliyah on stage again [versus] TSM, against SwordArt and I saw him go out of vision at level two and I’m like “oh no, not again” and he showed himself two seconds later and I thought “ok, I guess we’re not losing today.” SwordArt is really good at playing around vision, and he’s really really good at a couple key champions too. He’s really good at doing the correct play on the map. They all do similar things in a different way.
For me, CoreJJ is the mastermind galaxy-brain but he still has crazy good mechanics. He’s comparable to Mata in his prime, in the sense of how he plays. He’s really good at playing the macro game. Vulcan is crazy good mechanically, playing matchups 2v2. He and Zven, when I played against them when I was in C9 Academy, were a crazy good duo. Playing against them was really punishing, if you messed up hitting one creep you would lose the lane. And it would snowball the entire game. Zven and Vulcan would just hit our nexus at fifteen minutes if we messed up one time in lane. Playing against them was crazy hard. Those three I look up to in the sense that all of them do something different.
Hotspawn: How has it been for you transitioning to the LCS? Especially with such a crazy jump in the level of play within your role.
Diamond: It was hard at first honestly. I came into the LCS, and I was one of the better players in Academy. I won Academy twice so I can say that without looking like an egomaniac [laughs]. I was one of the better players in Academy, and when we were in Academy we played against a bunch of LCS teams. So I had an idea how I would fare against players one to one. But there’s a lot more than just how you fare against players one to one.
I think I’m a lot better than a lot of the really good supports mechanically— that’s never been a problem for me. I was always talented mechanically because I was an AD carry [and] midlane player before I played [support]. But when you play in LCS it doesn’t matter how good you are individually [laughs]. There’s a lot of small things that a lot of players do and you need to pick up on [them] or get better than them at it or you will always fall behind.
That’s how it’s been feeling for me. I’ve been trying to catch up on a lot of things people do and I’m trying to minimize the randomness so I can add to my play more. When I was in Academy people didn’t punish me at all with the small things like CoreJJ does. They weren’t going out of vision or not playing a matchup correctly so you can abuse the other lanes. It was just pure 2v2 laning. Sometimes I would do some crazy stuff and that was what set me apart from the other players in the Academy. I was mostly better individually, but when I went into LCS everyone is either better than you or they’re as good mechanically. There’s not anyone I can just turbo poop on— I mean there are some players, right, but it’s not as [bad] as it was in Academy.
In Academy, I could pick any champ in any matchup and it was fine, but in LCS players will abuse me if I pick a bad matchup and don’t play the lane correctly. In that sense, the gap from Academy to LCS is crazy. It’s really not close. But it’s a lot of fun, it’s really challenging so every day is really enjoyable.
In Academy a lot of the scrims we had were kinda useless, you know? In C9 Academy, [our] scrim records the first year I joined, I think we won 99% of our scrims. We almost never lost in our scrims. We would start our scrim blocks at 12:00, and we would end them at 3:00. That’s three hours blocked for six games [laughs]. We turbo’ed everyone in 20 minutes and moved on, and started watching LCS games. So that was our day in C9 Academy the first year. Then you go into LCS and every game you have to put in 100%, at least to me, because I’m not at the point that I can play Genshin and pack it in after my scrim blocks. I have to actually try really hard. It’s really enjoyable to me that every day feels like a step forward.
Hotspawn: You’ve talked a lot about how individual skill doesn’t matter as much in the LCS. How’s the atmosphere at FlyQuest in that sense? Do you feel like you’re synergizing well?
Diamond: In general our atmosphere is good. We were all friends before we [joined] the team. I was friends with Licorice because he was on C9, I was friends with Palafox because he was on C9, I was friends with Johnsun because he was friends with everyone on C9. Fun fact, Johnsun could’ve been [on] C9 Academy last year because Jack bought him to play on our Academy team, and then he traded him for Vulcan to Dignitas. So there was a world where me and Johnsun played in Academy together that year. Me and Johnsun were good friends. Josedeodo kinda came outta nowhere, but that was also a plan that we had coming into the season. We were all really happy with the team before it happened.
Spirits are up, even when we lose we’re just having fun. Obviously, we’re not taking things less seriously, we just love to lift up the mood by cracking jokes in games, you know? There was a game in Lock In where we were getting turbo destroyed, and I was saying “guys, I’m gonna run into topside and I’m gonna find Dr. Strange in the one dimension and we’re gonna win this game,” and I just ran at the enemy red buff. We say a lot of random stuff like that in our games— we like to mess around. No one laughed at my joke when I said that in game, and that really made me sad.
Hotspawn: That’s a mental boom for sure. That’s about all the time I have! Do you have any words for the FlyQuest fans out there? Maybe what they should look forward to in the coming weeks?
Diamond: Yeah! I kinda intend today, but I’m gonna come back strong. I hope that I can get to the point that I feel really comfortable playing like I used to. In Academy, I was just a crazy player. I hope I can get to the point in LCS again where I can feel free to play the way I want to play, because I’m not the type of player that just sits at my tower and AFK’s. You can look forward to seeing me make or break it in the next games.