Smoothie: “It’s really disheartening to play right now”
The start of the split has not been kind to CLG. They’re the only winless team at 0-5, their jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen is stuck in Europe with visa issues, and their starting midlaner has been benched. Fans hoped for a win against FlyQuest in the second weekend of the LCS, but CLG has yet to correct their course. We sat down with CLG support Andy “Smoothie” Ta after the game to talk about the recent setbacks and some of the key issues plaguing the team.
Hotspawn: Welcome Smoothie! That was a pretty tough loss, but I wanted to start off with hearing your thoughts about that game.
Smoothie: [laughs] Definitely not feeling great. Honestly, for us, every game [has been] a tough loss recently. It’s extremely disappointing because we haven’t had our full team yet, and it’s really disheartening to play because once Broxah does come all our practice is gonna be a little bit wasted, cause we have a new team member. Right now I’m not really sure what’s going on, we’re somehow managing to throw the games that are really hard to throw. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why, too, is the thing— it’s some individual stuff. I’m not sure. It’s really disheartening to play right now, but Broxah will come soon and hopefully, that will fix some of it.
Hotspawn: I’m sorry to hear that. Have you been able to maintain a positive outlook despite all the setbacks that are out of your control?
Smoothie: The atmosphere is always gonna be fine because we know all these things are going wrong with our team. You kinda have to accept it at this point. It’s disheartening of course, the situation we’re in and the results we’ve put out. We’ve actually had some decent results in scrims, but [we have] similar problems to last split, or last year. We just can’t translate for whatever reason. It’s just really hard sometimes, you know?
But it is what it is. We’re still all growing as players, and we’re learning a lot. Even though it may not seem like it, the growing pains will eventually go away. I don’t think a lot of the teams in LCS right now are particularly strong. A select few— C9, TL, and maybe 100t are the top teams, but otherwise every team is beatable. Including us, I’m including ourselves in that echelon right now. Hopefully, with some more practice with our full team, it’ll be better. We just have to get through these growing pains right now. It’s a hard road but we’ll get through it.
Hotspawn: You mentioned that you’re having some trouble translating success in scrims to on-stage wins. Is that a result of stage fright?
Smoothie: If you asked me a couple of weeks ago, I’d say yes. Some players [are] not playing very aggressively which is really bad. The best players, they can play very aggressively and normally [on stage]. They play like they’re playing solo queue on stage. That’s something that Blaber is good at, for example. He’s the number one example for me because if he sees a good fight for himself, he goes for it. He doesn’t question himself, he just fights. That skill is actually a pretty rare skill, to that extent. He’s very confident and doesn’t question himself, he just makes a play and if he messes up he doesn’t care. He knows himself, and conceptually [maybe] the play is good and the execution was bad. Those things we’re working on. We’re slowly trying to get better at it, but it’s gonna be a long path. We’ll see, hopefully, it fixes itself later.
Hotspawn: Once you guys are feeling more confident, how do you think CLG will stack up against the other teams?
Smoothie: Comfort is just one of our issues. There’s a fundamental lack of game sense that we’re lacking on stage, for some reason. We’re just not taking the fights we’d usually take. We’re not playing aggressively. It’s pretty crazy, some of the games we lose. I think we can definitely contest being middle of the pack currently, if we play more confidently and just play the video game normally, and not be scared of anything.
Right now it’s just pretty crazy, I’m not really sure what’s going on. It’s pretty rough for sure. We’re just going through a lot of issues right now. Hopefully, we fix some of it. I still have a lot of hope for the team, I think there’s a lot of potential. That’s a buzzword, right? [laughs] But this is before even Broxah comes. I see individual prowess in our players, just from scrims and stuff. Individually we get leads very easily, we just don’t translate them well. Once we’re able to make use of our 8k gold leads, hopefully, the games will be a lot easier and we’ll play the videogame at some point and turn on our monitors. When that happens it’ll be good.
Hotspawn: Good to hear! Shifting away from the team, how’re you feeling about your individual play right now?
Smoothie: For me specifically, I think I’m really confident right now in my own individual play. Me and Turtle are definitely ahead in lane a good majority of the games, so that’s pretty good. We know how to get leads and advantages, but we just don’t know how to close the games out. Our team doesn’t know how to use our advantages to the best of our ability, and that’s something we’re working on and will have to get better at. It’s my fault too, you know? I can get better at leading our team, and using our advantages better. Especially compared to last year, it feels a lot better because we’re actually getting sizable advantages a lot. I feel pretty confident in myself in that sense.
Hotspawn: Definitely. How’re you feeling about the support meta right now? Do you think it suits you well?
Smoothie: I think the meta is pretty fun, I like it right now. There’s a lot of champs you can play. There’s a lot of engage supports, which I’m pretty confident in. But there’s also a lot of ranged supports like Seraphine and champs like Karma, Lulu sometimes. It’s pretty fun. There’s a lot of cheese picks you can play too, and champs like Tahm Kench are coming back too. Every patch change there’s different champs being played, and I like it. There’s a lot of variety, it’s fun.
Hotspawn: You mentioned Jason “WildTurtle” Tran before— how’re you liking playing with him?
Smoothie: It feels pretty good. We’re pretty much on the same page about a lot of matchups, and how laning goes. Right now, it’s just being able to translate our advantages to win the games. I think once our team is on the same page as us, or we’re on the same page as them, we’ll eventually be really really good. As a bot lane, I have a lot of confidence. We end up getting a lot of advantages, and we’re always pretty strong in game.
Hotspawn: You mentioned the issue of translating your advantage a few times now— could you expand on that a little? Is that just midgame issues you’re referring to?
Smoothie: Yeah, I’d say midgame issues are pretty bad for us right now. Our problem as a team— I think our individual laning is fine, we always get advantages. But in the midgame, we have all the information and all the conditions and we’re communicating everything, but we don’t make the right play. That mistake is huge on stage. In the game vs TL, for example, we had a really big advantage on Turtle because we had essence reaver to the Kai’sas dirk or pickaxe or something. It was a really big lead, but we just ended up throwing in river. We knew that Alphari had TP as well. I’m not sure, it’s just a bunch of random stuff going on in the game and it’s really confusing. We’re working on it, for sure.
Hotspawn: Makes sense! I think that’s all the time I have. Thank you, Smoothie! Do you have any parting words for the CLG fans out there?
Smoothie: Yeah! [laughs] I’m sorry for all the CLG fans. Trust me when I say it’s much harder on us than it is for you guys. It’s so hard. It’s really stressful, losing. Throughout my whole career it’s been pretty good until these past two years. We’re trying our best, it’s extremely stressful every day. It’s hard. I don’t even look at social media anymore at all. Just trying to get better, trying to get as good as I can and play the best I can. Hopefully, things will change in the next couple weeks.