Tally: “If the meta remains the same, I think that FPX is gonna dominate”
Worlds 2021 has finished for LCO representatives PEACE. After clutching a 3-2 victory over RED Canids to keep their head afloat, PEACE got eliminated from the tournament by Cloud9 in a clean sweep. For mid laner James “Tally” Shute the result comes as a disappointment, but he looks back at Worlds with satisfaction.
After the series, Tally joined for an interview about his experiences. He explained what went wrong in the series against Cloud9, and the lessons he learned from this World Championship. Tally also evaluated his opposition in the tournament and shared which Play-In teams positively surprised him.
Hotspawn: Welcome, Tally. Unfortunately, you guys go down 0-3 against Cloud9 and now head home. I imagine you had higher expectations heading into the series.
Tally: I definitely thought we could’ve been a lot more competitive than we have shown. I wouldn’t say that we underperformed, but it generally just felt uncomfortable playing the game for most of us. I think that we weren’t really playing as well as we were yesterday. But that’s probably also because of how well Cloud9 were playing. I think, as a team, they were doing really well when they were TP’ing and flanking us. It was very aggressive against us. They just punished us really well.
Hotspawn: Aside from Cloud9 stepping up in the series, was there anything on your team’s side that made the games so uncomfortable?
Tally: I’d say that yesterday, we were on very comfortable drafts, but that was because we knew that our enemy couldn’t punish us well. Today, we knew we couldn’t really get away with these drafts. We wouldn’t be able to have nonexistent early games and then scale into the mid-game. We knew that we had to match them in the early game. That isn’t where we really shine. They kind of forced us due to how the respect that we had to give to their players. This is where they were able to just punish us with the Olaf, Ryze… champions like this.
Hotspawn: Watching the games, it also felt that the team wasn’t rolling as smoothly as it did on previous days. It felt scrappier than before. What are your thoughts on this?
Tally: [Laughs] We really believe that the best way to get back into the game, when you’re behind, is just to continue fighting. If we’re ahead we’ll fight, if we’re even we’ll fight, and if we’re behind we’ll fight. This is why you see that our games are won and lost in like 20 minutes. I think that is just how we enjoy playing the game. It’s probably not the correct way of playing the game, but it’s how we all view the game. Being on the same page is still good as a team.
Hotspawn: Let’s not talk about this specific result too much. What’s your overall feeling of your Worlds run?
Tally: I’d say I’m pretty satisfied with what we achieved. I think, individually, I did pretty well. I could have definitely done better, but I’m not too disappointed with how I performed. I’m not too disappointed with how we performed as a team. I think that we had a really good showing given the circumstances we had and how little practice we got. I think we had only like five days of practice with Vizicsacsi before Worlds started. I’m happy that we can go back, practice, and do the same thing next year, hopefully.
Hotspawn: I think not many people have high expectations for Oceanic teams because the region was kind of abandoned by Riot. Yet, you continue to leave other regions behind you with results. How do you explain that?
Tally: I honestly don’t know the answer to that either. [Laughs] I’m actually surprised that we keep just doing better and better every single year when it keeps getting more difficult for our region. I just think it’s the fact that we have no expectations on us. We can just play with complete freedom and confidence, knowing that our result doesn’t really matter. We can just have fun playing the game. I think that, as a pro player, when you don’t have expectations on you and when you’re able to play with complete freedom, that’s when you play your best League of Legends.
Hotspawn: Is that mindset something you had to teach yourself?
Tally: Well, for me, I always try to aim for the absolute impossible. I always aim to get in Groups and be one of the top teams in the world. I’m never gonna set myself up to be happy with bombing out of the Play-In Stage. I would never be happy with that. Even though people might accept it because we’re OCE, I never accept it as the outcome.
I think that’s something that I’ve always had. I’ve always been a very competitive person. I think almost everyone in esports would view it the same way as me. I don’t think anyone would not strive for the best. You’re just hindering yourself at that point. You should just have confidence in yourself, regardless of what you do. That’s the most important thing.
Hotspawn: You mentioned Vizicsacsi a bit earlier. While a sudden addition, he obviously brought a lot of experience to the team. Did you learn much from him in the short timespan you played with him?
Tally: Yeah, I’ve definitely learned things from ‘csacsi. He views the game very differently from me. He’s a humble person, but in-game he’s a very aggressive player. He knows how to punish teams who don’t respect him. I’m gonna take away all these little things that I’ve learned from him. I’ve also learned good communication from him. I think his comms in-game are very good. They’re very clean, very direct, they get to the point. There’s not very much time wasted in the game. I’ve definitely picked up things from him.
I think that working with him has been very easy as well. He matched well with our team. Even if he had certain champions that he was unable to play, he had something that he could play instead that would do the same job into the opponent. It was pretty easy, and I’m really glad that he was an option for us.
Hotspawn: Aside from learning from a new teammate, you obviously play against high-caliber opponents too at Worlds. How has that learning experience been for you here?
Tally: The step up from Oceanic mid laners to international mid laners is huge. I’ll be playing the same matchups, but I’m getting punished in completely different ways. I also think that the support tier is really, really good. They’re a second jungler. So you really have to think twice as much about who’s gonna kill you because it’s not just the jungler who’s coming to the mid lane now. I really absorb all of this. All of the mid laners in the Play-Ins have different playstyles, and I try to learn and incorporate all of it into my play.
Hotspawn: How do you feel about the level of play of your opposition in the Play-Ins?
Tally: It is definitely a step up from what I’ve experienced in previous years. I think LNG especially is a great team. I think they’re a world-class team. I cannot believe LNG is a fourth seed team. I think they’ll go very, very far in the tournament. It just felt like we were unable to play at any point. I’ve never experienced that.
Hanwha is good too. They just have superstar players. Even if their teamwork isn’t as good as LNG’s, I think that they’re a star roster still. And then Cloud9 is very good at playing the map. As you could see against us, we never had a numbers advantage. We never were able to pick them. They were just always playing the macro really well. I think that’s something they’ll continue to do in the Group Stage.
Hotspawn: If you had to predict a tournament winner now, who do you think will lift the trophy?
Tally: I really gotta give it to my man Doinb. [Laughs] I think what we’ve seen so far in Worlds in the Play-Ins is exactly how FPX wants to play. If the meta remains the same, I think that FPX is gonna dominate.
Hotspawn: To round up, is there anything you’d like to say to the OCE fans?
Tally: I know that everyone is probably disappointed with us not making Groups again, but I think that everyone really tried their best. Even though that series was a stomp, everyone really put in everything they had. I’m proud of my teammates for what we achieved, but it’s not the end. We’ll come back again next year and we’ll do even better.
The League of Legends World Championship Group Stage commences on Monday, October 11th, at 1 PM CEST. You can watch the games live on the official LoL esports site.