coL Brokenshard talks about how he jungles, TSM Amazing, the upcoming split and much more
Sat 17th May 2014 - 8:39pm
Ram 'Brokenshard' Djemal traveled the 6,744 miles from Israel to the United States to compete at the top level of League of Legends play; the LCS. Last April, his investment paid off, and compLexity LoL will be battling it out against NA's best. During their preparations for the upcoming Summer Split, I had a chance to talk to Brokenshard about how he operates in the jungle, his opinions of TSM Amazing, the upcoming split and his favorite American meal.
How’s it going?
Brokenshard: It’s going good, it’s a little bit hot here in California, but I think I’ll manage.
Not so much here in Oregon, but still sunny. So besides being hot, what have you guys been doing since your promotion into the LCS? Have you been practicing or relaxing some?
Brokenshard: Practicing not so much, relaxing definitely not. There’s been a lot of things that needed to be done because Riot only gave us a couple of weeks before the actual split started. So to get everything in order was definitely very troublesome. We pretty much in the weeks coming up to this we somewhat prepared for Lone Star except not really. We kind of took that time to gather ourselves and practice the new patch because we hadn’t been playing on the new patch, which was 4.6.
We secured a manager, Kaniggit, the old manager for Cloud 9 Tempest became our manager. We secured a full time coach/analyst which would be Kubz, and we’ve pretty much just got our management under control. We secured responsible people who I know will take care of us. Besides that we started working on my visa, I was in contact with one of the lawyers that Riot talks to and deals with the visas, so I’ve been getting that stuff sorted. Basically just planning, not so much practicing, but just planning the organization of our team throughout the LCS split and what we’d be doing like securing a house, figuring out budgets, talking to compLexity and re-signing the contracts.
Are you going to stick with Bubbadub’s house or are you guys finding a whole new house?
Brokenshard: Bubbadub’s house is a nice house, the problem isn’t that the house is nice, but it’s two and a half hours away from the studios. So driving two and a half hours to the studios, playing the game and coming back, it’s going to kill you inside. We’re looking at a house right now that’s about fourty minutes from the studio, even less actually, so that’s really good for us.
When I interviewed Zionspartan and ask him about playing you guys, he said that a reason that you guys did really well is because you had a really good support staff, so what was the situation with your support staff back then? It sounds like it may not have been so secure.
Brokenshard: I don’t think secure is the right way to say it because we had one contracted analyst, Phy, who was really good at being an analyst and getting stats and stuff, and we had a coach/analyst; Kubz, but he was freelancing, he wasn’t under contract, he was pretty much supporting the team because he wanted to, and we meshed well with what he did. So we definitely had the support staff, but it wasn’t locked down, secure, payroll, everything super organized.
The dedication it took to try to get into the split, to try to be able to live here, what was it like to try to keep that dedication alive?
Brokenshard: It’s not necessarily about living in the United States, it’s more about LCS. LCS was the ultimate goal, being in the United States is kind of a must if I want to play NA LCS, but I don’t think I’ve played with more dedicated players. Everyone pushed so much, especially in the last weeks before the actual qualifiers, to be at the level we were at, and I definitely think that if we push even harder and definitely take the LCS split seriously, even though the teams are really good and the teams are stacked, and we’re new comers, we’re fresh blood, I definitely think that a top five finish is within our reach.
Top four will be very difficult, but I look to this LCS split as a learning experience for us. We know that it’s going to be a bumpy road; we know it’s going to be tough. We know there are chances that we’re probably going to get destroyed in some games, and some games where we might pull off upsets. We’re not C9, we’re the underdogs. We’re coming in fresh with very little actual LCS experience. As long as we understand that we’re not going to be number one team NA in the first week, and we push for that goal, slowly, slowly we’ll start achieving that goal and getting closer and closer to it.
Your goal of trying to get good, but realistic, with that mindset, how would you compare yourself to the other NA junglers like Meteos or Crumbz and yourself?
Brokenshard: There’s a very fine line between being confident and being cocky, but I definitely think that there are four junglers on NA that are probably better than me. Dexter, Meteos, Amazing and IWillDominate. I have had good games against them and games where I’ve come up on top, but they usually find their way to get the upperhand on me whether it be rotationwise, farm-wise or gank-wise, they just seem to be a little bit ahead of me.
I definitely think that I’m ahead of the other junglers on NA, besides those three or four, and I can give those three or four a run for their money, and slowly and slowly, I think I can give those guys good competition. Maybe not be better than them, but be competitive against them.
You speak really highly of Dexter and his playstyle and that you learn a lot every time you play against him.
Brokenshard: Yeah I learn a lot from the way he thinks and the way he tries to get inside my head. I learn how to do that from playing against Dexter. Every time I play against Dexter I come out of the game thinking I didn’t do this before, but I definitely think I can start doing that and it’ll give me an edge in my gameplay.
Photo credit to Riot Games
You said getting into their head, what kind of stuff are you talking about specifically?
Brokenshard: My particular play style is getting into the head of the enemy jungler. I don’t have a specific play style, I just like to understand what they want to do so I put myself in their shoes and say ‘if I’m a completely rational and intelligent human being, what would be the best course of action,’ because I studied a lot of psychology in taking some college classes during high school and in the army. I learned a lot about human nature, and a lot of that has helped me put myself in the shoes of another person and think, ‘if I’m completely rational, what would be the most efficient course of action.’
Obviously people don’t always think like that, but it’s always good to know what would be the best course of action, and what might be the most logical course of action. Put myself in the right position to counter gank, counter play or get an advantage somewhere else.
You mentioned Amazing once, did you ever play against him in the EU?
Brokenshard: Actually I played with him. Me and Amazing were on a team once, not a very known team, but we actually alternated the top and jungle. Where I played top lane some games, he played jungle some games, and there was a time in between a break period I subbed for his Team Acer for a couple weeks because their top laner was on vacation. So I definitely had a chance to play with Amazing and talk with him and yeah, play against him a couple times.
But that was in the past yeah?
Brokenshard: Yeah, in the past, I’m talking Season 2, he was a very team dependent jungler. If his team was falling behind, he would be very lost, and I’m talking like Season 2, this is almost two years ago. Season 3 we didn’t really see much of him, my team Dragonborns beat his team, Team Acer, and it was a lot of the same issue, like he played a non-impact jungler, and he didn’t have very much of an impact that game, and since then Amazing hasn’t really been seen that much until he joined Copenhagen Wolves.
And I’m not going to lie, when he joined Copenhagen Wolves, I kind of felt like ‘I don’t think Amazing is going to do that good, because I’ve seen what he did before.’ With absolute no offense to Copenhagen Wolves, I feel that their solos aren’t exactly the most powerful solos on EU. I think that old Amazing used to rely heavily on their solos doing well, and then coming to into Copenhagen Wolves and filling the big shoes of Shook, who was dominating the challenger scene, he started destroying the enemy jungler, and he started becoming a proactive jungler, I’m pretty sure he’s the one making the calls for his team.
So he’s very aggressive, very in your face and very play-make heavy, he transformed and transitioned into this jungler. Coming into NA that’s going to be his biggest strength because he is the embodiment of what an EU jungler is. Dexter not so much, he plays a very tactical, methodical game. Amazing is classic EU, aggressive, in your face, constantly looking to put pressure, so he’s going to definitely put a lot of the NA junglers who aren’t used to that style on a very uneasy platform.
Probably put a lot of pressure on mid to get Bjergsen snowballing?
Brokenshard: Bjergsen, he’s a very good laner, which is what EU mid laners are very good at. They’re very strong at laning, and team fighting they’re above average/average. Amazing is an aggressive jungler, so you have an aggressive mid laner, a methodical top laner and an aggressive jungler, their top side of the map/their solos are going to be in such a pressure position, that the NA solos and junglers might just crumble under that pressure.
Transitioning back to the promotion/relegation matches against Coast, you had a bunch of steals. One of them in particular was the Dragon, a Baron and a secure Baron.
Brokenshard: The Barons were in the first game when I was playing Elise, the actual steal was the Lee Sin game, the second game.
Yeah I think it was that you Q’d it, you went in, Smite and then I think you Flash W’d, or did you W Flash?
Brokenshard: I Q’d the Drag, Smited it in midair and hit my Q so it executed it. W’d to the ward and Flashed out.
It was quite smooth, and I was wondering, is that all stuff you’ve been practicing? Is it muscle memory, or is it instantaneous instinct that you kind of have?
Brokenshard: So Lee Sin technically my signature champion, it’s what people look at me to play, but the thing about Lee Sin whenever I’m in a tournament I have to feel it. ‘So are you feeling Lee Sin today?’ ‘Yeah I’m feeling it.’ And when I pick Lee Sin it’s a hit or miss, it usually is because when I pick him and I’m feeling it and I go really hard and I start pulling the momentum, getting first blood Nintendude, successful ganks over and over again, I start playing mechanically well, and my mechanics are fine-tuned, and I start being able to pull impressive plays like that.
They don’t happen often, because sometimes the best play is the play that doesn’t need to be made. I felt like that game was just pure solo queue for me. For the first fifteen minutes I’m just like ‘I’m playing solo queue, this isn’t a game, I’m playing solo queue.’
So it’s like his success is almost an embodiment of whether his Q hits or misses.
Brokenshard: Not necessarily, but yeah kind of like that. I mean if you’re maxing Q and you miss it you’ve just lost a big chunk of your damage.
What was the difference between the Summer Split Promotions and the Spring Split? Of course you playing Evil Geniuses and then Coast, but for you guys, what made the difference?
Brokenshard: I feel that we were more, not only actual in game preparation for the game, we were more prepared, but we were just better mentally prepared. We were mentally fine-tuned to know that we might have to play a long series and losing the first game does not matter, because we did go to a full five games versus Curse Academy earlier that month, and I definitely think that if we had not gone to a full five games, we would have not been in the right mental preparation. That game helped us immensely in how to deal with pressure, anxiety, and to keep our cool and transition from game to game.
We had the Allstars yesterday, did you get a chance to watch any of that?
Brokenshard: I haven’t seen many of the games, I’m going to watch them later today, like all of them, going to go through most of them.
Were you able to watch anything in particular that caught your eye?
Brokenshard: C9 beating Fnatic. Well technically I’m an NA player, so go apple pie. I’m not really sure what to say. Fnatic seem to think they have it under control, but one thing I remember from the EU infrastructure is that no one takes coaching or analysts seriously. The teams don’t take the guy seriously, the analyst, since he’s not being taken seriously, can’t take his job seriously and it just gets nowhere.
You mean that Fnatic didn’t take Cloud9’s analyst seriously?
Brokenshard: No I don’t think they have an analyst, and if they did I don’t that think they would take his opinion or judgment seriously at all. I feel that it was just poor meta understanding. They didn’t understand the patch itself, because even Rekkles has said ‘I didn’t pick up Twitch even though he’s the best AD Carry now and he’s better than Lucian even though he’s my third pick behind Lucian and Graves.’ Whereas NA have been playing Twitch for a very long time now, they’ve kind of jumped on and understood the meta fast and I think an analyst would help you understand the meta better.
I found on the interwebs you once said of Bubbadub “that mustache of his makes you do things that you never thought possible.” Mind elaborating?
Brokenshard: It’s hypnotizing. He asks me to clean up the garage and I go do it. I think the mustache is amazing, it’s a cool thing, it’s like a thing. It’s part of his character, it’s part of the Bubbadub persona. I mean it’s not necessarily a personality on its own, but it’s like a figure of what he is. People think of Bubbadub they think ‘Oh the stache, oh what a manly stache.’ It’s just like a cool symbol for what he is or who he is.
Yeah like the Meteos blonde hair, the Crumbz beard.
Brokenshard: Or the Jason Kaplan being bald. Or like Qtpie’s hair, it’s a huge part of the persona or the character that Bubbadub is.
It’d be pretty interesting to see if someone combined all of those interesting facets of each LCS player into one super.
Brokenshard: My beard, Pr0lly’s eyes, Bubbadub’s mustache, Qtpie’s hair. Photoshoppers, you’re watching this, I know you can do it, do it. I want to see a picture of this by next week.
Photo credit to Riot Games
It’s been a long time since you’ve been playing with someone from the EU, but do you keep up with anybody from back there?
Brokenshard: I’ve talked to a few people, mostly I’m in touch with a lot of Supa Hot Crew. They recently picked up wewillfailer, he’s someone I used to play with a lot and I think that with their analyst and with a very good attitude and their support they could definitely look to be a dominant EU team, especially because right now the EU scene is very fragile. The team that kind of takes it by the horns per se is going to be the one that is going to aggressively make plays and climb up the rankings very fast.
I also saw that your favorite American food is Carl’s Jr. What’s your favorite meal from there?
Brokenshard: I love the Big Carl, it’s just a good burger, the burgers there are just good. I don’t mind paying a little extra for good quality food, so I just like the food from Carl’s Jr. Specifically because when I was living at Bubbadub’s house there were a couple fast food places so when we did go for fast food it’s like ‘alright McDonalds, eh. Burger King, eh. Taco Bell, eh. Carl’s Jr., yeah I’ll go for Carl’s Jr.’ It was pretty good, the burgers are always high quality, I don’t ever regret buying a burger from there.
We’d like to take this part of the interview to ask if you’d like to fire any shots so to speak, if you’d like to issue any challenges or talk any smack for the upcoming Summer Split. Unleash your inner Doublelift.
Brokenshard: So there’s this funny thing on Reddit where six months ago, when I first came to NA, I wrote to Nintendude on Reddit, he commented on a Reddit post and I’m just like ‘I’m coming for you Josh,’ six months ago, and I relegated him. I just thought it was funny. But I don’t necessarily have any challenges, because I’ve already stated my stance on the LCS this season was not to be the best team in NA, but to improve and learn so that in the upcoming splits, we can start becoming a challenge and start challenging these upper NA teams.
And so you can stay, not just one and done?
Brokenshard: But I’m going to a challenge at Dignitas. Zion and Shiphtur we relegated you, what are you guys doing back here? Do I have to do it again? I will if I have to.
Any shoutouts for any sponsors or friends of yours?
Brokenshard: Yeah I’m going to shoutout to my sponsors, but first I’m going to throw a shoutout to all of my fans. It’s definitely nice seeing the huge turn up of people watching the stream, especially since we came and made LCS, so shoutout to them. Shoutout to my family back at home who I miss very much, it was mother’s day yesterday, so I hope you guys are treating your moms well.
Obviously shoutout to compLexity and thanks for their support and all of their sponsors, I’m going to have to start listing them now one by one so bear with me. Thanks to Soundblaster, Creative, CyberPowerPC, L337 Gaming, Scuf Gaming, DXRacer, Twitch, PWNIT WEAR, thank you very much for supporting us, we appreciate it very much.
I could tell it seems like you did that from memory.
Brokeshard: Oh wait I’m sorry, and Newegg, thank you Newegg, I almost forgot Newegg. Almost. I have a system for memorizing sponsors, I try to associate them. So I think breakfast egg, Newegg. It’s hard but sometimes you just gotta remember who’s really got your back when things go rough, it’s the sponsors.