Post Western Clash Interview With Snitch
Sun 8th Apr 2018 - 1:59pm
After Team Dignitas took home the trophy at IEM Katowice for the third year in a row, we had a chance to sit down with Team captain Joshua "Snitch" Bennett to ask him about his trip, the meta, and how it felt coming into the tournament as favourites. Part 2 of Phase 1 is in full swing and the team is starting to look forward towards the Mid-Season Brawl.
Team Dignitas returned to Katowice and defended their title at the Western Clash. How did you like your time in Poland?
Snitch: Poland is always lovely to visit, and the venue is incredible to walk around and witness. Just looking at the vast amount of fans waiting to get in when we first arrive every day just fills you with this fire and hype to play on stage. I'm very glad and proud we were able to return and defend our title at IEM Katowice.
Do you feel there was more pressure on your shoulders this year than in the past?
Snitch: I think we definitely felt more pressure this year - mostly JayPL and I, who have been on the team for every single Katowice appearance. This year was very different as for once we were not coming into the tournament as either an underdog or just a competitive team but instead we were branded the favourites. We definitely felt pressure to step up and perform as we did not want to let down the fans who were cheering and expecting of us.
Last year NA did not stand much of a chance against EU, but at this Western Clash they managed to take not just a few maps, but several series against the EU teams. How do you think NA and EU stack up to each other right now?
Snitch: I think EU is still favoured, and this shows in the results, but what they do not show is how much the infrastructure and attitude of the NA HGC teams has improved. Between just performing better, higher caliber rosters and all seeming far more motivated, the players of the lineups present at the Western Clash definitely impressed and left an impression on me at the very least. I'm very excited to see how they perform with more time, as at the end of the day they are still having to catch up on the progress of other regions. I am confident however that the way they are going is very good, and we will likely have a very competitive Mid-Season Brawl and HGC Finals from both regions.
In the league play before the Western Clash you only lost to Zealots, and at the Western Clash they gave you fierce competition till the very end in the Grand Final. What is it about Zealots that makes them hard to play against?
Snitch: I think Zealots are just a very unique team that kind of, at least prior to and during the Western Clash, disregarded what the rest of the teams were playing and chose to play their own comfort picks and form their own meta. Because they were so different to other teams it's very hard to get a standard feeling game against them, and they are almost always forcing you to adapt to their game style. Without practicing against them a lot, something we didn't have the chance to do before our match in the HGC, it can be very hard to adapt to what they're doing even if you have some idea of the styles they like. I think at the Western Clash we were much better prepared, but the fact it was still so close is a strong testament to how good they actually are as a team, and I would advise no team to underestimate them in the second part.
As mentioned before, Zealots were hanging in there to the bitter end in the Grand Final. Talk us through those last moments on Towers of Doom in the final game?
Snitch: Pure panic. This final was by far the most stressful I've ever been part of as a player, even comparing to the MSB series against Fnatic. The last game felt so close, and the final teamfight was just everybody screaming who they were trying to focus and trying to get any kill possible. It's quite funny because I think JayPL was actually mostly silent during this fight, but he was pretty much solo carrying the fight. Straight after he was telling me he didn't think he did much in the last game and I'm sitting here thinking "pretty sure you just carried me, man..."
Did this tournament win feel different compared to your tournament wins in the past?
Snitch: For sure. It was very relieving both in the sense of the pressure we felt due to being the favourites and just because the final itself was so crazy close. It felt amazing to be able to have this wild, close set but be able to edge out the win.
We’re seeing so much Junkrat, not just from Team Dignitas, but other teams in EU as well. What does he bring and why is he so good?
Snitch: Junkrat kind of reminds me of Greymane in the sense that he's a jack of all trades hero, and I think a lot of teams and players kind of slept on his release when he's actually very strong when played well. He brings a lot of wave clear, strong poke, strong DPS and can even perform massive burst with good use of RIP-Tire. On top of all this, he scales like a monster, becoming a pseudo-global and super safe from 13 and having insane teamfight presence with Endless Nades at 16 and then becoming even crazier with Cannonball at 20. I think people were just kind of slow to pick him up, but now that we've shown some success with him he's becoming a lot more popular.
The week after the Western Clash we had the Eastern Clash. Did you watch the Eastern Clash, and how do you think the Korean teams look right now?
Snitch: Definitely. I think the top three Korean teams looked very strong throughout the tournament, but it's hard to tell how we match up without actually playing against them. I'm excited to meet them at the Mid-Season Brawl if we can qualify.
We saw KSV Black playing “the Dignitas comp” (Tyrael, Blaze, Malfurion, Tracer, Junkrat) - Have you been analyzing the VoD of that game to see if there was anything you could include in the way you play the comp? Or do you think that Team Dignitas is superior in the execution of this specific comp?
Snitch: I think the Korean Tracer players actually don't match up to POILK so I think naturally the draft will be weaker for them! I think we saw a lot of variations on our draft and meta actually played by the Korean teams throughout the whole Eastern Clash. It's very interesting to see them try and play what we play and see how they perform on it, while also adding some twists of their own, like Falstad for example. I think they were definitely playing our style quite well, but I'm not sure I'd say it was better than us.
As it stands right now you are going to qualify directly for the Mid-Season Brawl as the #1 seed from EU. Would you say that this is a relief, or would you like to take part in the playoffs?
Snitch: I think we'd be very happy to claim the auto qualification if possible. It will give us more time to keep out of the limelight while we practice and prepare strategies for the Mid-Season Brawl.
Thanks for your time. Do you have any shoutouts?
Snitch: Of course! A huge shoutout first of all to my teammates, who I am very proud of for being able to win the Western Clash with. I'd also like to thank Team Dignitas and our sponsors. Additionally, a giga shoutout to our fans and supporters, especially the Polish crowd who were amazing at the event. I hope you'll continue to cheer for us during the second part of phase one and at the Mid-Season Brawl if we are able to qualify. Thanks!