Preseason Interview with DIG LoL Dardoch



Wed 16th Dec 2020 - 9:45pm

Last time we caught up with Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett, he had just joined Dignitas' Academy roster coming into the 2020 Summer Split. This time, we sat down to chat following the announcement that Dardoch would be DIG's LCS Jungler for the 2021 season, and we dived in to his vision and plans for his time in this position. Read on! 

To start off, what were your thoughts on Worlds 2020? How did your predictions stack up against the end results?

Dardoch: I’m not really that big on predictions or anything, but I kinda knew who some of the top teams were going to be having watched them all year round. JDG, Gen.G and Damwon (of course) are teams that I was following and knew that they would do well, especially because their Junglers are so good.

Congratulations on being announced as DIG LoL’s 2021 Jungler! Can you talk us through your thoughts leading up to this big announcement and hopes for next year?

Dardoch: Well I came into DIG last split as an Academy Jungler, so my main goal last year was proving that I was ready for LCS and that I was capable of leading the team going into 2021. I know that, going into this next split, I will be in a leadership role in the squad and I’m ready to continue working hard. 

Before talking more on what’s to come, let’s look back at what was. After DIG was knocked out of playoffs, Dignitas tweeted that you were “...back at the office grinding solo queue all day, every day”; how were you feeling at that stage and how were you able to motivate yourself to stay on the grind? 

Dardoch: For me, it’s kind of hard to get out of the competitive mindset. Especially when the season ends so abruptly. Whether we wanted to admit it or not, we were definitely the underdogs coming up against most teams, and even though we lost to TSM who went on to win the whole thing, we were all expecting to play a lot more. It’s really hard for me to just wake up the next day after something like that and just say “oh, well now it’s time to relax”, haha, I just naturally went back to the office and started grinding more games out. 

I think it’s fair to say you’ve been in the game for a while now, how important is it for you to reflect on your past performances and how much growth do you notice in yourself as time goes on? 

Dardoch: In my mind, my career has been, for the most part, generally unsuccessful. I haven’t won a split, I haven’t progressed that far in playoffs and internationally I played on a Rift Rivals once and went to IEM with Immortals once upon a time. So how I’d say I’ve grown is the way I take the losses and keep moving forward; I think I’ve grown exponentially since I started as a 17 year old pro, and that goes for out of game as well as in game. In game, though, I do feel like I’ve been consistently improving and have become a bigger asset to my team year after year. 

Looking now to the future, what’s something you’re hoping to develop and add to your skillset through this offseason and the near future? 

Dardoch: I just want to hone my abilities as a leader. I’ve had moments of brilliance over my career where I was a leader, you know, saying the right things at the right time and inspiring my team, but I’ve also had moments of being the exact opposite where I’d hinder my team. I really want to hone the positive aspects of being a leader and being able to help my team more consistently. 

In your opinion, what were the most important qualities you believe the team was missing last season that you want to cultivate for the 2021 season? 

Dardoch: I’d say the thing that was most apparently missing last year was a sense of brotherhood, or that we were even a team let alone a family. We did change roster a lot, and when we did eventually stay with the same members, it was already really late into the split; starting with a team in week 7 or 8 really doesn’t give you that much time to prepare going into playoffs. It just felt like we were 5 individuals that were put on the LCS stage and told to do our best “given the circumstances”. I’m really looking forward to starting from the right place this time. 

What will it take for North America to reach the heights of international success?

Dardoch: Haha, maybe not the best question for me specifically since I’ve never reached the Worlds stage-

- well, you’re better equipped than most would be to answer this question! 

Dardoch: Yeah, true true… then I’d say the biggest thing for me is kind of the cliche answer, where teams hone what they’re best at regionally but are then never prepared for teams from other regions that can play multiple styles with a deeper champion pool. I think a North American team is always going to have one or two very obvious weak points when it comes to playing against the top tier teams from other regions, and that’s what always inevitably happens. [North American teams] would have the expectation about which teams they’ll beat and which ones they’ll lose to, and when they lose to the teams that they expect to beat, they experience a big confidence drop and eventually fall out of the tournament. Haha, I’m actually not sure what we’d even need to improve this, but maybe [Cloud9] has the answers, they are the best team North America has on an international level. But who knows, maybe I’ll even find the answers on my way to Worlds this year!

As preseason is upon us and items are changing drastically, what kind of impact are you hoping that the changes have on the competitive scene? 

Dardoch: I wouldn’t actually say I’m hoping to have any specific competitive changes, and while the items are already making everything feel really fresh, I just hope they continue to have an impact. I don’t want it to just be the case that the items change but everyone still builds the same things; that being said, the way that they’ve tweaked Jungle items makes it feel like a completely different game already.

To hype up the fans during the wait for the next split, what do you think we can expect from Dardoch the next time we see you hit the stage? 

Dardoch: I’ll never doubt my individual skill. I will come to compete as I always do, and you can be sure that Dignitas will be more competitive this year. 

Let’s end on a fun question. Which two players (that you haven’t played with yet) would you most want to play on a team with? 

Dardoch: Well, I understand how important communication is, so I wouldn’t pick players that I’d have difficulty communicating with… so I’d honestly pick Caps and Perkz!  

Thanks for your time! Is there anyone you’d like to give a shoutout to? 

Dardoch: Thanks to all my fans, whether you’re in my discord or my stream I appreciate your support through to this day. Shoutout to DIG, my manager Bakery the homie, and my boy Zaq. 

We'd like to extend our thanks to Dardoch for taking the time out to answer our questions and wish him all the best of luck for his preparation for next season. You can check him out on Twitter @Dardoch to stay up to date on everything Dardoch, and cheer him on as the season draws closer!