The uLoL Campus Series 2016 has been exciting for all regions as we root for our favorite teams, usually from the university in our region. Now that the top 8 teams in each region have competed and the winners with the most points have been revealed, the top 4 teams in each region will compete at the finals for a scholarship prize. We had the awesome opportunity of speaking to Georgia Tech’s ADC, Allen Chen, as they are the team currently leading in the South Conference. Find out what life is like being both a full time university student and competitive League of Legends player!
Congratulations! Georgia Tech is currently leading the southern region with 18 points. What was it like joining Georgia Tech’s team? How did you hear about it?
The short story or the long story? Let’s go with something in between. In my freshman year, there was a Georgia Tech (GT) team already established. At that time, I wasn’t really good at the game so I was invited to play on the team after posting on the GT League of Legends Facebook group. With this team, weren’t very active with tournaments so we only played in GameFest and a few others. We won some tournaments for B teams but mainly those were just on the side.
After that year, I thought, “Bump this! I’m going to make a super team at Tech.” I invited all the semi-famous people I met at GameFest, they were the highest ranked players but mainly just played with friends. I asked them if they would like to make the new GT team and win; the team was formed near the end of freshman year. We went into sophomore year and one of our guys decided he didn’t want to play LoL anymore so we ended up filling his spot with someone else. During that whole year we did alright.
“Bump this! I’m going to make a super team at Tech.”
Last year we had to win a tournament to get into Riot’s tournament in California. We won it, but in the second or third game, everything went sideways and we weren’t satisfied with our roles. We lane swapped, we did stupid stuff. Our top laner couldn’t make it to the finals of the south due to personal life events and we ended up playing with a sub while also lane swapping. We took second place in the south but didn’t get to go to California. Now, we have restructured the team and people who didn’t want to play that year were replaced. I think we are doing pretty well!
With the restructuring of the team, does everyone mesh well? What changed between last year and this year to put you in first place now?
Last year we won due to our individual skill, but we lost on all kinds of macro and team play. This year, even though we have only have 3 of the original members, our team coordination seems to be better. We still need to work on our macroing but it’s definitely better than last year. I think it’s because of players with fresh perspectives on the game joining the team.
You guys are full time students and it’s almost a full time job being a League of Legends players. What is your day to day life like? How hard is it to balance school with League of Legends?
We basically have to plan our practices around school and work. Everyone’s schedules have to line up, which means if you have homework due on a certain day, you have to do it early. We have to be responsible. We can’t procrastinate because we need to get to practice on time. For some of us it’s easier because of an easier workload (this semester was pretty easy for me compared to last semester) but for some people it’s harder because they now have to work full time and attend classes as too. One of our members is taking classes and he works so we start practice at about 7-8 pm when he gets off work and end at around midnight. I think it really depends player to player but it’s relatively rough – but we make it work!
Hypothetically, if a professional team was looking for another player to join them and they were interested in you, would you be willing to join on the condition of having to drop school? Is professional play something you’re looking for? Is League of Legends something you excel at but ultimately you are focused on college for a degree? What are you looking at for the future?
If a pro team approached me based on my skill and I was at that skill level… I would definitely take it. It’s a chance that will probably never happen again and probably isn’t going to happen anyways. Hypothetically, if it did appear it would be something that I couldn’t revisit. This is the main argument for a lot of pro players. You can always go back to school, you can always find something else to do, but being a pro player you have to do it now or the opportunity won’t come up again. I think I would take that opportunity for sure – because if I don’t, I know I would regret it in the future.
Let’s go into some personal preferences for League of Legends. What are some of your favorite ADCs and where do you see them in the current meta? We see a lot of Kog’Maw bans and blue Ezreal being picked lately – what are your thoughts?
I have favorites but they aren’t currently meta picks. I love Twitch – he can assassinate people, trick people, and troll people, but he’s not a good pick right now. I love champions who aren’t as popular to play. Ezreal and Lucian are good in the meta right now but I would prefer to play someone who is up and coming like Jhin. I also like playing Vayne, but a lot of people don’t really like her and think she’s not very strong right now. My comfort picks would be Jhin, Twitch, and Vayne. And then my meta picks would be Ezreal and Lucian. I think ADCs are in a better spot than they were before. There is a lot of variety. Just make sure there’s nothing too broken like Kog’Maw. As long as that stuff like that doesn’t happen I’m happy.
Would you say that ADC was what you used mainly to get through “elo hell” in solo queue ranked?
When I play solo queue ranked games by myself, I basically don’t care about my rank. I am just playing to improve for the team, just practicing whatever champions we need to work such as all the champions in the current meta plus a bunch of surprise specials and secret weapons. That’s mainly for grinding though. If I’m really trying to win, I pick based on what the other team picks.
Do you think that is the secret to reaching high elo? To form a pick based on your opponents team comp instead of going with a comfort pick?
I think if you are a normal person with school, work, etc. I would stick with one champion or get better at a few champions. You’ll get better at the game because you won’t be making basic champion-specific mistakes. But if you have a ton of time – like I do I guess – probably pick against the enemy team like professional players and teams do.
What about some specific gameplay skills people should focus on? What kind of skills and abilities in game people should practice before going into ranked?
The only thing you can practice individually is CSing. Using custom games is great for that. If I wanted to improve really quickly, I would figure out what my weak point in a game is and keep that in mind as I play my ranked and normal games. Conquer one thing at a time.
Going back to GT, recently your team was featured on one of Riot’s video interviews. It was seen as a little rivalry since it was a split interview between GT and Florida State U, but you won (2-0) when you faced them. What was the team’s mentality going into the match up?
I think our mentality was play what we’re comfortable with, what we know works, and we’ll do our best to eventually win. The interview didn’t really change our mindset. We did the normal preparations and practices.
Does your team have a specific shot-caller? Or do you mesh so well that it’s understood inherently what is happening and what direction you guys are going in the game
Definitely not the latter. There’s a lot of, “What should we be doing right now?” “What are we trying to do right now?” and someone always has to call it. Usually it ends up being me, but it’s usually not the ADC’s role to do that. It should be the initiators or the tanks but I do talk a lot and I think it’s something we’re working on. We are trying to get other people on the team to figure out what our next step or objective is. A lot of it should be, “This is what we’re doing, this is what we’re doing next, after this objective look for this.” We’re looking at giving the role of shot-caller to someone else.
I wanted to mention scholarships being awarded through League of Legends. Is there anything you can say to those going to college who are considering this kind of route to complement their education or taking this route to lead them into a professional career? What do you think is a great mindset for them to have in order to accomplish that?
If you’re looking to go professional, I wouldn’t focus too much on the scholarships. If a school you really want to go to is offering it, I think that is an extra bonus but I don’t think people going into college right now should make that their priority. I think it should be a secondary or tertiary part of the decision. You can always get better at the game without going to the schools offering these scholarships but you may not necessarily get a better education going to College A with a scholarship and College B without.
Do you have any last comments you would like to share with everyone?
Spam those dank memes on Twitch chat! Peace!
Interview conducted by Arthur Chen.