After an extremely close year in the Premier Division, Ventus made good on their promises of a DGC victory by defeating long-time rivals eN. Energy E-Sports Re Vera in the best-of-five Championship Final, granting the side their first ever championship title.
Telkom Gaming caught up with the victorious captain, Brandon “brafester” Fester to break-down the competition:
Telkom Gaming (TG): OK well first off, how does it feel to have finally hoisted that championship cup?
Brandon “brafester” Fester: It’s been surreal. Personally, this has only been the second year for me competing at a serious level so to say we’re the champions is unbelievable. I don’t think it’s fully settled that we’ve won, but at the same time, we’ve been showing the champion spirit throughout the year so it’s an amazing feeling to be able to backup that spirit with the trophy.
TG: Your side certainly came into the competition with no shortage of confidence this year. What effect do you think your confident attitude had on your own team as well as your opponents at the LAN?
Brafester: I always make a habit of using confidence as a performance booster. If we’ve put in the effort, beaten every team and had strong games then I do not see a reason why we should not have been confident. A lot of other teams and players became cockier in the build up towards DGC, but our ladder position spoke for itself in terms of our yearly performance. We had every right to stand a head above the rest in confidence and I think it showed. Even when we dropped a map against eN, and then VnR, in the build-up to the finals, I think we still looked more confident in taking it all. Being confident in our ability to bounce back certainly helped with the pressure.
Some teams also gave us false hope. It was a huge confidence boost.
TG: Talking of high-pressure situations, that final match of yours certainly was full of them. I know it must be difficult to single out a single member of your side (given that it is a team-centric game) but if you had to choose an MVP for your final series who would it be?
Brafester: Calling Simon “slayeR” West a big game player would be an understatement for the way he played in every game from the quarter finals onwards. I think we all understood our roles and played it perfectly despite the setbacks, but he took it upon himself to drag us to the point where we could win. After the game, he said: “When you guys got double killed bot, I knew I had to carry this one,” and I think that is just a testament to his character and willingness to take it upon himself to lead.
TG: Looking back on the entire tournament what are your thoughts on the level of play coming from the top DGL teams?
Brafester: I think it’s been an improvement from the previous years. The year had already shown that any team could beat any team, but I think certain teams did not perform up to standard at DGC. In the Loser’s bracket especially, certain teams were obviously affected by tilt and that is not something that should happen if you want to win. Teams that are serious cannot allow themselves to be affected by tilt. Other than that, I was also disappointed by the lack of strong meta picks in many games.
Having a cheese and comfort pick is obviously strong and useful as a last resort, but there’s a reason certain champs are meta. When a meta champ can be played at an even level of the comfort pick, then the comfort pick loses all surprise strength and just becomes a weak pick. There are no excuses a player at the top level can use to justify not learning or adapting to meta picks.
TG: Do you feel this lack of use of the new meta stemmed from a lack of practice or do you feel that the LAN environment and the stresses of playing at an event perhaps caused some players to fall back on previously strong champions?
Brafester: It was just a lack of commitment from the players. The toplane meta probably changed the most when lane swaps were killed, because it meant you could have carries and bruisers again since there was more gold flow into the lane, but many players just never adapted their play.
All teams had the same time to practice, and all teams practiced quite a bit, but they just kept practicing their comfort picks. If the level of play significantly increased from playing the same champs then they would have more of an argument to justify not picking meta, but the beauty of a comfort pick is to just have in the pocket when the situation arises. For instance, I do not remember the last time I played Trundle before picking him up in game one of the finals against eN, but it looked as good if not better than what I played all tournament. Yet, when you see other teams play Wukong every game you start to learn patterns and it makes things easier. The stresses of a LAN is exactly why teams and players should be practicing the strongest picks on the respective patch.
TG: Which team that you faced this past weekend do you feel had adapted the best to the meta-changes?
Brafester: VnR – Veneration E-Sports LOL. I think they were a bit lucky because some of their players were already practicing things that suddenly became meta or very viable. However, they still put in the necessary practice in getting better and more comfortable on the strong picks. Maalik “YoloPete” Rawoot on Skarner was especially scary.
TG: Looking ahead to the Assassin changes, what are your thoughts on the changes to the champions as well as the vision changes?
Brafester: To be honest, I have not been following that too much. Our entire focus and preparation has been on the now though I’m keen to see the assassin changes. I think they’re fun to play, even if I am not known to be an assassin player, so seeing more assassins hopefully becoming viable is going to be exciting. The highly mechanical players should thrive if they are given more tools for out-play potential, so the game could become even more fun from a spectator point of view.
TG: Enough on the meta and the opponents, for now, the real question now is what do you do with all those winnings?
Brafester: Look at Fibre options and start streaming since the PC will be able to handle it. We might also start kicking up a YouTube channel with more of our plays and games. We’re all probably going to use the cash to take our families and loved ones out. They supported us and deserve to be rewarded just as well. We will also be sending our coach Alpaca a cheeky Nandos with the prize money.
I’d like to lastly add that all teams, good and bad, should continue to grow and develop to the best of their abilities. The level at the top is closer than it has ever been, which means every team just needs to that little extra to be the best. Competition breeds greatness. It is going to benefit the SA scene tremendously. The lower seeded teams also surprised many of us and they should keep focusing on their goals. Two years ago I was nobody, now I am a DGC champion. Hard work and dedication pay off.
On top of the title of 2016 League of Legends DGC Champion, Ventus also secured themselves the following in cash and prizes:
Courtesy of Alienware:
Courtesy of Corsair:
- 5X Keyboards: STRAFE Mechanical Gaming Keyboard — Cherry MX Brown
- R11,000 cash
Courtesy of Telkom
- R15,500 cash