LGD has been making serious waves in the China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL) this year. While traditional powerhouse Royal Club is foundering in the relegation zone, LGD is currently third on the league table, and just three points behind second-place team Edward Gaming. A big part of LGD’s success this year has been the team’s bot lane, made up of AD carry Qu “Styz” Ziliang and support Chen “Pyl” Bo. The pair have been making plays all season. Check out, for example, this highlight video of the top 10 LPL plays from week four; you’ll see Styz showing off his skills several times:
I got a chance to interview Styz, and the first thing I asked him was what he thought LGD could accomplish this season. Given the team’s dominant performances so far, I was expecting him to say that LGD could win it all, but he rightly pointed out that LGD only just earned promotion into the LPL, and at least publicly, his goals are a little more modest. “Of course, we hope to make it into the postseason,” he said.
Is there a problem in the Chinese LoL scene?
But whether or not LGD can win in China the failure of Chinese teams at the recent Intel Extreme Masters Worlds has gotten a lot of people talking about whether Chinese teams can win international tournaments. But Styz doesn’t think there’s any innate problem with Chinese teams. “They didn’t perform well,” he says of Team WE and Invictus Gaming, the two Chinese teams at IEM, neither of which made it out of the group stage. “Perhaps they just weren’t used to foreign teams’ strategies, and their preparation wasn’t adequate.”
At the same time, Styz admits that Chinese teams are at a disadvantage because China’s version of League of Legends is several patches behind the version that’s played in international competitions. “[China] is definitely at a bit of a disadvantage,” he says of the difference in patches.
I felt that at IEM the foreign teams had more advanced tactics, especially the Korean teams. But China has its own style, too.
So which Chinese teams does Styz respect the most? Domestically, he says he feels the most pressure when laning against Edward Gaming’s botlaners, NaMei (AD) and FZZF (Support): “They’re both very skilled and very aggressive in the laning phase, and they also work together quite well.”
Of course, Styz has a pretty effective relationship with his own support Pyl. How do they attain their impressive in-lane synergy? “Playing ranked games all the time,” says Styz simply. “And being in contact a lot even when we’re not playing.”
Watching the international scene
Styz is also definitely spending time watching how teams from other countries play, and is influenced by their play styles. He says he does watch professional matches from other leagues, and he’s especially impressed with SK Telecom T1 K—isn’t everyone?—and North America’s Cloud 9. His favorite international ADC is SK Telecom T1 K‘s Piglet, he says, because “his skills are very strong, his thought process is excellent, and he handles team fights in a very rational way.”
(See: Through the eyes of Korean high-elo players: metagames)
Since he follows the Korean scene, I also asked Styz for his thoughts about the controversy involving former Korean pro team AHQ, which has been implicated in match fixing, and its former player Promise, who attempted suicide just after making the match-fixing scandal public. China’s pro scene can avoid a similar tragedy, Styz said, by “placing more emphasis on psychological counseling [for the players] and doing some positive education.”
When he’s practicing in his team or playing in competitions, Styz’s champion choice isn’t really based on personal preference; like any pro he chooses the champions that are strongest in the current meta and the champions that fit best with his team’s composition. But interestingly, when I asked him what champions he likes playing the most on his own time, he picked three champions we definitely don’t get to see him play much in public: Nidalee, Zed, and Lee Sin.
In terms of champions he does get to play in competitions in the bot lane, Ezreal is clearly one of Styz’s favorites (you can watch him steal two dragons from OMG using Ezreal in the highlight video above). When I asked him what he would do if he could make one change to League of Legends, he said he’d buff Ezreal’s range. “I like playing him,” Styz said, “but he’s too weak in the current version.”
How to ADC
Finally, I asked Styz if he had any advice for amateur ADC players on how they could improve their dominance and synergy with supports in the bot lane. Interestingly, he didn’t mention spamming the top champs in soloqueue; in fact, he didn’t mention soloqueue at all. “Join a ranked team” he said, “that has a huge effect, especially if you participate in tournaments, that’s the best way to make major improvements [to your gameplay].”
There you have it, folks! Abandon soloque, all aboard for ranked fives!
Stay tuned for our exclusive interview with LGD support and Styz’s fellow bot-laner Pyl, which is coming next week.