It’s safe to say, at this point, that the Taipei Assassins have made a name for themselves. With a decisive victory over the much-feared World Elite of China in the Go4LoL Asia finals, and an impressive run in the Garena Premier League, going undefeated for almost three weeks, the talk of the South-East Asian pro scene has been about Taiwan.
ggChronicle managed to sneak in an interview with them amid their increasingly busy schedules as they ramp up to make a bid for the Season 2 Championship.
The Taipei Assassins are organized as follows:
Mistake (Captain) – Support
Bebeisadog - AD Carry
Lilballz - Jungle
Toyz - AP Carry
Stanley - Top
Colalin - Substitute (Support)
NeXAbc - Subtitute (AP Carry)
The Taipei Assassins were formerly known as FTW, of which almost no information is available for in the English-language side of the internet. What changes, if any, were made to your roster during the transition?
Erica: Taipei Assassins was formed and signed by Garena Taiwan on April 7th, 2012 this year. The previous FTW (also known as For The Win), was this team’s name before they were signed to Garena.
Originally FTW had Lilballz, Stanley, Mistake, Colalin, Nexabc. FTW first made appearance in the LoL competitive scene by participating in the Garena’s G1 event in 2011 (the largest eSports event we had at that time), and took first place among 150 teams. Garena noticed their outstanding performance and proceeded to sign the team, adding Toyz and Bebe near the end of April to the team, forming 7 members in total.
Lilballz is known as a former CLG.NA player, but next to nothing else is known about the rest of the team’s professional gaming history. Could we get a quick run-down of their past involvements?
Erica: Bebe’s US gaming ID is called “bebeisadog”, and he was the #2 ranked on US server. Mistake’s US ranking as “Mistakelolz” is #8. Lilballz joined CLG.NA as one of the team’s oldest member, but he left the team after he came back to Taiwan. The rest of TPA all have impressive rankings on both US and Taiwan server as well.
Regarding the TPA’s history, the team recently advanced with perfect scores in the Nvidia Geforce Lan qualifiers and won second place in Shanghai on April 30th. Then TPA joined the Garena Premier League and won 1st place in the GPL opening ceremony on May 5th. Recently TPA advanced with perfect score in Go4LoL Pro Asia and took first place on May 29th.
What is a typical day like for the Taipei Assassins? Can you describe your training schedule?
Erica: The team comes into the company Wednesday-Sunday (since Saturday and Sunday is when tournaments are held). A typical day for them would be to go exercise in the morning (to maintain their health and strength during competitions), then English classes to improve their ability to communicate with overseas players and fans. Then they start their practices, with training focused mostly on practicing with other teams (NA, Taiwan, SEA, Korean, China teams), or play ranked games (solo and duo) to train their personal skills.
How does your team strategize? Do you discuss tactics as a group, or is the team captain or coach responsible for concocting team compositions?
Mistake: Our team strategizes together as a group and discusses which parts we have to work on.
What would you say is the biggest difference in the conduct between Asian, EU and NA eSports, especially for the League of Legends teams?
Mistake: The difference between these NA, EU, Asian LoL teams is that in Asia, LoL was just released a couple of months ago, so Asian teams are inexperienced and unfamiliar when it comes to details regarding the game.
When will the Assassins next be on the world stage, outside of the GPL? Are there plans to attend any LAN tournaments before October?
Erica: TPA will join IPL and Season 2 if they qualify for both. We will also join other invitational tournaments as well, but we will be focusing mainly on the GPL, since it is a great tournament with many SEA professional teams participating in it.
Given your recent streak of success, are there any teams you still fear? What teams do you have the most respect for at this time?
Mistake: We think Korean teams and Team WE are really great teams. The team we have the most respect for is M5, with their new strategies and different play style
What are your impressions of the EU and NA professional scenes? Are there any teams you’ve particularly been keeping track of?
Mistake: NA teams are familiar with heroes and team composition, and have mastered personal skills. EU teams have amazing battle strategies and team coordination. The teams we have been keeping track of has to be EU teams, since we have never practiced with them (ping issue), like M5 and CLG.EU.
What do you estimate is the Assassins’ chance to take the Season 2 championship?
Bebe: Our estimation for Season 2 championship will be reflected on how hard we practice and study other teams, so I would say very high.
Stanley’s shown some remarkable performances with either rarely utilized or unusually built champions on the tournament level. What made him decide to play Hecarim? Why was attack speed Lulu a good idea during the second World Elite game?
Stanley: I saw that the enemy is Varus, so using Hecarim I knew Varus had no escape mechanism. Hecarim can be useful to heroes that are scared of heroes attacking up close to them (especially when there is red buff).
Lulu’s passive has a lot of magical damage from Pix, so using attack speed will help a lot in damage during the beginning of the game.
The North American and European scene has strongly favored Mundo, Shyvana and occasionally Maokai and Nocturne as junglers of choice, but Alistar seems among the more popular choices in the Asiatic scene. What are Lilballz’ thoughts on the relative advantages and disadvantages that the Minotaur brings to a team composition, in comparison to the other choices at the tournament level?
Lilballz: The reason for using Alistar is that he can give the team a really strong early game and is a fantastic ganker. However, if used ineffectively in the beginning, during late game he becomes a support-like hero and can’t fight well like the other junglers.
How do the Assassins prioritize their team compositions during matches? Do you focus on having a strong laning phase, counterpicking the enemy champion, or how well the champions complement each other in teamfights?
Nexabc: We prioritize first on counterpick, to have the best hero coordination as possible. Then we focus on strong laning phase to make sure we are winning in every lane.
Many of the Assassins hold an impressive Elo rating on the North American servers. What are their impressions on the differences between the SEA and NA solo queue environment? Or between the two region’s competitive environment?
Toyz: In Asian environment people care most about ranked scores, while NA is to practice skills whether we win or lose.
How does the Assassins determine who makes the calls during a game? Does the team captain direct the fights, or is it a matter of whoever sees the action first?
Erica: TPA has our captain Mistake making the calls during the game.
Colalin and others have been spotted streaming at times. Is there a set time or schedule that the Assassins stream their practices? And can a link be provided?
Colalin: We do not have a set time schedule, but the team will have players streaming everyday whenever there isn’t a tournament going on (or if the other team that we are practicing against won’t allow us to stream).
Team stream: www.twitch.tv/team/tpa
Team fan page: www.facebook.com/tpa
Team youtube: www.youtube.com/taipeiassassins