“[In League of Legends] you’re not going to find coaches that teach the players; you have to find coaches that are going to help the players teach themselves and Liquid really has that experience, and is willing to find people to help do that.”
For now, Xpecial’s main goals for the team are to both maintain his current level of play while helping the rest of the team gain the all-too-important synergy. Especially as bottom lane is the only partner-centric matchup, his focus centers on stepping outside of the habits he had developed as part of Team Solomid.
Solomid’s roster was relatively unchanging as far as League of Legends teams go: after Xpecial joined the team, the only new additions for the next three years were Marcus “Dyrus” Hill, Jason “Wildturtle” Tran and Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg.
“On TSM, I was there to pretty much be consistent and to make plays if needed; not really there to have the highest impact on the game. With Curse, that changes. Yeah, I still need to be consistent, I still need to make plays when I can, but another goal of mine is going to be towards making calls, helping them transition from a strong early game to a strong late game and that’s going to require a lot of work.”
While Xpecial can claim veteran status over a couple members of Team Curse, he has nothing but respect for Joedat “Voyboy” Esfahani and David “Cop” Roberson, who have become the stable faces of a fresh roster. He has played against both players for years, and has come to analyze both their habits and what he can bring to the table now that they are partners.
This especially shines a spotlight on Cop, who has had to adapt to many different support players in the past year. For a veteran player like Xpecial, one of the most important things for a bottom lane to have is trust in each other, especially in the high-pressure atmosphere of weekly LCS play or split-ending playoffs.
“I want to inspire him. I want to give him the confidence to perform even better. I want him to not be scared. If I tell him to be confident I want him to be more relaxed and be able to rely on me as much as I rely on him,” Xpecial said. “I think working with him will hopefully turn out really well. While Cop has played well, I think Cop has even more potential, and I hope I’m the one to help him reach [it].”
Ultimately, Xpecial’s move heralds a new cornerstone in his career, and his journey as a person. In eSports, impermanence is almost a foregone conclusion: spending three years on one team can be seen as an anomaly. Xpecial described the brief time between TSM and Team Curse as one of the strangest in his life: despite dealing with massive uncertainty, he looks forward to his new opportunity to make his mark with a new organization.
“This is just one chapter of my League career and one chapter of my life, and I want to turn that into a positive one. One where I can go back from the future and say ‘This is where things change. This is where I shifted from being a follower into a leader’, and a chapter that I can be proud of.”
“These past three years are going to be one of my fondest memories. The next however-long time it may be? I want those to be fond, as well.”