The last remaining quarterfinalists were determined on Sunday. North America's Cloud9 edged out the Flash Wolves and I MAY to take the second seed in Group B to first-place SK Telecom T1.
After their qualification and draw of Samsung Galaxy in the quarterfinals, we caught up with veteran jungler William "Meteos" Hartman about their group stage performance, upcoming series with Samsung, and dealing with community pressure.
Congratulations on making the quarterfinals. This is your third World Championship, how does it feel to be here again with C9?
It feels pretty good to be at Worlds. You practice the whole year to get here and I’ve been fortunate enough to go every year that I’ve been playing so that’s pretty cool. The past two times we’ve been at Worlds we’ve lost in the the quarters and now we’re going to quarters again so it would be pretty cool benchmark to get past it. We’ve got a pretty tough opponent so we’ll see how it goes.
You’ve been a jungler for quite some time, how has the role changed and what has it been like jungling at this tournament?
I think that jungle is a really hard role to actually know what you’re doing. Every game is going to play out differently and everyone on your team is going to have a different idea of what the jungler should be doing. It can be pretty tough going from game to game where it’s like, ‘Oh, you should have been here, you should have been here.’ There’s no real guidebook on ‘Here’s how you jungle in the LCS,’ or ‘Here’s how competitive jungle should be played.’ I’ve been doing my best. Whenever I see something that looks really good I try to do it. Sometimes it’s hard with a lot of community criticism. I played Lee Sin in the first two games at Worlds — it had gone really well in scrims, we played Lee Sin against TSM and we won a lot of scrims against them. That’s why Svenskeren started playing it again. It’s really weird when I did practice the champion quite a bit and regardless of whether it was my fault or not, I was just getting shit on on social media. I couldn’t go on my Twitter and that part can make it kind of hard as a player. I like checking my Twitter to interact with my fans, but no matter what I tweet, or what I look at for myself I see, ‘Meteos should kill himself before he plays Lee Sin again.’ and it’s like, I’m up against some of the best players in the world and we lost as a team, why is it 100 percent my fault or the champion that I picked? There’s a lot of factors that go into jungling, I’m just trying to do my best and keep practicing and improving. Hopefully it’s going in the right direction but sometimes you think something will be better when it’s actually worse. I think it’s pretty tough.
So when something you think will be good or has been good in scrims doesn’t work out onstage, what happens? How do you approach it? Also, what is the primary difference between practice and the stage?
Fundamentally, scrims will always be different than the stage. Some players will test their limits, as they say, in scrims a lot more than others. They’ll just go for the solo kill whereas on stage they would just be safe, so it will be the case where in a scrim, I want to gank top or something, and it will usually work. There’s a huge difference between going top, getting the kill, getting the 450 gold for your team and then going top and not getting the kill — then your whole jungle gets stolen. I think people play a lot differently which can give you weird reads and stuff. Going into Worlds, stuff like Karma and Nami bot lane looked really really strong because, in scrims — bot lanes would just play full aggro all the time not caring about the rest of the map. When a Karma is under your turret spamming Q at you it feels really bad. Every team is like, ‘I want to be that Karma, I don’t want to be on the receiving end of that anymore.’ Then people stopped playing melee supports and went back to ranged supports. But onstage you realize that all of this insane lane pressure from scrims is only going to give us a five CS lead and then you have a Karma on your team so we have zero CC. Stuff like that can be extremely different between scrims and the competitive scene. Usually stuff that’s good in competitive are champions that scale well with a lot of cc but in scrims they don’t always look great because things can just snowball out of control.
Is there anything that really surprised you in your games onstage?
I think that the first game against SKT, Faker was really good. He moves in a way that’s different than any other player. It almost feels like you’re playing against a robot, or people who are scripting. The way he moves is extremely weird and it makes it difficult to hit him with skillshots. He lives up to the hype pretty well. Aside from that, we just didn’t have a great idea of what we wanted to do and our execution was pretty bad too.
In all of your group stage games, who was your toughest opponent and why?
In our group for sure it was SKT. They looked way better than anyone else. They’re really strong laners who understand the game quite well and they work well as a team. Flash Wolves gave us some trouble and we got a really lucky win against them in the first week which ended up really making all the difference. Both of those teams were really good.
Your opponent in the quarterfinals is Samsung Galaxy, who looked really good in the group stages. How tough of an opponent will they be for your team?
Samsung, we scrimmed them quite a bit leading up to the second week of Worlds. They seem really good. Their jungler and mid, Ambition and Crown, are both really good. It’ll be pretty tough. They played really well in groups and we’re going to have to step it up quite a bit to win that game.
What is your impression of your upcoming jungle opponent, Ambition?
Ambition is really good. He plays a similar style to the way I like to play — trying to make yourself strong. From what I’ve seen of him play, he doesn’t like putting himself behind for the chance of getting a lane ahead so he plays a very controlled style, he’s good mechanically and his decision making is good. We might have really similar styles if we both play well.
You are the last hope for North America being their only team left standing in the quarterfinals, are you surprised?
It doesn’t fully feel like we deserve to be here. I don’t feel like we played better than TSM did — if they had been in our group, they probably would have done better so I don’t know. I don’t take [the last hope of NA stuff] too seriously, that’s more something for the fans to like. We were given this chance, we’re going to do our best with it, and hopefully we won’t embarrass the region.
Emily Rand is a staff writer for theScore esports. You can follow her on Twitter.