Austin "Link" Shin is Team Liquid's new mid laner and a former member of Counter Logic Gaming. He hasn't been in League of Legends' competitive scene for over a year and, as a result, a lot of people are unsure if he will able to have a good read on the game's meta.
theScore esports sat down with the veteran player to discuss the Season 7 meta as well as his feeling on new game systems such as the 10 ban system. In these discussions, his inexperience with the new concepts does not show at all, showing the ease with which he has transitioned back into competitive League of Legends. For the full feature on Link's return to the LCS via Team Liquid, and details on his hiatus, read here.
How do you feel about the 10-ban system?
The one problem I have in the 10-ban system is that there is way too little time for players and coaches to really think about things.
How much time is there exactly for each pick and ban?
I believe it's 30 seconds. There's no buffer or reserve time; it's kind of weird too because the new client lags so sometimes you can't even click the champion you really wanna click. And then it randoms your champion and you have to be like "Uh, okay, we gotta remake." Also, everyone has to ban too, so it's like Riot's way of everyone gets to be a part of the system; in reality it means if someone it not paying attention or it lags, we have to remake again.
So is timing the only issue?
Timing is an issue, the system itself is a good change. Having more bans means you have a more flexible metagame, it is something that league kind of needed. There's just way too many champions added to league every year, and we've had six bans for god knows how long, like forever. having 10 is nice, especially bans in the middle of the draft, because then that enables for some interesting picks. You know you can go with the option of banning the counters or banning stuff that finishes the composition. So usually the first six bans are banning out OPs and maybe a pocket pick, but the extra four at the end means you can ban out counters for a specific champion, and run a champion that was previously not viable because those champs existed. It creates a lot of flexibility, that's how i see it.
How do you feel about mid lane in the new 10-ban system?
The mid lane champion list is pretty big, there's a lot of viable options, because there might be too many OP champs in the pool. There are a lot of counters, so mid lane is kind of weird. Winning lane in League is a big deal compared to Dota; in Dota if you lose lane, there's still farm for you, like you can farm jungle and stack. In league, if you lose lane, you're gonna get denied resources and you can't keep up with your opposition, so it's kind of punishing. Having a really good draft is more important now than it was previously.
What do you think of Season 7 overall?
I think bottom lane is in a very weird state right now, because there are not viable supports anymore. Supports now are just utility AP mages with crowd control or pushing power. It's also not 2v2 anymore, You're just versing the creeps. Karma is just QQQ spam the creep wave, or you have zyra and you have plants... and you can just QQQ spam the creepwave. That's kind of why the Miss Fortune pick is there with the max E, because you E the creep wave and if they walk up to last hit, then y'know, they're getting hit and they can't walk up. There are some interesting picks that have risen that haven't been revealed in competitive games. When I talk to my former teammates, they're like "bottom lane sucks", and I kinda agree with them; bot was my most played before practicing mid again.
What about the other changes? For example, plants and new items have been introduced since your absence.
The other changes, like plants and stuff, it doesn't really matter. I do think nerfing jungle was good. Junglers control the game and if they're stronger than laners then they can just ruin your day. it's not fun when you're walking back to lane and you just get one-shot because junglers can do that while just keeping up in farm and keeping ahead in farm. Midlane is okay except for Ryze. I don't know why riot gave him that kit. Maybe it has to do with the co-founder [Ryze].
Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a News Editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.