Looking exclusively at Team Dignitas' match history for the 2017 NA LCS Spring Split, you could be forgiven for thinking that the team switched their entire roster halfway through the season. While the team's lineup looked strong before the split began, they got off to a weak start. At the end of Week 4 the team was 2-6, having just earned their second match win against Team EnVyUs while snapping an eight-game skid.
But Dignitas didn't change their whole roster heading into Week 5. They just brought back David "Cop" Roberson as head coach.
During Cop's time with the team they've turned it around, ending the season with a 9-9 record — perhaps worse than observers predicted at the beginning of the split, but good enough to edge out Immortals (8-10) for the final NA LCS playoff spot.
Speaking with theScore esports, Cop weighed in on the team's biggest challenges, the biggest surprise of the split, and what he expects from the upcoming match against Phoenix1.
What part of the team’s game has improved the most since the beginning of the split?
Since joining the team, I believe we’ve improved on our teamwork and overall playstyle the most. We were having a lot of trouble figuring out how to close out a game, but we worked on our communication and figured out the best way we could play as a team.
What has been the biggest challenge for this roster? How did that get addressed?
The biggest challenge for Team Dignitas has been improving on our communication issues. Our in-game communication was really weak when I joined the team but since then it’s improved a ton. I think a lot of it comes from Ssumday and Chaser taking 10-20 hours of classes a week to learn English and they’re working really hard at improving.
How confident are you heading into the matchup against P1? What part of their game do you respect the most?
I’m actually very confident heading into the match. I believe that we’re playing really well right now and have a decent understanding of how the game’s supposed to be played. All we need to do now is get a good draft and hope we play well on the day of the match. As for what I respect most from P1, that would have to be Ryu and Arrow’s abilities to carry. They’re just really good players and they know how to dish out damage and get kills.
When was the team at its lowest point morale-wise, and what was that like? What kind of conversations did you guys have about the situation and your mentality?
The team has mostly had high morale but we felt pretty bad after the weekend where we lost both sets to TSM and P1. We had two weeks to practice for those matches and we didn’t really improve at all in those two weeks. After that weekend we had a long meeting and decided what we were going to do moving forward. Since the meeting, we’ve changed a lot about how we practice and our view on the game and it’s been working out so far.
What has been the biggest surprise for you this split?
The biggest surprise for me this split has been making playoffs. We were tied for 10th place or something when I first joined the team but we were able to go 7-3 in the five weeks I’ve been here and could’ve potentially even finished 4th.
I didn’t think we were going to do as well as we have been and it wasn’t looking good when I first got here, but we turned it around and we feel really strong going into playoffs.
As an outside observer, the coaching change in Dignitas seems to have a profound impact on this team. What, specifically, changed?
I don’t know what it was like before I joined the team but since coming to the house I’ve tried to help improve on all aspects of gameplay. I started with just focusing on the basics since our teamwork was really lacking and since then we’ve had way better synergy in-game.
We’ve also been focusing a lot on developing our own unique playstyle since we didn’t really have one five or six weeks ago. There’s still way more to improve on but I think we can still do really well in playoffs and I’m excited to keep improving along with the team.
Josh "Gauntlet" Bury is a news editor for theScore esports. You can find him on Twitter.