TL Reignover on his mentality struggles, Jungle playstyle, and SKT’s power budget

On July 22nd, we sat down with Jungler Reignover to hear his thoughts on the team’s newfound momentum in the midst of Team Liquid’s first 2-0 LCS week in several months.

I’m joined by Team Liquid Jungler Reignover after an epic back-and-forth series against Team EnVyUs. What’s your initial reaction after that: are you relieved after that crazy series?

Yes, it has been a long time since we picked up our last victory, and I feel really good. We worked hard for this week because if we lost again, we’d have no hope for playoffs and would definitely go to relegations. With us winning, if we keep it up we should be able to avoid relegations. The happiest thing is just to get our confidence as a team back from this victory, and I really want to keep these victories going.

So you’re still building confidence one game at a time. When you go so long between victories, how do you as a veteran player help your teammates keep looking through a neutral lens?

I don’t think it matters so much that I’m a veteran player, maybe it helps a bit. Really it’s about players’ personalities. For me, I thought that my mentality was really strong but after having those bad times I dropped a lot of confidence and couldn’t really help my team–couldn’t really drag our team up as far as mood and environment and confidence. Being able to take a lot of breaks in practice and on stage by splitting with Inori gave me a lot of time to refresh myself and play solo queue. Right now, I have a lot of confidence in myself and the meta is pretty good for me too, so I’m bringing a lot of confidence to the team in game.

With you and Inori splitting time, what’s the dynamic between you two Junglers? Are you working on pathing and matchups together, or is there any special relationship between you two as Junglers?

We don’t watch each other and try to improve each other as much as I expected, mostly because there are a lot of things we’re both missing individually. I’m spending all my free time trying to improve myself so I can perform on stage. Once I’m at a stable mindset and have more mental space I think we can help each other a lot more. Right now, yeah we do basic stuff like champion matchups.

You mentioned that this meta really favors your strengths as a player; historically you’ve been known for your tank Jungle play. You’ve also had a great set of games on Graves earlier this split, and alongside the tank Junglers there are also these Lethality and Marksman-type carry Junglers rising on this patch. You have great games on these Marksman Junglers; what makes you so good on those champs?

I’m really confident on champions like Elise or Graves because those champions can constantly put out damage without risk at the beginning of teamfights. Elise is a champion I’ve been playing for so long, Graves I haven’t played that much but he was OP when I was playing him a lot. I just really like champions with a lot of tempo in the Jungle because there are a lot of situations where our laners need help, and enemy teams disrespect us a lot by playing aggressively, which I can punish if I have the tempo advantage in the Jungle. I dislike playing slow-tempo Jungle but that’s why the meta is good right now, when everyone is playing tanks with low tempo they can’t disrespect us as much. Safe carry Junglers, instead of risky carry Junglers, are what I’m most comfortable on because I always have spells to get away but can always put out damage.

LiRa said in a Riot interview today that he always found himself struggling to figure you out as a Jungler and how to play against you. People are considering him one of the best Junglers in the region right now, but what is it that prevents LiRa from figuring you out as an opponent?

I think it’s basically because I’m the type of Jungler who doesn’t take very much risk. I think that confuses him, because I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and changing in my playstyle. My original playstyle was to take very little risk, focus on out-pathing the enemy Jungler, get better vision, and make our laners more comfortable during laning phase. Creating a good situation on the map, basically, instead of forcing ganks or sacrificing camps to gank. I’ve gone through some diverse playstyle changes because we were losing and I thought it was my problem so I tried to keep changing. I do think I tend to settle on my original playstyle though, and I usually try to prevent aggressive Junglers’ aggressive plays and make the most out of the risks they take when they fail, so that makes it pretty hard to play against me.

When you stole Baron from LiRa in Game 1 and then he stole one from you in Game 3, was it a little easier to shake him off knowing you got him earlier?

I mean of course in-game I’m not really thinking about what happened in Game 1, but in that moment I was just really sad because Graves was walking slowly up through the water and I tried my best to stop him, we had so many zone control spells like Trist ult, Taliyah W, Thresh hook, Jarvan E+Q, so I was sad that they stole Nash, but I was still sure we were going to win the game—our comp was basically just better and we had way more win conditions, so I was still able to focus after the steal.

I want to ask you a question about your old teammate Huni, related to Emily Rand’s recent article about SKT’s struggles to balance three aggressive players: Peanut, Huni, and Faker, who all play very forward. Knowing Huni as a player, do you agree that this could lead to team struggles—too many aggressive players unbalancing the team?

Well yeah, I think that aggressive laners by themselves don’t destroy the balance necessarily, but their playstyle demands aggressive champion picks and those champions don’t fit each other. If you force a defensive champion on an aggressive player they usually will not play that well. So if players can take those aggressive picks but still play smart and according to the situation—SKT’s a really, really good team and know basically everything they need to do, so I think it’s more about balancing aggression and just playing smart.

Reignover, last question for you: could you share your biggest takeaway from playing on Team Liquid this year, as a player or person?

I think the thing that improved me most was going through a lot of different playstyles which is helping me understand Jungling even more right now. I had to play a lot of carry-style Junglers and I think that helped me improve a lot as a player. I’m not saying that I’m the best player to play carry Jungle, but before I really hadn’t touched it that much, and now I’m confident on basically any carry champion. The biggest thing I learned was just my mentality; I thought it was really strong, but it was basically not, so now it’s even stronger, and I’m pretty confident I won’t tilt no matter what happens in-game or outside of it. As a person, I’m just growing up mentally. It’s been some really hard times but I think it’s made me grow as a player.

Any words for Team Liquid’s fans and your own?

We’ve been struggling so much, and it’s really sad for fans but really really hard times for the players too. Our players have been trying to improve and working really hard, but since we have all these roster changes, bad atmosphere, and lack of results, all those things keep making us play even worse. Right now we need a lot of cheer from our fans because we’re trying to bounce back from the bottom, and our players are all trying so hard to deal with the bad mood. So thanks for supporting us and continuing to wait for us. We’ll try our hardest to bounce back from the bottom.

 

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