On September 6th Huddersfield White, the team from the University of Huddersfield, defeated the Staffs Enerds from Staffordshire University to crown themselves champions of the Summer Tournament. I spoke with the team to find out a bit more about their journey to #1.
Top – lnsec2GDBZ – King Chan
(Sub – Stratus Lyte – Sam Nicholson)
Jungle – IHazCatz – Zach Pennington
Mid – Shroud EU Nick Petrovich
(Sub – SharpeyX – Alex Ho)
AD Carry – Get Exited – Christian Parker
Support – Armour – Jordan Armour
So to begin with, how did that team start?
I did sign up the year before but there weren’t a lot of people around my rank at the time. So I checked again this year and there have been quite a lot of Diamonds and high Platinums so then I just added everyone. I knew Shroud from school so I knew he was coming to University this year. I then just asked everyone who was interested and we started from there. That was in September last year.
I remember joining the Freshers page and seeing someone post about a League of Legends Society, I was like “Hell yeah, I wanna do that”. When people said they were interested in forming teams I remember messaging Jordan and asking him if he wanted to make a team. We were the more serious team, then there was Huddersfield Blue which were slightly worse than us and Huddersfield Black which were even worse, but they disbanded fairly soon into the tournament.
How has your team grown over time?
Well despite being quite high ranks in solo queue we didn’t really practise as a team much, we were never on at the same time. If we could have practised more I think we would be a lot better earlier on.
At the start of the season (season five) before the meta changed we could just pick strong lanes and our solo queue ability would just destroy people and we would win the game through that. After Christmas you couldn’t do that anymore with the big season five changes like Dragon no longer being worth gold. So we lost a lot of our prowess in the spring. Once we finally started practising, our pick and bans were a lot better and we began developing strategies which meant we started winning again.
What were your ambitions for the team?
Well right at the start I just wanted people to play league with. When I got to university I didn’t have many people in my course that I was friends with, but after all the league stuff I have made some really good friends. I am going to Wembley in October with these two (Jordan and Nick). So when I joined it was just for fun but then I was like “Wow we’re pretty good”.
I think it is good to set yourself goals to do well but at the start we didn’t know each other that well, we didn’t practise that much and we were a bit shaky. In our first week we played against the Nottingham Bears and we got absolutely stomped which made us realise that we really needed to improve. From then on we played together a lot more.
Is there a specific person that takes care of pick bans on your team?
Nick [also laughing]:
Yeah definitely Jordan. He does all the research on every team. He knows all the compositions. He’s our primary shot caller. In champion select he just tells me pick this *insert champion*.
Jordan’s easily the smartest player out of all of us. He’s kind of like the mother of the team. He takes us all under his wing and then carries us.
Oh you want to play Riven top? No no no, you’re playing Maokai, he’s in the meta. I make sure we have a solid team comp.
In the fifth game of the finals the other team swapped all the roles. Their ADC started playing Jungle and Jordan said he smelt cheese. Just as he predicted Lee Sin tried a level two gank which failed.
When we brought the series back from 2-0 to 2-2 they tilted really hard. Their Diamond 1 Jungler couldn’t do anything once we banned Rek’Sai. Then when we also banned Tristana they were kind of done for. In Mid lane I knew the opposing Mid laner was on tilt because he was playing Ahri and wasn’t punishing me for mispositioning and playing badly.
In my research before the matches I knew that they prioritized Lulu and Jax quite heavily so we banned or picked them in the first two games. And then they randomly swapped their Mid laner and Top laner around which threw me off. It was impossible to prepare for that series.
At the 0-2 point in the series how did you maintain composure as a team?
Just played enough solo queue to not tilt.
Once we were two games down we were fairly demoralised. Until that point we had been trying to play compositions we had practised with our main roster and it just wasn’t working so we had a complete refresh and changed our style to just play what we are good at. So it was just comfort picks for the next three games. People were then playing to their strengths rather than to what I thought was a good composition.
I think the outcome would have been different, and I don’t want to sound cocky, but if we had had our proper roster and played the team compositions we practised I think it wouldn’t have gone to five games. We gave it a go the first two games but when it was clear it wasn’t working I said to Jordan “let Zach play the carry style junglers he plays in solo queue like Rengar and Lee Sin, and let me play assassin champions like LeBlanc and Zed and we can try to carry as hard as we can”.
And it worked. The change in style was what we needed. We had to go all out because it was 0-2.
To be fair to them it’s always hard to close out a series even if you are 2-0 up.
Even in the last game we were really shaky trying to close the game out.
Do you think the meta is in a good place?
[‘No!’s from everyone]
In the new juggernauts patch it’s horrible. There just aren’t enough bans to take out the OP champions and the ones people are really good at. You have to ban the champs that are really strong because there’s so little counterplay to them.
In the second game our Top laner (lnsec2GDBZ) picked Darius because it was open, it was his second game of Darius ever and he completely destroyed his lane. From the pick bans perspective it’s awful. You just can’t give the strong champions of which there are so many.
We were playing before this interview doing some ranked fives and Mordekaiser got through picks and bans and we completely trolled the game with a Mordekaiser/Blitzcrank Bot lane and Draven Top with Teleport and we dumpstered a bunch of Diamond players just because Mordekaiser is so overpowered.
I really hope the meta changes before the next tournament.
Is your roster staying the same for the next tournament? Are you aiming for the #1 spot?
Yeah we are staying the same team for the next tournament. As for where we are aiming, we think we can definitely make the top 8. We have consistently defeated the Manchester Bunnies who are a top 8 team. I think we have what it takes to win. One of our biggest problems last year was that mid way through the tournament we stopped practising which made us slump but this year we are much more solid team and are used to practising so I think we can do it.
You can look out for Huddersfield White as one of the top teams in the NUEL regular season tournament where we hope to see you and your team competing.