Still in search for a permanent jungler on the CLG roster, former Lemondogs player Dexter has made the decision to fly to the U.S. and start practicing with CLG in order to fill that vacant jungler position.
Since his stay at the CLG house, there’s only been scrims with the team and solo queue thus far. However, his real test of capability and synergy with the team will come during Riot’s Battle of the Atlantic tournament where CLG faces off against Team ALTERNATE in a best of 3 showmatch.
In the meantime, Dexter was able to share his thoughts regarding the state of the EU LCS, the reasons behind his move to NA, adjusting to life with CLG, and the preseason patch 3.14 changes.
First off, can you introduce yourself a little to your new NA fans?
Hey, I'm Marcel ''dexter'' Feldkamp, 21 years old and I'm from Germany. I've been playing League for 3 years now and started playing competitively about 8 months ago. I played for the EU team Lemondogs in the last split where we ended up qualifying for S3 Worlds after taking first place in the EU LCS.
Tell me a little about your gaming career before LoL. Were you competitive in any other games previously?
I used to play CS 1.6 and competed in the ESL ladder. After playing CS for 4 or 5 years I started to switch to WoW where I played high-end PvE and got a couple of Gladiator titles. From WoW, I went straight to League of Legends.
With Lemondogs, you got 2nd during the EU LCS Summer playoffs as well as competed at Worlds. Can you describe your competitive experience throughout season 3 leading up till now?
My first appearance was with DragonBorns in the Spring Split of this year where I played 2 weeks of LCS. At that point, I just started playing the game a lot and began to get recognized as one of the best European junglers.
These 2 weeks definitely helped me out to not be nervous when I played with Lemondogs. I was super relaxed and after we made a roster change the team atmosphere got better and we just started winning every game.
I see the split where I played with Lemondogs as learning curve where I got better every week. You could really see progress from week to week and it felt good qualifying for Worlds and winning 2-0 against a team like Gambit.
Obviously the community is quick to compare the NA scene with EU. In your opinion, what are some of the things (if any) that differentiate the EU meta/teams with NA?
The meta is almost identical now because everyone is watching the same VODs of Korean/Asian teams, and it really reflects on all of the competitive games so far.
The mentality and mindset of team practice is a complete different experience here. In Europe, teams practice 2-4 hours more on average than in NA. We had a scrim schedule of minimum 8 hours a day where as NA only has a maximum amount of 6 hours a day as team practice to prevent burning out. The rest of the day is being used to watch replays or improve in solo queue.
Specifically for yourself (who is known here for your great Jarvan/Lee during the Summer Split), how exactly would you describe your jungle playstyle or methodology? Do you feel you play/think a certain way or have a champion pool that makes yourself unique among the competitive scene?
People like to say that I'm an aggressive early-game jungler and my signature champions are definitely Jarvan and Elise. Jarvan was the main champion in all team compositions I played with Lemondogs where we relied on me hard-engaging or diving, which resulted in a lot of success during LCS because of this.
There is no way of describing a jungler's playstyle - its all about making the right decisions at the right time. Every jungler has some patterns that he tends to follow over and over again, and if you play a certain amount of matches against that player you start developing a feeling of what he is going to do next.
There are only a handful of players I could think of that actually change their habits frequently. The best way to describe this is to watch SKT1's performance at Worlds. Bengi always knew what’s going to happen in the next 2-3 minutes and he was there when he saw the opportunity, and that's what I admire.
After departing from Lemondogs, what exactly was your thought process that lead you to want to try out and play with CLG? Did you necessarily think playing with CLG would benefit you more than playing with another EU team?
I had several options that I considered at the time in the Europe. I could've just rebuilt Lemondogs with people that I thought were good, but that would be really hit or miss, so I decided that contacting CLG was the best option for me to grow as a player since the infrastructure and player environment is just better to anything comparable in Europe. So yeah, I think that playing with CLG would give me more benefits than playing in the EU teams I would've played in.
Other than yourself, there have been quite a few international players venturing off to the U.S. in order to compete in the NA scene. Obviously the Korean lineup Quantic Gaming and Bjergsen to TSM stand out, as well the new Evil Geniuses team in NA. Generally speaking, what do you think is the appeal for players from other regions to start playing in the NA LCS? Is there more money/publicity to be made, better competition, or just more opportunities to be had?
The exposure a player gets is just better over here in NA. Some teams got attracted to NA LCS because they think they can crush NA teams and have a free ride into LCS. Some just want to market themselves more and stay relevant for as long as possible. My motivation behind the move from EU to NA was to have a stable environment where I don't have to take care of things outside the game. There's one thing for sure - the infrastructure and conditions over here are way better than in Europe.
It’s only been a week so far with you in the house and I hear you guys have been doing very well in scrims. Can you explain how the playing experience has been jungling with CLG? How has communication been in-game and has your playstyle meshed well with the rest of the team and their champ picks/style?
At first, the scrims were just awful because it was a completely new game with so many things to explore and re-learn. It got better from day to day and you could really see good progress on how well we worked together as a team.
The communication was really sloppy from my part at first because I was still jetlagged and I wanted to have a good first impression of the team, so I didn't really try to take charge of in-game related things like shotcalling or drafting.
My champion pool seems to be working out pretty well in CLG and the communication gets better every day. I'm more in charge of the early/mid game decisions while Link does late-game shotcalling and has the final word on everything.
Based on the teams you've scrimmed against so far, as well as any other research you've done (watching streams, VODs, word of mouth, etc), is there any NA team that you feel is going to be a particularly difficult challenge for you/CLG?
It's too early to tell which team will be good in S4. We are still in preseason and I'm sure that there will be more changes and the meta will shift again. Cloud 9 and TSM looked really stable as teams and I'm extremely looking forward to play them in matches that actually matter where some things are on the line, because I seem to perform a lot better in situations with pressure.
Have you got a chance to interact with coach MonteCristo at all? If so, how has the brief experience with him been so far? In general, do you think you’ll benefit at all from having a coach/analyst critique yours and the team’s play?
I already had the pleasure to interact with MonteCristo and I'm extremly happy to have such a dedicated analyst/coach on the team. His knowledge about the game is great and I'm sure that with his help, CLG will become a really strong team that will compete for top 3 in NA.
There’s been a few changes to the jungle role in preseason 4, specifically the Spirit Stone items and Wriggle’s changes, a new camp, adjusted experience/gold gains (that scale throughout the game), and of course the ward changes. In your opinion, did the changes Riot made to the jungle role have a positive or negative effect on the competitive scene? Do you think the changes impact your own play at all?
Changes are always bad at first glimpse, but you get used to it. You get punished harder for failed ganks and you have to more clearly decide what you want to do.
The biggest change in this patch was not about the jungle, but rather the vision and gold distribution from objectives. They reduced the ability to snowball a game by a lot and comebacks are actually a lot more frequent than I would like. In my opinion, you should be rewarded more for making correct choices early-game and not be punished for it by picking early-game oriented champions.
With the preseason changes of course came new desired picks for the jungle. Evelynn definitely comes to mind given how vision wards are currently, but there has also been a resurgence in champs like Shyvana, Olaf, and Dr.Mundo. Who do you think are the stronger competitive jungle picks right now and has builds/itemization changed at all in general given that the jungle is getting more gold going into the late game now?
Champions like Olaf, Shyvana, and Mundo are not popular because of jungle changes - they are popular because of broken defense masteries that make them unkillable late-game monsters. I think the most contested picks in competitive play are Olaf, Elise, Vi, and Evelynn. Jarvan, Kha'Zix, and Gragas definitely have their place too and can be used in certain situations.
I really enjoy playing assassins, so I'm having fun with Elise and Kha'Zix at the moment, at least in solo queue.
Overall, what are your realistic expectations for yourself on the CLG roster? From what you've observed in your short stay, do you believe you and the team will be successful or is it just too early to say?
I think everyone is really dedicated about the game and enjoys it at the moment. We will definitely work hard to get to the top and hopefully we will end the first split at a top3 position and we will aim to attend the S4 Worlds.