Golden Guardians’ Lourlo on Staying Motivated in LCS: “I really want to show that I’m a capable player in the LCS, not just someone that’s going to be in a bottom-tier team.”

In Week 2 of the NA LCS, things are still unpredictable with the meta — surprising strategies that teams have run like the popular funnel strategy and role swapping, and swapping players from the main roster to Academy and vice versa. Teams such as OpTic Gaming came out to everyone’s surprise as they took down top-tier teams such as Echo Fox. Another team that took a lot of people by surprise are the Golden Guardians. In their games, they are utilizing the popular funnel strategy that teams across various regions are using. With wins against Team Liquid and a revamped Cloud9 under their belt, they looked to succeed moving further in the NA LCS.

Samson “Lourlo” Jackson stopped backstage after their win against Cloud9 in Week 2 to talk about why the funnel strategy is working for Golden Guardians and how they mentally prepare during the offseason.

During the offseason, you guys had the opportunity to go to the Warriors playoff game. Describe your experience being there. Did that give the team a lot of motivation to perform in this split?

Lourlo: So we’ve been to a Warriors game before, but not the playoffs so it was an exciting experience. It was my first NBA playoff game that I went to. When I was a kid, I went to a few basketball games because my family grew up as Laker fans. It is pretty funny that I’m with the Golden State Warriors, but it was really fun. I think the energy there was crazy, especially because they were against Houston, so it was a really hyped game.

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Did that experience give you guys motivation to succeed in this split?

Lourlo: I wouldn’t say the Warriors legacy correlates with our work ethic. I think we all have our own internal motivation, especially myself. I think it’s more towards what I want to accomplish as a player since I’ve been on the losing end for the past 3 splits. I really want to show that I’m a capable player in the LCS, not just someone that’s going to be in a bottom-tier team. All of our players just woke up and realize that we want to prove ourselves this split. Everyone is working 10x harder than last split and practice is fluid. We get the most out of it everyday and hopefully, we translate our efforts on stage.

What are things you guys went over in between splits that we’re currently seeing in the LCS stage?

Lourlo: I think a lot of it is cohesion and team direction. Those are the two big points that we’re missing. A lot of the time, our team were just playing for themselves and not playing as five, especially in this game. This [funnel] comp we ran makes you have to play together. If you don’t, you leave the Kai’Sa on her lane and split push. You can’t do anything so just making sure that everyone understands that we have rules. Sometimes, you’re not going to be in the spotlight. Sometimes, you’re going to take control of the game and be that carry, but you have to take a backseat and do that for the greater good for the team. That’s just a big point we’re focusing towards because not everyone is going to carry every game.

Did the win against Team Liquid give you guys a lot of confidence going into this game against C9?

Lourlo: Honestly, I didn’t think we would beat TL and beat them so fast. The game was a stomp, especially since we were confident going into OpTic with how our scrims were going. We were like an 80% win rate in scrims and the only time we were struggling is when we were trying things and that’s what scrims are for. We lost sometimes because of that, but I thought all our scrims were super easy. We were playing really well with what we were doing. Then, we lost against OpTic and became a little skeptical. Then the next day, our skills showed and we played a comp we are all comfortable on. This gave us a lot of confidence moving forward.

What’s the reason behind using the funnel strat in your games thus far?

Lourlo: We saw in Europe and LCK had high success rates with it like Perkz was winning games super easy with it and LCK teams were hit and miss — they mess up in the early game a lot of time. Overall, it looked really OP like a free game strat. But honestly, in this game our early game was atrocious. We should’ve got the lead and played more safe. We kind of just gave them 3 Infernal Drakes and we played well. But, our comp was so good. It had so much room for error, so it shows the strength of the comp.

The match against C9 went back and forth. Why did you think the match went that way?

Lourlo: I think our early game went bad and we should’ve played safer. Small mistakes that led up to them getting a sizeable gold lead and early dragons. They had 2 towers over us, so we were on the backfoot. As soon as we got items on our Kai’Sa, she can survive the Evelynn/Swain burst then there’s not much they can do. They have to kill the Kai’Sa — if they don’t kill her, we just win.

At one point, C9 was ahead by 7k gold. How did you guys come back from that deficit?

Lourlo: Even though we played this comp in scrims, there were games where we were down like 8-9k. All of us knew we had to do is make sure is that Kai’Sa lives. If she lives, it doesn’t matter how much gold they have — our comp was built to save her. We stalled their Baron out and they didn’t get any inhibitors. They played pretty bad with that and then we got to 30 mins. We had a maw and QSS on her [Kai’Sa] and they couldn’t kill her anymore. We had 2 lockets as well. As soon as they dive in, we activated the lockets, maw shield. and Kai’Sa R shield. There was probably like 5,000 damage shield and HP. We also had 4 champs with CC so what can they do.

In the end, there was a base race between you and C9. How stressful was it to destroy C9’s nexus first?

Lourlo: I think Contractz made a really good call. He was saying we need 1-3 players to back and decide as a team that Kai’Sa should move forward. We would leave one person to protect her or she’s going to die. Then, we decided the 3 most useless people can take time to help defend and hold them off. After that, we just won with one creep.

If you guys beat Echo Fox tomorrow [in Week 2 Day 2], what does this mean for team morale and confidence moving forward?

Lourlo: Echo Fox looks really good. I think they have an interesting grasp on this meta. They can just do whatever they want, but I think it could be the thing that can hurt them as well. Since they’re so flexible with what they’re doing, they’re playing too loose in that sense. They’re just like not picking the one [strat] that they don’t have as much practice on, they just seem confident with anything they’re doing. Maybe they haven’t practiced one strat than the other, so we shouldn’t take them lightly. But, I think they might pull a strat they didn’t practice much on and we can take advantage of that.

Are there any surprises you guys have for the fans in future matches?

Lourlo: I wouldn’t say there are surprises. I would say the biggest thing for me is just hoping to get some wins. I think last split we already have half the wins, so if we get 2 more, then we equaled the same amount of wins in this split. I think just hopefully making playoffs is my goal and I think that would be a big surprise for our fans.