UKLC Winner Interview: Sof
Once again, the UKLC has come to end. Among the dust and debris left by our valiant contenders, stands one team to rule the waves of Britannia: Resolve
An unexpectedly gruelling test in the Grand Finals against London Esports which ended 3-2 capped off another memorable UKLC season, as both our finalists head towards the Telia Masters to do battle.
But before we witness the clash of titans from the UK & Nordics’ finest, we sit down with Resolve’s jungle Sof. What does he think about Resolve’s season and the Telia Masters? We’re here to find out!
Sof, congratulations on winning your first UKLC title with Resolve! How are you feeling after that hard fought victory against London Esports?
Sof: Thanks a lot! Honestly, it's a feeling of relief more than anything. I’m happy that we won of course but in my mind, if we achieved anything below first I feel like it would have been a huge failure on our end. I’m glad we matched the expectations we –and everyone else– set for ourselves.
Caster Jamada also gave you the MVP of the UKLC 2021 Spring Split Regular Season! How does that make you feel and if you had to nominate an MVP candidate, who would it be?
Sof: I’m definitely happy about this one. However, I was allowed to play the jungle exactly how I wanted to play it, because my lanes are always providing what I ask for in-game. They were often stomping their matchups which made jungling incredibly easy. It was definitely a joint effort from everyone on my team.
If I had to give it to anyone else not on Resolve, then I’d probably give it to DenVoksne. He is the most valuable player in terms of the amount of wins London has got through him popping off. Granted, they play through him most games, but if he’s given resources he is usually able to take over games and bring home wins.
Considering you guys were 2-0 over London in the regular split, did you expect London to put up such a fight, let alone taking it all the way to Game 5?
Sof: Honestly? We didn’t expect it. In the regular split, London were actually one of our easiest opponents. In both games against them, we felt those were our most easy-going games so we made a soon-to-be wrong assumption that we were just a bad matchup for them stylistically.
They definitely surprised us and I’m glad they did. We learned a lot from that series and it has prepared us going into the Telia Masters. Huge props and much respect to them.
Resolve have been completely undefeated up until that point, how was the feeling going into Game 5? How did you guys deal with the pressure that you haven’t had to face till the finals?
Sof: Personally I felt pretty calm. I used to get in my own head a lot in official games and some pressure can of course be good, but a lot of the time it can negatively affect yourself and the way you play the game, so I’ve worked on that over my previous seasons. Now I feel calm even in high pressure situations, such as a situation like a do-or-die Game 5.
As for the team, I think overall everyone was confident in their own abilities and had trust in each other to be able to win the last game. It basically came down to best-of-1 and we knew that we had already won both regular split games against London earlier, so we had full confidence in ourselves to get the win!
In Game 2 and Game 5, you picked Lee Sin, a champion you are known to be very proficient with. However, Lee Sin has not been a meta pick in a while now. Tell us what the decision making was like to pick him, and how good is he really in the current patch?
Sof: (laugh) Honestly...Lee Sin was a pretty terrible pick in those games. In Game 2, I felt like we could just skill-check them with a composition that synergises well together and in Game 5, we just thought since it’s the final game of the series, comfort picks matter a lot more. And because we had won with it earlier in the series we thought why not.
It turns out there were so many more junglers we could have picked instead and would have had a much easier time!
What are your thoughts on junglers in the current patch? Do you think there are a lot of viable picks we have not seen yet?
Sof: I definitely do. I don’t want to reveal any picks before our games though so unfortunately, I can’t say too much. But rest assured I’ve got some stuff prepared which we haven't shown yet that I’m excited to pull out!
Moving on from the UKLC, we have the Telia Masters on the horizon. The groups have already been drawn, what are your impressions of Resolve’s group?
Sof: I think our group is a lot weaker than the other, which I think most people would agree with. However, I think Nyrikki and Masonic are both good teams that we shouldn’t underestimate. The other group has the predicted top 2 teams in the tournament inside of it, but this means that though group A has the supposed easier group, the semi-finals will be harder which are arguably the most important games in all of Telia to decide if you make it to NLC promotions. Most players will of course want to win the whole thing though, so it doesn’t matter if you face an easier or harder opponent first since you will have to go through them all eventually regardless.
What are your impressions of the other Telia Masters’ candidates? Which teams are you keeping an eye on?
Sof: The obvious ones are Galaxy Racer and Absolved. Everyone’s keeping an eye on those two as the top teams in the tournament, and I’m pretty sure for the first time we’re coming in as the underdogs. I’m honestly looking forward to that.
Assuming Resolve continues the fairytale run all the way to NLC promotions, you will face either Dusty or MNM Gaming. What are your thoughts on both teams? Do you think the top UKLC/Telia teams are on a similar level to NLC teams?
Sof: I think both the relegation NLC teams are actually worse than the top Telia teams this time around, compared to the last split when the bottom NLC teams were able to defend their NLC spot in the promotions.
Though there are some definitely good players in Dusty and MnM, I actually think they’d both lose to Absolved or Galaxy Racer pretty handedly.
Speaking about the NLC, your former team Tricked Esport made it to the playoffs but were unfortunately knocked out by Team Singularity. Any thought on their run of form this season?
Sof: They were a promising team who fell short at the last moments. I think botlane Achuu is criminally underrated in terms of what he provides for a team and regardless of being strong-side or weak-side — the amount of damage he is able to pump out is simply insane.
Before we end, talk to me about your personal goals and what you would like to achieve this year. Is the plan just to promote to the NLC? Perhaps joining the LEC to face your old coach Pad at the end of the season?
Sof: I wish! But I think that may be a bit longer away than simply just the end of the season. Unfortunately, my chosen offer fell through extremely late into the off-season, which meant I wasn’t able to play in the NLC this spring despite me getting offers.
My goal is definitely to go further than promoting to the NLC, and I’d love to be able to play in an LEC academy team or go to the EU Masters by the end of this year.
Any closing thoughts?
Sof: Nothing too crazy except that I hope people keep an eye on us during the Telia Masters! I know people aren’t predicting us to make top 2, but I think we’re going to surpass a lot of expectations!