Having beat out Telsa Gaming 2-1 and crushed Furious Gaming 3-0 in the Latin American Cup finals, Lyon Gaming are not only Latin American champion but also the final team to qualify for Intel Extreme Masters San Jose. We sat down with the triumphant team’s jungler Marcelo “Thyak” Ramones to talk about the Latin American scene, tournament preparation and how they intend to face the challenges that lie ahead.
ESL: Hello, and thank you for your time. Both this year and last year you earned a lot first places in your region. Now you’ll be getting the chance to face some of the best teams in the world – how do you feel about this?
Marcelo “Thyak” Ramones: This isn’t the first time we’ve played against very good teams, but it’s always satisfying knowing how far we can reach – we feel both really good and anxious to play against them.
ESL: This is your second Intel Extreme Masters after Intel Extreme Masters Sao Paulo. There you dropped out early against a Brazilian team, placing you 5th to 8th. What has changed since then and what are your ambitions for San Jose?
Thyak: Our mentality at Intel Extreme Masters Sao Paulo was really bad – we had a lot of problems before traveling, and we didn’t perform as well as we could have. We’ve learnt a lot of stuff to do before going to an international event since then, so we are more prepared for San Jose.
ESL: Your first opponent in San Jose will be the Unicorns of Love. What’s your impression of them and do you think you can advance to face Team SoloMid?
Thyak: UoL will be a tough opponent as they have demonstrated that they belong in the LCS, so we will do our best to outperform them and beat them. I think we can advance against TSM if we play our best.
ESL: When looking at League of Legends in Latin America, most people would call KaBuM and paiN Gaming the biggest names around. How would you assess the general skill level of Brazil versus the remaining Latin American teams?
Thyak: This is a really difficult question as we don’t play against the Brazilian server very often. In our case, we have only played once against a Brazilian team and that was in Sao Paulo, and as previously mentioned we had a really bad mentality before coming into the games. However, I think that we have similar skill levels.
ESL: You currently play in the Mexican National League, yet the NA LCS is just a few miles away from you. Are you looking at expanding into more international tournaments or are you happy with the local scene?
Thyak: We are currently happy with the local scene, but we look forward to international events all the time. However, for that you need to be the best in the region, so that’s what we’re aiming for – we can compete in international events by winning in our region.
ESL: How big is League of Legends in Mexico and what do you think is needed for the esports scene to grow to the extent that Mexican teams can compete on even ground with international teams?
Thyak: The main problem with esports in Mexico is the lack of sponsors who are willing to support teams in a big way – companies are just too scared to get into this market. With better sponsors there is more motivation, which often means a greater skill level because you feel rewarded for what you do.
ESL: If you compare the way your region plays League of Legends competitively to the way North America or Europe does, what are the main differences?
Thyak: NA and EU often create their own playstyle, and we, the lower regions, try to copy those playstyles. It’s really difficult for us to create our own meta.
ESL: This off-season is filled with Korean and Chinese players joining teams around the globe – even the Brazilian team paiN Gaming has two Koreans. Is this something you think will also happen in the Latin American scene? Are there any plans for your team to scout/recruit Asian players for Season 5?
Thyak: I don’t think there are any plans for an international player to come to Latin America any time soon.
ESL: A cheering crowd to back you up can be an important thing. How do you think the crowd in San Jose will receive you and do you have any fans you know will be making the trip?
Thyak: The crowd is indeed important, and I’m pretty sure that Latin fans that live in the US are going to the event to cheer for us. About the general crowd – it’s very likely they are going to root for their teams (C9 and TSM).
ESL: Thank you for your time! Anything else you would like to add or shoutouts you’d like to make?
Thyak: I would like to thank our fans, who support us no matter what, and give a shoutout to our main sponsor HyperX for supporting the team a lot!
Check out our Intel Extreme Masters San Jose survival guide for more interviews as well as everything you need to know about the upcoming event!
Images courtesy of Facebook.com/LyonGamingLA.