270 days. That’s how many days Damonte and the rest of the 100 Thieves roster has to “prepare for Worlds,” the mid laner tells Dexerto, from the opening battle at the preseason LCS Lock In event, to the global League of Legends tournament waiting at the end of the competitive year.
So far, the preparation has been going well. It’s translated into two big victories for the must-watch young roster in the preseason tournament — including a major upset over early LCS Lock In favorites Team Liquid — and just one loss, to Counter Logic Gaming.
Damonte shone in both wins, racking up five kills and fifteen assists.
In fact, outside the CLG slip up on Saturday, the Thieves have looked like one of the most in-tune rosters. It’s giving them a big advantage early on.
The “unique situation,” as Damonte called it, of bringing four-fifths of an LCS lineup across to another org, is already paying dividends. Now they need to take it to “the endgame” this year: winning the LCS, and making Worlds.
That ‘endgame’ goal was at the forefront of Damonte’s mind when he spoke to Dexerto during the opening weekend of play. There’s a concept 100 Thieves have been building, with the help of their org-wide mental health coach Edward [Cleland]: “270 days of progress.”
“Edward is really pushing for us to get one thing in our heads: there’s 270 days until Worlds, and that means there’s 270 days of progress that we can make. We should take it day by day, [he says], and just enjoy the process,” the mid laner explained.
“I think it [going internationally] is definitely in our sights, going to Worlds, winning the LCS, that’s the endgame goal [for this roster] this year.
“If our process is good, then going to Worlds is basically a given.”
— DEXERTO.COM (@Dexerto) January 19, 2021
Trusting “the process” — a slogan first popularised by the Philadelphia 76ers — isn’t the only thing 100 Thieves have in their locker though. They’re armed with something else that only a handful of League of Legends teams have actually tapped into across history.“We’ll like a team of best friends… our team environment, which we’ve brought across from Golden Guardians, is really amazing,” Damonte said.
“Now we’re integrating Ssumday into our little group of clowns. We mess around a lot, and he’s slowly getting used to it. His personality is ‘sit back and watch’. But, the more I keep messing with him, the more he’s going to come around.”
Splash in 100 Thieves’ commitment to making them as comfortable as possible — an ambition not every org delivers on, Damonte said — and they’re off to the races.
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Good thing too, because the entire LCS has changed heading into 2021. For the first time in years, the North American league is facing life without stalwarts like Bjergsen, Doublelift, and the rest of the long-term legacy cast. A “new era” is finally beginning in Los Angeles.
For Damonte, that means new mid lane challenges. The biggest is Perkz, Cloud9’s shiny new mid laner. The Croatian is still settling into life in the LCS, but he’s shaping as one of the biggest threats to the league’s domestic stars.
There’s also a slate of new and rising NA faces. Damonte says it’s a “funny feeling,” after playing with Pobelter, Goldenglue, and seven imports for so long.
“This is something I’ve thought about a lot. There’s now six North American mid laners in the LCS. In my career I’ve been the only NA mid besides Pobelter and Goldenglue. It’s very interesting to me,” he said.
“I think the quality [in mid] has gone down — if you take all the players — but it’s really exciting to play against Perkz. He’s bringing a much more European style.
“I’ve tried to emulate it in the past, but Perkz embodies the aggressive playstyle, the cocky movements. He’s creating advantages all the time, and it’s really fun to play against and learn from. [This year] I’m just trying to download his playbook.”
And, hopefully, once Damonte has battled through his new LCS challenges, climbed the mountain to Worlds, and has possibly qualified with his “best friends,” he can hear something he’s been missing since early 2020.
“It sucks not playing with a crowd,” he said. “Something about the energy… you feel the rumble in your seat. I’m just hopeful it will be back by the end of the year.”