Thursday, February 5, 2015

Welcome to the Jungle - An Interview with Santorin

Welcome to the Jungle
Getting to know Lucas “Santorin” Larsen


by Sandie "moondove" Gade

This season, TSM acquired another Danish guy to come and play for them. After Amazing left to go back to EU there was a lot of chatter about who the new jungler would be, and when the announcement came that it would be Santorin, a lot of people were saying “who is this guy anyway?” Well, we've gotten to see him play and heard from him on the analyst desk after a TSM win, but I thought it would be nice to dig a little deeper and get to know him better.

First, let me say that apart from being a damn good jungler, he is also a really nice guy and he was more than happy to share his thoughts with me no matter how trivial the questions. Stuff like his favorite color (black; he must be happy rocking that TSM jacket), his favorite dish (his parent’s homemade lasagna) and his favorite type of music (rock). He answered it all without hesitation and was very kind about it.

I also found out that while he doesn't have a whole lot of time for hobbies (no big surprise), one of his favorite shows at the moment is The Blacklist, and he is REALLY into fitness and has a special diet and work-out routine that he follows.

So what else is there to know about this young blond jungle god? Well, a lot really, and since we are all fans of this wonderful game we call League of Legends, I thought it might be nice to also ask him about that. If you want to get to know Lucas “Santorin” Larsen better and find out what goes on in that pretty little head of his, here is your chance.

Your full name is Lucas Tao Kilmer Larsen. That doesn’t sound fully Danish. Can you tell me about the background there?

My name is not 100% Danish, you are quite right! In Latin, Lucas means "The luminous one" and Tao means "the path," and put together it means “the luminous path,” and therefore my parents chose to give me the middle name Tao.

Tell me a little about your path to pro.

The road to where I am today started with me just playing League of Legends for fun, 3v3 normals mostly. When I hit level 30 I began playing the 5v5 map, because I had to play ranked now.

During the first two months I went from unranked to #1 on EUNE and that was when I slowly started to realize that I had a talent for this game. The season after, I moved to EUW seeing as this was where all the famous players and great talents played.

I
quickly found a fully Danish team to play with and played LAN tournaments like DreamHack and the 2013 IESF World Championships. From thereon, I got a lot of offers and when I turned 17, I decided to take the offer from Coast and move to America. I chose to move to America because I wanted to experience something new, and if I didn't manage to go pro in this game, then at least I would have had a good experience. I took a year's leave from my high school, that way I knew I could just go back to school if it all failed. It was hard to say goodbye to my family and friends, so it was probably the biggest decision I've made in my life.

What teams did you play for before TSM?

Before TSM, I played for Intellectual Playground (fully Danish team), The Fox Sound (European team who tried to get into Coke Zero, but failed), and a lot of other teams including full Russian and Polish teams where I was the only one from another country.

What was your initial reaction when TSM first contacted you about replacing Amazing?

I was incredibly surprised. I had obviously heard rumors that he was planning to return to Europe, but I had not thought of the possibility that they would ask me. Of course I was surprised but also very happy. It felt a little surreal, but after I talked with them, I slowly realized that this was in fact "real life."

Describe a typical day in the TSM house for you?

My day usually starts with me getting up at 8am, I take a shower and then I start playing soloQ. We scrim from noon until 3pm. Then we have a two-hour break where we can do what we want; usually we eat and play soloQ. Then we have scrims from 5-8 pm and after that it’s back to soloQ again. Sometimes we also have sponsor things to do and we do those at the times where we would have normally played soloQ.

Were you a natural at the game from the beginning or did it take a while before you starting thinking of yourself as good?

I felt, as I said before, that I had a "natural talent" for League of Legends. Like I mentioned earlier, I was #1 on EUNE within two months. But it’s not just League of Legends I was good at from the start, I've always felt like I was good at computer games in general, World Of Warcraft and Counter Strike to name a few.

Of course, even if you have "natural talent," you should still put a lot of hours into the game to get really good at it. So I played at least 2-4 hours a day when I started out.


What is your favorite role after jungle and what do you like about it?

When I'm not playing jungle I usually play support. I think it's fun to play support because in a lot of ways it’s like jungle. You ward, roam/gank, but the obvious difference is that you are in the botlane and play 2v2 at the start of the game. But I just really like to roam around the map and make "plays" here and there.

What is your least favorite role and why?

The role I probably like least is ADC. I like to start the fight and be frontline/tank, so when I play ADC I usually go to the frontline, die immediately and lose the game for my team. I’m not very good at playing the lanes, since I don’t normally "outplay" someone when I play jungle; I just kill monsters and gank here and there.

What is your favorite jungle champ?

My favorite champion is without a doubt Lee Sin. I've played him since he was released and he has always been a meta pick. If I have to choose a champion that I can carry best with, then it would be him. People say that a dog is man's best friend, but in my case it’s Lee Sin.

What is your favorite non-jungle champ and what do you like about it?

My favorite non-jungle champion is actually Annie Support. I love to roam around with her and gank the other lanes. She has incredible damage and a really nice stun. And the further into the game you get, the more damage she gets and eventually you reach the point where you can solo kill your opponent even though you’re a support, just because she deals so much damage.

W
hat do you think about the new jungle changes?

I think the jungle changes are a little annoying to be honest. I don’t like having to recall so early because I have no hp left. But I'm happy about the new patch where you get more gold from each camp, because previously you only had as much gold as a support. I think I adapted fairly quickly since the top jungle champions at the moment are Jarvan, Rek'sai and Lee Sin. Seeing as I already played a lot of Lee Sin and Jarvan since I started playing a couple of years ago, it was not hard to play these champions again. And while Rek'sai is wildly strong right now, her kit is not too difficult to learn, so I feel that it’s no problem to play in this jungle patch.

But I was a little disappointed by the new jungle because in the beginning I thought that I would be able to play all jungle champs and that my champion pool could be larger. I don’t like playing only a few champions, but unfortunately it did not last long. There were a few weeks where you could play anything from Jarvan, Warwick and Xin Zhao, but then they quickly nerfed some items and made some changes and now we are back to a few champions in the jungle again unfortunately.

What is your reaction when people on your stream chat say that you are hot or want you to stream shirtless or something like that?

When people write on my stream that I’m hot, or that they want me to do shirtless stream I am both flattered but I also think it's funny. Firstly, I think that it's funny, because we all know that it’s not allowed to do shirtless streams on Twitch, you get banned if you do. But I am also flattered because I obviously think it's nice that there are people who like me.

How does flaming affect you? Does it make it different or more personal when you are in the public eye?

Everyone gets flamed in League of Legends once in a while, but if you get flamed on twitter or stream it obviously becomes more personal because they know who you are and do it on purpose to get you to feel bad. But I don’t take hate seriously, so it just kind of bounces off me. With fans come haters and you just need to be sure that you can separate haters from the sweet fans. Haters just try to make your life worse, so just shut them out. Sometimes it seems impossible to shut them out and ignore them, as we have seen in cases where people start to believe the haters and therefore begin to feel insecure about themselves and think that they play bad. This kind of thing should never be allowed to happen, because in the worst case scenario they may stop playing because they simply can’t cope with being hated on anymore.

Let’s move on to the competitive scene. So far you’ve played IEM and you’ve started the LCS. How have these experiences been for you and are you satisfied with your own performance?

IEM was the first tournament I played in America and it was a great experience for me as it was also the first tournament with TSM. Unfortunately, we lost our first two matches and were out of the tournament very fast due to the fact that we hadn’t had enough time to practice together. But it was a great experience and I was surprised at how many fans cheered on TSM.

LCS is going very well for us, so far. I feel like I’ve performed very well, but at IEM we didn’t really have the synergy down yet, so I don’t feel like I contributed much there. However, I feel that we're going to be #1 in NA at the end of this split, since our performance is really good at the moment and we are doing well as a team, both in the game and outside of the game.

What team has surprised you the most in the LCS so far and who do you feel your biggest competitor will be?

At the moment I’m very surprised by Gravity. They were one of the last teams who entered the LCS through the challenger series, and they were labeled as big underdogs along with Coast and Team8, but after Week 2 they shared first place with us (TSM) and CLG, which is nicely done by them.

As things are now I feel that our main competitor is CLG. We scrimmed them and they played very well and they also have a good performance in the LCS, so I am looking forward to playing against them there.

What AD-carries do you see dominating the LCS in the spring split? Both EU and NA.

In the spring split, I feel that the most dominant adc's from NA will be Wildturtle, Sneaky and DoubleLift, and in EU, I think it will be Forg1ven and Rekkles.

What are your views on support staff? Do you feel coaches and analysts move the scene forward?


I feel that coaches/analysts are a BIG part of the pro-scene. They help us to be better; they help us find the strong picks and teach us how to play the different comps. Not only does our coach help us with the game, he also helps us with individual problems if we come to him. Coaches are also a much larger part of the pro-scene now due to the fact that they are allowed on the stage to help in the pick/ban phase, which means that it’s much easier for us players to get a good start to the game. 


Thank you so much for your time Lucas and good luck to you in the LCS. In closing, do you have something you want to say to all the fans out there supporting you and cheering you on? Both you personally and TSM as a team.

I would like to say thank you to all the fans out there that support me. It means a lot to me to know that there is always someone out there who expects something from me. It motivates me to train more and play better. TSM has one of the largest and best fan bases and I'm very happy to be a part of that!

For more updates and thoughts, follow Santorin on social media:

2 comments:

Blaisem said...

Wow nice long interview! Thanks

Anonymous said...

Glad you liked it, I really enjoyed writing it :-) -moondove

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