Following JD Gaming’s MSI 2023 upper bracket final win over T1, we spoke to former LPL and current LCK caster Dan “Aux” Harrison. We asked for his thoughts on the series, tournament meta, double-elimination, and working with Huni.
WIN.gg: What are your immediate thoughts on the JDG vs T1 series?
Absolute banger. I feel like it delivered, and the fact that there’s potential for a rematch – I think the fans should be very happy.
Was it tough seeing the LCK side on the losing end?
Mixed loyalties! To be honest, I feel like as long as we get a good series I was happy with whatever outcome. With it being double-elim as well, LCK still has their chance to challenge in the finals.
How have you found the new double-elimination format?
I feel like formats can make such a difference to the tournament. Last MSI, which I was working on, we had so many best-of-ones repeatedly.
There are some downsides to the format. Some of these best-of-fives haven’t been ideal, like the Cloud9 against Gen.G one. That was a bit rough. If you’ve scheduled to come for that one day, then you might leave feeling a bit disappointed. But overall, I’d say it’s a massive plus.
The fact that we get to see more best-of-fives between these huge titans that go up against each other. Maybe if the draw had been a bit better, we could’ve seen an NA against EU best-of-five as well. I think that’s the only thing, that maybe if the draw was formulated a little bit more securely, that we could see something like that.
Overall, like, this is nitpicking, right? I’m super happy with the format changes and I think a lot of fans are as well!
How have you found the team fighting meta?
If you want to see the best team fighting ever in League of Legends, I feel like this tournament has been so good for it and how the teams structure the team fights around the AD carries. I think the BLG vs JDG series was fantastic for that. The T1 vs Gen.G series was [too,] T1 vs JDG as well. And you look at the approach where they have to be super creative; we saw knight and 369 with these great flank angles to try and get in on a fight. It’s just been a masterclass.
What’s nice is that even though sometimes the early game doesn’t feel as impactful, it always feels like the other team can come back into it. Even if they’re 7k gold down, if you pull off a banger team fight and one-shot the enemy AD carry then you can still win!
I think the suspense is there, and honestly, I think that the best meta in League of Legends is always when it’s about those big team fights. It’s not that the lane or early game aren’t relevant, but there’s always this space to just pop off in a 5v5. And that’s what we all come to watch, right? The big 5v5s and team fights!
JDG has arguably been the best team fighting side. How can teams beat them?
I think it’s really difficult because it’s a delicate balance. If you overcommit on resources onto killing Ruler then there’s no guarantee that your AD carry survives.
So it’s really hard. It’s really hard when you have an AD carry that’s positioning so well, and also who’s really patient with his summoner spells. If I had the answer, then maybe I’d be helping out these teams in a coaching role – power to them for trying to work it out!
Ultimately I feel like draft is super important, the approach to that is super vital. Being creative with how you’re able to find flank angles is big. When there’s a game where it feels like you can protect Ruler and just sit back, it’s quite straightforward. But I think what JDG did really well, is when it felt like T1 had the edge in that regard, like they could just sit back and backline, they got creative – they found these angles.
How have you found working with Huni on the LCK broadcast?
Huni’s been such a great person to work with. A lot of people know him from his time in EU and he was always seen as a funny guy, but he’s also just the nicest guy to work with. We make so many jokes when we’re watching the game back – he’s really energetic with his reactions and he’ll bring that to the desk. He often does work on the Korean side of the broadcast as well, so casts for the LCK and is often on the desk for LCK global, but even when he’s in on other days he always comes over.
Even when I was brand new, and he’d just been introduced to me, on his days on the Korean side he’d always come over and see how I’m doing. He also has a really cute dog, so, I’m selling him really well! But he is a great guy!