Damonte says Clutch Gaming can still make LCS summer playoffs

Olivia Richman • July 23, 11:00

Clutch Gaming has their eyes on the LCS Summer Split playoffs.

The team may have lost to Team Liquid on Saturday, but a win against Echo Fox on Sunday helped them get one step closer to their playoffs goal.

Tanner “Damonte” Damonte spoke with WIN.gg about some major changes within the organization that are inspiring them to push themselves even harder this split.

How were you feeling going into the game against Team Liquid this weekend? 

Damonte: We’re underdogs so not much expectation. We felt pretty good because practices have been good. We felt pretty confident. 

What do you think went wrong against Team Liquid? 

We haven’t reveiwed the game too much. But at this point, we noticed that the way we drafted, we had expected to have bot control. Most of our game plan we had Zed mid. He needs assistance from his team to extend his lead. But on level 1, we took a bad trade before the minions even spawned.

The lane match up Team Liquid normally play in scrims was different than on stage, so early game didn’t go as expected. That was the biggest fluke in the game. 

What is the Clutch’s goal this split? 

Right now, we’re focused on making playoffs. Top six. We can definitely get there, we just want to improve every day. 

What are you guys doing to achieve this? 

We brought in a new coaching staff. And our new coaching staff is working really, really hard. They’re motivating us a lot. For me personally, I want to win for my coaches. I can see how hard they’re trying.

The whole transition into Dignitas, we want to make them happy as well. Going into 2020, we want them to be proud to have us as their players. 

Do you feel you’re improving a lot with the new coaches? 

Everything is a lot more strict now. Our practice and regiment is really structured. We’re not allowed to mess around as much. It’s just more serious. 

Do you like that change? 

Yeah, I do. I think that’s what teams need. You need a coach who’s a hardass sometimes, who makes sure you’re doing what you’re supposed to and not playing the game lazily. 

What do you think your team has to improve upon? 

Right now, we’re obviously in the middle of the pack. We’re working on fundamentals, not one specific thing. Just the whole game. We just want to make sure games play out normally and nothing random happens. 

What are your team’s strengths righ tnow? 

I think we’re a pretty well-rounded team. Nobody is popping off right now, but whenever we win games it’s because we played correctly and solidly as a team. Right now, our mid-game is getting a lot better. Once we get there, we’re usually pretty confident. 

Are you confident that you guys will pick some wins by the end of the split? 

Yeah, I think we have a pretty easy rest of the season. The rest of our season is a lot easier than the first couple games we’ve had. Every single one of the players are expecting to win most of the rest of our games and then make it to playoffs. 

You must be relieved to already have the match against TL out of the way, since you’re pushing for the playoffs. 

Oh, yeah.

You said you were mostly looking forward to playing Golden Guardians. Why is that? 

They are the team we’re most similar to in standings. I will forever enjoy playing against Froggen on stage. It’s exciting to me. I played under him at Echo Fox and learned a lot from him. It’s a small rivalry, and I like to play aginst him when I can. 

Cody Sun said that CG wants to play the fiesta and bring the other teams to that level. What makes CG the best fiesta team?

Maybe he said that a couple weeks ago, but we’re changing our mentality to be a bit more controlled.

We tried to play randomly before, copying G2. And it didn’t work out that well. We’re playing the game how Lira wants it to be played. More slow and contorlled. More consistency. 

CG is not afraid of playing Zed and other off-meta picks. Can we expect more crazy picks or are you going more meta now?

Anything can happen. Me as a player, I can play a lot of different champions. We can pull off anything. I can play niche champions that may surprise the enemy. 

When you made it to Challenger the first time, you were in high school playing baseball and football. What have you brought from traditional sports that has helped you compete in the LCS? 

I think playing normal sports growing up, it gave me more an idea of how to be a teammate. I think I was able to have a head start on that aspect. Understand leadership. I know what it’s like to listen to a coach. The comradery that you get in high school sports.

You struggle together phsyically and that’s how you bond. But with the LCS, you struggle togther mentally. It’s a little harder to bond that way.

Does the team do anything to help create those strong bonds with each other? 

We do team dinners. We went to the batting cages one time!


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