Jordan 'Patoy' Blackburn was the Support player for Team Dignitas from July of 2012 through to November of 2013. During his tenure Dignitas placed top two at the S2 Regional for NA and were dominant in the Spring split of LCS NA early on, before succumbing to a disastrous run of form late in the season and on into the playoffs. Partnered with the enigmatic and bizarre AD Carry Imaqtpie, Patoy made up one half of one of NA's best botlane pairings.
In this text interview Patoy tells me about his integration into Dignitas, the height of his play during his time there and laning alongside Imaqtpie.
For basically all of your competitive career pre-Dignitas you played as a botlane with DontMashMe, who people will know from his time on Coast. How would you describe your botlane partnership during that time?
We were really good friends, and that in my eyes ended up helping us in bot lane trades and engages as we always seems to think the same way. I feel like if I was still set on the support route for League I would definitely consider playing with him again.
How would you describe your style of play or approach at the time? Playing with one person for so long, what did you think of as the role of the support at the time?
During the time, the meta for support was very passive aggressive, champions like Nunu, Sona and Janna were the norm, so thinking the same way was more important back then to gain favorable trades rather than today where anytime you go in it's to 100%-0 somebody. And as for playing with Brandon for so long, it spoiled me as I couldn't stand playing soloq any longer with pub ADC's as the synergy would without a doubt not be there.
You played with IWillDominate back in coL for a short while, then he went on to join Dignitas. In my Reflections interview with Imaqtpie, he made it sound as if the team needed a new support, due to getting rid of L0cust, and IWillDominate suggested you and that's how you got the spot. Was it as simple as that?
Suprisingly enough it was, IWDominate contacted me while still in Korea asking if I wanted to play with them, and how could I refuse. However, the part most people don't know is that Brandon [DontMashMe] set the whole thing up. Brandon and I were the bot lane for coL along side IWDominate, and Brandon messaged me saying that Dignitas were considering replacing their support and asked me if it would be okay if he tried to get me on.
I was in a state of shock when he said that because he can be really immature sometimes, but that was really selfless of him and really unexpected to me. I had a new found respect for him that day.
Imaqtpie made it sound as if L0cust was a flawed player, citing a big mess-up he made in the IEM Hanover final and then him being unable to get above 1300 ELO on the Korean solo q. Despite that, Dignitas had had some solid results with him in the line-up. Going into Dignitas were you aware of what kind of style L0cust had previously used for the team? Were you expected to do anything in a similar fashion? How was the initial integration in that sense?
When I first joined, they said one specific thing to me that terrified me: "Patoy, whatever you do, never play Soraka." I was extremly sad because Soraka was my main champion and above and beyond my best champion at the time, however they told me about some different support picks that Korea was using at the time in Sona and Lulu.
It was out of my comfort zone but I went with it, but because I was playing out of my comfort zone right from the start it hindered the build up, so to speak, of trying to mesh with Imaqtpie. To say it bluntly we never really became friends like most duo laners.
Imaqtpie told the story as if he had no input in you joining, he just came on one day and they told him "Hey, we've got Patoy, he's someone Dom knows" and suddenly you were in the server with him. He then says you two basically never spoke in game, you just played. Was it as extreme as that? Do you think qptie in some sense wasn't into his side of things in terms of getting close?
It's true we both rarely spoke during laning phase. During Season 3 we both individually knew how laning worked, and we knew the different scenarios that could happen if this thing happened or that thing happened, and it was all basically dependent on the support to make things happen, so in my mind there was no real need to say the little things like "I'm going aggro" or "Let's play safe".
To me it always seemed like we could just play off each other's body language for playing aggressively or not. The most we would say to each other is if the jungler is in our lane or if we can kill the enemy lane in an all-in. Other than that it was silence between us. Even during straight 2v2 fights, not a single word, only "Good job" after it was over.
And to answer if qt could also make steps towards being friends, the answer definitely isn't no, but that's both our faults for not trying to work on it, or even acknowledge it.
There have been times when I've seen the two of you cited as top 2-3 players in NA at your positions. So was your botlane successful, in your eyes, beyond the communication problems? How would you describe the duo's style and strengths/weaknesses?
I apologise ahead of time because this is going to come off as cocky and arrogant. I think me and qtpie were a success, in Season 3, because I had improved so much. During the end of Season 2 I was horrible, absolutely horrible. I was dying to the dumbest things, I couldn't lane properly for my life, and I was really holding not only qt, but the rest of the team back at the time.
Then going into Season 3, I wasn't happy with my performance, and something just clicked with me and I started figuring things out. The way my brain was working during the time was completly different compared to how I thought during Season 2. I was playing really selfishly, asking for 2v1 mid to allow myself more opportunities to carry, and because of that I was able to play riskier champions compared to the champions everybody else was playing with less carry potential. And at the time me and Qt rarely lost our lane in any situation, so it further allowed me to put us in these 2v1 situations and allow myself to play riskier champions with a different playstyle than other supports at the time.
And again to put it bluntly our strengths were that, even without the best duo lane communication, we still were on a different level than any other NA duo lane at the time, which allowed us to play risker as a whole, with our weakness being that in the communication, which luckily, at least if my memory serves me right, never bit us in the butt.
Imaqptie talks as though he has no mechanical skill, doesn't follow the meta, picks whatever he wants and just out-thinks the opposing laners all the time. How would you describe qptie the AD Carry?
qt is definitely a mechanically strong player, and that extends past ADC. It's true that he has his own type of style of how to play ADC. It's a running joke that qt saves all his escape abilities to jump into the fight rather than run away. It's also true that he sometimes picks whatever he wants, without a care in the world, often times countering himself in lane with the excuse that he'll just carry in team fights anyway.
qt as a person really just doesn't care about anything and does his own thing, who am I to say whether that's stupid or not?
When I interviewed him I felt like I had a realisation that it's not that he's trolling all the time when he gives his opinions, it's more like he often is actually giving his real opinion, which may be unorthodox, but the manner he is doing it in makes people assume the entire thing is a joke/. Deep down does he actually care about winning and being in the best NA team?
I believe in Season 2 he didn't care about being the best team, but in Season 3 I believe it was raised on his priorty list thanks to Lisha. And as for his all too famous trolling, I have no idea... I've been trolled by him so many times that I just don't know anymore... I can say this though, when we were theory-crafting and talking about strats when I was on Dig was when I learned that qt is at least somewhat intelligent, which makes his trolling even more scary and dangerous.
When you joined Dignitas the Chauster-Doublelift botlane was still in play. When you left Dignitas the Turtle-Xpecial botlane ruled the day. Where did you see yourselves as a duo over the time you played together in Dig? Your previous answers makes it appear you considered your duo to be the best in S3 for NA?
During our LCS runs I never expected qt and I to lose to any other duo, Chaulift v2 and the Turtle/Xpecial lane never really posed a threat to us. In fact we were happy to play them because they were better than the other NA duos and much more fun to play against. As for Turtle and Xpecial, even though I stated that they didn't pose a threat to us, looking back all of our games against TSM have been derp fests more often than we would both like, so it's hard to judge. And Chaulift has seen better days, they weren't the same as they were in Season 2.
When you joined up with Dignitas was when they had one of their best results of the year, finishing 2nd at regionals, but then you failed to win a map at Worlds and then had a disappointing 5th-6th at MLG. What was the state or condition of Dig over this period of time?
There was obviously some disappointment in there, but it was hard for me to gauge how much exactly because I know a lot of it was my poor play towards the end of Season 2, I was so focused on myself and improving to make up for my lackluster play that outside of the disappointment I don't know what they were thinking. I can only assume they were pondering kicking me going into Season 3.
At MLG you got to play against the Blaze botlane of Lustboy and Cpt Jack, which is a very famous pairing but now no longer in existence. What was the experience like?
When we played Blaze at MLG, it was during the Lustboy Lulu era, so I was looking forward to playing against it. We got stomped... Lustboy pretty much 1v2'd me and qt, and in teamfights I remember him using Lulu's poly to cancel qt's escape abilities multiple times.
I learned a lot about proper reaction and prediction timings during that series. There was also one specific moment that always has everybody cringe. We played an Orianna and jungle Ranger catch comp, and luckily for us IWillDominate on Rengar got a catch late in the game with Scarra's Ori and we pushed for the Nexus, we're on the verge of winning the game until the dreaded inhib respawns protecting the Nexus... and because of our poor timing and not realizing it would spawn we lost the game...
Dig was 10:2 after the first 4 weeks of LCS Spring and 16:5 after week 7. Considering the collapse from then on out, how do you explain Dig's excellent run over the first 8 weeks?
Our run was amazing and I couldn't have asked for better. Everybody on the team played the meta champs, as well as the counters, we played strats other people didn't know how to counter, and everybody was playing great individually. The downfall came when a lot of our champions were nerfed, to nobody's surprise. Singed was no longer a threat for Kiwi, I believe Scarra's Diana was nerfed as well as a few others.
The reason why this was so impactful was because the champions (excluding Singed) were primarily the counterpick champions to the current meta, and because Dignitas back then was known for playing the counter rather than what the meta considers popular, it hit harder than you would expect. Singed and Diana being taken away from us where absolutely horrible for us, because Scarra and Kiwi played them so dominantly that I always expected them to win lane, so for us to always get our champs we would come to expect all three lanes to consistently win without jungle pressure.
So we went from three consistently winning lanes to basically starting from the ground up, I don't even remember what they ended up playing but the downfall happened and I regret not helping them both to bounce back up.
In the playoffs of LCS summer you had to face all three of the teams you had losing records against (Curse, c9 and vulcun). How close were you really to getting a Worlds spot in the end?
If memory serves me right, we were just one or two games away from being able to show our faces at World's again. It was hard on all of us not being able to go to World's. Through my eyes, it was hard to not see Dignitas go to Worlds. We were playing amazingly as a team and as individuals, and I was looking forward to playing against other regions again. It's tough thinking about it now sitting in my chair and in my PJs looking back at the downfall. Life is rough sometimes.
There's always a lot of emphasis on the mechanical side of LoL at the pro level, as that's how people will often judge misplays and so on. Looking at the Dig line-up of that last LCS split you played with them, is it unfair to characterise it as a mechanically average or weak team, in the context of the rest of LCS NA? It seemed more as though the team succeeded on a strategical/conceptual level when it won. What is your take?
I think as a whole, we were average. During our dominant run in the early LCS days we won mainly due to strategic reasons more so than mechanical reasons.
Was that a flawed approach? Does it not cause problems when a team feels like it can't mechanically get itself out of trouble?
In my eyes, this is the main reason of the downfall. We had to play a week without Crumbzz due to him having family reasons, so we quickly found a sub in DJ Lambo and started practicing. We had been practicing specific strategies that people would consider as "cheese" to make up for the fact that we're playing with a sub. However the strategy we were practicing was never put into play and we tripped over ourselves and resulted in defeat over defeat.
The one thing we took from that week as a team, was the fact that we as a team were mechanically flawed and only won due to superior strategies
scarra told me something along the lines of the team having a joke rule to not die within the first X minutes, else you'd lose. How were you able to be successful with those conditions?
This is where the mechanical flaws come into play. Lanes were dying consistently very early in the game, however we still has excellant strategies to win, so the moto of "don't die more than 2 times in lane and we'll win" was the name of the game. We had multiple approaches to the game and all of its stages so we were more than prepared, but the mountain of mechanics that we had to climb was a big one, and not everybody made it over.
This is all past tense, so it's very possible that everybody eventually did overcome their mechanical faults.
Why is Patoy not still a Dignitas player or a professional LoL player?
There are two reasons that I will be vague about. One was due to many arguments and disagreements, and the other was the simple fact that I wasn't really friends with any of them, including qt, my own duo lane partner. Not being friends with your own team is a detriment in itself.
If someone who has only started following competitive LoL in 2014 asked a longer time fan who Patoy was, what would be an accurate description in your eyes? What champions should they cite, what strengths etc.
I believe it's easier to say what I've already heard other people say. Most people tend to keep it short and sweet with a simple "Excellent, all-around dependable player". Some champion specific comments I imagine people saying would be about Alistar and Janna. One day fans will be saying "remember when Patoy was a support player?"
Can you pick out a Korean player, past or present, who would be a good reference point for Patoy?
I would definitely compare myself to Mata, he plays a lot of, melee and counter-aggressive supports that it perfectly suits me. We both play a lot of the same champions, while at the same time playing them in similar ways in similar situations, it's hard to pick out any other Korean support player that would mirror me in that way.
The final words belong to you.
Thanks to all the long time fans, thanks to my Girlfriend, Lisa, for pushing me to continue with League of Legends. And to the fans, I'll be back once I'm done rebuilding myself.
Photo credits: riot, Cloudy