After a 1-2 start to the season, the rookie-heavy Golden Guardians are looking to continue the development of its young talent while also staying competitive in the League of Legends Championship Series. Stropse caught up with top laner Aiden “Niles” Tidwell to discuss his biggest takeaways from Week One.
Traditionally, North American League of Legends organizations tend to favor veterans and imports over homegrown youngsters and rookies. The Golden Guardians are taking a different route in 2021, starting three rookies in Niles, Ethan “Iconic” Wilkinson and Nicholas Antonio “Ablazeolive” Abbot.
Building Confidence and Focusing on the Basics
With a roster consisting of three rookies, a lot of the talk within the Golden Guardians has been focused on building and maintaining confidence in their play. “Coming into this week, the thing that we wanted to do is just whenever we’re controlling a space, or whenever we say that we want to fight, just be confident, just start the fight, and then we’ll see what happens,” Niles explained.
The beginning weeks of the LCS can be a rough time for rookies, especially when they play three tough teams, like Cloud9, Immortals and Evil Geniuses to start the season. Going into Week Two, the Golden Guardians have a much lighter schedule, going up against a struggling TSM, Dignitas and CLG.
“I think the biggest takeaway is just how to be focused on playing official matches, Niles explained. “Just recognizing when the enemy team has their turn, and respecting it better.”
Along with building confidence, the young Golden Guardians players have been focused on practicing the basics and adapting to the LCS stage. When asked what areas he needs to work on as an individual player, Niles responded, “Well, I think just dying less.”
He also wants to practice “Just being more aware of the enemy team coming in to send two or three people into my lane and knowing when I can just leave and GTFO.”
While Niles has looked impressive at times in the top lane, there have been other moments where he has looked not-so-impressive. “I think my laning is pretty good. I understand matchups really well… but it’s just the unnecessary deaths,” Niles admitted.
While the unnecessary deaths have proved to be a problem, Niles explained that with the environment the Golden Guardians have created for him, he’s learning more and more every day, and with the help of his teammates, these issues are being ironed out.
Working with New People
“I think almost every day that we’re together, we learn something valuable,” Niles explained.
The Golden Guardians organization was very conscientious in putting together its 2021 roster. While Niles and Iconic have known each other and competed alongside one another for years, the other three members don’t have that shared experience of playing together. However, the team paired its three rookies with Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes, a veteran of the LCS, and Leandro “Newbie” Marcos, a well-established player of the LLA.
This rookie-veteran combination has created a perfect environment for Niles to develop his League of Legends skills. “After every game, all my teammates try to give me something that they think I’m missing out on. So they’ve all taught me little things, I can’t even name them, they’re just different parts of the game. Those little things like warding level one or two, or just like back timers. I’m learning a lot from everyone.”
After its 1-2 start to the LCS, the Golden Guardians will look to climb the standings in Week Two with matchups against TSM, Dignitas and CLG.