100 Thieves brought in popular League of Legends personality Christopher “PapaSmithy” Smith in September of 2019 to head its development and expansion. PapaSmithy has been leading 100 Thieves with a clear-cut organizational vision, and the team is finally seeing success because of it. Stropse sat down with PapaSmithy to discuss the team’s hot start in 2021.
The newly-renovated 100 Thieves roster is currently sitting atop the LCS standings, tied with Cloud9 at 5-1. According to PapaSmithy, this success has been due to the team’s focus on what he calls “The process.”
It’s About the Process
“We’re a very process-oriented team,” PapaSmithy told Stropse. “We’re very much more focused on whether we’re hitting our intentions in scrims and following through with those on stage; if scrim and stage are the same, then we’re going to be a happy team.”
The 100 Thieves organization is in a unique spot in 2021, picking up four players formerly of Golden Guardians and planting them alongside their staple top laner, Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho.
“I think as an org, we have this mission statement of, ‘We want to provide everything that can build up and complement this team’s development,’” PapaSmithy explained. “A roster that can compete, and a strong coaching staff… We have a chef coming in when it comes to meal times and preparing certain meals to ensure the players can perform. And then we have great support staff around things like mindfulness, mind-body energy and stuff.
“We’re very open-book about our goals. We’re looking for championships, we’re looking for Worlds, and those are not empty words. If they ever come to me and say, ‘Hey, Chris, we need stuff here, or we need work there,’ we’re just looking to provide whatever they need, because we think we’ve got the group this year and so the least we can do is set them up for success.”
PapaSmithy then went on to say that despite his team’s rough patches and execution mistakes early in the season, he is happy to see the team heading in the right direction and improving with every win.
An Evolving 100 Thieves
With 100 Thieves focused on the process, the general manager has a clear goal of where he wants his team to go and what it will look like.
“What Week One of the LCS showed is that teams looked at the boilerplate points about 100 Thieves, like they love to target dive, they go bot lane, turret dive, all these things… And the [execution mistakes] kind of mask the fact that I think we’re evolving past this.
“This is just the first image of us, we’re not going to be a team that can be solved by a quick team talk beforehand. We’re definitely going to keep evolving our strategies… People are only seeing V1 of 100 Thieves League of Legends 2021, there’s plenty of versions and upgrades to come.”
The Firepower of 100 Thieves
“We were indexing on this idea of firepower, of people who, if you don’t prepare for them, if you don’t respect them, they’re just going to win the game solo.”
Firepower was the idea 100 Thieves had in mind while designing this roster. PapaSmithy explained that the organization has had this idea for a while, but until now, they didn’t have the right roster to pull it off.
“FBI and Huhi are a duo, they’re sort of bot lane that everybody is already thinking about, ‘Oh, I have to counter gank that teleport. I have to make sure that we don’t let FBI get a big lead, or he’ll close out the game.’ Ssumday was the player for us last year, but we only had one string to our bow.”
The 100 Thieves general manager went on to explain how the team uses this quality to their benefit. “I don’t think there is any one step to solving us with the amount of firepower from our entire roster. So given all of that, I think it’s definitely coming together as I’d hoped.”
PapaSmithy had heard rumors of players he was bringing in, but he didn’t know to what extent they were true. Speaking about how players act in the in-game comms, he said, “I had heard they were loud and boisterous, I think the highlights showed some glimpses, the more PG-13 glimpses, but they’re animated.”
100 Thieves currently sit atop the LCS standings tied for first place with the Luka “Perkz” Perković-led Cloud9. Just a couple weeks into the season, the players have already shown their intentions to stay at the top, with wins against Evil Geniuses, CLG, DIgnitas, FlyQuest and Team Liquid. The team will look to continue its winning ways as it develops throughout 2021.