With the League of Legends Pacific Rift Rivals just around the corner, teams from all over Australasia are converging on Sydney to compete for the title of Pacific Champions. This year, we have teams from three regions, South-East Asia (Garena Premier League), Japan (LoL Japan League) and Oceania (Oceanic Pro League) bringing up the rear with home-court advantage. One of the teams representing Oceania this year is three-time consecutive champions Dire Wolves  and I recently caught up with their star jungler Shern ‘Shernfire’ Tai to talk about all things Rift Rivals and beyond

For you, how does it feel to be able to prepare for Rift Rivals in Sydney and not having to travel and recover before you play, like in other international tournaments?

It’s awesome cause we live above the matcha (intense green tea) store, I feel like a businessman walking in the city.

How’s the training been going for Rift Rivals? Have the Dire Wolves been doing anything different?

Well it’s been enjoyable interacting with the other oce teams, but everyone has their own way of practice.

Has your preparation been any different for Rift Rivals as opposed to OPL?

Hell no, we’re always looking to prepare better but Rifties is no exception.

With that, are there any players or teams you’re looking forward to playing against?

I look forward to playing against Steal and Once (junglers for Detonation FocusMe and Pentagram) since I played them a lot in soloq when I was in Korea. I want to flex on them.

We interviewed KL Hunters recently and they talked about wanting to take you on, what are your thoughts on being the target for other international teams?

I’m used to it but I got ma fry pan to protect me.

Coming into the tournament, who are the teams that pose the greatest threat to the Dire Wolves and Oceania?

It’s always us, we stay ready, keep preparing, we will be the threats.

Team Dire Wolves at Riot Games Oceania – Credit: Dire Wolves Twitter

You say you’re the threat, so what do you think Oceania as a region needs to do to be able to compete on the world stage and make an impact?

I don’t speak for other teams but for us it’s all about change  we are always looking to change and make things better. Our last performances show we haven’t got it down, I think Rift Rivals shows a preview of worlds for Dire Wolves.

Do you believe Rift Rivals 2018 is where Oceania can finally hold their head high? Do you believe that Oceania can take Rift Rivals?

I’m head hunting this tournament, just you watch, but I only speak for myself here. I’m out to get everyone

Out of all the junglers here, who is your biggest competition?

Any of the Korean junglers

Any reason in particular?


Last night, you said how much you loved durians – what are the other things you miss about Malaysia?

I love the street food and there’s a vegetarian mall. That’s my place to be

How was the team’s spirits coming off MSI Play-In? Was it just as hard as 2017 with both MSI and Worlds?

It’s hard, it gets worse when you think you’ve got it down and the same results happen but we still persevere

Following on from that, what are your thoughts on making it to Finals and playing in front of a home crowd?

It’s all I think about when things are going down, it keeps me moving.

Any specific insights on your games tonight against Detonation FocusMe and Ascension? How do you think you can take them down?

We take them down by playing our game.

Will we be seeing Dire Wolves at Worlds this year?

That’s something I’m working on. If we make it it’ll be because we prepared better

If you could challenge any player, past or present, to a 1v1, who would you challenge?

Dandy in season 4. I would want to compete against him since he was far ahead of his time and I want to be him in a competitive game rather than a 1v1

League of Legends Rift Rivals will take place July 2–5 at the State Theatre. Tickets are available from here