Reigning LEC champion KOI (formerly Rogue) has had a solid start to its 2023 League of Legends EMEA Championship campaign. The largely unchanged roster – sporting only a shiny new toplaner in Mathias ‘Szygenda’ Jensen, alongside that fresh ‘KOI’ branding – managed a 2-1 record in the opening weekend, notching up victories against Team BDS and Excel, falling only to Fnatic.
While not much has changed at KOI, it’s all change in the LEC. Featuring a brand new, three-split structure, more multi-game series, and a tweaked route to the 2023 Mid-Season Invitational, the league has never looked more different.
On top of all of this, KOI’s players – alongside pros across the globe – will soon have to get to grips with the major changes to the hit MOBA game developer Riot Games is about to ship. These will impact everything from bot lane champions, to crit itemisation, to Grievous Wounds, and more.
Following KOI’s first victory of the weekend against Team BDS, we caught up with botlaner Markos ‘Comp’ Stamkopoulous to chat changes to KOI and the LEC, as well as siphon his thoughts on the upcoming alterations to botlaners and crit itemisation.
The Loadout: Comp, congratulations on the win and welcome back to the LEC! How does it feel to be back?
Comp: Alright, it’s been a while. I think everyone had this question mark because it was the first game back, so we didn’t really know how it would go after all this time. But I think slowly we’ll get better.
You’re running it back with mostly the same squad this year, with the addition of Szygenda. How has that been so far?
There’s definitely a difference between Szygenda and Odoamne. I think you mostly see it in the way they want to play during the early laning phase. In terms of champion pool he has a bit of a different approach again. He can still play the tanks and all of that, but he definitely prefers playing more of a counter pick – seeing what the enemy picks and picking a very strong carry champ.
Even though it’s only one change, we have to adapt to this. When the change was made, it was clear that we were not going to be exactly the same team. Odoamne was very important in the way he was playing last year for us – we clearly had an identity last year. And in a way this identity can still exist this year, but I would say we can also have more than one identity.
How do you feel this is going to affect your role within the team?
I think, even last year, there were games where I felt like we could have a stronger topside top lane and I could play weak side, farming and scaling and doing my thing later. I was honestly all up for it, I’m still up for it, and I think we might be seeing this a bit more now.
I think there’ll be games where I might not be that big of a factor in the game because we will mostly focus on playing around Szygenda and giving him resources, and I’m completely fine with this. In the end, if we can actually adapt and be capable of playing both sides, we will be even more threatening than last year.
We have a brand new format in the LEC this year – three splits – as well as the announcement that the Winter Split winner will head to MSI as the second seed. As someone who has featured on the international stage, how do you feel about these changes?
I’m not saying that people were not taking it [Winter Split] seriously, but right now after the announcement that you go to MSI, I think people will try hard even more that before, and it makes complete sense.
Honestly, every split matters. I get there’s only one trophy per year, but to me it’s still as important to look to get first in every single split.
The mentality doesn’t change – just win. I want to talk about Jhin a little bit. At Worlds he wasn’t great, yet after the changes we’re seeing him picked a bit more as a botlaner, and even now as a support. What spot do you feel the champion is in at the minute?
So about Jhin AD Carry, I would say that most of the time you have to see most of the enemy picks before you pick it. Nowadays there are a lot of strong picks that Jhin struggles against – mostly in the jungle and topside – champs like K’Sante, Sejuani, Vi, Wukong. Even midlaners, almost every single midlaner right now builds Rod of Ages – there’s a lot of armour and HP stacking [in general] which Jhin doesn’t like, he prefers playing into mostly squishy comps.
About Jhin support, I’m actually not a big fan at all. I get the idea that people pick it into Heimer, but to me you struggle a lot in the mid game to actually be useful [unless you] get a very huge lead in the early game. I think that, in competitive, you won’t really be seeing it.
Finally, I just want to pick your brain about the changes that will soon be coming to ADCs, crit itemisation etc.
This is a thing I’d probably rather have had in pre-season – everyone would probably agree with me on this.
I think there will definitely be some AD Carries that are meta now that will probably struggle on that patch. But it’s also very important to see how the rest of the patch looks – nerfs to Lucian/Nami, Zeri/Yuumi, those types of things. So I get that getting IE second sounds really nice, but if those champs remain pretty much the same… there’s a reason those champs are picked.
I think it will be interesting to see how it goes, but I will definitely have to spam a lot of games to get a better idea of it.