Evil Geniuses’ League of Legends Worlds 2022 Group Stage campaign didn’t quite get off to the winning start it was hoping for. Despite an even early game performance against LPL first seed JD Gaming, the Chinese side gained the upper-hand, eventually running away with the matchup.
However, today is a new day, and the team faces a familiar challenge in LEC second seed G2 Esports. Having recorded six defeats against G2 at the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational, EG will be hoping to turn the tide on its transatlantic rival, and do to it what it had done to MAD Lions during the Play-In Stage.
Following the JDG tie, we spoke to EG star jungler Kacper ‘Inspired’ Słoma about the game, his early meta read for the Group Stage, a certain dark funnelling technology that has reportedly surfaced in scrims, and, of course, the chance to match up against G2 once again.
The Loadout: Welcome Inspired, I just want to kick off by getting some thoughts on the game from you.
Inspired: The early game went fine – our bot lane killed them. So from that it was pretty easy to play towards bot all the time. But I don’t know what happened around Rift [Herald], but somehow Viego got so many kills that when I pressed tab when I completed my first item, he already had his full Mythic item, Rift in his pocket, and four kills. So I was a bit confused there, and I knew that I could not match him anymore, so I was just trying to play hard for bot where we got some gold in return.
I thought that we might win because the jungle [role] is pretty useless. So I thought he [Seo ‘Kanavi’ Jin-hyeok] might not be able to get it. And that’s what happened – we won the fight, and were in a pretty good position to win the game. And then we just kinda mis-positioned in the midlane and they got a good engagement. I think if we took it a bit slower or thought a little bit more about how the enemy would engage on us, and didn’t give them the angle, I think we would be able to win the game, because I think our draft was just better and easier to play.
Now in Groups, I was wondering if you had seen anything – be it in scrims or otherwise – that would indicate that there’s going to be a similar sort of evolution in the meta that we’ve seen in recent years?
I mostly don’t know. We didn’t play a single scrim after we finished the MAD Lions series. [In this game] I just wanted to play Graves because Kanavi’s a good Graves, so I didn’t want to give it to him.
Reportedly some teams have been scrimming using a funnelling strat revolving around the midlaner playing a champion like Karma, and building support items to pile gold into a jungler like Hecarim. Is this something that’s been thought about for a while, or is this all new tech?
I heard of it recently, but never tried it or played against it. But it makes sense to pick Hecarim because he is a champion that really wants people to buff him and let him be in a good spot in the game. If the champ gets behind right now he doesn’t have much CC, and he plays without Flash so he’s very easy to catch. But if he gets ahead of enemy champions, he can stick with Ghost, he has ult to follow up, and a lot of damage.
The consequences of that [picking a supportive midlaner] is that the enemy will have a mage in the mid lane that will end up with a lot of items because he will have a free lane. So it will be up to Hecarim or the enemy midlaner to carry the game.
Thinking about the meta as it is right now, what do you think about the flexibility of your role?
There’s so many champs – especially in the jungle – to pick, so it depends on what you want from your jungler. You can pick something that ganks a lot, something that will be stronger around Rift [Herald] – I think Viego is very strong around Rift and in two-v-twos, and I think that’s how JDG likes to play the game.
I think G2 would like to play the game by picking tank junglers that will help mid a lot. And I think Kim ‘Canyon’ Geon-bu likes to play Nidalee and Graves, which aren’t necessarily strong in two-v-twos, but are good at farming, controlling the game, and slowly getting leads. So I think that you can play the game in very different ways, and I think it’s just what fits you and your team best, because obviously not every player can play the same champs.
On the topic of G2, you have a big game against them next, and a bit of a score to settle from MSI. Any thoughts on the matchup, or words for your opponent?
I don’t really have many words. I don’t really see us as 0-6 against G2, because I really did not care about the first four games – people will say that I’m coping right now – because they were completely irrelevant, and I was just trying champions – like I remember playing Lillia [for the] first time [this year] for fun.
Then when we went to the Rumble Stage, I think we performed OK, but G2 just played a bit better than us. It happened. It kind of sucked that we lost the games, but we’re in a decent position so I’m not really scared about playing against them again. Before I think our bot lane was a bit weaker in lane, and that’s why they were finding some ways to get back into the game. But now I think they will not have that option, and the game should be easier to play for us.
Turning finally to Champions Queue, which you have criticised for the quality of its native player pool. Now that all the Worlds teams are finally involved, how are you finding the experience now?
Champs Queue is very nice. Honestly, I never learned anything [from it] through the whole NA year. I always played against NA players and I think they’re pretty bad.
I’ve played against Malrang and JunJia – EDG’s second jungler – and there’s some pretty smart stuff that they’re doing that I like, and will think about doing myself. So it’s nice that I get to finally play against good players.
As an extension of that, is there anything in particular that those junglers are doing, or is that confidential information?
I won’t talk about it too much, but they’re just aggressive in the good moments, while in NA I can do whatever I want and no one will even try to punish me, because people are already losing in their heads.
You can catch Inspired and EG in action next when they take on G2 Esports in their first LoL Worlds Group Stage faceoff later on today.