Evil Geniuses entered the 2020 League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split looking like a contender for the top of the standings, but things have not gone as planned for the newest organization in the LCS. EG entered its sixth game of the split against FlyQuest at 1-4 and looked significantly more cohesive than previous matches and coordinated an assault on the bottom side of the map spearheaded by jungler Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen.
Top Laner Colin "Kumo" Zhao held his own on the weak side of the map until Evil Geniuses took over the game in full, setting up play after play with Svenskeren, support Tristan "Zeyzal" and mid laner Daniele "Jiizuke" di Mauro for Bae "Bang" Jun-sik to clean up the rest of the fight. Kumo joined Inven Global's Nick Geracie after the win to discuss forming team synergy, living with Svenskeren, and what to expect from Evil Geniuses in the remaining two-thirds of the 2020 LCS Spring Split.
I'm joined by Kumo following EG's second win of the season. How are you feeling about the way this game went, especially after not being able to convert your lead yesterday?
I think we just played together as a team more than we were able to yesterday. Personally, I don't think I did too much that game, so I kind of got carried.
I'm glad you brought that up, because while Svenskeren snowballed the bottom side of the map, you played a great weak side in top lane. You're more associated with a carry-centric style of play, so has playing weak side on stage been an adjustment for you?
I think I'm pretty good at playing weak side, actually. It's one thing I had to get better at when I first became a pro, because that's going to be what you're playing most of the time at first. Today, I think I did pretty well, but I also think FlyQuest didn't pressure as hard as they could have.
You joined Evil Geniuses with Svenskeren and Zeyzal, what's it been like developing synergy with the squad as a whole?
I think it's been pretty hard because a lot of people have different playstyles and opinions about the game, and that includes pretty much everyone, not just the players. The staff, Jiizuke, Bang, and our trio from C9 all have different opinions on the game, so it's been hard, but I think we're getting better.
Individually, this is the first time in your career that you've played for another organization besides Cloud9. Have there been any adjustments on a personal level in regards to changing organizations in the off-season?
There are a few different aspects, but it feels familiar because of Zeyzal and Svenskeren. They're usually really helpful if I have any problems. Also, the players on Evil Geniuses have apartments, so I'm rooming with Svenskeren. He got a lot of furniture and the other stuff we need, so I didn't have to worry too much about that. It feels pretty good, but there's definitely a difference to both situations.
Cloud9 was living together in a team house and still does, despite a lot of teams switching over to the 'apartment/office' approach. Do you have a preference to either now that you've gotten to experience both apartment-living with office commutes as well as a traditional team house environment?
I like both, but I think I prefer the apartment more because I have more alone time. In a team house, you're pretty much always together with all of your teammates 24/7, so it's kind of hard to separate things. It feels good to have your own time.
Outside of Svenskeren hard-carrying the apartment furnishing, what's it like living with him?
We walk home together most of the time, but when we get home, we usually just go to our rooms and play solo queue. *laughs*
Having that separation is important in a team environment, so that makes sense given your practice schedule. Speaking of which, in Week 1, visa issues affected EG, and you and Svenskeren ended up having play for both the LCS and the Academy matches in the opening weekend of the Spring Split. Do you think that this contributed to EG's slower than expected start in the LCS?
Personally, it didn't affect me too much, but it definitely affected our teams as a whole. On the first Monday of the split, Svenskeren and I had to play two games on stage back-to-back, first for the Academy Showcase, and then Monday Night League. We had no choice but to step in for that game, so to have that scheduled that way was kind of annoying. Two games in a row on stage is definitely pretty rough.
Now that Evil Geniuses has started to gel, what's your focus in the coming week for practice?
We need to transfer our leads better like we did well today. We have to be consistent with that, and for me, personally, I want to do better in the mid-game. I think my laning has been fine, but sometimes I die randomly in the mid-game, which...I don't really like *laughs* so I'm trying to work on that.
In your last interview with Inven Global, you had just subbed in for Licorice due to wrist injuries and after a strong performance against Team Liquid, felt that you had been ready to start in LCS for quite some time. Throughout your first games here on EG, do you feel that you've lived up to your own expectations?
I'm not happy with my play, but I think I'm definitely LCS caliber. I'm doing okay in these games, but I don't feel like I'm doing anything special or super insane, which is where I want to be with my play, so I'll keep working on it.
On Cloud9, you had two previous tags, 'League' and 'Shiro', before settling on Kumo. Now that you've started a new chapter of your career as part of Evil Geniuses, will we see another identity of yours now that you #LIVEEVIL?
No, I'm definitely sticking with Kumo. *laughs* I don't plan on changing my name ever again.
Thanks for the interview, Kumo. Is there anything you want to say to the EG fans after this win?
To the EG fans: We've had a rocky start, but I think we can still become one of the top teams. I hope you keep supporting us.