The League of Legends European Championship is back from its short lived hiatus due to COVID-19. With online matches, players resumed to fight for a spot in the playoffs. After Schalke 04’s first 2-0 weekend, Inven Global talked to Top Laner Andrei "Odoamne" Pascu about the team’s resurgence right before playoffs.
"Trying hard is the only way out."
Schalke has struggled throughout almost the entire split, even after going through major changes. What were the biggest issues in the beginning of the season?
Schalke had two phases this split: phase one, where we played with Forg1ven and that went horribly wrong. We were kind of dysfunctional when playing with him just because we did not mesh well together as a team. Our team had no solid identity, and we failed to work together because we all had different mindsets on how to approach things. Konstantinos was not putting in the extra work to change his way of playing so we could work better as a team; he was really stubborn and said it was our fault for not making the team work, not his.
In phase two, Innaxe joined Schalke, who right off the bat was willing to work on our problems together. That made our team environment better, even though we were still in the “honeymoon phase” with the new player, we could still notice the improvement. Even though we were losing, we felt like we worked together as a team.
Besides the roster, what else had to be changed in Schalke?
Our team was still not good enough. The other teams were in better form and had better individual players than us. Schalke was not on the same page then. Maybe if we had Innaxe from week one we would have picked up a lot more wins. I think right now our standings don’t reflect where we are as a team. Three or four of our losses could have easily been wins, like the last games against Excel and Origen. Our macro was definitely not good, as we got backdoored three or four times in a row.
Right, I wanted to talk exactly about that. The team’s progress has been more clear by the day, but even with more leveled games, Schalke still got backdoored so many times.
We got backdoored in these games because we had been in a losing position to begin with. Bad macro decisions put us behind, every time we attempted to reach an objective first we lost control of the area because the teams we faced were simply stronger. Our team looked for positions of power where we could have the leisure to just go catch the waves and retake an area later, but we struggled to maintain control of the top and bot lanes and we were cautious to not give them opportunities to start the elder. Since we were losing the games up until that point, it was very difficult to stop the backdoors.
Schalke is seeing a resurgence right before playoffs, which you guys have been locked out of at this point. What has ignited this fire?
We just want to create chaos and f*ck everything up for the other teams at this point. *laughs* Right now this is the best we can do. Personally, this split I felt like my performance has been the worst so far. I did not want to run down the split with only two wins, I wanted to at least get a couple more good games, even if we could not win, just for my own personal feelings.
With time, our team started to mesh together, making better decisions, getting used to playing with each other, getting better about stage pressure and working together as a team. Like I mentioned, if we had Innaxe from week one, we would have maybe seen this resurgence in week five or six instead of week eight.
You touched on the subject of fulfilling your personal wish to win. In the beginning of the split, you and Laure had a very emotional conversation, you seemed to be on-edge with everything that was going on. How does Odoamne then compare to Odoamne now?
At that time, we were 0-6 in standings, and by the time I did that interview, I was more stressed out. Back then the situation felt like a hole we could not crawl out of, you know? I was just trying to remain positive, and as selfish as it sounds, I was trying to play not necessarily for K/D/A but play for myself. My thoughts were “if we cannot achieve a team goal together, or get any wins together, I at least want to fulfill my own personal goal to play well and put out a good performance”. I wanted to show that I am still a good player despite the circumstances.
After that really rough time, Innaxe came in and things were getting better. Even though we were still losing, at least we were working together and were no longer a dysfunctional team that would have a blame festival whenever we lost, trying to figure out who f*cked up. It was so hard to cope with it then because we were so split apart, but now we do it together. The difference between Odoamne then and now is not so different. Before then, I did my best to achieve my goals in every game I can.
How did the stress of being 0-6 affect the way you played?
After that slump I started to play a bit worse. It was really stressful and difficult to deal with this whole situation because the reality is that we struggled to do better. As playoffs started to kick in, I felt my performance dropped and my individual play suffered. It is hard to find the reassurance that you are progressing and doing good even though you are losing over and over. It was hard to stay motivated and try to keep showing good results.
After a while you start thinking “what’s the point to keep trying so hard?”, but trying hard is the only way out. If you don’t play well, it hurts your chances of finding projects in the long run. When we were 2-12 we were kind of like a trainwreck, so I tried to be the light in the team, not to take it away from anyone. I tried to keep pushing and pushing to get the team out of the hole we were in.
Let’s move to the LEC being back from its short lived hiatus due to COVID-19. How has it been for you to play online versus on stage?
It is quite a weird feeling. Last time I played online it was in 2014, when most tournaments were still played online. I think it plays to my advantage, because back when I played online my win rates were all around 90%. It definitely still feels competitive, it is still the LEC, but there is definitely a level of comfort that you get playing online. I would even say it takes away a little bit of the professionalism because we are missing the whole structure that is the LEC. We still take it more seriously than scrims. Oh, if you saw our scrims, they are a total fiesta compared to how we played today *laughs*. Some people even meme with “scrim God Schalke”.
The community commented on Abbedagge being unleashed today because he is playing behind a computer screen and not on stage…
I don’t know. I think that even if he played on stage and if we were still in the studio he would have done well based on our preparation this week. Maybe for someone like him, the comfort of being in the office and playing from here matters, so it may be true.
Heading to Summer split, what are your hopes?
My personal goals are to keep grinding in the offseason because Corona is here, Corona is in town so there is nothing else to do. Grind solo queue and keep my individual form, keep the team in shape, keep our good rhythm and take it so Summer. I want to play well and consistently regardless of the result of the team. Right now I don’t have a defeatist attitude.
If our preparation goes well and we maintain the shape we have right now, we can make it to the playoffs in the Summer. We had the chance to make it this split too if we didn’t throw those two or three games…
You mean the ones you got backdoored? *laughs*
Yeah! *laughs* If we were 7 we would be in the contenders for playoffs, the situation looks worse than it actually is. I think things will look better in Summer.