The 2020 League of Legends Championship Series Spring Playoffs kicked off Saturday, April 4 with a first-round matchup between 2nd seed Evil Geniuses and 4th seed FlyQuest. Despite FlyQuest showing more consistency throughout the 2020 LCS Spring Split than any team not named Cloud9, EG dispatched of FLY 3-1. EG will face the winner of Cloud9 and 100 Thieves' first-round post-season matchup, and FLY well drop to the losers' side of the bracket against Golden Guardians.
Evil Geniuses Jungler Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen spoke to Inven Global's Parkes Ousley after the win over FlyQuest to break down the series, shed light on the team's adjustments throughout the split, and look ahead towards potential scenarios in the Spring Playoffs throughout the coming weeks.
Hey there everybody; Parkes Ousley here with Inven Global and I'm joined by Svenskeren, the Jungler for Evil Geniuses. You just beat FlyQuest in 4 games, and on Twitter you said you were shaking after the win, so that had to feel great. How are you feeling now?
*Laughs* I'm feeling really good. I was kind of scared in game 4 because I thought we were going to get out-scaled, but a lot of shenanigans happened and we were able to find a lot of crazy fights.
There were a lot of pauses in game 4, and the analysts said it was actually good for EG because you had time to think about how you had to engage before getting out-scaled.
Yeah, I think the pauses kind of make both teams play differently upon resumption because it's so draining. You're just waiting for the game to start, and it might start at any time. I think there was about 30 minutes where we had no idea when the game was going to start again, and it could have been at any instant. During the pause, I guess we were able to realize that we weren't going to win by playing the game normally, so it worked out pretty well in our benefit.
Evil Geniuses struggled mightily out of the gate, but surged in the second half and won the tie-breaker for sole possession of 2nd place in the Spring Split. What clicked for your team?
I think we had a pretty rough start because we had some different views on the game. We had a lot of different ideas on how we wanted to play the game, so we had to work those over to adapt to each other. We saw everyone's views were very different, but eventually formulated a playstyle that works for us as a team. We all made some compromises for each other's playstyles.
Also, the level of North American teams has been pretty low this split. The only good LCS team is Cloud9, and all of the other teams are pretty bad, so that kind of helps us, too. *laughs*
What kind of compromises did you and your teammates make for one another?
We've been giving our Mid Laner Daniele "Jiizuke" di Mauro a lot more freedom in what he wants to play and how he wants to play the game. A lot of times, he is off in the side lane and we are waiting for him to create pressure instead of dragging him into 5v5 fights by forcing him to group with us.
A lot of NA teams just play 5v5 down mid lane, but Jiizuke is playing really well in the side lanes, so we're trying to make sure he can stay there. It's been working really well for us when he can create pressure in that way.
Jiizuke has looked significantly better as EG has started to win more games. Is that more due to him being used to playing in a new region, or is that more of the rest of the team working to integrate him into the playstyle?
I'm not really sure, it's hard to say why we are looking good right now. Either NA is trash and we're just better, or we're actually good. Hard to say. I think we cracked how we want to play the game as a team right now, and it's working out right now, so we just have to keep it up.
We know your AD Carry Bae "Bang" Jun-sik as a teamfighting maven who doesn't exactly smash lane, but today he got significant advantages on the likes of Kalista, for example, that allowed the team to play through him. How has Bang adjusted his playstyle on EG?
Bang has always been really consistent; if you give him a lead, he never fails. Game 4 today was pretty rough for him, I think he might have lost focus like other people did after the pauses. Usually, though, Bang never throws and always puts out a lot of damage, even if he's behind.
This is one of Bang's best traits, and I never feel like a game is lost because if we make it to the late game, he can carry. Since I always feel like we can win if Bang has a lead, we played through bot side especially in game four to accelerate that potential advantage so he could carry earlier.
We don't know who is going to win between Cloud9 and 100 Thieves, so we don't know who your opponent is yet. What are your thoughts on potentially facing your former team C9 in the next round of the post-season?
If Cloud9 beats 100 Thieves and makes it to the next round, I can imagine that matchup is going to be really tough for us, but we have a week to prepare and improve before our next match. I think we have a lot of fire to win the series and make it to the Finals and win the whole thing, so we're not going to back down now.
Because of the new playoff format, you may have to play C9 twice to win the championship since there is a losers' side of the bracket due to double elimination.
*laughs* Yeah, it's going to be really tough no matter who we play against, but I think it's going to be pretty fun with this losers' bracket. If we had lost today, we would still have a chance to win the whole thing, which can kind of give a sense of relief since it's not over for your team if you lose a single best of five series.
There are more games in general, which is exciting because I've always wanted to play more games. It kind of sucks that the games aren't on stage, but even though they are online, there is still a lot of pressure. I felt really excited when we won this series, so I can definitely feel that there are high stakes even though we are playing online.
If EG was to make the Finals, and your opponent was someone other than C9, who would you expect it to be?
I don't know. I feel like outside of Cloud9, the team in the Spring Playoffs with the most potential is TSM, but I don't know if they've been able to work things out. TSM looked pretty bad at the end of the split, but I think they have the most potential if they find a playstyle and some picks that work for them. Aside from TSM, I think it would have to be FlyQuest, if anyone else. FLY has looked pretty good with Colin "Solo" Earnest starting in the top lane, but it's hard to say.
Did you feel a noticeable change after Solo came in for FlyQuest in game 3 of the series?
I mean, I don't want to talk too much **** but it was a very clear difference.
Were you confused when FlyQuest started the series with Omran "V1per" Shoura instead of Solo? It seemed like Solo was starting the majority of FlyQuest's games towards the end of the Spring Split?
Both players ended up having pretty similar champion pools, so it wasn't that kind of thing. It must be that V1per has been doing a lot better in scrims than Solo recently, but Solo's playstyle is a lot better in competitive games. I'm not sure exactly.
Thanks so much for talking to me, Svenskeren. Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Thanks to the EG fans for cheering us on. I know it was rough at the beginning, but I'm glad that you stuck around.