Evil Geniuses started off their return to the League of Legends Championship Series hovering around the bottom of the standings last Spring Split, giving CLG thier first win, and swinging up and down from game to game. Part way through the season, they made heavy improvements to their play, solidifying a playstyle, and finding better synergy - enough so to launch them into 2nd place going into the Playoffs.
Much of that improvement revolved around their increase in synergy with Daniele "Jiizuke" di Mauro, getting him better matchups in the mid lane and working with him as he pressured side lanes, along with the bot duo having much more success in their laning phase and rotations.
At the end of the season, casters seemed generally impressed with the roster and growth of the team, but they also often questioned the long term roster potential, largely due to their concerns for Colin "Kumo" Zhao's ceiling. He was the least utilized player on the roster in Spring, and had not shown as large of a performance increase as other members, especially in Playoffs.
This Summer, however, Kumo has reached another level, getting called out as a much improved aspect of their roster and team play. He has been featured on the broadcast multiple times after their games, receiving praise for his newfound strength. We spoke with Kumo about his off-season, how EG's signing of Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon affects him in his work, and where the team will be by the end of this Summer.
At the end of the Split this Spring, EG really started turning on. And this split as well, for the most part, EG has looked incredible. You even got a perfect game over CLG Week 1. You particularly are looking much stronger as well. What happened over the off-season to make you so dominant right now?
I think the only change for me is the change in lifestyle and being more motivated. Last Split, COVID happened and we all had to stay indoors. And I don't think we really prepared too well for that. We kind of had to take care of ourselves and I was not too good at that hahaha. So I think in Playoffs, my performance was definitely really bad, and it was a bit demotivating too, playing from home. But I think this Split I have a better mindset than last Split, and I'm just trying to beat everyone. I've had this in me, I'm just now starting to show it.
That's an interesting point; so what adjustments did you make in the off-season? Did you just get used to it, or is your situation improved now?
I got used to it I think. I just kinda learned how to take care of myself hahah.
I'm in that same boat. The other change that happened for you guys was the addition of Huni, and he and others have talked about potentially doing a seven man roster and splitting some scrims. So how has that change been for you? Are you learning things from him, is the scrim change at all affecting your play?
I think it's been pretty helpful. We do 1v1s every week. So that's nice, I can test matchups that I don't usually test and learn more. But other than that, I don't think my feelings changed at all. I was already really motivated and Huni joining didn't really motivate me much more. I guess it did a little, but I was already really motivated, so it didn't affect me too much. But yeah, he's been pretty helpful.
Is splitting scrims giving you a different perspective? Are you watching scrims and learning something differently than you would've had you just played all of the scrims yourself? I know Svenskeren had a complaint about a similar situation when he was on Cloud9. How are you handling that?
He's not actually splitting scrims that much. He hasn't played too much in the main team scrims. He played for a couple days, and that was interesting to see, but yeah I'm not too sure what I feel exactly. I'm just watching the game and seeing what I learn from it. It doesn't affect me too much, I just have to do what I have to do.
Cloud9 looks like they're still on a completely separate level than everyone else, do you have any thoughts on how a team should look to beat them?
*long pause* Honestly.... Hahaha. I'm not too sure. I mean we tried and it didn't work obviously, so I think the most important thing is to focus on how you want to play the game and don't focus too much on the fact that they're C9 and don't play differently and adjust or anything. Whoever is playing Cloud9 should just try and play their own game.
Anything you want to say to fans who are noticing your increase in performance?
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