Schalke 04 Esports managed to secure its first win in the League of Legends European Championship this past Sunday, against Fnatic. After its initial struggle in the first four weeks of the split, the team was finally able to break its 0-8 loss streak.
The storyline is almost repetitive, finding Schalke 04 Esports in a similar situation as the Spring Split, where the team went 0-7 before breaking its winless curse against G2 Esports. Now, with constant roster swaps between the Regional League and the LEC teams, the club attempts to reverse the current situation and fight for a better placement in the standings.
During the fourth weekend of the LEC, Inven Global had a conversation with S04 Esports coach Dylan Falco, to discuss the team’s first win, how the losses have affected the team, and what the roster swap has meant to the players.
It feels like this is a tradition at this point, to only be able to catch up after you guys get out of the losing streak. [laughs] But let’s start off with the basics. What are you feeling after beating Fnatic? Is it relief?
It’s usually relief. The first half of the split has been very frustrating, and to some extent, I would even use the word “confusing”. It’s been very hard to pin down what is going on, and we actually feel internally that we are a very good team.
Gilius said in a post-match interview with Laure that the team is having positive results in scrims, but that is not translating properly to the official matches. How are you approaching this with your players?
A lot of what I try to do in this case is figure out what the differences are in both these situations. Is it that our team compositions are getting outscaled, or is it that maybe players are not playing up to their level, or as aggressive as they usually are?
First things first, I address what these issues are, then attempt to work them through with the players, and in some cases make the roster changes that are necessary, or even change the drafting structure. For us, I think we found that we often approach the game with fear.
But that can be expected coming from a long loss-streak...
Right. When you are losing, you are kind of afraid of what the enemy will win the game with, what are they good at, what are the possible plays they will make, and so on. Right now, we have moved the focus to “what can WE do”. We are focusing on killing the enemy, and I know it sounds kind of obvious, but we are focused on winning.
Do you think that given Schalke had such a difficult time stabilizing itself in the last Split, there was a bigger impact on your players during this Split, in the sense of they were shaken by the idea of having the same initial results?
I have been working with this team for two years now, and I think that every split we have gone through a nasty losing streak. This is definitely a function of our team, and our players, or something that we are doing. The past has influenced this outcome for sure.
In the case of the past two splits, the losing streaks were right at the beginning. First, 0-7, then now, 0-8. How does a losing streak in the middle of the split, where your players already have experienced success, differ from one right at the start?
It may sound obvious, but the issue with having a losing streak right at the beginning is the zero right at the start of your scoreline. No matter what happens in the games, or how long or short the losing streak is, as long as you have zero wins, there is not any worse it can get. This takes a mental toll on the players. If you have had a few wins in the beginning of the split, you have proof of success, something you can fall back on or take ideas from.
The current roster has been rather unstable, especially around the Bot Lane. Why was there a constant swapping of players?
We did a lot of tryouts between Spring and Summer. We found that the best synergy with our Bot Lane ne was between Neon and Dreams together, and Nukes and Innaxe together. We did a long period of testing with both Bot Lanes, and it was very close. I think both can play at a decent LEC level, but the reason why we went with Dreams and Neon is that they have a stronger laning phase.
What do you think the constant swapping of the roster has done to your team?
It’s very important for Schalke this year to develop our players and our talent, integrating our Prime League roster. Although I think it can be unstable for our week-to-week strategies.
What are the plans moving forward to the break then? Will the players focus on relaxing or is there a lot to catch up with?
We will do the same as most teams plan on doing, take a few days off, then return to practice. Right now we will try and keep this mindset of playing to win.
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