Unicorns of Love is not where it hoped it would be at this point in the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational. The League of Legends Continental League champion wasn't expected to take first in a group featuring Chinese representative Royal Never Give Up, but after a day 3 loss to Pentanet.GG, the 2nd seed coming out of Group A is wide open heading into the second round robin.
After Unicorns of Love's 0-2 in day 3, mid laner Lev "Nomanz" Yakshin joined Inven Global to discuss the team's competitive approach at MSI 2021, the current state of Group A, and how the team needs to adjust before the second round robin of the group stage.
Today was a tough day for Unicorns of Love, Nomanz. What were your game plans heading into each match, and where did things go wrong? Was there anything you were able to learn in an 0-2 day?
I mean, we have to learn from these games, so at the end of the day, we will become stronger. In the first game against RNG, we took a scaling draft with Kassadin, and if they didn't snowball as much, the game was really winnable. But yeah, it's RNG. *laughs* The could find the early kills and objectives to snowball, and they were stronger everywhere.
I actually don't know what happened in the second game. Our draft gave us good matchups everywhere, but it felt like we didn't have a team composition, so we didn't know what to do with our champions together. If we were 5 on 5 in fights, how do we fight with that composition? I don't know. We had Kai'Sa and Jayce without any good engage and they had Morgana so we didn't know what to do in the second game.
We've seen many teams look towards physical damage mid laners at MSI 2021, and we sort of had that happen in your match against RNG with the mid laners and top laners switching, which put your top laner Vladislav "BOSS" Fomin's Lee Sin in the mid lane while you went top lane on Kassadin. As someone who hasn't played these champions on stage as of now, what do you think has led to AD mids being prevalent at MSI?
I think AD mids are strong right now because there are only AP junglers. If you watch the matches, there's a lot of Nidalee, Morgana and Rumble, and even Udyr deals more magic damage than physical damage. In a fully AP jungle meta, you have to play AD mids to be strong individually, or you pick a control mage with Udyr and play to outscale or something like that.
In terms of AD mid lane champions, I'd say Jayce and Lucian are the top picks, and then Renekton, Nocturne, and Lee Sin. However, with the second set of picks, you need to play really fast or you will be outscaled. Overall, AD mids are strong right now.
Udyr has remained from the previous jungle meta, but as you said, the current competitive jungle pool is overwrought with magic damage. Because Unicorns of Love is a team that is often activated by the combination of you and your jungler Kirill "AHaHaCiK" Skvortsov and the synergy between you two. How has this big change in meta since the LCL Spring Playoffs changed your approach to your roles within the team identity?
I think it's been fine for us. Our priorities are a bit different in the draft, but if we wanted to draft that way, we can play it. I think we need to improve and learn. Maybe tomorrow we will show something we haven't shown before.
Do you think today's loss against Pentanet .GG was a fluke, or will you need to take them more seriously tomorrow?
I think PGG is stronger as a team than they showed on the first day, and I feel that we didn't have a good team composition today in our match against one another. It didn't feel like we had a composition. We need to learn and improve, for sure. I think they're a good team, and I think RNG is a good team, but I think we can defeat both of them if we get better.
UOL is still viewed as favored against PGG, but to defeat Royal Never Give Up, what would the team have to focus on strategically?
I think that RNG aren't always looking to fight, but they are looking for smart fights. They usually pick strong early game champions and snowball really well, so if we can snowball the game, take towers for gold, and take enemy camps after they become available to us, we can come into those early fights with a lead.
That's how they play, and I think if we can match them in that, we have a good chance to win. I don't think we are much weaker than RNG in mechanical skill, so I think we can match them.
All images by: Riot Games