With a new team and a newfound motivation after a volatile off-season, jungler Oskar "Selfmade" Boderek found himself wearing a Vitality jersey for the 2021 LEC Summer Split. The "bees" struggled in spring, finishing in 9th place, and while the team still seems shaky, it's performing way better than their spring adventures.
After the win against SK Gaming on Saturday, June 19, Selfmade joined Inven Global for a long chat, discussing the question marks of the off-season, the global role-swapping trends, and whether he's ever considered switching away from jungle.
Last split, Vitality finished second to last and now with LIDER and yourself joining the team, there was a lot of hype around the new roster, a lot of high expectations. But five matches in, you're down 2-3. Where does the struggle come from?
I think the biggest struggle we’ve had so far was on me because, for some reason, after I joined Vitality, I was really stressed in my first few games and I wasn't able to play to my level. I’ve basically been choking for the first four games, now today against SK, I kind of felt normal. I felt like we were just scrimming, and maybe it’s also because of the time we played, right?
Yeah, and it’s also hot in Berlin...
I mean, it’s not a problem for us because we have a good AC in the office thanks to Vitality. [laughs] They treat us very well.
I think the game against Rogue [in week 1] was the only game that we lost where we actually got outplayed. I think the Misfits game [in the same week] was very unlucky because we misplanned the early game and then we got punished for that. Also, our draft was not the best, and in the game against Fnatic we… I mean, if you watched this game... I don’t want to watch it myself but I saw what I did and honestly, I should get benched for that performance... It was very shameful and it was kind of sad because it was again Fnatic and I was feeling super stressed and I just couldn't perform.
It happens. Honestly, against Rogue, I thought it would be a win for you guys. You came back from an 8K gold deficit.
Yeah, we were behind, then we came back, and then we kinda struggled how to progress the game and we just lost. After that Rogue game, even though we lost, we kinda understood that we are pretty good. And I am still sure we are a very good team because we see it every day in practice. We just have to make sure that in official games we feel just how we do during normal days and we are gonna be for sure one of the top teams in Europe.
But right now, we’ve had a couple of unlucky games and it’s also a best-of-1 format so we really need to fix that because every win matters! It doesn’t matter if you win against G2 or if you win against SK, it's just +1 on the leaderboard and we have to make sure we can secure every win possible.
We have seen Vitality leaving the kills for LIDER a couple of times, is he the main carry of the team or was it more because of the team compositions?
Everybody in this team can carry games. The thing with LIDER is that he has his own picks that nobody else plays and whenever there is a place for it, we just pick it. Today [vs SK], thankfully, he finally picked Lucian — which he is incredible at, but for some reason, he didn’t want to play him that much in the previous weeks. I am still waiting for him to tell the team to lock Zed in an official game.
I also spoke with him before and I was left with the impression that I should expect more.
Yeah, I am not gonna leak what we practice but you know that this guy has already played Zed before, right? It’s one of his signature picks. Personally, it’s not nice to have Zed mid as a jungler but I trust him and if he wants to pull it off I will just commit to it. [laughs]
Mephisto [Vitality assistant coach] already said that you have Zed as a flex pick...
[laughs] Yeah, I used to play Zed jungle a lot in solo queue and personally I think this champion is really strong in the jungle, I'm not gonna lie. I wasn't just having fun in solo queue, I think there is a place for him, just somebody has to pull him off first.
"I knew something was going to happen, so I basically spent a month and a half during off-season not knowing where the f**k I was gonna be next split. I didn’t know where anybody from Fnatic would be."
It will be strange in pro play when you get him, right?
I disagree. Yeah, it’s gonna be strange for the people that will play against him but when you look at Korea right now, it just took one guy, Canyon, who just picked Diana — which I don’t think is a strong jungler — and everybody just followed the trend. That’s kind of how the League community works: somebody has to pick something first for other people to realize it’s actually good.
You are playing now for your 3rd team in the LEC, can you tell me the differences between the clubs you have played for? Mentality perhaps?
It’s for sure the mentality of the people around you and also the management. I feel super comfortable here in Vitality, we have everything we need and there is nothing that we are missing so I am really grateful for everything that Vitality is doing for us! For example, we had some issues in previous teams and one of the biggest issues was during the summer. So far, I haven't had proper AC in any of the teams, [laughs] thankfully we have it here right...
Now you are experiencing AC difference.
Yes, yes, it’s actually crazy because spend time at the office, and then let’s say you go out to the shop and you just walk into the oven... It’s a big difference. I’ve never felt like this before because I was used to having hot weather inside of the office right, but now it’s different. I think we are the luckiest team in the LEC and we should really pay Vitality back for what they are doing for us.
Did you expect the off-season to go that way after the unsuccessful split with Fnatic?
After the S04 game, I already knew there were going to be changes. I didn’t know it was going to be me but I knew something was going to happen, so I basically spent a month and a half during off-season not knowing where the f**k I was gonna be next split. I didn’t know where anybody from Fnatic would be. So I just prepared the backup plan to just find a team together with LIDER because I’ve always wanted to play with him and that’s pretty much it. I ended up in Vitality and I am really happy that I am there.
Of course, you have to have a plan B because at least from what Fnatic released...
It’s fine, it was already spoken about many times in previous months right, everybody can believe what they want to believe. I am gonna stick to my version because that's what I got presented by them... If they want to lie to players, that's their job, not mine, right?
"I feel like everything went downhill once we got rid of Nemesis and Rekkles, even though I don't think Nisqy and Upset were the problem."
I was surprised by the early playoffs exit by Fnatic because the team looked strong on paper in each position. I thought you guys were amazing but It didn't work out. Why was that the case?
I don't know, I feel like everything went downhill once we got rid of Nemesis and Rekkles, even though I don't think Nisqy and Upset were the problem because I’ve said many times that they were the best performing players in the spring split.
Something just didn't click, we were not on the same page, we had a lot of arguments and we couldn't really come to an agreement many times. In 2020 Fnatic — which we came up with during the summer split and then at Worlds — basically the whole team agreed, “Selfmade you do you, play your champions, we know you are gonna carry the games” and that’s what happened right? I felt I was performing pretty well at Worlds, but then in the spring split I was not performing so well and also the meta was different... But it just doesn't happen that somebody goes from a really good performance to being bad.
"This is the saddest part about being an esports player but I guess it’s the same in every sport: the community will judge you only based on the recent game..."
Look at MAD Lions, for example. They went to five games vs DAMWON, do you know how crazy that is? They were doing so well at MSI and LEC starts and they lose to Excel, do you really think they are worse than Excel? No, they are not, I can tell you that much. Things happen in best-of-1...
This is the saddest part about being an esports player but I guess it’s the same in every sport: the community will judge you only based on the recent game... Just like MAD Lions were gods during MSI, they are called washed-up after losing to G2 and now to Excel, they should replace Armut, they should replace this guy, blah blah...
It’s just sad to read you know? That’s why I stopped going on socials because it’s just pointless. Rekkles was right all along, you know social media is just not healthy, life is so much more enjoyable without it.
What is your opinion of the current state of the jungle? Could you compare it to last split and the old meta?
It feels like you can play anything, just depending on what power picks you get, and then the draft evolves. How it looks so far is that in almost every game in every region, the whole topside is picked in the first three picks most of the time, because people pick Viego, Gwen, Lee Sin, Nocturne, Rumble. The games revolve around topside because of that and that’s also why jungle is like that: since you have such strong solo lane picks, I feel like you can play anything. I really wouldn’t mind pulling out Zed if I can have strong lanes. Full clear once, base for two Long Swords, and then I am full build for the rest of the game, you know... I can play from that point.
I remember last year when you picked Evelynn, everyone thought the champion is weak but after that everyone started banning her and picking her. It was one of those cases.
Time for her will come too...
Last week, in an interview for Inven Global, Elyoya said that EU junglers sometimes are too scared, too afraid of making mistakes and so they just walk around... As an aggressive jungler yourself, do you agree with his comment? What would you point out as a weakness in LEC jungling?
From my experience playing internationally against Korean and Chinese junglers, I think everybody plays like this, even the Koreans. But the thing is, the Korean junglers understand the game more and even though they don’t go for crazy plays, they would do the correct plays at the correct time right. But it’s not like they are ganking 24/7 and it’s also the meta: it’s always safer to clear your camps and then look for a play than risk losing your camps for a play that might not work.
I agree with Elyoya, but it goes like this for everyone, not just for European junglers. You can also look at his Hecarim game recently [vs Excel]. Even though he got cheesed early game, it didn’t look like he pressed ultimate a single time, right? It’s normal: you play on stage, you feel pressured, one thing goes bad, you are scared of looking bad in front of the community, even though people should really not care about what other think. It’s all about just winning the game.
"Honestly, I don’t understand why best-of-1 is in the West."
I remember in Fnatic… It was playoffs against Origen, I played Olaf, I died 12 times this game and I couldn’t care less because after the next game, we won the series. I think it comes back to the topic of best-of-1’s. I think this format is terrible, I understand it’s most likely really good for viewership but for the players and for the competitive aspect, it is really really bad. We play, let’s say, 20 scrim games a week in four days. 20 scrims plus at least five solo queue games a day so it’s like 40 games. You practice 40 games to play only two and if something bad happens, you might automatically lose the game.
Because it’s just a best-of-1.
Yeah, what people should do is just prepare stuff for best-of-1, just cheese the enemy, just cash in and then you get to playoffs and then you start preparing for the correct series.
Even Rekkles was talking about this, how in the LPL and LCK they play three times more than us. It’s a big difference.
Yeah, I said it might be better for viewership but when you think about it, people would also rather see their favorite team play more games than just one, right? Honestly, I don’t understand why best-of-1 is in the West.
I want to ask you now about the new items. What do you think of the introduction of new items during the middle of a competitive split? Do you think split push champions need that and is now the perfect moment?
Honestly, I was talking about this with LIDER yesterday. I remember times where people would play stuff like Ryze, who is an example of a split pusher. I know the items that are made are not for mages but you remember times where you’d watch the game and there would someone like a Fiora, Camille, Ryze, just on the side lane playing alone the whole game and trying to end the game by taking towers and inhibitors. When was the last time you've seen that? No matter what you play, every game comes down to 5v5's and it’s just... It’s not easy, but it’s easier to come back than it used to be because you have bounties. Let’s say you are winning the game but you make a mistake, your carry with bounty dies in a teamfight, the enemy gets shutdown, the game might easily turn around and you can’t even go side lane because it feels like people will just go mid as five, they will end the game faster than you do.
So, I kinda like the idea of introducing items for split pushers, even though the item that buffs the minions — I don’t like this type of items. They will remove Sanguine Blade, right? They should make this type of items for split pushers. I don’t like the idea of items that buff minions because we had it in the past, we had Banner of Command, we had Zz'Rot Portal, and it’s just boring, it’s just not fun. So even though they will add this new item, I expect it to be gone pretty fast.
"This is the best meta for people to actually roleswap to jungle, because it really doesn’t require much creativity. Just play by the book and it’s gonna work 90% of the time."
We are starting to see more and more roleswaps in the major regions and I have seen you enjoying off-roles in solo queue. Have you ever had the thought of roleswapping in your career?
I’ve always had some type of regret in myself that I am a jungler because the thing with this role is that — at least for me when I play solo queue — when I play off-role like mid or top, I am 1v1 most of the time in the lane, I get a good trade and I feel like, “Wow, I outplayed that guy”, you know? It’s a super nice thing to have, and in the jungle you don’t have those things. For example, I invaded Treatz but I wouldn’t be able to invade him if my lanes didn’t have stronger picks, if they didn’t have a push. Jungle actions are dependable on your lanes.
Even though in the past you had the Elise/Lee Sin meta where you get level 3, you go to any lane and you stay in the bush for 30 seconds... This was kinda cool because you had to be creative. Now you farm, you path to the pushing lane, you take the crab, you can do something, you go for it? If you can’t, you base, you clear again, you wait for drake to spawn and it’s just... Yeah, we dived top lane today, but it was also after clearing my whole jungle...
You think the personal battle, the 1v1 battle in the lane is what usually shows if you are better?
Yes, yes, yes, and also that’s why I think this is the best meta for people to actually roleswap to jungle, because it really doesn’t require much creativity. Just play by the book and it’s gonna work 90% of the time.
What do you make of Canyon’s roleswap to mid/top? Do you think it's easier to roleswap from jungle to a lane or the other way around?
I think it’s harder to roleswap from jungler to lane, because as I said myself, I like to play off-role in solo queue, I can play champions that I like to a really good level, but I can’t go into solo queue and pick one of the meta champions and instantly perform on them. And in the jungle, you just have to basically practice three or four champions and know how they work. Nowadays, almost every jungler has been played in a lane before so you’ve probably played them in the past and just need to learn how the jungle pathings work, timings, and stuff like this.