As the LEC comes to playoff time, Worlds is already in discussion. What European teams will make it, how strong they are, and how the rest of the World compares. When Inven Global spoke with G2’s Mihael "Mikyx" Mehle, the team’s Support player had bold opinions about the meta, the strength of other regions, and the depth of European bottom lanes.
You and Rekkles look like a more cohesive bottom lane recently. That was something that you stated was an area of focus at the beginning of the split — that you were really going to talk with him about adjusting your playstyles to fit with one another. With that said, what are the specific adjustments you’ve had to make since playing with him?
Just talking before the lane starts, like the expectation of how we think the lane should go. Then we also talk more about waves, which we didn't really do beforehand. We want to balance when we can get an effective recall and when I can roam. So I think we just talk to each other more about timings: roam timings, base timings, and when we can make a trap fight 2v2. I don't think we did that as much last split, so I think that's probably the biggest change.
We also talk a lot about catching waves safely if I'm not off roaming, because I think I'm doing that more than last split. I don't really think we got 2v2 laning per se, because I'm mostly off roaming and playing with mid/support/jungle, because I think that's kind of the meta right now. I think we're just better at playing waves, timings, and communicating that.
With your guys’ recent success and finally making playoffs, Worlds definitely seems to be on the horizon. I want your perspective on this, since I would say Rekkles isn’t the best in Europe at laning, but past the laning phase he’s the best marksman in Europe. When you see how aggressive bot lanes are in LPL and how they carry that to the mid-late game, is that something you think G2 are equipped for? How are you planning to deal with that?
It's gonna be kind of similar to every other time I've been to World or international events. I didn't really feel like there was much of a difference between European or Chinese bot lanes. Sometimes when I watch LPL or LCK, bot lanes get leads where they kind of shouldn't. I think sometimes they just play against people that are misplaying a lot of stuff. And I do think that LPL teams or players play a lot more aggressively. Whereas in Europe, everyone plays a lot more safe. I think in Europe, you just lane a bit and play mostly around support/mid/jungle, which was the case last year at Worlds as well. It was mostly about that. And I think it's gonna be probably similar this time around.
Fnatic and MAD Lions both seem to have a style more in line with LPL, primarily focusing on the bottom lane, and bottom lane duos being more aggressive. Even Jankos talked about how Nelson introduced LPL knowledge to G2. Is this style inherently better than other teams’ approaches?
I don't really think so. I think usually playing around mid is best because...well it's the center of the map, so then they can impact both bot and top. I do think Fnatic is probably the closest to playing kind of similar to LPL where the bottom's really aggressive. They fight a lot whenever it's possible. But I'm not sure if that's the best approach. It seems a bit flippy because unless you always have perfect information — which usually you don't — I think our approach is pretty good for Europe and even going forward to international events.
So you do think that the LPL approach might not be the best strategy — that it could hurt them at Worlds?
Yeah, I do believe so. And I think usually when it comes to Worlds, most people don't really play around bot lanes at all. I think maybe it was the case with RNG when they had Uzi and then they had the Rek'Sai that level 2-4 ganked bot every time. That was RNG only, so I don't think it's gonna happen, unless there's some crazy jungle meta.
I wanted your perspective on this since you’re someone that has a lot of experience against Korean bot lanes. Before MSI, most people had LPL overall boasting the most top level bot lanes, but the very elite — like Ghost and BeryL — were the real best. Post MSI and just from your observations of the LCK, do you think Korean bot lanes are any better than LEC?
Yeah, I feel LCK bot lanes are worse than the LEC and LPL ones. I wasn't very impressed by anyone there. I think some of the LPL bot lanes are pretty good. I think in Europe you also have some really good bot lanes. So I feel like they're a bit behind. But well… last night they were pretty good — DAMWON's bot lane at least [referring to the DK 2-0 DRX game on July 24 — Ed.]. So they can probably step it up and play well. I think T1 has a decent bot lane as well. But then that's kind of it — maybe Gen.G? Ehh… yeah they're decent. They are okay.
It's interesting how much confidence you have in Europe's bot lanes. It really does seem that way too. Do you think at this point they're a more stacked position than mid for Europe?
Yeah, I would say that they are. I think bot lane's probably the most stacked. There's no real crazy mid laners at the moment. I think there's some quite bad ones.
Whereas for bot lane, I can't think of anyone in particular that is really bad — except for maybe the start of the split. Everyone is just kind of decent but that could just be the meta as well. Actually, no, I just think everyone's pretty decent. Even going from the bottom up — Shalke's is good, SK's is good (at least not terrible), Excel's fine. Yeah, everyone's just kind of good, compared to mid lane or other roles.
When I talked with Jankos, he said that G2 wants to represent Europe as the best team. It doesn’t look like that right now, so between now and playoffs, what do you think G2 has over other teams to help them get there, to be the best in Europe?
The individual players. I think we should do better than most teams in playoffs. In terms of draft, we do have some edges here and there. And I think adaptability is an important one. I think we're usually pretty decent at adapting in best-of-5’s.
I write. I rap. I run. That’s pretty much it.