Raphaël "Targamas" Crabbé has been one of the most exciting additions to the LEC. Upon his return to the league after years working and studying at the same time, Targamas has been an important factor in G2 Esports’ current success, and has shown one of the deepest champion pools in the world.
Inven Global had the chance to speak with Targamas, to discuss his return to top European competition, how he’s able to learn so many champions, and his opinions on Lost Ark and playing games outside of League.
You have such a unique story as a player now that you’re back in the top European league. To have played in the EU LCS so many years ago, finishing your degree now, and to finally make it back — how do you reflect on that?
Back then, I was really, really young for LCS. I mean, some people started 17, but I was really young, I don't think I was in a very good environment. So maybe it was too early, because I had a lot of things to learn. And I don't think I had the best people around me to help me. It was really difficult between those years. I went back and forth with studying, and then back to League, and studying again, without really knowing what I wanted to do. But yeah, I just had positive experiences in esports, like the last year and a half. So it just feels good being back right now. Trying it again, playing in good environments with good friends. It's just really good being back.
Some aspects you were known for at Kcorp was your ability as a drafter and shotcaller. Coming into G2 with such big names like Caps and Jankos, how have you adjusted contributing to the team in that way?
It's been different for sure. I think I was more in control in Kcorp. I think the team was relying on me to do more stuff. And I was working more closely with the coaching staff in Kcorp, because it was also their first year in esports. So yeah, I was just talking a lot with them, and we were working on it together. I think right now I'm playing with, of course, more experienced players and coaches than I am. So it's a different relationship I would say. But, they still trust me with a lot of stuff. Of course, I have to earn the trust, so it doesn't just come naturally. I'm just trying to give my input on what we're doing. I think I’m not doing anything special like I was in Kcorp.
What has it been like working with Dylan Falco as a coach?
I think he's really good, because the way he prepares stuff is always very professional, and his work ethic is good. So he kind of knows how to make a team work. He is still one of the most seasoned coaches in the West, right? He is one of the few coaches that made it to Worlds finals. He just knows the recipe of a winning team.
Last week, Jankos said that sometimes the two of you can be stubborn? How have you tried to overcome these challenges?
I think we're just trying to find the middle ground. Maybe at the beginning we were a bit more stubborn. I think the way Dylan works is he really likes to win, right? [chuckles] He likes to win the scrims and be as ready as we can on a certain style or composition when we go to a stage game. Maybe we ended up being... we learn from that. Because intervening — maybe it was not the best recipe. So I think right now we'll just have to find common ground, while still trying to win scrims as much as we can, but also trying out a lot of stuff.
I think we have a lot of players in the team that want to try new picks. We get to do it as long as there are thoughts behind it.
You’ve been showing off a pretty incredible champion pool. How are you able to do so compared to other support players?
I don't think it's very odd. I think for support, it's actually fairly easy to play different champions, because you don't have to learn much about laning. It's not the same with top lane or mid lane matchups. If you change your champion, then the lane actually completely changes, because it's 1v1, and it's all about your champion and the enemy champion. When it comes to supports, in a lot of matchups, it's actually very AD-dependent right now. If you play Jinx, for example, then you're gonna win a lot of matchups no matter what supports you play. You can play five or six different supports and they will still allow you to play the lane exactly the same way.
So I think for support, there's not really this matchup dynamic. Maybe for the ranged support it's a bit different, because they are more different than melee supports. But melee supports are all very similar in the way they play in lane. All pro players, we just play a ton of games and I have hundreds of games on almost every support. So I just know how to play them. I don't think it's anything special.
I think also my team allows me to try more stuff to pick later in the draft as well. When I'm given, for example, the last pick on red side, then I will have more choice to see the draft and see with what pick can impact the game the most. So I think a lot about that. Sometimes I see a lot of teams in the world just picking Thresh, Leona, etc. in the first three — they don't really give much agency to the support to play a lot of stuff. Because they kind of want to keep the later picks for the solo lanes. I don't know, in my team, it's just different, they just trust me to always have a good pick for the game.
What's your opinion of EU's bot lane duos? Give me an idea of the progress you think you’ve made with Flakked, what it’s like playing with him, and where you realistically think you’ll rank by the end of the split?
I don't think the bot lanes are very strong in EU right now. I think with the departure of Hans sama to NA, he was kind of the best laning AD carry, I would say. Upset and Hylissang also are very good. This season they've been playing very well, but they have not been like smashing everyone in lane. I think also it's very dependent on the matchups right now.
It's kinda handshakes on bot, where both teams just play Jinx-Aphelios, a sometimes one team is just gonna have an edge on the matchup, and they're gonna be allowed to push. But it's hard to really create a lead 2v2 if you play these kinds of matchups. So then it comes down more to the jungle and mids and if they get to dive bot.
With Flakked, I think we've been playing quite well from the get-go, I would say. We are performing well in scrims against any bot lane. Even when we were scrimming the Worlds teams, we were always doing very good against the Worlds bot lanes. I think what's different from the other bot lanes is our ability to play different sides. I think we can bring a lot to the team. We started the season playing a lot of weakside champs — games with like Seraphine and me just running around the map. But right now, we're also caught up on the hypercarry style that we practice a lot in scrims.
I don't really care about ranking bot lanes, because it's not really my goal to be the most dominant bot lane in 2v2. I don't think it's important, especially right now. I just care about us doing what our team needs. If our team needs us to be the best weakside bot lane, then we should be the best weakside bot lane. And if our team needs us to play a good game of Aphelios-Thresh, then I want us to have a good game of Aphelios-Thresh. So maybe we won't be as dominant as Upset and Hylissang, for example, in EU. I think the goal is to match very well against those bot lanes, and be as strong as we can, and help the team as much as we can to win the games.
What have been your impressions of Lost Ark? Jankos has said you've been playing it nonstop. Why do you love it so much?
[laughs] I just love MMOs. I just love grinding, gearing up my character, and just having a lot of stuff to win the game. I'm a huge fan of MMOs, because when I play solo games, I just get bored fast, because the grind is not really there, and then I cannot play with other people and I can't play against other people. I still love WoW, I also love other MMOs, and it just feels good having a new MMO being out, because it doesn't happen very often.
I write. I rap. I run. That’s pretty much it.