After Counter Logic Gaming won their first match of the 2022 LCS Spring Split, mid laner Cristian "Palafox" Palafox spoke to Inven Global about his own individual level of play, CLG's identity as a team, and what he learned in his rookie LCS season last year on FlyQuest.
Were you aware that Cloud9 would be playing against you without LS?
Actually, I just heard about that right now. I didn't know about that before the match. I don't know, that f*****g sucks for them.
Do you think C9 underperformed against you due to the seemingly abrupt change?
I can't speak for any other player, but going forward, I hope that nothing like that will happen again before a game, so nobody can take it away from us, even a little bit. Obviously, it sucks for them, but we don't know how it affected them in reality.
CLG had a great early game today, highlighted by a bot lane dive that netted your Ryze a triple kill. You had all five of your team's kills before the 10 minute mark - does that change the way you play a normally scaling-focused champion when you get that fed that early and are also the only player on your team with kills?
Yeah, it means that I have a lot more timings in the game; their Corki is just permanently stuck under their tower. A lot of small things that people don't notice is how we went and invaded their raptor camp repeatedly, and then Contractz made the call after me to start invading their Red buff.
We were just playing for jungle clears and kept f*****g taking their jungle camps from them while pressuring side lanes. I'm not getting a numbers to numbers advantage against Corki since he's just farming, but the rest of his team feels f*****g awful when all their camps get taken.
CLG drafted Sivir, Karma, Hecarim and Camille alongside your Ryze - this isn't exactly a composition you can outrun if you're behind in gold against it. With AD hypercarries dominating the current meta, does running a Sivir composition put more pressure on you as a damage threat?
I started splitting with Camille in bot lane late in the game. Basically, having a Sivir means we can't kill the Baron, so we're sending two people bot. If they send two, we win the 2v2. If they send three, we'll live. If they send four, we might die, but in that instance, I need the rest of my team to be able to do Baron in the cross-map 3v1.
Playing compositions like this means that the point of being able to put on that kind of pressure doesn't happen until a little bit later. We just had to take a little bit slower, play for their camps, and once my Sivir can actually deal damage, we can start to win the game.
Throughout the 2022 LCS Spring Split, you've looked like CLG's strongest player. How do you feel you have been playing individually?
Personally, I think I've been playing pretty well. In our game against Dignitas where I was Orianna vs. Corki, I was in a position to go up literally 50 CS if nothing happened, but obviously, some tragedies happened in that game.
I think our team is just about playing the game slow. We take things one step at a time. We don't really randomly try to get advantages over people, and we're just better players, so we'll run them over eventually. I've had multiple scrims where the CS has been relatively even, then between 8 and 13 minutes, I'll go 50 CS up. That's a really consistent thing when we play the game slowly.
CLG exceeded expectations in the LCS Lock In, but got off to a rough start in the spring thus far. Were there any factors that you think may have contributed to that?
We played from our office in the LCS Lock In and that's very different from playing on stage. When we've gone on stage, I've heard a lot of my teammates say that things change. For example, you can feel a little bit more pressure, but there's also small things. Today, it felt like the early game went by so fast for me that it made it tough to think. There's a small adjustment period.
You also played a good amount of games in your rookie LCS season with FlyQuest last year online. Do you think that's made it tougher for you to adjust to playing on stage since you haven't actually played a full season of on stage games, and have you been able to impart any wisdom to your less experienced teammates in terms of adjusting to playing on stage?
I think Jenkins and Poome can be considered rookies in a way because they haven't played on stage before this season, and the stage experience is really different. I'm not really the type of person that gets nervous on stage. I'll really feel it every once in a while, but it's very rare that it affects my gameplay in a big way.
What I learned on FlyQuest is that if I put my best foot forward, I can become a better teammate, and that needs to start from day one. Stuff like staying in the office later, helping everybody get their play to a good level, and just motivating everyone to play the game more is important to start from day one. That's really all I learned from FlyQuest.
What was the off-season like for you, and how did you find yourself on CLG for the 2022 season?
I was approached by a couple of teams for consideration, and I was in South Korea at the time playing solo queue. It was a little bit stressful, because Jensen wasn't on a team, which made me a little nervous. People have some hatred towards NA mids for whatever reason and you never really know what can happen.
I've always really wanted to play with Contractz. Not many people know this, but we have the same hometown. I was already pretty good friends with Jenkins. We'd talk every once in a while and I always liked how motivated he was. I've been to South Korea seven times to bootcamp, and many of the times I've gone, he's also been there, so I know he's motivated to improve.
Everyone had said really good things about Luger and Poome. I didn't know them personally before this, but everyone had said really good things and Luger seemed like a grinder. All that really matters is the love for the game and that's what made me want to join CLG.
Thanks for the interview, Palafox. Is there anything you want to say to the CLG faithful after your first win of the Spring Split?
Thank you for supporting us. *Laughs* This isn't the last one.