It’s been a weird split for Team Vitality. Despite having one of the most hyped rosters going into the new year, the team showed inconsistency to the point of almost dropping out of playoff contention. Some fans speculated on internal issues, while others say the players’ styles conflicting too much with each other.
Oskar "Selfmade" Boderek isn’t that worried. Despite the relatively disappointing showing, the veteran jungler is optimistic about the team going into playoffs. Inven Global spoke with Selfmade, to discuss his thoughts on Vitality’s flaws, the jungle meta, and the strength of teams going into playoffs.
When speaking with a lot of the coaches in the LEC, it seems most think Vitality are more likely to make playoffs and are figuring themselves out more compared to a team like MAD. What do you think are the biggest differences between how Vitality played in the first few weeks of the split to where you are now?
To be honest, I don't think there is any difference between first-week Vitality and Vitality right now. Because as you could see in the previous weeks, we had weeks where we were playing insanely well. And then we got to the next weeks where we completely change our playstyle and it goes the wrong way. But since we have only four games left, we decided we're gonna go the safe approach — which most LEC teams do — which is just play standard League of Legends with scalings carries. And we know our players are better at macro game than other teams, so we're gonna most likely win in the mid game and late game. That's kinda our approach right now.
Do you feel like you've addressed a lot of the problems that the team had?
Yes, whenever there is an issue, we instantly try to solve it. And since we have Perkz in the team, he's very good at actually spotting the problems and addressing them to the whole team. And yeah, hopefully, it's gonna get better tomorrow and the next week because as you said, we are not yet secured in playoffs, but so far, the stars are aligning in our favor. So let's hope it's gonna stay this way.
What's the biggest area of focus for playoffs?
Honestly, I actually have no idea. We are just, as I said, a team that every week plays different League of Legends. And yeah, it's just hard to spot the biggest issue in our team. Maybe that's the issue! Maybe that's exactly the biggest issue in our team: that we play too many champions. That's actually something Perkz said the other day — that we play too many champions but that is also a weakness in some ways.
"I'm 90% sure that Misfits are gonna be a very bad team in playoffs, and possibly Excel. [...] it seems like they are the two most basic teams in LEC right now."
Why do you opt for this approach? Is it a matter of finding a winning recipe?
I think we go so many different styles because they always work in scrims. I don't like to talk about scrims because... I'm pretty sure a lot of teams would say that we are insanely good right now based on the practice, but the games on stage are always much slower and usually scaling wins. That's why we, for example, last week had a big Ryze and Lee Sin prepared. We played Ryze-Lee Sin against BDS, and yet they are supposed to be a bad team. But even against them, the game didn't go like it goes in scrims where we are like 10-0 minute 5 and we take over the game left and right. So we're just going back to the... new playstyle, let's call it. But if it works, then it doesn't matter if it's an easy way or not, right?
Do you think your diversity in playstyles is why Vitality is well equipped for playoffs?
Yes, that for sure one of our biggest strengths in best-of-5s — that we're gonna have so many picks prepared that you're gonna be able to adapt to each team pretty much after one game, or even instantly.
I think it's also because best-of-5s in playoffs are gonna be played on stage, and we have players with a lot of experience. Especially stage experience, because right now we've had COVID for two years, and there are a lot of new players that don't have as much experience as, for example, me, Perkz, or Alphari do. And yeah, I think that's gonna for sure show up in playoffs.
Are there any teams in the league at the moment you think won’t be as strong in best-of-5s as they are now?
I'm 90% sure that Misfits are gonna be a very bad team in playoffs, and possibly Excel. Because I think those two teams — for the whole split so far they haven't shown any picks. I mean, maybe they have something prepared that they don't even show in practice. You never know. But it seems like they are the two most basic teams in LEC right now.
Last year, you talked about how it was the best meta for roleswapping to jungle. What about now? Treatz, for example, said he thinks he could play jungle at a pro level tomorrow. Do you think that’s true?
I mean, if you are a pro player on any role and you at least spend five minutes to actually try to understand the basics of jungling, I think everybody could roleswap to jungle in the meta that doesn't require mechanical skill. Because I'm pretty sure even you could right now go and play an LEC game if you pick Volibear or Xin Zhao, right? Even if you don't know much about the game, if your teammates would guide you on which camp to do and where to go, you would know how to press your buttons correctly. I guarantee you that much. So yes, I agree with Treatz. I think role swapping to jungle even right now is easier than last year.
I think you underestimate how bad I am at the game.
Yeah, that's my point, you know? I don't know how bad you are. But I guarantee you if you want to play right now, LEC tomorrow, you should play jungle. Just pick Volibear, pick Xin Zhao. Ask your team where to go, when to go there, and the game's gonna play out itself.
Some find the jungle meta too one-dimensional right now. Do you agree with that?
I think the meta right now allows you to play actually anything in the jungle. The problem is that all these junglers that are played right now like Xin Zhao and Volibear are just very good with scaling mid laners. Because I'm pretty sure you could still play something like Evelynn like I used to do with Nemesis. It's something like Evelynn plus AD mid — prepare draft for that, and try to execute it. But that all comes mostly from actually your lanes being able to play the champions who are needed to play the other junglers. And, of course, every mid laner has more experience playing Corki, Orianna, Viktor, than playing something like Lucian or Renekton, or even Tryndamere which is meta right now kinda. So it's much easier to execute this straight-up team composition.
What do you think Riot could do to change that?
The thing with competitive jungling is that in competitive you have obviously much fewer kills, which brings you much less gold income. And if you play a champion that... let's put the example — you play Kha'Zix against Xin Zhao. And you're gonna both full-clear base. One jungler's gonna buy two Long Swords, which is Kha'Zix. The other jungler, no matter what champion it is, is gonna buy two Ruby Crystals. The jungler with Ruby Crystals will just take over the game. Because tanks have just so high base damage that they don't need anything but tankiness. And champions like Zed, Evelynn, or Kha'Zix — whatever you can think of — they need gold to deal damage, which is much harder to get, especially in official games, than in scrims. So that's why people just stay on playing their standard League.
"[Rogue] are doing even better than they did with Inspired. Which kinda makes you question: is it even worth playing carry style in jungle?"
What about your general perception of the meta as a whole? Now that there's been some time, how does Season 12 compare with the past?
So far I'm enjoying this season, but at the same time, I'm not. Just because the champions that are played right now in the meta in the jungle at least are... they're fun to play. I'm not gonna lie, it's fun to play them. But if you have to play them for so long, it becomes really boring. But you have to do what's necessary to win, so you can't complain about that. And when it comes to other lanes, it feels like you can also play anything in any role. You can play mages in mid lane, you can play some melee champions in mid lane, etc.
In top lane though, you have to pick something that goes with Hullbreaker. I think this is the only problem in the current meta. No... there are two problems. The first one is top lane with Hullbreaker. And the second one is AD carry. Because AD carry is kinda like jungle — you have Jinx, Aphelios, and that's pretty much it. Me, as a jungler, I would love to see Ashe or Varus — all those champions that are actually not carries, but supercarries, let's say. And that opens up to play more stuff like, I don't know, maybe Graves in jungle. But we have to deal with what we have right now.
What is your opinion of the overall talent pool of junglers in the LEC compared to last year?
It feels like junglers in LEC this split are actually much better. Because even when you look at the bottom teams like SK, BDS, and Astralis — we have Gillius, Cinkrof, and Zarazarah. When you watch the games, they actually play well. So, it feels like all 10 teams have junglers that are LEC-ready.
I know you probably don’t watch too much LCS, but Inspired hasn’t had the strongest start with EG so far. Everyone last year said he was the best carry jungler, and potentially the best Western jungler overall. In hindsight, do you think that’s still true?
But that's the thing: being the best carry jungler that farms for half of the game means you have actually the best teammates. Because if you play this style, your teammates have to give up their lane most of the time to actually let your jungler get ahead and then put their whole trust in him. Which Inspired did well most of the time. But people were like, "Yeah, Rogue lost Inspired. They won't be able to win anything." They got Malrang who plays a completely different playstyle — makes his lanes actually be carrying the team. And they are doing even better than they did with Inspired. Which kinda makes you question: is it even worth playing carry style in jungle?
Though you haven't watched them much, would you imagine that's why he's probably not finding as much success as on Rogue — because of his teammates?
As I said, I don't watch his games, so I can't tell. But I can imagine that, he may be expected more from his teammates than he should. Because he had a very good team last split in LEC. And maybe he also has some ego problems, you never know [chuckles].
When Inven Global spoke with Elyoya, he was skeptical of the sustainability of Malrang's heavy gank style. Do you think that's true?
Yeah, people say that Malrang is aggressive, but whenever I played against Rogue — the game we played for the first time and the second game — I didn't feel like he was aggressive. I just feel like he played well for the lanes. He skips camps to make sure that his lanes are covered. He prioritizes objectives over farming and stuff like this. He doesn't necessarily just try to gank all the time. The guy is very good, the guy's a very smart player. He knows a lot about the game. He's not like just coinflipping ganks left and right — if he goes for a play, it's because he most likely knows it's going to be successful in like nine out of 10 cases.
Would you agree he's the best jungler in Europe right now?
Yeah, I mean, I can agree with that. They're the best team and he's playing very well for what his team needs him for. I can see that. Because who else can it be when you think of the players? When you look top six teams, let's say. Misfits Shlatan — there is no way that guy is even close to top three. Elyoya it seems like he was kinda carried by Humanoid, no? And Jankos is just Papa Jankos, right? And I'm a washed-up jungler on a super average team [laughs].
I write. I rap. I run. That’s pretty much it.