Vincent "Vetheo" Berrié has been the biggest story of Misfits, and for good reason. He led the way to multiple victories for his team and blossomed into one of the best mid laners in Europe. His playmaking, laning, and unbreakable resolve to always keep on fighting — even when a game looks hopeless — have put him under the LEC spotlights.
Playing quietly alongside him is Matúš "Neon" Jakubčík. After competing before with teams like Unicorns of Love and Schalke 04, Misfits’ AD carry and veteran presence has had his most successful performance in Europe’s top competition. While he was proud of what Misfits had accomplished so far this season, he already has several ideas in mind on how the team can continue to improve. Inven Global spoke with Neon to discuss the team’s performance in playoffs, watching Vetheo’s growth, and how LEC bot laners compare with top eastern ones.
Thanks so much for talking, Neon. It was a disappointing loss to Rogue, but many people were surprised Misfits were this far, to begin with. Would you say your guys' performance this year exceeded initial expectations?
Well, considering that most people put us on the very lower end of the standings right before the split started, I think what we've done, especially with two rookies, is already a really good result and not something that we should be ashamed of. Because with rookies, it can go both ways, really. But it's very hard to expect to be one of the best teams from the get-go. So with our performance so far, I think we're doing a good job already.
What has the transition to playoffs been like? What could've you guys done better, and what will you work on for the rest of the playoffs and going into summer?
I would say our biggest weakness is playing too emotionally. A lot of times, we play with our emotions, rather than how we should actually play the game. For example, in today's series against Rough, in the last game: we lose early game. And then the only thing that we can really do in that game is to just give up stuff, wait for our power spikes, wait for our flashes, and fight under somewhat good conditions. But we just don't do that, we just fight straight away, and we just play based off of emotion.
So a level of cool-headedness would be a very good addition to our play. And also maybe flexibility when it comes to drafting. We don't have the biggest champion pools compared to other teams. And also our early game has not been stable enough for us to consistently compete with the best teams, so I would say those are the three main things that we really need to work on for summer.
Besides that, have there been any other big adjustments with competing in playoffs for Misfits?
For me, it was like, "Okay, I've played the best-of-5 before, I know what it's like to play best-of-5. I've been here, it's no big deal." But then I also knew that I had players who were going to be on the stage for the first time playing a best-of-5 series. So I was just there to roll with it and do my best. And to me, Rogue are a way more experienced team. So honestly, losing to Rogue is not the worst, especially if you can put up a fight as we did in some games. And for us, it's definitely a learning experience. And we're happy to be here on stage playing best-of-5s. We believe that this kind of experience is necessary for us to do well in summer playoffs, for example, specifically.
Many analysts and fans thought that Misfits would be weak in playoffs, reasoning that you guys are too reliant on Vetheo, and don't have enough diversity in playstyles. What do you think of that characterization?
Yeah, it's currently a narrative that people really go by, but it's not really the case. I mean Vetheo had a really good regular split and he does deserve the praise he's getting. But I think other players have been playing very well as well. I would definitely not put us in the basket of like, "Oh, we can only win if Vetheo is ahead." Because even in the games where he was doing really well, he was still, to some extent, set up by his team and his teammates. And we've had games where I was able to take over, we've had games where HiRit was able to take over.
So it's not just that easy, because if Misfits were a team with only one carry, we would not have 12 wins in the regular split. It's just that simple. It doesn't make sense to say that you only have one carry. Because then what you should do is just camp mid lane with three people the whole game, and Misfit can't win, right? So that's not really the case.
What has it been like watching Vetheo's development? When you first started working with him, did you expect at all for him to develop into this type of player? Anything he needs to work on?
I knew that Vetheo was really shy. I mean, not really shy, but a very quiet type of person. So I didn't really know what to expect from him. But as the split went on, I realized that on an individual level, he is very good. But if I could say something about him that he could do better: he could be a better team player, sort of. Because a lot of the times, we are kind of forced to play for him. And he won't really help the team. So I think that's one of the things that prevent him from being like the best mid laner.
Could you expand on that? What are some of the differences you see in Vetheo's play compared to other top mid laners that maybe play for their team more?
Well, sometimes as a mid laner, you pick a champ that's really good for playing with a team. And you go side and dive. And sometimes you just play for yourself, and you try to carry. And I think to be a good mid laner, you really need to master both playstyles, if that makes sense. And I think Vetheo is very excellent at the second one, the one where he plays for himself. And I think if he's gonna be able to explore a bit more of the second playstyle, I think he will be insanely good.
If Vetheo is to improve his play in the areas you mentioned, and the team improves their champion pools, where do you see Misfits in the summer split?
Yeah, it's not only Vetheo. We have multiple roles that could pick up more champions. And I think if we're able to expand on all of our roles, and actually play those champs well, and play them well in a team environment, I can see us being a top 4/top 3 contesting team in the Summer Playoffs.
What's your biggest focus right now?
Personally, I just want to get better at team macro, so that I can be a bigger voice. And I'll just always know what we need to do as a team. Because I feel like at this point, individually and mechanically, I'm pretty alright. So I want to expand in the team direction. I just want to become a better teammate myself, and I'm going to be able to help my other teammates with whatever they need help with.
There was some discussion last year that LEC bot lanes could compete with some of those in the east. How would you compare the level of LEC bot lanes right now to the LCK and LPL?
I think the bot lanes in LEC are pretty weak. I would say there are like four decent bot lanes in the LEC and the rest are not so good. And I think there are only one or two bot lanes in the LEC that could really compare with the best from the East. But I don't think it's that far off, honestly. I think the top can compete with the top when it comes to bot lanes. But the bottom on average is worse than the bottom of Asian league — our bottom is way worse than their bottom, if that makes sense. But I don't think the Asian top is way better than our top.
To clarify, you don't see much difference between, say, Upset and Hylissang compared with Gumayusi and Keria?
Honestly, I see a difference in champion pools, probably. I think Keria and Gumayusi play probably every bot lane champion there is at a very good level, while Upset and Hylissang play not every champ. They play like several champs at a really good level they could compete with, but in a best-of-5 series, I feel like Gumayusi and Keria would obviously get the upper hand, just because they're really good on everything.
The interview was edited for brevity. All photos by Riot Games.
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