Despite struggling in the regular season, Evil Geniuses managed a 3-0 victory against heavily favored Team Liquid in the 2022 LCS Spring Playoffs. Despite their best efforts and some fantastic plays from both sides, TL never managed to close out a game, and will have to watch from the sidelines as Evil Geniuses take on 100 Thieves in the final.
After their heartrending loss to EG, Team Liquid took the time to sit down for a press conference to answer some questions from the media.
After Danny's Baron steal and Pentakill in game 1, were you guys able to mentally recover for games 2 and 3?
Bjergsen: It was actually not too bad because I felt like we were playing a lot better than them in game 1. We were really in the driver's seat and we lost in that moment; those moments happen. If we continued to play the way we had I think we could have still taken the series. I felt that throughout game 1, we were playing better than EG, but obviously, Danny had that big moment and we had a big lapse in judgment and play.
I don't think mentality was the reason we lost games 2 and 3, it was just other mistakes that happened.
Guilhoto, what happened in this series that resulted in a 3-0 for EG?
I think it's very hard to pinpoint one specific thing. I think it was a combination of a lot of small things. In game 1, as Soren said, we were in the driver's seat, but that steal and Pentakill happens and we're no longer there. Until then, I felt the game was pretty much in our control.
Game 2 was also a very competitive game, but I think that our composition needs to be looked at. EG obviously had the Diana/Yasuo combo ready and they were better prepared, which is something I think about game 3 as well. The way EG was teamfighitng and the confidence they were showing going into those teamfights was bigger and more decisive.
We had a couple of individual misplays and a couple of draft adaptations that could have been better. There are so many small things that it is just hard to pinpoint it to one specific thing.
Guilhoto, we saw TL go for a different type of composition in each game, which included champions, we had not seen TL play before. Can you talk about the approach to drafting these compositions against EG and what ultimately went wrong in terms of executing in each match?
In the first draft, we thought there was a very high chance that they would not let us have Jinx and that's how the series would start, so we had a couple of answers to Jinx that we wanted to bring to the series. The first one was Xayah and Jarvan IV and I think that answer was probably our best bet.
We wanted to be a bit more proactive in the second draft, so we needed to up our priority on Twisted Fate to have that, but in hindsight, I think that was the wrong approach. I think that it probably would have been a better approach to run back our game 1 draft in game 2, but the change was mostly about wanting to have a bit more priority and be more proactive options in our hands.
When they picked Ornn in game 2, we obviously had to respond with Gangplank, which means we got pinched a little bit in our bot lane picks. However, we were comfortable that we still had enough picks into Jinx/Tahm Kench that we were able to draft and I think that in laning phase, Hans and Core both did tremendously well.
On blue side in game 3, our plan was to take Jinx first, which was open, but Tahm Kench was banned, so we made an adjustment to go Aphelios/Nautilus. This felt more comfortable into Ezreal for us and the goal was to have better fighting power in the 5v5s, which is where we felt the series was being decided. That's the story behind our adaptation in this series.
After losing the first two games of the series, you guys had a phenomenal start to game 3. What were your objectives in this game?
Bjergsen: Like Andre said, we wanted more power in skirmishing and fighting. In the previous game, we had Twisted Fate and Jarvan into Yasuo and Diana, which is hard to fight. You kind of have to avoid them and find other picks, which we did sometimes, but it's generally easier to execute if you have stronger skirmishing and fighting. It didn't necessarily feel like they were outplaying us in fights, but they just had stronger fighting capability in the second game.
In the third game, we wanted to find a team composition where we could kind of brawl it out, and I think we did that pretty successfully in the early game. I feel like we got a bit of lead, but we ended up being really disconnected at different points in the game and not really being able to take fights together, whereas I felt EG was more connected and more ready in that regard. I think they just outplayed us in game 3.
There were a lot of different aspects that led to this result. How do you see yourself overcoming those obstacles to make sure this will never happen again?
Guilhoto: The way we make sure this doesn't happen again is making sure that we have a good retrospective of what those things were, not now, but once everyone's heads are more grounded. We will make sure that our analysis is as low-emotion as possible, and that's obviously something that we'll try to do in the future.
For me, the biggest regret is the series against 100 Thieves. I think that's one we should have won, and then, we wouldn't necessarily be in this spot. The draft mistakes in that series are the ones I have regrets about more than this series in itself.
Change takes a lot of time within a team, as does developing synergy. Do you think there were small things you could have adjusted to change the outcome today in the short term, or will you just need more time to come back stronger next split?
Bjergsen: I think we did make changes in the short term, they just weren't good enough. We learned some things we took away from the 100 Thieves series that we lost after being up 2-0 and we looked at how our team excels and we do best. That's what we tried to focus on coming into this week, which obviously didn't show.
I also think EG is a formidable opponent. We tried to make adjustments between the 100 Thieves series and now as much as we could in the short term. We tried to look at what would be best for us, and I think generally, those things were the right call, but we just weren't able to execute on them well enough to win today.
Bwipo, today it looked like you struggled a bit in the laning phase, but you executed a lot of roaming plays around the map. What were your thoughts during those roams and how you could contribute to the team at that point?
I think it was only in game 1 that I really struggled in the laning phase. I didn't think my laning phase was bad in games 2 and 3. In game 3, I think I misplayed and didn't do very well after the laning phase, so I'm not sure how to answer the question. In the Shen game, I managed to find some usefulness because my pick was really strong, and if I played better, it obviously would have made it better for us to try and win. I made a lot of mistakes.
CoreJJ, this loss is obviously devastating, but as someone who has championed and invested in NA talent for as long as you have, what is it mean to you to see young native players like Danny succeed?
I've always wanted LCS players to be better, but I obviously didn't want them to be better than us. Today, that actually happened. It doesn't matter what happened in the games, they were better than us, overall.
Bjergsen, after that first game, you took a little bit of extra time at your PC before heading backstage. Were you going through the process of gathering your thoughts before the rest of the series?
Actually, my Flash and Teleport somehow got swapped in, which is why I Flashed accidentally in game 1. I sat at my computer afterwards and went into a custom game to switch them back. I don't know how that happened, but yeah, I wasn't really gathering my thoughts as much as making sure I wasn't going to misclick my Flash again in the next game.
I personally felt okay after the first game, it was just a big throw. We've had too many big throws, both in playoffs and in the regular season, and I think that's something that we need to look at. When we're in a winning position, we aren't very consistent in terms of closing out games. I think that's a big thing for us to look at going into the Summer Split.
CoreJJ, what's the one thing you would change in today's series of these options: draft, execution, feedback, or a specific moment?
If I could change only one thing, I would change the laning phase. Their laning phase was really weak in the early stages of the game; maybe we could have smashed it harder.
Carver is an esports journalist and analyst who specializes in Eastern League of Legends.