Winning can be exhausting — especially for those that win the LEC Spring Split. Having to play almost non-stop with a long playoff run into your MSI appearance has caused many players to burn out, but that's not the case for Raphaël "Targamas" Crabbé. One of the least experienced players on G2 Esports — the young support is feeling motivated with the new meta and competition.
In fact, in the face of such an epic grind, his fire to win Worlds has not dimmed, but grown if that was possible. Inven Global spoke to Targamas, to reflect on MSI, give his perspective on EU bot lane, and talk about working with his AD carry.
A lot of players in previous years have complained of burnout after MSI. As one of the newer players, how are you contending with that?
The season is really long, and when you start in January (or even the middle of December), then you have split and MSI after, and then you resume in summer — it can definitely be a bit exhausting. But for me, I don't really mind it. There was a big patch and some meta changes, so when I play the game it actually feels fresh. It's not like I'm playing Tahm Kench the whole year, and then I can't even try some other stuff. Right now, everyone in the team is playing some other stuff — it's a bit fresh.
And then as well, we're all very motivated in the team with big ambitions. Like we said: since the team was created, we are here to win Worlds. The work is starting now. If you want to win Worlds, first we need to make it there. So we take the offseason very seriously, and everyone's trying really hard and very motivated to win.
What are your overall reflections of MSI — how would you explain your overall performance?
I think we started the Rumble Stage really strong because we had really good plans — what we wanted to do. The drafts against T1 and RNG: We came in, we knew exactly what they were gonna do, we knew exactly how we wanted to answer, and when we got on the stage everything we planned actually happened (at least in the draft). So it was very prepared.
And then as the days went on, we couldn't really scrim, because in the Rumble Stage you play five days in a row, and you're at the venue for the whole day. So you never really have time to scrim — you don't really have time to figure out new stuff. And I think that's what lacked for us: we were winning, so we were not really adapting. Meanwhile, the other teams that were losing were actually looking for solutions, and we weren't. So when they came up with solutions, we just had no idea what to do. And it kind of snowballed through the tournament. So after losing a few games, we were more and more lost, because we just didn't have time to figure out anything.
And then the series against T1, I think we were actually prepared. We knew what we wanted to do (at least for game one), but things didn't go our way in the end. The game one I think we were really confident in our draft, and it just didn't go our way. So after that, it was a bit rough, because T1 is a team that plays very well when they are confident.
Also, we could feel them playing better and better throughout the series. I could feel the enemy bot lane playing better and better. I felt like in game one they were actually not playing good, and then game two they were actually playing super good and super free. Meanwhile it was us who had the pressure. So yeah, it's just a lot of things to work on for the next time we play international events.
How did you feel about the different bot lanes today? Looking at T1’s bot lane and RNG’s, how would you compare playing against them compared to Upset and Hyli or Comp and Trymbi?
It's for sure way harder, because in EU I feel like the bot laners — especially the supports — don't really have a big enough champion pool to punish you. Or at least not that much. It doesn't feel that scary to play against the EU supports. Maybe it's because I know them all, so I know how they're gonna react to certain picks and certain situations.
But for example, Keria: this guy plays everything in the game. And no matter what, you blind against him, for example, he's always gonna have an answer. So it definitely feels more scary to play against him, because he always has an answer to what you're gonna pick. And also in lane — a lot of people do something stupid — he just clicks very well. It feels like he's always clicking at the right place.
He just feels way harder to play against them, especially when he's confident. As I mentioned in the previous question, when T1 bot lane is confident, it just feels very hard to play against. For RNG bot lane, they are just very stable. They're always going to play the matchup how it's supposed to go — they're never going to do any mistakes, and they're always going to farm super well, pressure you when they have to, and not do any mistakes. So it's just different to play against RNG bot lane than T1. They just don't play the same style.
So to clarify, you feel that EU bot lanes need to focus on more champion diversity to do well for Worlds?
Yeah, I think for the EU supports, I think Trymbi and Mikyx as well — they try actively to practice new champs, to explore counter picks. But I think some other bot lanes really have a lot of trouble finding champs in certain situations, and it always feels very easy to prep our draft against them.
Let's round out by talking about EG. What was it like playing them, and how would they fare in Europe?
EG felt really similar to playing against EU teams. That's why we always had the upper hand against them, because they don't really surprise us. They just play standard and then at some point during the game — even if they get the lead or get a good situation in early game — they're always going to slow things down. They're never going to surprise you. They're always just going to show up every Drake — things like that.
But they're not gonna do anything crazy, like the Vietnamese team or PSG could do. So I think that's why we always had a simple time against them. And for the bot lane — I don't really know. I think they are decent, but they're already doing a lot of mistakes. In lane Danny was dying a lot, and in the mid game the support had a lot of trouble finding his placement. I think positioning is something that's not really punished in EU and in North America for supports. But when you see in those tournaments at MSI and Worlds, supports often get really punished with their positioning.
How do you think they would fare against some of the other top European teams like Fnatic and Rogue (at least last season)?
As I said, I think they are really similar to the EU teams. I don't think they're necessarily better or worse than Fnatic or Rogue. Each have their own style — I wouldn't say that EG plays like Rogue or Fnatic, they have a different style. But in terms of level, I would rank them about the same. The thing is, they all have their strengths, and then in mid-game it seems like they all kinda fall down. They don't really know how to play the mid-game. So they, it's what they need I think to get better — they need to play the mid-game better.
Tell me a bit about the development of you and Flakked as a duo. If you were to look at when you guys first started playing with each other to now, what would you say the biggest differences are?
The biggest difference is confidence. When we came in the team and when we started playing LEC, we were confident in our ability. We always thought that we were good players. But we never really showed it on stage, and there's always uncertainty, right? You never know if you're gonna do well or not.
So when we came into the team, we sort of had this mentality of just not being a burden for the team, and just playing weakside. There was the whole weakside — I was just roaming around the map and then Flakked had to give up so much that we'd never play around him.
As the season went on, we started realizing that we're not gonna win like that. We're not gonna win just not being a burden for our team. We need to be a strong point for our team, so we worked a lot with the team to change the mentality and build up our confidence, and then we started doing a lot better in lane and with with our calls. We started drafting a lot more aggressive, and right now we really feel confident on anything. I think the team can rely on us for any matchups. Yeah, we're just trying to be as strong as we can be for the team. I think that's the main development for us.
Do you think with your growing confidence, you can start to contend for the best bot lane in Europe? Will the idea of Fnatic's bot lane being the best change?
I don't know if this idea is going to change, because it's often really hard to change the general consensus. It's always hard to change that. I don't think Flakked and I are the bot lane that's gonna crush the opponent and make the lanes so unplayable that everyone's gonna call us the best bot lane. As I said in the previous question, I think we'll just try to be as flexible and as good as we can for the team.
That's something that is not the case for Fnatic's bot lane. I would say that they are very limited in terms of what they play, and they are very demanding for their team. So really often, when Fnatic's bot lane is not performing, then the team is gonna crumble. Because it's all centered around them. Meanwhile, we are just trying to do everything. We will just try to be as flexible as possible.
I write. I rap. I run. That’s pretty much it.