One of the best words to describe the landscape of the 2022 LEC Summer Split is "parity". The rankings difference between the top and bottom can be only a pair of wins, and it is somewhat difficult to assess the quality of many of the league's team. One of the most notable shifts, however, is how teams have changed their playstyles.
G2 Esports appear to have had a worse read on the meta compared to previous months. MAD Lions have returned to the strong form expected of them. And while Misfits Gaming hasn't yet had as strong of performances as they experienced in the Spring Split, their current playstyle has perhaps more potential. Instead of relying a on constant hard-carry performances in the mid lane, the team has balanced out to be a far more cohesive unit. Inven Global spoke with the team's mid laner, Matúš "Neon" Jakubčík, to discuss the team's changes.
Now that you’ve had a significant amount of time playing in summer, how would you compare it to last split? You guys have had a decent amount of success (especially with a five-game win-streak) but your identity feels different from spring.
Honestly, I don't think right now the position that we're at in the standings matter a lot, simply because all the teams are very close to each other with wins. So if the difference between third and eighth place is one win, then I would kind of discredit the standings. But yes, we end our five-game win streak with this loss — I don't know if that was that big of an accomplishment. Because, sure, you won some games, but ultimately now we're even in terms of wins and losses. We need to secure playoffs at least, so we're trying to keep a level head, and trying to reach the goals first.
What do you think the main factors for your guys' win-streak were? Was it just coincidence, or do you think there was another reason?
Obviously, we were playing decent as a team and the enemy teams weren't having the best games. And honestly, in best-of-ones, it's a combination of a lot of factors. And sometimes in best-of-ones — not saying that we did — but if you beat a team in best-of-ones, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're better. It just means that in that particular game, you won. But in a best-of-five series, the outcome could have been very, very different. So we're trying to not get too much ahead of ourselves and not think too much about these wins or losses, and just focus on playoffs first.
The biggest thing you said that the team needed to work on last split was playing less emotionally. Now that there’s been some time, how would you say the team has improved in that regard?
To some extent, we still have this problem — especially now that we're playing on stage in front of people. We have some players who have never played on stage like that. I think it's also a factor that impacts a lot of players. I don't want to go too much into detail into this, but I am pretty confident that we still might have some of these issues from Spring Split.
When we spoke last you mentioned how you thought the team could be a lot better if Vetheo improved as a team player — how would you say he’s progressed in this regard?
Yeah, we've changed from Spring — it's not a one-man show anymore. We've had wins where we played as a team and everyone contributed. Everyone stepped up when it mattered. And yeah, we will definitely became more of a team since Spring.
I feel it just kind of came naturally, because that's how the game was intended to be played (or has to be played) at the highest level.
The main difference with the team besides that is that you have Irrelevant now compared to HiRit. How would contrast the two of them? How is it different playing with each?
With Irrelevant, we're more of a versatile team, because he can Ornn. HiRit never really wanted to play nor did play Ornn, so it limited us very heavily, because the enemy team always knew, "Okay, this guy doesn't play this on this champ. So we're gonna ban this and pick this." We don't have that problem anymore, so it makes drafting a little bit easier, and the whole game is a little bit easier. And also, the language barrier and the cultural difference is no longer a factor that comes into play, when we have five European players, I guess.
What about for yourself on an individual basis? What's been your perspective on your performance, and how do you feel about the quality of European bot lanes at the moment?
I'm kind of happy with the level of play I'm on right now. Regarding the bot lanes, I'll just straight up get down to the point and say my rankings: Comp and Trymbi, and Patrik and Mikyx are the two best bot lanes currently. I think Hylissang and Upset has kind of fallen off a little bit — mainly due to the problem that their champion pool I would say. They're not as versatile as the first two bot lanes. And the rest are just fighting it out. But this is how I would rank the top bot lanes.
Why do you believe that the bottom lanes in Europe seem to have progressed so much? It's in contention for the most competitive position in the region.
I think it has gotten better from last Split. Of course, there's Mikyx being more established now in Excel. Come and Trymbi also progressively got better. I think overall the bottom lanes in Europe are quite strong. And there's not a lot of bot lanes I can say, "You know, it's super easy to play against these guys." Usually, the bot lane is a stable part of the team.
I know that you've been fairly pessimistic about the west's chances of eastern bot lanes in the past. Have you had a bit more optimism with how players have progressed?
I think we have bot lanes that could go up easily against the top bot lanes, simply because at the highest level, the skill gap isn't big enough for bot lane to be very explosive in the current meta. I think that the bot lanes in EU can play against the top bot lanes from other regions. What I'm more afraid of is the general whole team.
Note: Interview was edited for brevity.
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