EG Peter Dun: "This is Worlds in North America [...] for orgs, this is a very, very high-pressure situation"

Source: LoL Esports

Evil Geniuses continue to rule North America. After winning the 2022 LCS Spring Split and gaining experience at the 2022 Mid Season Invitational, EG has maintained its dominance in the summer. They're currently the best-ranked team in the region and show no signs of slipping. It's a weird time for the LCS: teams continue to contend with the changes in infrastructure, a lot of teams are adjusting to new lineups, and many teams are desperate to represent NA at this year's World Championship. Inven Global spoke with EG's coach Peter Dun, to discuss his thoughts on EG's performance, how they maintain strong conditioning, and his thoughts on Worlds this year.


EG has been doing incredibly well. What do you think has allowed your team to keep momentum? When you look at G2 and RNG, some teams have fallen off somewhat relative to the rest of their region. How would you contend with that? 


For EG, we didn't push too hard past MSI. Yes, EG were 8-1 in the first round-robin. But if you were to ask me how many of those games EG were playing at full intensity, I would say that there were probably only two: the Team Liquid game last week and the Counter Logic Gaming game this week [this interview took place on Jul. 23]. 


Why? Because obviously, TL are the big rivals, and the CLG roster is 2-0 against us, and there's a bit of a rivalry I think between certain CLG and EG players. It was important to send the message today. Jojo and Contractz played together in Academy, and there's a lot of other rivalries between the two teams. 


Not needing to go into that super high-intensity mode right from the start was a big benefit. Also, this patch is pretty favorable for us. If you were to say what makes EG stand out the most as a team, I would say team-fighting, smart jungle-pathing, and solid laning phase. Even Danny — who was publicly considered the weak link — has improved a lot in his laning phase. Maybe those were the biggest strengths, and those are the things that have been amplified the most on this current patch — which I think is beneficial to us. 


What do you think the problem has been for some of the other MSI representatives coming back from MSI?


For RNG, this is one of the worst patches I could possibly imagine. This is a really, really bad patch for RNG, but a really favorable patch for teams like Top Esports, V5, JDG — a lot of their rivals in China. For RNG, they're really hurt by the patch.


For G2, I think they just had a bad read of the meta coming back, and they're re-adapting. This is something that can happen. Because after MSI, most teams take a little bit of a break, which means that sometimes when you're coming in, you don't adapt to the meta very quickly. 

Source: LoL Esports

For us, we're very lucky because we have EG Prodigies, EG Academy, and a lot of our LCS staff. Part of the job of an LCS staff — a coach in EG — is that you have to spend a certain amount of time every month helping out the Academy team and the Amateur team either through one-to-ones or sitting in on scrims advising. So a lot of our staff had a really good read on the meta, because we were just watching EGP and EGA, so we came in pretty hot. 


What's been your philosophy for this regular season? Have you instructed the players to not play with as high-intensity until playoffs, experiment, etc.? How have EG's staff approached potential burnout?


Firstly, I think the players on this team actually really like each other — which is a bonus. Normally, we don't have to put any emergency measures in place to make sure that they behave appropriately. They just enjoy being around each other. Danny's talked about how he likes his own quiet time, but that doesn't mean that he's not socializing or playing board-games on board-game nights, or going on team-building activities. He's just not as loud as say Inspired, Jojo, Vulcan, or even Impact.

Also, in terms of the staff, we've been doing what we can to take a little bit of load off our players. We're very flexible in terms of how we work with players on improvement. Some players really like to grind soloqueue, some people like to practice in other ways like two-versus-twos or studying VODs. As a coaching staff, we're very flexible in terms of how we're working with our players on their own plan for their improvement. It's not just all top-down — we'll have a talk with our players. They have to put in the work, but we're flexible in terms of how they put in the work. 


The other thing is, we do a lot of team-building. Somebody that might be interesting to speak to in EG is Artemis, who was on stage with me last year. He's a coach with a lot of years of experience in the team, but has now gone over to the performance side. And I think he's doing a very good job with the players, working on team building. 


Like I said, we haven't really been pushing ourselves much this season, and I think the results have been good. That's meant that we can go in cruise-control mode more, but we've always made sure that on the horizon, there are games that matter. But you know, you could take it a little bit easier if you're playing, say, TSM or FlyQuest.


What’s your perspective on how much better EG seems to be relative to the rest of the LCS? Obviously, it’s great that EG’s doing so well, but are you at all worried about your guys’ competition relative to the rest of the League? 


Firstly, we're not in playoffs yet, so let's see how things go into playoffs. But also, it's important to recognize that this is Worlds in North America this year. Maybe it doesn't matter as much for players or staff. But for orgs, this is a very, very high-pressure situation. I'm not going to name particular teams or people, but you can imagine that if certain orgs didn't go to Worlds this year, what that would mean. 

Source: LoL Esports

That pressure naturally filters down towards staff and towards players. It feels very tense this year. The amount of everyone is acutely aware of what's at stake. And I think that this is maybe having a bit of a knock-on effect in the region. For EG, at least, I think it's not affecting us very much. But it's very, very obviously affecting certain other teams. 


If you show the same dominance in playoffs, how worrying would you say it is if EG is that much better than the rest of the region? In Europe right now it seems like there's a lot of parity, while in NA you guys are head-and-shoulders above the rest.


Obviously, what's going on in Europe is better, what's going on in Asia is better. Let's say you're a Top Esports, V5, or RNG — you don't have to scrim World Elite who are like 0-10 right now. Obviously, that situation is better. What I would say is that there's been a lot of damage in the long-term that has been done to the NA ecosystem right now. Which means that there's different tiers of scrim opponents, and going between those tiers is very difficult. 


The problem is that at the lower kind of tiers — in Europe, you don't have to scrim other LEC teams. When Astralis were really bad, if you were Excel or somebody that would normally be forced to scrim a team like Astralis, you didn't have to scrim them. You could scrim Kcorp, Misfits Premier, etc. In NA, we don't have those options, because of how the Academy and Amateur system has been managed over the past three or four years.


Riot have received a lot of criticism for this, but there's been a lot of changes that happened over the last one-two years: Proving Grounds has been revamped and improved — Champions Queue as well. So you're seeing a lot of opportunities for those lower teams to get better, because they have far more stage games, they have far more publicized games, and they have the option to play Champions Queue. And that as a whole is raising the level of the region. 


Now, is this going to help EG in Summer 2022? No, it's not helping at all, obviously. But it means that I'm not as worried as maybe I would have been in 2021 looking forward. 2023 and 2024 you're going to see a lot of this from the bottom — doesn't mean you're going to have five Fakers coming up through Academy or Amateur. But it does mean that a lot of players who prove themselves and demonstrate ability, and a lot of coaches who do the same are going to have a route up into the higher tiers of professional play. And that can only be good for the region long term. 


You see this with Danny, Jojo, and EG, obviously. But you see this through people like Philip and FlyQuest who's had a really good start, Dhokla as well on CLG, and even Solo and Instinct on TSM. They got promoted very, very quickly from Amateur to LCS, and this wouldn't have happened two or even three years ago. TSM would never have promoted Solo and Instinct, they would have brought in recycled talent. This is only good for the long term. 


For EG going into Worlds, we're just focusing on learning what we can day by day, and if necessary, putting the right level of condition on our players through draft and set goals in scrims to make sure that all of our scrims are productive. I think last Split, this was one of our mistakes. EG were winning eighty to ninety percent of our scrims — every single day was a 5-0. And I'm not convinced that we maximized what we could learn in preparation for international competition. 


For this split, we put limiters — maybe we'll do a draft which is not one-hundred percent optimal, in order to condition the team. So we're getting an appropriate amount of practice. We're not winning ninety-percent of our scrims. We're only winning sixty to seventy percent, because if things are going too well, we'll find ways to change that. I think that's the big adjustment we've had to make.




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