G2 Esports remains undefeated after the third weekend of the League of Legends European Championship. Mid Laner Luka "Perkz" Perković is joined by Lara Lunardi to discuss the role swap, how that affects burnout, and becoming a better person and player.
How has it been since you returned to your original role?
It’s been really fun because I feel very unleashed, playing bot lane is also fun honestly, I like playing bot roles, but I played mid lane my whole life, right? So going back at it again is more of a higher pressure position, a higher stake position as well, so it’s more responsibility, but you have more agency, so you’re stronger and more impactful. It feels good to perform well in it again.
Since you have swapped roles before, did you take any different approaches to get accustomed to the position?
I think now I am a much more different player. Last year I basically spent the whole year watching Caps play because I was playing a different position. I could see a lot of things he did well and a lot of things that I had already done well in the past, so with the mixture of my previous skills and my newly learned skills by watching another mid laner play made me improve as a player. In general, each year I get better and better, smarter and smarter about the game, so I think this year I am a much more complete player so I should do even better.
Do you think swapping roles may be the secret to not burn out of playing, or maybe it delays the process a bit?
Hmmm. Yeah, I think it depends. Burnout also comes from your schedule, the way you decide to practice and live your life. I think in the past I had been overcompensating in my practice time and not taking care of myself and not having enough free time, but now I am learning to balance it, being a little more relaxed. In previous years, I was a little bit more stressed. Successful pro players have very long years and eleven months in a row of playing. This is the first time I have actually done an offseason because for the past two years there have always been roster changes and you have to build the team thinking about the next year. This year we have the same roster and it felt very great for me to have two months off where I got to learn more about myself as a human being, so right now I am a lot more stable and that makes me a much more stable player as well.
"I was searching for myself in competition rather than me as a human"
Have you actually burned out?
I think I have been burned out for the past year and a half.
What does it feel like?
It feels like perma-stress, maybe not perma-anxious, but every week you feel like you have to play, like you have to give your best, blah blah blah. I was in the wrong mindset. I was searching for myself in competition rather than me as a human, right? So it was very hard for me to step out of my bubble. Right now I feel like I am much more aware of myself and people around me and how everyone feels. I just feel very nice, the last two months have been the best of my life, so I just feel very great. It’s just different.
And how did you search for yourself as a human as opposed to just a player? Did the team help you with that or did you seek it on your own?
I am a very reflective person on my own so I think a lot and I actually went to see a psychologist in the offseason and she helped me think more and say things out loud, it was very useful for me. I also got to deal with my personal life. Pro players are also humans…
Are they though? *laughs*
*laughs* It’s debatable, right? They could be robots.
So I got to deal with my personal life which makes me much happier as well now and it just feels like everything is falling into place. I’d just been looking to be on this path where I am still a pro player, a very competitive one. Before I used to think that by giving my all I was trying the hardest, and right now I am realizing that if I give my best at certain times, I am getting more out of it, so I have been learning a lot more about balance. This split is a very interesting test.
G2 faced Fnatic today. There’s a lot of rivalry between the two teams. How does that affect the way you train to face them as opposed to any other team?
Right now we are scouting opponents and training for what they are supposed to do and it doesn’t really change much about the preparations and what we want to do, and for Fnatic specifically, it changes a little bit because they are just a better team than the other teams that are playing, they are the second strongest team in the league. Playing against them is not easy. Even though we can say they make mistakes, they make the games fast tempo, they are very proactive and it just makes it harder to play against them than other teams. It’s harder because they put more pressure, but we are used to playing them for a long time, so I think the rivalry doesn’t really conflict with this part. It’s more of a hype, I think they are a very strong team, that’s why they always put a good match against us.
Let’s talk about G2’s banter brand. How do you think it affects the teams that play against you? Do you think they are intimidated?
I’m not sure. I think right now we all know it’s just banter. We already present ourselves as the gladiators. We come to the stage, we conquer, we entertain. We all do it for the sake of entertainment, it’s better for the match, more rivalry, more hype. I think it’s better for the fans, for League and for the other teams as well. There is no loss unless you’re getting offended, then that’s up to the other teams, not us to perceive.
Do you have a word for the fans that keep up with G2?
Thanks everyone that follows us because it’s been super crazy if you look at our retrospective, we won basically almost everything last year. It’s been a crazy road to hopefully become the best in the world. I wanted to thank everyone for just sticking with us.