The League of Legends European Championship Spring Split is going pretty well for Origen. After four weeks, the team sits at a comfortable 6-2 score, sharing the first place with G2 and Misfits. At the LEC, Origen's jungler Andrei "Xerxe" Dragomir sat down with Inven Global's Tom Matthiesen for a chat about the progress Origen has made so far in the Split, and how he has adapted to the recent buffs to the jungle in League of Legends.
The team has been doing pretty well so far in the Spring Split. What's the atmosphere like in the group?
Yeah it's been great so far, except for that one loss against Misfits, which shouldn't have happened. We were a bit disappointed there because we weren't expecting that. We played much worse than our level. Everyone was disappointed because we knew we were better than that. But it's just one game. What matters is that we learn something from that game, and just move on to next week. And that's what we did! We had a great week of practice—probably the best week of practice we've had. I'm glad we are able to translate that onto the stage.
What is it you learned from the match against Misfits?
It was mostly about how to play the early game, and how to communicate with each other. The champions we play require us to be a bit more proactive and different than, for example, the usual Gragas.
When you practice for your next match, how much do you focus on your specific opponent of that game?
I don't do any specific preparation for different junglers. I just watch a few of their games, to see how they path. I play in a way that I don't care about who I play against. I just focus on myself, and on what I can do better. I feel like I'm at the point where I know how to react to every jungler. Obviously I check who I'm playing against, but I already know what tendencies the player has. I just react to that.
We also have our own strategic coach, Jack [Kayser], who does the scouting for us. He makes it easier for us, because he'll watch the games instead of us.
As of this week, the LEC plays on patch 10.3, which gives the jungle a pretty decent buff. What are your thoughts on the patch?
Well, the jungle is still in a worse state than it was in the previous years, XP-wise and I also believe gold-wise. But I'll take it. It should bring some back some junglers who are more level-dependent. Sejuani, for example, or other champions that want to get to level 6 ASAP.
Jungle doesn't feel that bad right now. Before, you'd be three, four or even five levels down on the solo laners. It was insanely hard to play the game. Right now it feels like you're only two levels down, in most of the cases. It depends on whether you have a fast-clearing jungler like Karthus—you don't really feel that difference with him. So overall it's a good buff to the jungle, but it's not that impactful.
How does a patch like this affect your practice?
I just play a lot of solo queue. I get a feeling of how jungling feels in the patch, and I can tell that I'm getting a lot more XP than I used to.
What about trying out new champions, do you do that a lot?
Well I already know which champions worked, so I'm thinking about the XP buff, and if maybe a champion that needs to reach level 6 could work. I try it in solo queue, and based on the performance there I take it to the scrims, to see how it goes there.
We've seen Karthus make a return to the meta, for example. Is there going to be more room for slower junglers this meta, you think?
Karthus is a bit of a unique case. I don't think many junglers have that playstyle. I used to play him in the past. My first thought, when I saw the patch, was: "Hey, jungle camps matter so much now, so it may be strong to take the enemy camps."
In the LCK they played Ivern, Sejuani, and they actually played Zac as well. It's pretty crazy to think that LCK would play those champions. It doesn't suit them. I can definitely see that more creative junglers should be able to take more pocket picks.
We still see a lot of aggressive junglers like Elise, Lee Sin et cetera. In what way does the game state have to change for more farming junglers to become preferable picks?
I can't really name one thing, because it's dependent on multiple things. For example: the AD and AP jungle items, when completed, are so cost-efficient. They have such a big power spike, which is why the AD and AP junglers are really strong. The Cinderhulk is not that impactful, even if you get the items. There's just so much to consider.
Do you prefer a meta with slower junglers, or do you like the aggressive ones?
To be honest, I don't have a preference. I feel like I can play everything pretty well. I just see what the meta is, and then I think about what I can bring to counter the meta. Then I shape the meta. I mean, not the meta, but my meta. I don't have to play the same game the other team is playing. I could like Amumu, or something like that. I make the meta for myself and then people have to react to it, or they will lose.
This week we saw Cho'Gath, Ezreal, Yuumi and other new champions being played in the LEC. What can we expect to see from Origen, in this patch?
Well, we might see more spicy jungle picks now that there is more freedom. I can't go into more details! *laughs* You're gonna have to wait until I get to play them. I feel that, at least for jungle, people should be able to play more picks that aren't aggressive. There aren't many changes for the rest of the lanes, but we can probably expect some change in our other lanes as well.