Misfits Gaming are on the board, finally. After losing their first four games in the 2022 LEC Summer Split, the team managed to pick up a decisive victory against fellow strugglers SK Gaming in the second week of the competition. It’s a first step, but there is a lot of work left to be done, as Misfits’ bot laner Matúš "Neon" Jakubčík knows all too well.
After the victory, Neon spoke with Inven Global about the rough start Misfits had to the season. He discussed his expectations before the Summer Split kicked off, and how the team tried to gather themselves after the opening weekend. Neon also shed light on Misfits’ changed team dynamics, and what his role is as the veteran on the team.
Welcome, Neon, and congrats on your first win in the Summer Split! I have to say that, on the player cams, it seemed like there was more relief rather than happiness. Was that a correct assessment?
Absolutely. You don't really get very happy when you're in our position. Winning is more relieving than making you happy because you at least have some reassurance that there is hope, and that we maybe can still pull it back together.
Getting hope back obviously has to do with going 0-3 last week, so tell me, how did the team try to shake off the bad start heading into this weekend?
Well obviously, going 0-3 sucks a bit. It definitely doesn't help the team morale, but we still try to keep it as good as possible because there were 15 more matches to go. The first three matches, in those eighteen overall, don't play that big of a part. So honestly, it all comes down to us, whether we can find our way back to being a team and to bring our level higher. Defeats are good if you can learn from them, so that's our approach.
"We had some wins last Split that we shouldn't have gotten and I was always aware that these wins weren't really wins. They were a point, but in my head they were a loss"
After the Spring Split, expectations for Misfits were higher than what we've seen so far. Maybe you had different expectations as well. The season is still long, of course, but can you tell me a bit about those expectations?
Yeah, I mean, obviously it sucks because last year, I was in last place with Schalke 04 and it's a really disgusting feeling to want to compete but to just be losing. It's a feeling I never want to experience again. Currently, I'm at a crossroads whether it's going to be similar to last Summer or not. I'll try to do everything in my power to not make it happen. The expectations heading into the superweek were higher, but honestly, we have a lot of issues as a team. A lot of these issues showed up very recently. We just didn't look like a team that could compete in the LEC in the first superweek, right? So, there is a lot going on. We'll just have to wait and see if we can pull it back together, and how fast.
Let's dissect that a little bit more. From the outside, it seems that you only replaced HiRit who, no disrespect, had a rough Spring Split. Of course, with Irrelevant as a new top laner, it's another rookie on the team, which will take some adjustment time. What issues are there in the team?
Of course, every player on every team plays a role, plays a part. Sometimes, the impact that a player has on a team is not seen in the game or from the public point of view. Maybe HiRit wasn't the best, but he certainly provided things that are different to what Irrelevant provides. HiRit was like a veteran and you knew how he worked.
Bringing in Irrelevant, bringing a rookie up in the early years of their careers, is always a bit questionable. There are all these variables. Are they gonna perform? How is the stage going to impact them? How are they gonna do in front of a crowd? How are they in a team environment? How are they outside of the game? There are all these things that can be a coinflip with a rookie. I think we definitely see a lot of potential with Irrelevant. I think we can do very well still.
Last Split, quite a few of your victories were crazy comebacks. Do you feel that that's more difficult in this meta?
I knew we had some wins last Spit that we shouldn't have gotten and I was always aware that these wins weren't really wins. They were a point, but in my head they were a loss. Because of that, I've always known that there can be issues, and it did show that we still have issues. We're not as good as the standing indicated in the Spring Split.
"I don't really try to play the role of a teacher. I think everyone, in the end, has to figure things out on their own."
Well at least today, against SK, you seemed to be much more aligned. You guys were proactive and seemed to understand the map state better than last week. So, talk to me about the improvement in the team and what you're building towards.
We basically have three rookies and we are an inexperienced team when I compare us to other LEC teams. We're still trying to find our identity. We're still trying to see which way of playing the game fits us the most, how we want to draft. Previously, it's been a little bit chaotic, so we're trying to see if we can put systems in place to make us succeed.
You are the most seasoned player on this roster. Now, not everyone is the type of player to take others by the hand and educate them, of course. But do you feel any pressure or obligation to teach them about the game?
I don't really try to play the role of a teacher. I think everyone, in the end, has to figure things out on their own. That's just how it works in League. I figured my things out on my own. If anything, I can provide guidance and be there when they need me. I lead by example, I would say.
So when they come to you, you’ll help, but you’re focussing on yourself mostly.
This first win is a nice stepping stone of course, but what do you foresee for Misfits in the coming weeks in terms of making progress?
I think, honestly, we are really bad right now. I will do what's in my power to hopefully make us better. But honestly, I can't promise anything because we're really bad. [Laughs] I hope that this win is a start to things getting better.
Is it good for you, personally, to get that first win?
It's a little bit relieving, as we discussed before, but in my head, SK is not a team that competes for playoffs this year. We didn't beat a team that is actually competing at the top, in my opinion. So, for me, this win doesn't mean that much.
Storyteller by heart. If something is competitive, I am interested in it.