On the last day of the 2022 LoL World Championship play-in stage, Evil Geniuses swept MAD Lions 3-0 and punched their ticket to the group stage of the tournament. Not only did this victory meant EG qualifying for the group stage, it also marked the first time that an LCS team defeated an LEC team in a Bo5.
The following is the post-match interview with the head coach for EG, Han “Rigby” Earl
Congratulations on making it to the group stages. How do you feel?
I really wanted to make it to groups, and I’m sure that the players and the coaching staff all really wanted to make it as well. After this season, I have to serve my compulsory military service in Korea, and the last letter I got from the government stated that my enlistment date was October 6, so if we didn’t make it to groups, then I probably would be in boot camp. I wanted us to do well so that there’ll be a job for me when I get back; in that regard, I think things have been working out so far.
This is a monumental victory for not just EG, but also for NA, as EG became the first LCS team to beat an LEC team in a Bo5.
I don’t think there’s that big of a gap between NA and EU. While I think there are strong carry players in G2, I’ll say that our match against Fnatic wasn’t us at our full strength. Rather than thinking of it as NA beating EU, I want to say that it was MAD Lions losing all their matches when it mattered.
Did you expect a 3-0 victory?
Based on how we’ve prepared, I’ve fully anticipated it. I thought that it’s impossible to lose against a team that has a huge mid gap, so we tried to draft picks that were not only the best in the meta, but also as comfortable as possible.
EG’s draft in game 2 was interesting. You guys drafted a full AD composition with Yuumi [support] being the solo AP champion. Can you explain EG’s game 2 team comp?
We scrimmed against DRX and RNG a lot. We saw DRX draft a comp that was similar, so we were inspired by how they drafted against us. Because Yuumi actually built damage, it was enough for her to fill the lack of AP in our comp, so if we had picks that will lock down the enemy like Sejuani and Sett, not only does this disallow the enemy to dive us, but it also gives Yuumi time to scale.
There was a lot on the line, so the players must’ve felt very pressured. What were some of the things you said to the players to relieve some of that pressure?
There’s a lot of talk about the ‘Last Dance’ happening this year. Not just with me, but also with DRX’s ‘Deft’ as well. I told the players that this Worlds was my ‘Last Dance’, and I don’t want it to end today, so let’s make it to groups. I think it gave them enough motivation.
Which game was the one where you felt that you won the series?
Game 2. I felt it was over when we won that game, because I thought that MAD won’t be able to play the game if they have to be mindful of Yuumi. I was actually relieved when they didn’t pick Yuumi in game 1.
EG is in group B, against JD Gaming, DWG KIA, and G2 Esports. Thoughts on the group?
There isn’t an easy team to face for NA teams. Even if our opponents today were RNG or DRX, we had to beat them to have hope for groups, so all we could do was to prepare our own game and execute.
Lastly, what was the biggest lesson you’ve learned during the play-ins, and how will that be implied in EG’s groups run?
We feel that it was meaningful in making it to groups after playing so many matches, as well as the process of finding our strengths, finding what works for us, and formulating a game plan from such steps. We’ll just have to tackle things head on in groups. We’ll practice against better teams and repeat the process. In the end, you win the game by making the necessary plays. I think our top side [top-jungle-mid]’s form is insane right now, and our bot lane’s form have steadily improved up to this point, so as long as there isn’t a huge skill gap, we’ll be able to win.
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