Team EnVyUs surprised most viewers with a 3-1 start through two weeks of the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) summer split, but the team slumped a bit in Week 3. Emily Rand sat down with AD carry Apollo “Apollo” Price following a Week 4 loss to Counter Logic Gaming to chat about the team’s inconsistencies and performance thus far.
Emily Rand: How do you feel like Envy has played this weekend?
Apollo “Apollo” Price: We actually did pretty well. A lot of the problems we’ve been having is kind of due to pick and ban. So when it comes down to drafting, specifically in the first games, I don’t think we dealt with the Tahm Kench pick very well, which is why we banned it in Game 2. Not only did we not draft very well, but also in game we couldn’t make a large enough lead where the draft doesn’t matter. So after we screwed up our early game, we didn’t make enough plays, and later it was a lot harder for us to deal with their team comp. We fixed things up in Game 2 and we weren’t scared, and the game kind of snowballed into our victory. Game 3 it was a little bit of both, but more than draft we just didn’t play very well. I’m not too upset with the loss because at least we were able to get a win. It was 2-1. Last week it was 0-4 and it kind of felt like we were doing really well. We beat Immortals, we beat Team Liquid, but after Fox and TSM, we forgot how to win almost. It was really weird because we thought we were doing really well, but this week it’s already better.
ER: A lot has changed since the last time you met CLG where you had a really messy series…
AP: (laughs) Oh yeah, that was bad. Those games didn’t even matter! We were already in relegations for sure — oh man, yeah we just wanted to waste their time. I don’t even know, it was really bad.
ER: So how have you been working on closing out games and recognizing mistakes as a team, since that’s the most visible improvement for Envy this split?
AP: We’ve been working so much more on macro and team play stuff. I think before we were focused a lot more on our individual mistakes and didn’t think enough about the bigger picture. Even in our scrims now when we make mistakes, we go over the more important things like what we’re doing with our waves, what our team fighting looks like, and it helped us close out games. The problem that we’re now having onstage is playing a little bit too passive or too scared. We end up really not wanting to fight, and our enemy will make that play first. We can now close out a game, but we need to be better about fighting first, be the ones initiating.
ER: Another noticeable difference this split is that the team has played a lot around you and Hakuho (Nickolas Surgent) in the bot lane. Previously a lot of criticism was that you were just “serviceable” or a role player, but this is more along the lines of what people thought when you first burst onto the scene as WizFujiiN. What do you think of your role on the team and how you’ve played this split?
AP: I do think I’ve played a lot more confidently at the beginning of this split, and it has a lot to do with the team right now. I don’t know if playing around me is the right way to say it, but we’re playing more appropriately. I’ll say what I need and the other players will say what they need and we end up playing around me a bit more than we did last split, but that’s more about how the meta has grown. You need to support your AD carry or else he won’t be able to get a lead or do anything in team fights. It’s a bit different and also different from what I’m used to from before. My expectations are set higher now, especially since I’ve been playing for four or five years? I’m a veteran, so when I look back, I feel like I haven’t really improved significantly and I think it’s about time that I step up as one of the veteran players and actually perform well. And also help the younger players — Nisqy, Pirean — and help them to grow.
ER: Speaking of Nisqy (Yasin Dinçer) and Pirean (Choi Jun-sik), this was your first week starting Nisqy. Does the team change at all when Nisqy is playing as opposed to when Pirean is playing?
AP: It’s hard to say because we haven’t played too much with Nisqy. We’ve played a lot more with Pirean, obviously. I do think Nisqy has really good mechanics but is still working around playing as a team. That’s definitely not his fault since he hasn’t played many games with us. It will be all about practicing with both mid laners and seeing which one fits better. We played with Nisqy because he just needs the experience. He needs to play more and we kind of felt it was fair to give him a shot in this series. I think he played well.
ER: Where do you see Envy at the end of the split?
AP: We’re still aiming for playoffs. We got off to a much better start this split. We’re looking for playoffs and we still think it’s possible. We’re still looking to go to Worlds, but playoffs is more of our goal. We’ve made so many significant improvements to last split so I’m really happy about that. Right now we’re kind of in a slump, meaning that we haven’t improved as much as the other teams week by week, so it’s really going to be up to us to improve in the next few weeks and going into playoffs.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/Slingshot illustration