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Xerxe: “People have been saying that I’m not this early game type of jungler…this is really motivating me to perform”

Xerxe said criticism of his early game motivates him to improve.
UOL's Xerxe (Andrei Dragomir) says criticism fuels him to improve. Photo courtesy of Riot Games/Slingshot illustration.

Unicorns of Love and Misfits played a long best-of-three in Week 6 of the European League of Legends Championship Series (EU LCS). Following the match, Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir talked to Slingshot’s Kelsey Moser about jungle picks in the series, bottom pressure, and reacting to community pressure.

Kelsey Moser: The most striking thing about this series is that you are mixing up your jungle pool a little with two new picks: Kindred and Elise. Can you talk a little bit about both picks?

Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir: I think Kindred got many buffs in a row, and I actually think the champion is fine, but sadly I couldn’t show it in this series. But I still think the champion has potential (playing) into weak junglers like Gragas, for example. And the Elise, people have been saying that I’m not this early game type of jungler, that I have a poor jungle champion pool, and this is really motivating me to perform and to feel that I can play every single champion.

KM: You used to play a lot of Elise last year, right?

AD: Yes, I played a lot of Elise.

KM: So why didn’t you bring it out yet for Unicorns?

AD: I could play it at any time, but my team didn’t require it. They didn’t want Elise, so I am willing to play whatever the team needs, and I didn’t think it fits with our team play, team style, so maybe right now — maybe it still doesn’t fit, but I can still try it to see how it works.

KM: Many times, when people will play Elise, it affects top lane a lot (like if top has a bad matchup it’s good at compensating for that), but in Game 3 you still had some problems interfering with lanes. Could you talk more about some of the difficulties?

AD: I think that in the first 4-5 minutes, it was good. I could catch the Gragas, he was zoned, and they had to share experience with the Kennen, so Csacsi could get solo experience the entire time. There was nothing for me to do anymore because we cannot have 2-v-2. Then, after that, normally I should just go mid, ward, and cover for top, but Gragas was giving up camps to just defend top and ward around top side, so I’m getting ahead. But I think we died to a gank where it was really obvious that the Gragas was in the bush. I guess we don’t expect to get punished. Other than that, I think the early game was fine. But it was a bit hard since we had Vladimir. It’s really weak early game, so I can’t really invade since I’m afraid Syndra can collapse. They have Gragas and Syndra stun from far away, and I can get one-shot.

KM: A lot of times in UoL games, you guys will sometimes have bot pressure translating into mid. It seemed like Misfits were doing that a lot as well in this series. Did that throw you guys off at all?

AD: I think the bot lane pressure is kind of what we learned from NA teams because they were just pushing bottom and the jungle support were resetting together. They would just go together if they go in the river. If I’m alone, I cannot contest because it’s 1-v-2 or Hyli can’t contest. So we kind of need to be prepared for that, and I think NA teams were doing this really good, and we are still learning it.

KM: Gragas was a high priority this series. Misfits picked it in Game 1, and then they prioritized it in Game 3. What do you think Gragas lends in particular to the meta right now?

AD: I think Gragas is really safe. Because, like I just said, you can farm safely, and he really has no real downside. You have good early game, and the more you scale, the better you become because you have a lot of CC. You have the passive for sustain. I think it does fine into most of the meta junglers around, so it can be blind-picked into anything, I would say.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/Slingshot illustration