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Trashy: “Pushing ourselves on champions where we’re not as comfortable is also something we want to do.”

Samsung Galaxy vs Splyce at the 2016 World Championship - Group Stage at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California, USA on 29 September 2016.

Splyce had a difficult loss to G2 Esports in Week 6 of the EU LCS, but to open Week 7, they took two commanding 31 minute games from Ninjas in Pyjamas. Following the set, jungler Jonas “Trashy” Andersen spoke with Slingshot’s Kelsey Moser about the new patch, Splyce playing more as a unit, and balancing mid and side lane pressure.

Kelsey Moser: In the first draft, you allowed Caitlyn to come out as first pick for NiP. Do you think that in the new meta, Caitlyn has fallen in priority, or is she still as important as she was before?

Jonas “Trashy” Andersen: I think the problem people run into is are you willing to give up one of the OP junglers or are you willing to give up Caitlyn, so we just decided that we are really not fearing the enemy bot lane’s — if they pick Caitlyn, like, we wouldn’t think they could snowball the game with Caitlyn, so we were just fine with giving up Caitlyn. So that was just from — our bot lane were confident they could play against it.

KM: The last time I talked to you was around Worlds, and you said you were having some problems transferring leads from bot lane to the rest of the map, but today it seemed like you were doing a lot of roams with Mikyx in jungle and a lot of pressuring together in the mid lane. Is this something you feel like you guys have really improved on? Is it still an issue?

JA: It’s definitely something that has gotten a lot better. The problem for us in the past was that we didn’t address the problems we had in game. Like we didn’t actually go detailed into looking at why we couldn’t utilize the bot lane well enough and what we should do instead. We have put a lot of work into figuring out how to do that. Mikyx and me are talking a lot more together and making plans together like one or two minutes ahead of what we want to do.

I think actually today I was really happy with how me and Mikyx were controlling vision and controlling mid lane. We didn’t necessarily play a lot to bot lane, but we kind of sacked bot lane a bit to pressure mid, and then we saw Sencux just having really good games, so it’s definitely something we’re working on.

KM: It seems like with somewhat even mid matchups like the Syndra-Orianna matchup, there are a lot of openings for the jungler.

JA: Going into the game, we knew that Orianna shouldn’t have the freedom to pressure the Syndra, so we wanted to make sure that Syndra could play aggressive. I feel like we did that pretty well.

KM: From the post-game interview and also looking at your second draft, it seems like you guys are more willing to pick Lethality champions than some of the other teams that have played so far on the new patch. What do you think of balancing Lethality vs tank picks?

JA: I think generally that tanks will, in 90% of times, have more value than Lethality champions, but I still think that a champ like Kha’Zix can be played in specific situations when you are either playing tank top or things like Galio mid that can make up for the lack of tankiness from the jungle. It was something we are practicing in scrims, and we wanted to try it out and see how it went. I think it went okay. We could have played it better for sure. But it’s also — in games like these, it’s also testing yourself. It’s not the best pick for me, I could have played another champ and probably done better, but pushing ourselves on champions where we’re not as comfortable is also something we want to do.

KM: When I interviewed some of your teammates, generally the consensus was you were beginning in draft to think more about compositions. Could you describe from your perspective what that looks like or some of the considerations that go into that?

JA: Basically, one of the problems we had when this tank meta came in was that everyone kinda — not only this patch, but also in previous splits — was that we were usually just picking what was best for yourself. Sometimes that doesn’t really mesh well together. Sometimes people have to sacrifice in order for draft to be the best possible, so that is what we are looking at right now.

I think today we had really good drafts. They all had conditions to win. Even when you’re behind, there are still conditions to get back into the game. So I was happy with the drafting, I think we are moving in the right direction with the drafting.

KM: Is this a similar type of mentality that is also helping the team work to transfer pressure between lanes?

JA: One of the problems I had in the past was that we have three lanes that usually like to play pressure matchups, so as a jungler you are kind of stuck in a place where you want to help everyone, but you can’t really help everyone. So you need to maybe sack one side of the map to get pressure on the other side, and then that might be really bad for the matchup you have on the other side, so we didn’t really think too much on this in the past. We just picked what’s best. But now we are looking more into it because of the way we saw EU teams were exploited by the NA teams by knowing what side of the map they want to play to and actually controlling that side and using that to get leads. It’s the direction the game will go in.

KM: As someone who likes to play a counter-jungling style, do you think having set matchups that are strong no one side and weak on the other — does that make you more predictable or restrict how you like to play at all?

JA: I think generally when I don’t have to necessarily help lanes to — when they’re fine just going even or sacking maybe one wave of pressure for me to get tempo on the map, then that’s where I can shine most. That’s a point we’re starting to get to now where I’m taking more responsibility and being more selfish in my play so I can dictate the game, so I’m happy with what we’re doing in practice in order to get to this. It’s not perfect at all, but just the thought process of it is helping us.

KM: Many are saying that currently 1-3-1 type compositions are hard to execute now, but this is something Splyce used to be famous for executing. Do you agree 1-3-1 is not really tenable or are they conditions under which you can play it still?

 

JA: I think what we have learned this year is that controlling mid lane in the mid game is so important, so if you actually — if you’re playing against really good teams, and you’re playing a 1-3-1 comp, they will usually have a lot of engage tools in mid lane. So even if you are strong on side lane, they will use the pressure in mid to either force on you in mid when you are split up or rotate to your strong side and make sure that guy can’t push his lead.

In my opinion, the meta right now is — if the enemy team has a lot of engage tools, you kind of have to match it in a way and try to out teamfight it or make sure your four is so strong that you can facilitate the split-pusher you have so that he can win the game. So it kind of comes back to what I referred to before where we just picked — maybe we had a really strong mid and top lane that could win and split after, but we couldn’t really help it because we sacked bot lane to not be strong in the lane in order for these picks to be strong. So you’re kind of in a dilemma of how to play the game, and we’re thinking about how to actually execute the game.

KM: By the same token, does it become harder to get side lane control if you’re focusing on these 4-1 or 5v5 comps?

JA: Obviously yeah then you are not as strong on the side lanes, but I think there is always — the problem for me in split-push meta (or 1-3-1) is if those guys are not strong, then there’s no way of winning the game. Where, on the other hand, if you’re playing more of a 1-4 comp, where you’re not necessarily playing to win split, then you still have the ability to get back in the game through teamfighting or forcing fights as the four core. I feel like if you play like a 1-3-1 and actually shut down the split-pusher and use all your resources to shut him down, then they don’t have a condition for winning the game in most cases. So I’m more leaning towards the teamfight building compositions that are strong as a four unit.

KM: It sounds like, even though you guys have been playing together for a long time, it seems like you are saying you are only just now focusing on some perhaps basic team-building aspects. Is that something you agree with?

JA: I think that’s true, like one of the problems for us was that we are really close friends (all of us), and we have a lot of great times together. Even though we have been together for over a year now, it’s not like we have anyone that is having conflicts or stuff like this, so we are all happy together as a unit. But sometimes that also holds you back a bit because you’re not maybe as direct to someone like “we should do this and this, you should do this and this different.” That combining with us — I feel like we have been struggling with our coaching staff to push us, so if we are not pushing ourselves, and we are not being pushed from other people in the group, we have kind of been stagnating in that regard. We had some meetings about it, and we want to win, so in order for us to win, we need to get past this. This week, we worked a lot on it, and in practice, we saw some things change, so I am happy with how we are going.

KM: It sounds like that’s kind of part of the benefit of having a new coach: having someone who is kind of creating this pressure situation?

JA: Yeah, for sure, and also some fresh air in the team. Some new perspective on the team, so we have a new assistant in the house who helps us with this.

KM: Is that Boris?

JA: It might be Boris. I can’t talk about it.

KM: You play Misfits on Sunday. I see you sometimes bantering a bit with Maxlore on Twitter. Is there any significance to this jungle matchup for you at all?

JA: I feel like me and Maxlore are kind of similar in a lot of ways where we usually play more for team than some other junglers. In my opinion, we’re kind of in the middle of the pack of the junglers here in Europe. We’re not considered the best, but we’re not the worst either. We’re like in between, and I feel like both our performances depend a lot on how we play as a team, so if we play well as a team, I’m going to play well, and the same for him, in my opinion.

So I’m excited to play against him. I think we are pretty evenly matched. I think the meta right now fits me better than him. I hope that will make us win.

KM: When I see people try to make a Splyce narrative, it’s either ‘Oh they lose lane, but they play well as a group from behind’ or ‘They are a nice, hard-working young team.’ Is there an image you would like people to have of Splyce?

JA: I would love to have Splyce as a team where people look at the team and see five guys that are willing to sacrifice for each other and play as a unit. You win as a unit, and you lose as a unit. I think how the game is in this state is how you win games. If you are playing as a unit, and everyone is willing to sometimes sacrifice for the team in order to win this, that’s how you win games in my opinion right now.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games